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Town holds chametz burning at Echo Park in West Hempstead

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Echo Park in West Hempstead and a town parking field in Woodmere both hosted the Town of Hempstead’s contactless drive-thru chametz burning event last Friday. Town Supervisor Don Clavin and councilmen Bruce Blakeman, Anthony D’Esposito and Thomas Muscarella welcomed Jewish families from across the town for this festive event.

Under the supervision of the West Hempstead and Woodmere fire departments, neighbors burned their chametz in a safe, communal way in preparation for the holy day of Passover.

“The Burning of the Chametz is a communal event that draws a large number of Jewish families from all throughout America’s largest township,” Clavin said in a news release. “It is thanks to the participating fire departments from Woodmere and West Hempstead that this event is held every year without a hitch. Unfortunately, the event could not be held last year, but Hempstead Town is glad to be a part of bringing it back for 2021.”

According to the Book of Exodus, practitioners of the Jewish faith left Egypt in such a hurry that there was not enough time for their bread to be baked properly. This resulted in the creation of the traditional Matzah, or unleavened bread. To remember the sacrifices of their ancestors, foods with leavening agents are forbidden during the holiday of Passover.

“It was wonderful to see the community coming together again safely to responsibly continue practicing their faith. Chag Sameach,” Blakeman said.

Jewish people may not own, eat, or benefit in any way from the unleavened food. Each year before Passover, Jewish families around the world sell their chametz and burn the leftovers found around the house to continue this tradition.

“We’d like to thank the West Hempstead and Woodmere fire departments for taking the initiative to help the town offer this event for practicing families throughout our township,” D’Esposito said.

“We look forward to next year’s celebration with a larger crowd and less restrictions,” Muscarella added.

Courtesy Town of Hempstead; compiled by Nakeem Grant