NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – At sundown Friday, Jews across the Tri-State Area will sit down and celebrate the holiday of Passover.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb On The Story

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The holiday celebrates the Jewish people’s exodus from slavery in Egypt.

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive director of the New York Board of Rabbis, told WCBS 880 reporter Rich Lamb that the Passover meal is infused with history and symbolism.

“We sit at the Seder table and we relive the story of those whose lives were embittered. We taste the bitter herbs to remind us that there is sadness in the world. There was then. There is now. And then we take this mixture of apples, raisins, and wine, and we temper the bitterness with sweetness. And doesn’t that say to all of us that we have a responsibility, that we have to try to take lives that are bitter, try to make them better,” he said.

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Potasnik said Passover tells us life is bittersweet and we have to take times that are bitter and make them sweet.

“I think Passover says it’s not just about looking back. It’s about looking forward as well as we live in the present. That we have to try to make the next chapter of life, not just for Jews, but for all people, a better one,” he said.

Potasnick added that Passover tells us we cannot simply close our eyes. We must help the poor, try to free the enslaved, and be a voice for the voiceless.

The NYPD has beefed up security at Jewish sites across the city in advance of the holiday.

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What does Passover mean to you? Sound off in the comments section below!