BEVERLY HILLS—Monday, April 10, marks the beginning of the Jewish Holiday of Passover, the annual observance of the Biblical account of the Israelite exodus from Egypt. Rabbi Hertzel Illulian of the JEM Community Center is inviting the Beverly Hills community to be a part of its Passover Seder, the traditional meal that officially begins the holiday.

Falling on the fifteenth day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, Jews are commanded in the Torah (the first five books of the Christian Old Testament) to remember the struggle of their ancestors by observing the week long Passover holiday with their family and community.

“On that day you are to tell your son, It is because of what The Lord did for me when I left Egypt.”

The Seder begins with the Haggadah, a retelling of the Israelite escape from bondage from the Egyptian Pharaoh (Possibly Thutmose II, scholars believe). After the recitation, observers eat symbolic foods and reflect on their significance. The bitter herbs, Maror and Chazeret, represent the slavery endured under Pharaoh. A bit of roasted lamb symbolizes the Passover sacrifice, and is not eaten. Matza, an unleavened bread, represents the food that sustained the Israelites during the exodus across the desert. The Seder finally ends with relaxation and the giving of thanks, symbolizing freedom from slavery.

The JEM Community Center in Beverly Hills was founded by Rabbi Hertzel Illulian to provide a safe place for young people, channeling their energy in positive ways through sports, education, and mentoring. Rabbi Illulian told Canyon News that it’s important for the community to come together to celebrate the Passover holiday.

“Passover is important. It’s a part of history, but that history repeats itself,” Rabbi Illulian told Canyon News. “We live in a new society, a millennial society. No barriers separate us. We believe in unity and love.”

Those who wish to join in the annual Passover celebration at the JEM Community Center can find more information at