Cheek swab samples taken to help those with leukaemia as part of Passover events in Redbridge
PUBLISHED: 08:50 01 April 2013
A festival which marks the emancipation of Jews was celebrated at one synagogue with cheek swab samples taken to help those with leukaemia.
Member of the congregation at the Woodford Liberal Synagogue, Marlborough Road, South Woodford had the samples taken during Passover.
Passover is one of the most important festivals in the Jewish year and celebrates when the Jews were freed from hundreds of years of slavery in Egypt.
The week-long festival ends today.
Rabbi Richard Jacobi said: “We took the most practical step for what we could do to save someone’s life in the future by registering people for the DNA database.
“All they had to do was a cheek swap. It was an important action for us.”
Another focus during the week-long festivities was looking at how much food is wasted and the impact this has on poverty.
Rabbi Jacobi said: “There would be enough food for everyone if it wasn’t wasted. About 40-50 per cent of the food produced doesn’t end up in human mouths, it’s wasted costing the average family about £680.”
A group of young people made an “IF” display out of matzo boxes, eaten during Passover, to highlight the IF campaign which rallies against food waste.
The festival of Passover usually lasts seven days but some orthodox denominations celebrate it for eight.
Rabbi Jacobi said: “The bible has it as seven days and in Israel it’s celebrated for seven.
“It’s eight in the orthodox calendar as before we could not be absolutely certain about the calendar so they added an extra day to make sure. It’s now become a tradition but is no longer necessary as we have better lunar predictions.”
Celebrations around the festival usually take inspiration from spring as well as remembering those who are still living in slavery.
Rabbi Jacobi added: “They were freed from 430 years of slavery in Egypt so it has a lot of connections with freedom and also being aware of groups of people around the world who are still enslaved in some way.”
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