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 »

How not to feel like a matzah ball on Passover

MONTCLAIR, N.J. (JTA) — It’s April and steel shopping carts clang and collide like bumper cars in the kosher-for-Passover aisle of my local supermarket. Even in this mob I find soul mates, shoppers who share my angst about eating many of the hechshered-for-the-holiday packaged foods. Foods made with what… Read more »

Israel’s army gears up for one of its biggest operations: Passover

IDF soldiers raise a glass at ta model Seder on their base. (IDF Spokesperson)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — With Passover nearing, the Israeli army is embarking on one of its biggest operations of the year. Whether in the field, on a base or with family living abroad, “every last soldier has everything he needs for Seder night,” asserts Capt. Ze’ev Rosens, rabbi of the… Read more »

Recently kashered kitchen gives Tucsonan peace, peek into Passover prep

Lori Riegel prepares a meal in her newly kashered kitchen.

When I was in the eighth grade, my mother decided to kasher our kitchen. Each summer, after my sister and I returned from Camp Ramah, which was our first experience with kashrut, we’d asked if we could become kosher. In 1985, we were getting ready to move into a… Read more »

Passover recipes to please the crowd and de-stress the chef

Salmon Cakes with Tropical Fruit Salsa

Passover may be the mother of all kit­chen yuntifs, but stay cool and don’t stress. Last year, 99 percent of the dishes I made for Passover weren’t actually Passover recipes. Of course they were kosher for Passover, but they didn’t require any major Passover ingredient tweaks. These recipes were… Read more »

Crafting a memorable Passover with unique ritual objects

Zoe Scheffy at her home with her knit Seder table runners, her first design for a knit Seder plate. (Penny Schwartz)

BOSTON (JTA) — To prepare for their first Passover Seders, Zoe Scheffy, Lesley Frost and Joanna Brichetto drew on their creative instincts: Scheffy pulled out her knitting needles; Frost gathered scraps of felt, braided ribbon and tacky glue; and Brichetto rounded up household items, her kids’ plastic frogs and… Read more »

Questionable behavior for after the Seder

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Why is the day after the Seder different from all other days? Is it because we are exhausted? Or our clothes no longer button? Possibly. More likely, I suspect the day after is different because of all the newly minted questions that drop into our… Read more »

New Passover children’s books: cleaning robots, Jerusalem tunnel adverntures and an Old World feud

In "Jodie's Passover Adventure," Jodie and her American cousin Zach discover ancient secrets on their exploration of Hezekiah's Tunnel in the Old City of Jerusalem. (Courtesy Kar-Ben Publishing)

BOSTON (JTA) — A vacuum-like robot that cleans the house and a spunky Israeli girl on an underground adventure in Jerusalem are among the characters featured in new children’s books for Passover. This year’s crop offers more than the typical retellings of the Exodus story. Two books have Passover… Read more »

New Haggadahs: Reform version, novelists’ take and Ethiopian flavor

Some new Haggadahs for this Passover: "Sharing the Journey," the "New American Haggadah" and "Journey to Freedom."

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (JTA) — Leading a Seder for the first time this year? There’s an app for that. Entries in the annual stream of new Haggadahs this year include a Reform version that comes in hardcover, paperback and iPad app editions. Two others  feature a gorgeously designed Haggadah… Read more »

At Passover, let my people go south

NEW YORK (JTA) — Passover celebrates the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt, their wandering in the desert for 40 years, and their ultimate deliverance to the Promised Land. But a contemporary observer might be forgiven for imagining the holiday marks a different sort of migration:… Read more »

The four ‘sons’ as characters from ‘Glee’

NEW YORK (Forward) — On a Tuesday night in April, millions of people will gather together for the tale of four Jewish children, each of whom embodies contemporary Jewish consciousness in a different way. The evening is filled with song, multiple narratives and insights into Jewish identity. I’m talking,… Read more »

Through remembering righteous women, we deepen the Seder experience

What woman has changed your life? My toddler intuited his answer when he said to me, “Thank you ima for making me.” That’s right folks, mothers, hands down, have probably had the single biggest impact on our lives. Giving birth to children is probably one of the most courageous… Read more »

Haggadah covers tell family’s Passover saga

For decades, Helen Zegerman Schwimmer has recorded Seder menus, guests and more inside the covers of her family’s Haggadot.

As night falls and we begin to recount the story of our ancestors’ exodus from Egypt another more personal story unfolds between the covers of my Passover Haggadah. Some years ago I purchased a dozen copies of the KTAV edition so that we would all be on the same… Read more »

A few new Passover Haggadahs, and a facelift for an old favorite

Arthur Szyk's magnificently illustrated Haggadah is being released this spring in its first widely available format since 1940. (Courtesy Abrams)

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — Nearing its 80th birthday, perhaps it was time the most printed Passover Haggadah in history had a major facelift. The Maxwell House Passover Haggadah, which has had more than 50 million copies published, hits the shelves — and supermarkets — this spring featuring its first… Read more »

Irresistible Passover pastries: Who knew it was possible?

Paula Shoyers "The Kosher Baker" features a chapter on Passover baking that excludes the taboos of flour and yeast. [Michael Bennett Kress]

NEW YORK (JTA) — With all the restrictions, are decent desserts even possible during Passover?       “My particular talent is working around restriction,” says Paula Shoyer, author of “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” (Brandeis University Press, 2010). Her cookbook contains a… Read more »

Passover feature: In the spirit of the Mishnah, freeing up the Seder

SCARSDALE, N.Y. (JTA) — You can find the secret to creating lively Passover Seders in a surprising place — an 1,800-year-old law code called the Mishnah. For starters, the Mishnah did not envision reciting a Haggadah at the Seder. Instead, it designed a careful balance between aspects of the… Read more »