ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Members of the Jewish faith across the stateline celebrated the first night of Passover on Wednesday, a time to reflect on the past with stories and gatherings for big meals.

One leader in the community uses the holiday to bring in strangers during family Seder. She shared why it is so important to carry on the tradition.

“Love the tradition of Passover, and I want to share that with that with anybody who wants to share it,” said Ronit Golan, president of Temple of Beth-El.

Golan had a big day of cooking as she prepared for a Seder dinner to celebrate the first night of Passover. The Sedar is the storytelling of Passover, something that usually occurs on the first two nights.

“During the dinner, we tell the story of Passover, so the ten plagues and leaving Egypt and wandering in the desert, and there is some very symbolic food in every part of the story,” Golan said.

Jewish families gather to tell this story and share these foods. However, with most of Golan’s family living far away, she opens her doors for anyone who does not have a place to go.

“We are having what I call the strays, people that don’t have family in Rockford, I always fill up my table,” Golan said “I love cooking, so this gives me a chance to do a lot of cooking for a lot of people.”

Residents have probably noticed store shelves stocked with Matzah and certain unique food that are usually only eaten on Passover.

“The unleavened bread, it’s kind of like a cracker, and that’s because the slaves were in such a hurry that they didn’t have enough time for the bread to rise, so we get to eat this lovely Matzah bread for the duration of Passover,” Golan said.

Whether it is with family, friends or members of the community, the holiday, like Golan said, is all about remember the reasons for the holiday.

“Every family is a little different, but we have brisket and stuffed turkey is our tradition,” Golan said. “Matzah ball soup is everybody’s tradition.”

There is still seven more nights of Matzah, so to all who celebrate, have a happy Passover.