Passover

How Jewish communities are deploying Passover aid amid coronavirus lockdowns

Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann packs boxes of frozen kosher chickens to be distributed to families for Passover. (Courtesy of JewishColumbus)

In the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Passover will be like no other in living memory. With families kept apart by lockdown orders and millions struggling with uncertain financial futures, the needs are great and the logistics of coordinating Passover aid are daunting. Across America, Jewish federations… Read more »

Israel declares complete coronavirus lockdown on eve of Passover

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israelis will be under a complete lockdown beginning on Tuesday through at least Friday to stem the spread of the coronavirus during the Passover holiday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the closure on Monday evening in a nationally televised address from his official residence in… Read more »

For young Jews away from families, COVID-19 puts Passover in jeopardy

Randi Bergman says her Toronto apartment is not an ideal setting for a seder. (Photo courtesy of Bergman)

Randi Bergman isn’t sure of her Passover plans yet, but there’s a good chance she’ll be spending the holiday alone. Bergman, a 34-year-old freelance fashion writer, lives alone in what she calls a junior one-bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto. The setup — desk, bed, couch, TV, kitchenette but no dining… Read more »

He wanted to encapsulate Beijing’s Jewish community in a Passover Haggadah. The coronavirus complicated that.

Artist Leon Fenster says this page of his Beijing-themed Haggadah aims to capture the traditional Haggadah’s "curiously non-chronological form of storytelling." (Courtesy of Fenster)

(JTA) — Unlike Shanghai or Hong Kong, which received Jews fleeing from World War II, Beijing does not have a robust Jewish history. In the words of Joshua Kurtzig, former president of the Reform congregation there, the massive Chinese capital is a “very transient city,” especially for Jews — meaning… Read more »

From 1600s Europe to a lesbian feminist seder, these 4 Haggadahs are a trip through Jewish history

A children's Haggadah from 1945 compares draws parallels between the Passover narrative and the Holocaust. (Yeshiva University Museum/Center for Jewish History)

NEW YORK (JTA) — From graphic novel Haggadahs to a Donald Trump-themed one, if you’re looking for a certain kind of guide to the Passover seder, chances are it’s out there. Recent years have seen a proliferation of political, environmental, family-friendly,  or just plain irreverent Haggadahs, but the urge to… Read more »

The Passover kitniyot argument isn’t worth a hill of beans

Rice, lentils, chick peas, beans and other legumes shown in a produce market in Netanya, Israel. (David Silverman/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Israel held elections under the cloud of its leader’s possible indictment. The world’s far right and its far left have found common cause in their hatred of the Jews. There is a measles outbreak among the Orthodox. And friends want to kvetch about kitniyot. Every year around… Read more »

‘Sesame Street’ seder leads new kids’ books

Four questions. Four cups of wine. Four types of children. At Passover, the number four figures prominently in the rituals of the seder, the ceremonial holiday meal that can be mesmerizing and mystifying. Four new delightful and brightly illustrated books for young kids will enliven — and help explain… Read more »

A family Haggadah imagines a ‘complicated, engaging and fleshy’ Passover

The Kveller Haggadah is "for curious kids — and their grown-ups." (Kveller)

(JTA) — The Passover seder can be boring for kids. A new Haggadah is trying to change that. Published by Kveller, a Jewish parenting site, the Kveller Haggadah is “for curious kids — and their grown-ups.” The Haggadah’s co-creators are Elissa Strauss, a columnist on parenthood for CNN, and… Read more »

Kosher supermarkets hate cleaning for Passover as much as you do

An illustrative photo of a shopper at a grocery store picking up a box of matzah. (William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Pomegranate, a gourmet kosher supermarket in Brooklyn, spends $75,000 every year getting its kitchen ready for Passover. Hungarian Kosher Foods, a supermarket in Chicago, starts clearing its aisles for Passover eight weeks ahead of the holiday. The week before Passover, at Zabar’s, a Jewish favorite… Read more »

Dark chocolate espresso truffles are vegan — and kosher for Passover

Most of us need few excuses to make a batch of chocolate truffles, especially when coffee is involved. My take on chocolate espresso truffles combines a velvety chocolate base with just enough espresso flavor to give you your caffeine fix. The fact that this version is vegan, kosher for… Read more »

Here’s a Passover menu that’s low on calories and carbs

I’m a big fan of whole grains, but they can easily become heavy — even the healthy ones. I’m offering a lighter, lower calorie and lower carbohydrate option for Passover meals this year. I love cauliflower as a stand-in for potatoes and rice. Not only is it delicious, it’s… Read more »

Why this cherished, home-based holiday is about a lot more than good food

A scene from Exodus

What is the essence of Passover? On the one hand, it seems obvious: Passover is about gathering together with loved ones to recall, through sumptuous home rituals, the exodus from Egypt. We gather round our seder tables and quickly become engulfed in the warmth of family and friends, the… Read more »

Why matzah is a non-Jewish staple in the Netherlands

A shopper browses for matzah at the Amsterdam Noord branch of the Jumbo supermarket chain, March 17, 2018. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

ENSCHEDE, Netherlands (JTA) — For most matzah bakeries, Passover is their lifeline and only claim to financial viability. After the weeklong holiday, during which Jews are commanded to consume matzah to commemorate their ancestors’ hurried flight out of Egypt, demand for the famously tasteless cracker drops sharply. Except, that is,… Read more »