Tonight marks the start of Passover. In Missoula, the Jewish community is observing the holiday and taking time to make special preparations.

“The matzo is definitely popular [and] the gefilte fish,” said Good Food Store Marketing Director Layne Rolston. The Missoula grocery shop is one of several in the Missoula area selling Passover foods for local Jewish customers.

“Typical of all of our holidays, there’s folks that look forward to it every year and count on us to have certain products every year,” said Rolston.

Store staffers say customers start stocking up on Passover supplies around early March. They come for foods for their Passover Seder, which is a dinner held during Passover. It’s a time of prayer and reflection.

On Monday, NBC Montana visited the Har Shalom congregation, and spoke with Board President Bert Chessin. Chessin tells NBC Montana that the congregation provides a place of prayer for roughly 50 families.

On Tuesday, the sanctuary at the congregation will be full of tables, and families gathering for a public Passover Seder.

“When I was growing up we used to have community Seders in Missoula,” said Chessin. 

“[Passover is] reenacting, it’s retelling of the story, of Passover, a central, powerful part of the Jewish ritual.”