NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The eight-day Jewish holiday of Passover begins Monday at sundown.

The holiday commemorates the Israelites’ escape from Egyptian slavery more than 3,000 years ago.

RECIPES: Pesach Cookie Cake & Passover Lemon Curd​ | 4-Course Passover Dinner Menu

During the first two nights of the holiday, friends and family gather for a Passover Seder. The ritual meal features six symbolic foods, including matzo which symbolizes the bread that didn’t have time to rise when Israelites fled Egypt.

MORE: 5 Best Restaurants In NYC For Passover Dinner

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said the Passover story might be more relatable than it has been in some time.

Greenblatt said the story is about persecution and dislocation, so it’s hard for him not to think about Syrian refugees.

“Many of the same claims that have been directed against these Syrian refugees were made against Jewish refugees,” said Greenblatt. “The reason why the American-Jewish community to a large degree supports the notion of admitting more refugees and having a compassionate and humane policy toward them is because we were once strangers too.”

Passover ends Tuesday, April 18.


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