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6 Sites for Celebrating Passover

April 18, 2011
by Rachel Balik
Passover is the Jewish spring holiday that celebrates the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, where they were slaves. Modern Jews often use the occasion to honor various types of individual, political and social freedoms. Create a Passover celebration that’s all your own with the help of these six links.

Spring into Passover

facebook’s “What is Passover?” is a good place to start for anyone who needs a brief but specific explanation of the holiday. You’ll get information about all the holiday basics; the bullet points outlining “Custom and Laws” offer a crash course in the essential traditions and principles. Those seeking more information can investigate the virtual seder plate and learn the significance of everything that goes on the table during the seder, the ritual meal held during the first two nights of Passover.

The Seder

It’s true that everyone’s seder is different, but across the board, people tend to be guided by a haggadah, a prayer book that includes the story of the Exodus and instructions for conducting the meal. Many families choose to mix and match haggadahs and let everyone contribute. The Open Source Haggadah allows you to compile your own haggadah, adding or eliminating sections as you go. The site divides material into tabs, including scripture, translation, commentary, songs/readings and rituals.

Another way to customize your ceremony is by adding a conversation about modern issues and current events to your retelling of the story. At My Jewish Learning, you’ll find additional readings for your seder that can make it more politically or socially relevant. You’ll find Holocaust remembrance readings, as well as prayers for people who are currently enslaved throughout the world. Each section is related to an item on your seder plate, or referred to in the traditional haggadah.

The Food

Tradition says that when the Jews fled Egypt, they didn’t have time to let their bread rise; therefore, you’ve got to go without bread and other leavened products during the eight days of Passover.
In addition, there are specific dishes associated with the seder meal, eaten on the first two nights. shares recipes for what it calls a “(Mostly) Traditional Seder.” That means a series of recipes that you probably ate when you were a kid, as did your grandmother. After all, as the site says, “How can it be Yom Tov without a tzimmes?” Never tried this dish of stewed carrots and prunes? Now’s the time to explore your roots—and you better have a second helping. The recipes are drawn from’s Passover Cookbook, a mix of traditional seder-type foods and recipes that replicate the food you eat year-round, but without the bread. Aish has even more Passover recipes on another page.

If we lost you on the whole stewed carrots recipe, never fear. There’s no reason why a seder meal can’t have a few exotic touches. New York  magazine asked four top New York City chefs to devise a seder meal. (After all, New York has some of the best food in the world, not to mention a high concentration of Jews.) The group produced recipes that combined Ashkenazi and Sephardic traditions, and gave a nod to old-world staples while embodying modern flavor and gourmet tastes. What does that mean? It means Italian-Jewish-style brisket, orange flan and more. The recipes are all available on the site.

The Wine

Of course, all that delicious should be complemented by a good wine. If all you know about kosher wine comes in a bottle of Manischewitz, welcome to the 21st century. Today, there are plenty of fantastic kosher wines available; if you’re attending a seder as a guest, or hosting the meal yourself, take a look at findingDulcinea’s feature “The Foodie: Great Kosher Wines.” It includes an introduction to kosher wine, links to reviews and places to make your purchases.

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