Community Seders abound in Tucson, Southern Arizona

If you are looking for a community Passover Seder to attend this year, Tucson’s got you covered. There are first, second, third and seventh night Seders, several chocolate-based festivities and a chance to start the celebrating more than a week before the holiday officially begins. The 18 events below… Read more »

Revel in chocolate desserts resonating with Passover themes

(JTA) — Toss the potato starch and matzah meal — serve delectable desserts this Passover made from chocolate. These desserts, especially if using fair trade or organic chocolate, further awareness of the themes of Passover. They remind us of  the great poverty of many cacao farmers and of the… Read more »

An SOS from my OS Seder

With the film "Her" in mind, columnist Edmon J. Rodman offers his take on what it might be like for a talking computer operating system named Moshe to lead his Seder. (Edmon J. Rodman)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — At future Passovers, if we consider the Jewish implications of the recent hit movie “Her,” we all could be using a talking computer operating system with artificial intelligence to lead our Seders. But I can’t wait that long. Tired of running my own Seders —… Read more »

From farm to Seder table: Locally grown matzah on the rise

 NEW YORK (JTA) — In their small farmhouse bakery in Vermont, Doug Freilich and Julie Sperling work round the clock producing matzah in the period preceding Passover — a matzah that feels ancient and modern at once.  Using a mix of grain they grow on their own farm and… Read more »

Wine and spirits for Passover

All Jewish holidays, outside of fast days, entail big, festive meals. Passover is, in many respects, the ultimate example of this, despite having a more restricted diet. Not only must we eat matzah and maror at the seder meals, but we must eat matzah and refrain from all chametz… Read more »

Passover means freedom. Really?

Ahh … Passover: • Chag HaMatzot — The Festival of Matzah • Chag HaPesach — The Festival of the Passover Offering • Chag HaAviv — The Spring Festival • Z’man Cheiruteinu — The Time of Our Freedom Z’man Cheiruteinu — The Time of Our Freedom. This is freedom? Cleaning… Read more »

On Israel’s oldest kibbutzim, secular Seders stray from tradition

  The families surround long tables covered by white tablecloths. Festive decorations line the walls, and the kitchen is free of chametz, the leavened foods forbidden on Passover. Seder plates sit in front of hungry participants. But instead of someone reading the Haggadah or reciting the kiddush over wine,… Read more »

Live music, belly dancing, sweets planned for Mimuna

The annual Mimuna concert, a Moroccan-style end-of-Passover celebration sponsored by the Weintraub Israel Center and Temple Emanu-El, will be held Tuesday, April 2 at 6 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El. “We will host two very special musicians for a live performance of the MoroMore group, with Bulgarian musician Anton Shekerjiev… Read more »

Passover without wine? For Jewish addicts, sober Seders are a life-saver

Wine is an integral part of the Passover Seder as matzah, but for alcoholics this can pose a serious problem. (Shutterstock)

NEW YORK (JTA) — It’s rare that an Orthodox rabbi chooses to omit an important Jewish ritual in his holiday celebrations. But in the spring of 2000, Rabbi Yosef Lipsker cleared his living room of furniture, set up three large dining tables and invited dozens of people to a… Read more »

New Haggadahs: Edgar Bronfman’s and an interactive version for children

Francine Hermelin Levite and Edgar Bronfman have been using unique versions of the Passover haggadah for years. Now both have decided to publish their versions of the Exodus story. Hermelin Levite, 43, the mother of three school-aged children, is the author of “My Haggadah: Made it Myself,” (, an… Read more »

In new children’s books, it’s rhyme time about matzah and the Seder

"Lotsa Matzah" offers some tempting ways to enjoy the unleavened bread, including "syrup on fried matzah brei, Matzah pizza, cheese piled high." (Courtesy Kar-Ben Publishing)

BOSTON (JTA) — Years ago, Nancy Steiner set out to make her family Seder a bit more entertaining for her own young kids. She wrote a poem that became very popular among family and friends. “On This Night: The Steps of the Seder in Rhyme,” Steiner’s first published children’s… Read more »

From L.A., following the Egyptian signs to the Red Sea

Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics painted on a Hollywood theater wall inspire a new reading of the Passover haggadah. (Brenda Rodman)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — If the Passover haggadah seems like hieroglyphics to you, it could be a good thing. Though the Israelites left Egypt presumably to escape the ankhs and eyes of Horus of the ancient written language, recently I discovered that hieroglyphics — a system of pictorial characters… Read more »

Chocolate shakes up the Seder ritual, blending social justice with sweet treats

"On the Chocolate Trail" is the latest book by Rabbi Deborah Prinz, the author of "A Socially Responsible Haggadah for a Chocolate Seder."

(JTA) — Rabbi Adam Schaffer, who’s been leading chocolate Seders since he edited a chocolate Seder haggadah in 1996, acknowledges that “people often do feel ill” from all the chocolate. Still, Schaffer, the religious school director at Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, Calif., says he was motivated to “experiment… Read more »

Priceless 14th-century Spanish Haggadah will be big draw at New York museum

Detail from medieval Spanish Haggadah (Courtesy University of Manchester)

A fourteenth-century Jewish religious book, preserved by experts at The University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library, hand delivered to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where it will be on exhibit through Sept. 30. The masterpiece from Catalonian Spain will feature in a special installation called… Read more »

On Passover, celebrating the Exodus in the desert — in Moab, Utah

It's Seder time in Utah in the Passover in the Desert of Moab program. (Jeff Finkelstein)

MOAB, Utah (JTA) — How do you open the door for Elijah when your Seder is outdoors in the middle of the Utah desert? That was one of the challenges facing the 260 people who came from all parts of the country to participate in the fifth annual Adventure… Read more »

Op-Ed: Keep the SNAP aid program strong

(JTA) — A well-known D.C. maxim advises that any economic stimulus must be timely, targeted and temporary. So as legislators begin drafting the 2012 Farm Bill, why are some proposing to cut a program that responds in direct relation to need, supports recipients for an average of just nine… Read more »

Colorful cookbook offers potato-free Passover recipes

  This Passover — think outside the spud with “The No-Potato Passover” (Brio Books), a new cookbook by artist and personal chef Aviva Kanoff. “The No-Potato Passover” combines full-color travel photographs with recipes that run the gamut from Cabbage Soup with Matzoh Meatballs, to Tuscan Tuna Steak with Mint… Read more »