• What foods are kosher for Passover?

    The Passover Rules – What’s Allowed On the Menu In The Diaspora?

    Firstly let’s get the definitions out of the way. The Passover is a Jewish ritual celebration which recognizes the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt where according to biblical reference they has been enslaved by Pharaoh. After the plagues were visited on Egypt, Pharaoh finally relented and agreed to the demand of Moses that he ‘let my people go’.

    Pharaoh demanded that the Jews, who had been slaves for generations begin their journey out of the land of Egypt within 24 hours and due to this requirement the preparations for what would prove to be a 40 year trip to The Promised Land were hurried. There was no time for the preparation of leavened bread – bread that had time to rise – known in Hebrew as Chametz.

    For this reason one of the main dietary restrictions during the Passover period is that Jews refrain from eating products produced from leaved or fermented grain

    The guiding principle governing which products made from grains are allowable during the Passover period is known as the ‘rule of 18’. In short the water that is added to the mix cannot be part of the mixture for longer than 18 minutes prior to baking. This ensures that the dough does not rise and that it is not therefore considered ‘leavened’.

    The rules cover a variety of different products and are not limited to bread. Also affected by the dietary restrictions are types of pasta and obviously many types of pastries that use dough that rises.

    This can also include both savory and sweet pies and many other foodstuffs. In fact many brands of beer and other products are also prohibited during this period.

    Instead Jews will eat Matzoh (the spelling differs all over the world – many people know this unleavened bread as ‘Matzo’).

    For certain segments of the Jewish community other foodstuffs are also prohibited during Passover and at seder These can include rice and corn products. Why this should be so is unclear. The prohibition of these products is usually limited to Ashkenazi Jews who have their origins in Central and Eastern Europe. It is believed that these foodstuffs resemble grains and that this is the origin of their prohibition during Passover among Ashkenazi Jews.

    Whatever the reason for these dietary restrictions they are viewed as a reason for celebration, rather than a hardship by most Jews. And Matzoh has now become a mainstream food for many outside of the Jewish community, and is used in many preparations such as a matzo ball soup Add this to the humble Bagel, cream cheese and smoked salmon and the contribution of the Jewish community to global cuisine is assured.

  • What to Expect at a Passover Seder

    If you have been invited to a Passover Seder at someone’s home, you should know a few things before you go. Read on to know exactly what to expect in a Passover Seder.

    What Is it?

    A Seder is a festive holiday meal that actually means order. The reason it is called this is that it is done in particular order that takes one from slavery to freedom.

    Appropriate Attire

    Inquire with your host beforehand about whether if the guests will be dressing casually or more formally.

    What To Bring

    Ask your host what you can bring. In case the host does not specify what to bring you can bring some kosher for Passover candy. If you choose to prepare a dish, remember not to include any grain or flour.

    Appropriate Greetings

    The appropriate things to say at a Passover are Happy Passover, Gut Yontif, or Chag Sameach.

    The Large Plate

    You will find the seder plate containing the symbolic foods and 3 matzot wrapped together.

    What Is At The Middle Of The Table?

    You will find a cup of wine filled for the prophet Elijah. There is a Jewish tradition that Elijah visits every Jewish home during Passover. Some two recent customs involve placing an orange on the Seder plate and placing a cup of water on the table to remind people of Miriam’s well, which traveled with the Israelites in the desert.

    What Is Happening?

    Normally, there is one person that is the leader of the Seder. The person will usually request people to read various parts of the Haggadah, which is written to take you through the Seder in the correct order. The great news is that you do not have to memorize anything ahead of time.Keep in mind that 4 cups of wine will be consumed, so consume just a little each time, or you may feel very uncomfortable by the end of it!

    The following is the basic order for most Seders.
    Kadesh – Urchatz – Karpas – Yachatz – Maggid – Rachtzah – Motzi – Matzah – Maror – Korech – Shulchan Oruch – Tzafun – Barech – Hallel – Nirtzah

    In a nutshell, this is what you should expect when you are invited for a Seder in someone’s house. It is a great celebration and taking part in it will help you appreciate other people’s culture much better. After you have finished the celebration you should tell your host ‘Chag Sameach!’ or ‘Have a wonderful holiday!’Hopefully you have taken some good photos at the seder that your host took such pains to organize. It will be particularly thoughtful if you send the host a thank you note including a photo or two, or better yet some custom photo gift.

  • What is Passover?

    Passover is the commemoration of the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. It is known as Pesach in Hebrew. The holiday originated in the Torah, where the word Pesach refers to the ancient Passover sacrifice. It also said to refer to the idea that God passed over the houses of the Jews during the 10th plague when the firstborn sons of the Egyptians were slain. The holiday is the celebration of freedom. The story of the exodus is not only appreciated by the Jews but also people from other faiths as well.

    The Seder

    The Passover lasts for seven days in Israel and eight days in the Diaspora. The main highlight of this holiday is the seder (literally, “order”). It is a festive meal where the story of the exodus and related writings (haggadah) is recited in the set order. It is forbidden to eat leavened food products (like pasta, bread, etc.) The reason why they do this is because the Jewish tradition states that in their hurry to escape Egypt, they did not have enough time to wait for bread to rise. Instead, they ate unleavened bread, known as Matzah. Part of the seder includes hiding the afikoman. The children search it and if they find, they receive a prize.


    The preparation of the Passover involves cleaning all the corners of the home and getting rid of any leavened products. There are some Jews who burn the products. Others will keep them in a place where they won’t be seen, and sell the chamtez as a symbol. This can be done at the local synagogue and sold for a few coins. Many Jews have special Passover dishes they only use once every year.

    Passover Foods

    Passover foods are usually unique because apart from kosher rules, there are more rules to be followed when preparing the kosher for Passover. Symbolic foods are usually eaten. Some of the symbolic foods eaten are : Maror (bitter herbs, usually horseradish, reminds Jews of the bitterness of slavery), salt water (a symbol of the slaves’ tears) Charoset (a sweet paste made of nuts and fruits, a symbol of the mortar used to build the Egyptian pyramids by the slaves) Beitzah (hard-boiled egg, a symbol of birth and life associated with the spring season) zeroah (shank bone, it represents the Passover sacrifice) and karpas (a leafy green vegetable, usually a piece of lettuce, which symbolizes hope and redemption). There is also a requirement to drink four glasses of wine throughout the seder.