Keeping Passover

The youngest child at the Seder asks: "Why is it that on all other nights during the year

We eat either bread or matzoh, but on this night we eat only matzoh?
We eat all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat only bitter herbs?
We do not dip our herbs even once, but on this night we dip them twice?
We eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night we eat in a reclining position?"

(answers from

Passover commemorates the Israelite flight from Egyptian slavery to freedom as told in Chapter 12 of Exodus in the Bible. Passover begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, in March or April.

The Seder dinner marks the first two nights of Passover. At the Seder table, the story of the Exodus is read  from a book called the Haggadah. Throughout the Haggadah reading, the narrative prompts participants to eat symbolic foods to emphasize the events of the Exodus.

Creating lively Passover seders : a sourcebook of engaging tales, texts & activities
David Arnow.
Woodstock, Vt. : Jewish Lights Pub., 2011.
This innovative, interactive guide will help encourage fresh perspectives and lively dialogue. As an intriguing Haggadah companion, it offers thematic discussion topics, text study ideas, activities and readings that come alive in the traditional group setting of the Passover Seder. Each activity and discussion idea aims to: ¿ Deepen your understanding of the Haggadah ¿ Provide new opportunities for engaging the themes of the Passover festival, including interactive readings and bibliodrama ¿ Develop familiarity with the Exodus story, as well as the life and times of the people who shaped the development of the Haggadah This new edition features new chapters that explore creative ways to use the Seder plate, the meaning behind some of the most beloved Seder songs, the presence of Moses (!) in the Haggadah and the human role in redemption, plus much more.
Our Haggadah : uniting traditions for interfaith families
Cokie & Steve Roberts.
New York : Harper, c2011.
"New York Times"-bestselling authors and journalists Cokie and Steven V. Roberts offer a version of the Passover "Haggadah" text specifically aimed at couples of mixed faiths. They combine their own traditions with those of others in this engaging and accessible guide to blending religious traditions.
A mystical Haggadah : Passover meditations, teachings, and tales
commentary and translation by Eliahu J. Klein.
Berkeley, Calif. : North Atlantic Books, c2008.
A Mystical Haggadah guides us through a Passover Seder ceremony unlike any other-as a sacred meditative ritual leading us to direct experience of the Divine. Rabbi Eliahu Klein's new translation and commentary reveals the hidden spiritual symbolism of the Seder's fifteen rites-"Fifteen Steps toward Illumination"-in a unique tapestry of Kabbalah meditations with rare stories and songs from the traditions of the Hassidic masters. Accompanied by a new transliteration of the primary Haggadah text and an extensive glossary of key terms, A Mystical Haggadah is designed to enrich Seder participants' experience of Passover with a deeper spiritual understanding of this most widely observed festival in the Jewish holy calendar. Book jacket.
The complete Passover cookbook
Frances R. AvRutick.
Middle Village, N.Y. : Jonathan David Publishers, c2008.
  1. "Delectable recipes--strictly kosher for Passover and the year 'round"-- Cover.
  2. Includes index.
Seder stories : Passover thoughts on food, family & freedom
[compiled by] Nancy Rips.
Nashville, Tenn. : Cumberland House, c2008.
Passover lite kosher cookbook
Gail Ashkanazi-Hankin; foreword by Rabbi Josef A. Davidson.
Gretna, La. : Pelican Pub., 2007.
Passover meal preparation can be difficult with the challenge of creating meals that are both unleavened and healthy, not to mention tasty! Passover Lite Kosher Cookbook is the answer to this challenge, providing a wide range of recipes?from those handed down for generations to those less traditional?and transforming them with a lighter, lower fat approach. An overview of time-saving tips and general cooking advice makes Passover cooking easier and cooking the rest of the year healthier.


The Seder Plate is used as the ceremonial centerpiece of a Passover Seder. Six items are offered on a Seder Plate.

  • Karpas - Parsley or a green vegetable that symbolizes the rebirth of Spring.
  • Moror - A bitter herb, such as fresh horseradish root, symbolozes the bitterness of experience.
  • Charoset - The Hebrew word for clay, but is a mixture of fruits, spices, nuts, and Passover wine. It symbolizes the mortar used by Hebrew slaves in Egypt.
  • Mayim Melech - Salt water, which is used to dip and recall tears shed by Israelite slaves.
  • Zeroa - Roasted lamb shank, that symoblizes the ancient sacrifice. It is not eaten.
  • Betzah - A roasted egg, used to symbolize life and recalls Temple sacrifices. It is also not eaten.
  • Matzo - Three pieces are set on the Seder table. The middle matzo is broken and then hidden during the reading of the Haggadah. It is called the 'Afikomen'. The Afikomen is the last piece of food eaten at a Seder.

Passover is the time in the Jewish family for traditions and thanksgiving to God for his loving protection.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff