afikoman n. Hebrew (ah-fee-KO-men) From a Greek word meaning “dessert,” a piece of matzah that is hidden during the Passover seder. On the seder table are three symbolic matzot covered with a cloth. Following the text of the haggadah, the leader breaks the middle matzah in half and hides one half—the afikoman—somewhere in the house. Toward the end of the seder, it is traditional for the children to look for the afikoman. They are rewarded for its return with a small toy or money. In some families, the children hide the afikoman and then demand a prize for its safe return. Finally, the afikoman is divided and everyone gets a piece as “dessert”; this marks the end of the meal, although the seder itself continues.

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Eisenberg, J., Scolnic, E., & Jewish Publication Society. (2001). The JPS dictionary of Jewish words. Over 1000 entries for Jewish holidays and life-cycle events, culture, history, the Bible and other sacred texts, and worship. Each entry has a pronunciation guide and is cross-referenced to related terms.; “A JPS desk reference”–cover. (2). Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society.

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