While not Jewish by heritage, we’ve celebrated Pesach or Passover for years. It’s an anticipated and meaningful celebration.
Called “pesach” (pay-sak) in Hebrew, Passover is a celebration of freedom. A Hebrew commemoration of exodus from slave labor in Egypt more than 3000 years ago. It is celebrated for seven days in Israel and for eight days in the Diaspora (outside of Israel).
It is also a story; a narrative, a reminder of the power and majesty of God throughout the ages. A time to teach our children and pass on a biblical heritage.
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Ex. 20:1,2).[pullquote align=”center”]”Now this day [the day God passed over the first born in the land of Egypt during the plagues] will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance” (Ex. 12).
The Seder is celebrated on the first night of Passover and is a symbolic food journey from Egypt to Canaan, retold and enacted by friends and family. Complete with menu, lines, and activities. It is truly entertaining for children and meaningful to adults as you walk through this joyous time of liberation.
For those of you who’ve never celebrated Passover or Pesach, we encourage you to try it this year. It is a celebration that will soon become tradition in your home as it has in ours.
To get you started, we’ve compiled a list helpful resources.
The following is the Seder Menu we traditionally use. After a rigorous spring cleaning of the house, I set our table with our finest linens and china and fill the house with joyful Jewish music.
Taper Candles or Candelabra
Pitcher of ice water for drinking
Basin of water and wash cloth for hands
Sparkling Cider or Grape Juice in Carafe
Large plate with sheets of matzoh
Wrapped matzoh in white linen napkin
Small bowl of Salt Water
Printed or copied Haggadah, the written readings to be given during the meal. (See resources below)
The Seder Plate is the canvas from which you narrate the Passover story. If you don’t own a dedicated Seder Plate, a large plate or platter serves just as well with 5 shallow bowls or ramekins to hold the following 5 items.
1. Vegetable (Karpas): Represents the tears of slavery. Usually lettuce, cucumber, radish or parsley — one for each participant. This will be dipped into the salt water.
2. Shank Bone (Zeroa): Reminder of the 10th plague in Egypt and how God passed over homes protected by blood. This bone is traditionally from a lamb but a chicken leg bone can also be used.
3. Hard Boiled Egg (Baytzah): This represents a voluntary peace offering, symbolic of the loss of two temples, one destroyed by Babylonians and the second by the Romans.
4. Haroset — It represents the mortar the Israelites used to make bricks in forced labor with Egypt. (See recipe).
5. Bitter Herbs (Maror): Because the Israelites were slaves in Egypt we eat bitter herbs to remind us of the harshness of servitude. Horseradish is most commonly used — fresh sliced or pureed (about a teaspoon per participant).
Passover Seder Menu
New York Times Haroset (on our sister site)
Vegetable Soup with Matzoh Ball
Rack of Lamb with Date Syrup and Roasted Swiss Chard,
Jamie Oliver’s Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Baby Green Herbed Salad
List of Helpful Resources