Jews in Israel and around the world are celebrating the biblical feast of Passover, which begins Wednesday at sundown.
Religious and secular Israelis alike gathered at homes across the country for the festive Passover Seder meal. Sitting around the table, they recount the biblical story of the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt 3,500 years ago.
Esther Nussbaum attended a Seder with 30 people in Jerusalem.
"The Passover Seder itself, the whole celebration, is a remembrance of our history,"Nussbaum said. "And it is like every year, again we go over how God set the Jews free from Egypt and brought us into the Promised Land."
The Seder is also a feast, and Israelis like Anat Shechter were cooking up a storm.
"I made about 200 matzah balls to go with chicken soup, brisket, other people are bringing chopped liver, gefilte fish, horseradish; we are having a lot of wine," Shechter said.
In fact, Jews are required to drink four cups of wine during the Seder, says Israel Television reporter Elli Wohlgelernter.
"There is also the concept as we know, 'There's no joy without wine,' and so we are adding to the joy of the Seder with more wine," Wohlgelernter said.
But the cup of joy is mingled with fears of terrorist attacks. Israel has sealed off the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the duration of the week-long Passover holiday, barring Palestinians from entering the country.