VAIL, Colorado - Holy Week draws plenty of people to the Vail Valley. But before there was Holy Week there was Passover, and that holiday also draws plenty of people.
The Chabad Jewish Center in Vail every year celebrates Passover with a series of services and meals. This year's main event was a "Seder" meal, which commemorates the escape of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
Rabbi Dovid Mintz of the Jewish center said more than 350 people attended that event, held this year at the Lionshead Inn and catered by Kosher Vail.
"It was a massive success," Mintz said. For the meal, people were seated so local residents second-home owners and visitors could all mingle. The kids were given "plague bags," which commemorate the story of the plagues God brought upon Egypt. Those plagues culminated with the 10th, and final plague, in which God killed the first-born of Egypt, but passed over the homes of the enslaved Israelites. That's the one that finally compelled Pharaoh to free the Israelites.
Mintz shares that story during the Seder service, of course. But, he added, if he just told that story from 3,000 years ago, there soon wouldn't be a next generation of Jewish believers.
So besides the old story of the path to freedom, Mintz talked about freedom today, taking advantage of freedom and efforts to be free from the things that hold us back.
"We all have something we're trying to be free from," Mintz said. "I wanted to make it relevant to everyone."
With Passover and Easter observed at similar times of the year, it's not unusual to have families on spring break at the same time - usually from markets that generally have school breaks around the religious holidays.
But, Mintz said, people from those markets also planned far ahead.
"We had people calling during Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year, usually celebrated in September), asking what we had planned," Mintz said.