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Passover starts Monday at sundown: How Jewish people are preparing.

How Jewish people are preparing for Passover in NYC
How Jewish people are preparing for Passover in NYC 07:38

NEW YORK -- Passover starts Monday at sundown.

This year, it comes against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war. Despite the conflict overseas, families in New York are preparing to celebrate. 

What is Passover

Passover is when families retell the story of the Jewish people's exodus from slavery in Egypt.  It begins with a festive meal known as the Seder. 

During the holiday, Jews do not eat leavened bread. The reason is because as they fled Egypt, there was no time to wait for their dough to rise. So they carried it on their backs and it baked in the sun, resulting in matzo. 

The story of Passover - the exodus - is symbolic of the Jewish people's resilience through generations.   

Oct. 7 on their minds

Natalie Sanandaji, of Great Neck, Long Island, survived the Oct. 7 Nova Music Festival massacre, and deeply felt the Jewish people's thirst for freedom. 

"When I was running from Hamas on October 7th... I tried to take a few photos or videos... One of the photos was about three hours into running, or so. We ended up on this main road with hundreds of other people from the festival," Sanandaji said. "Automatically I thought to myself, oh my god, this looks like the exodus of Egypt."

Keeping kosher

There are even more types of Kosher for Passover foods this year, as one of the oldest matzo makers, Manischewitz, hopes to connect with younger generations and non-Jews. The company dates back to 1888. 

"We're seeing trendy things pop up, like the Jewish delicatessen-style foods," KAYCO Chief Marketing Officer Shani Seidman said. "It's our legacy, it's our inheritance, so it's not something that we're making up that we make the best matzo ball soup -- we do make the best matzo ball soup."

The company rebranded everything from its soup to matzo boxes in hopes of making kosher cool. 

"We really feel like Passover can be an everyday brand and we know, like I said before, that we're part of the zeitgeist of American dishes already," said Seidman. "What we are doing is inviting culturally curious consumers that may not be Jewish but want to explore Jewish cuisine, and we invite them to try our matzo balls or our potato latkes."

Consider these Passover recipes for your Seder plate

Passing down Passover traditions

Food prep has already begun for families around the world. CBS New York's Kristie Keleshian met a group of women on Long Island who call themselves the "Gefilte Gals," like the tradition gefilte fish they each make at home. They follow old recipes and sometimes need help.

"Last year, I called her because my grandmother wasn't here ... and then that's how this group kind of came together because she said, 'oh, you should also ask Judy,' and then, 'ask Marjorie,'" Jordana Levine said.

Whether it's from their mom, aunt or grandma, their family recipes have been passed down for generations, sometimes re-told over the phone.

"'How much sugar do I add, Grandma?' 'Put in a spoon.' 'OK, but how much of a spoon?' 'You know, like that big spoon that you have in the drawer,'" Levine said.

With decades of experience among the Gefilte Gals, it's a Passover tradition they plan to keep passing down.

"My kids happen to love gefilte fish, but they don't necessarily love the smell ... At some point, I will pass down the tradition to them," Debbie Volk said.

United Jewish Appeal's "matzo challenge" 

The United Jewish Appeal of New York, or UJA, is giving people an outlet to channel their pride through its seventh annual Matzo Challenge, where people are asked to share their personal matzo creations for a good cause. 

"For me, it's matzo with the Shachar chocolate spread -- not the Nutella spread, but specifically the Shachar, because it's just so good. It has that state and memory of being a kid again," said Sanandaji. "We're all having matzo, but every Jew from every background -- whether you're Iranian or Moroccan or Polish or Hungarian -- we all took this one thing, matzo, and managed to transform it into so many different types of snacks and foods."

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