Jews burn leavened bread ahead of Passover in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Apr 5 (EFE).- Plumes of smoke floated across the sky of several Jerusalem neighborhoods Wednesday where members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community burned leavened bread ahead of Passover.

Jews observing Passover, which this year starts on Wednesday evening and ends on April 13, refrain from eating bread and certain other foods that are leavened.

People observing the eight-day festival gathered around bonfires on Wednesday morning and tossed bread and other food products into the flames.

The Passover festival, one of the most important holidays in the Jewish calendar, commemorates the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt escaping from slavery over 3,000 years ago.

According to the biblical story, the fleeing Jews left in such a hurry they did not have time to let their bread dough ferment, making matzah (unleavened bread) a symbol of freedom.

In the lead-up to Passover, many Jews stop eating products containing yeast entirely.

Families, grocery stores and gastronomy enterprises eliminate any trace of yeast from their menus and pantries.

This year, Passover overlaps with the holy month of Ramadan, amid rising tensions in the region and concerns that clashes with Palestinians could spike in Jerusalem.

Israeli police on Wednesday morning clashed with Palestinians who locked themselves inside the Al Aqsa mosque, located in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Israeli security forces arrested 400 people on the Esplanade of the Mosques, considered the third holiest place for Islam and an icon of national unity for Palestinians.

In retaliation to the conflict, Palestinian militias in Gaza launched 10 rockets toward Israel. The Israeli Army responded with attacks on the military objectives of the Hamas Islamist militant group, which governs the Strip under a strict Israeli blockade. EFE


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