Holy Week takes on special significance this year with the appearance of both Passover and Easter.
The Jewish holiday commemorates the Biblical story of Exodus — where God freed the Israelites from Egypt. Passover, celebrated for eight days, begins with an evening Seder — a traditional dinner with very specific foods and wine. This meal includes readings from the “Haggadah,” which tells the holiday’s story. Themes include family, Jewish history, social justice, and freedom.
Passover aligns with the Hebrew calendar; thus, the date changes every year. It traditionally begins after sundown on the evening of the full moon (or the 14th day) of the month of Nisan.
Read on for recipe ideas as well as the Seder’s traditional “4 Questions.”
Passover - History
Haggadah gets "graphic"
It's Super Passover! Former DC Comics editor Jordan B. “Gorf” Gorfinkel and Israeli artist Erez Zadok published the first graphic novel version of the Haggadah.
New twist on old recipes
Passover went gourmet as the esteemed "Bon Appétit" magazine published "18 Recipes Everyone Will Actually Want to Eat on Passover." Among the selections: Chocolate Macaroon Cake, Pistachio and Dried Fruit Haroset, and Passover Chocolate-Toffee Matzo.
Jewish emigration to the U.S.
Between 1880 and the onset of immigration quotas in 1924, over 2 million Jews from Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Romania came to America.
- 1200s BC
Historians believe the Israelites' monumental event took place over 3,000 years ago.
How to Observe Passover
Try making matzah
While matzah (unleavened flatbread) can seem intimidating to make, it's actually quite easy. Just use special Passover flour, water, salt, and oil.
Read up on Exodus
The second book of the Old Testament tells how Moses led the Israelites out of slavery, following their journey through the wilderness to Mount Sinai.
Clean your home before Passover begins
This is in order to make your home kosher for the holiday. Make sure to get all of the hard-to-reach places that you don't normally clean!
The Passover Seder's 4 "Questions" (And Answers)
Why dip our food twice?
Dipping food is considered a luxury — as opposed to the poor (and enslaved) who eat "dry" and non-dipped foods.
Why eat only matzah?
Matzah commemorates the fact that the bread did not have enough time to rise when the Jews hastily left Egypt.
Why eat "maror" (bitter herbs) instead of other vegetables?
They remind us of the bitterness of slavery in Egypt.
Why do we recline?
We commemorate our freedom by reclining on cushions like royalty.
Why Passover is Important
Children play a big role
Jews retell the Passover story during the Seder. Children receive treats for asking questions and participating in the sacred traditions.
Guests eat a variety of ancient foods during the Seder. This includes the z'roa, a lamb shank bone or roast chicken wing, and the haroset, a mixture of apples, cinnamon, honey, and sweet wine.
During the Seder, guests drink four glasses of red wine. While this wine can be sweet and syrupy, there are now many delicious, high-quality kosher options from which to choose.