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Pesach Sheni – May 21, 2024

Pesach Sheni is observed on Iyar 14, one month after 14 Nisan — the day before Passover when the paschal lamb was selected as a sacrifice for the holiday. This year, it takes place on May 21. It offers a second opportunity for anyone unable to participate in the first Passover celebration.

History of Pesach Sheni

Pesach Sheni can be considered the celebration of a second Passover. It is rooted in Scripture. God told the Israelites to remember the night of the Passover — when the angel of death passed any Jewish home sprinkled with lamb’s blood. The people were told to celebrate the Passover feast, bringing an offering to God. The sacrificed roasted lamb was given in God’s way on the first Passover and later the second. It was to be eaten with matzah and bitter herbs.

At the time, specific individuals could not participate in the Passover because they were considered to have become ritually impure. Some men were worried they would miss the chance to be right with God. So, they approached Moses and Aaron, who gave them instructions on what they could do. The people who were considered unclean or couldn’t reach Jerusalem (the site of the Passover) were given the opportunity for a “second chance.” They could celebrate Passover one month later on 14 Iyar.

Since the destruction of the Second Temple, Pesach Sheni is only celebrated symbolically. People only eat a piece of ‘matzah,’ or ‘unleavened bread,’ to commemorate the occasion. They remember and honor their deceased family members on the holiday, making contributions to organizations that create meaningful memorials for departed loved ones, such as hospitals, hospices, synagogues, or charities.

Pesach Sheni timeline

Crusaders Come From Europe

Crusaders from Europe capture the Holy Land.

1100 — 1291

The Crusaders massacre the non-Christian population.

Palestine is Home

Britain recognizes the Jewish people’s right to establish a home in Palestine.

Jews Can’t Enter Israel

Jewish refugees cannot enter Israel even after World War II.

Pesach Sheni FAQs

Do Jews marry non-Jews?

Only 2% of Orthodox Jews marry non-Jews, while 47% of non-Orthodox Jews marry non-Jews.

Are Jews racially diverse?

The population of Jews in the U.S. has become racially diverse over the years.

Are there Republican Jews?

About three-quarters of Orthodox Jews say they are Republican.

How to Observe Pesach Sheni

  1. Eat matzah

    It is customary to eat a small piece of ‘matzah’ on the holiday. You can also commemorate the tradition by omitting the ‘Tachanun,’ or ‘a supplication prayer,’ from the prayer service.

  2. Go to the synagogue

    Sermons are held in the synagogue almost every day. You can attend and participate in the prayer service to remember the tradition.

  3. Learn more about Judaism

    Conduct some research about the Jewish religion. Learn about Jewish people's beliefs, history, and teachings.

5 Facts About Jewish People

  1. There are Jews in the U.S.

    Jews make up about 2.4% of the U.S. adult population.

  2. There are many Jews

    In 2020, the Jewish population was estimated to be about 7.5 million.

  3. U.S. Jews are not too religious

    The Jews in the U.S. are considered less religious than American adults.

  4. Jews can be liberal

    Jews can be staunchly liberal and are known to favor the Democratic Party.

  5. Jews care about Israel

    About 82% of Jews in the U.S. care a lot about Israel.

Why Pesach Sheni is Important

  1. It maintains tradition

    The holiday is an old Jewish tradition. It helps to preserve the religion and its teachings.

  2. It is educational

    Prayers and sermons are held during the holiday. They teach the younger generation about ancient traditions and Jewish history.

  3. It is charitable

    During the holiday, people are encouraged to make donations. Giving to others helps make society a better place.

Pesach Sheni dates

2022May 14Saturday
2023May 4Thursday
2024May 21Tuesday
2025May 11Sunday
2026April 30Thursday

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