Last year was our first Passover in our new house. Nearing the holiday, the dining room was still piled high with moving boxes. Since the seders fell on the weekend, all of my husband’s family flocked to Toronto. With my parents coming from Montreal, we would number nearly 30 with nine children between the ages of two and 14, including my two step-kids. My in-laws had begun researching rental halls for our large group but I wanted a more heimish yontif (homey holiday). I scratched my head staring at our table for eight and stacks of boxes. Then, the solution came to me: “We’ll have a symposium!” If we reclined ancient Greek style on the floor -– returning to the original inspiration for the Passover seder -– we could fit our sizable crew into our living / dining room and inaugurate our home not only hosting our first seder, just a few months shy of our one-year wedding anniversary, but taking on the mantle from our parents’ generation for the first time.
Charoset is one of the most fascinating, symbolic dishes of the Passover Seder. It represents the mortar that our ancestors were forced to spread between bricks to make majestic buildings for their Egyptian overlords, “embittering” their enslaved lives. But charoset, as it’s traditionally made, is far from bitter.
(JTA) — Gluten-free matzah might sound like a bad joke — after all, regular unleavened bread tastes pretty cardboard-like already.
It’s always a good idea to bring a little gift when you’re invited to a dinner party, and when you’re invited to a Seder — where presumably your host has been cooking and preparing for days if not weeks — a particularly thoughtful offering is in order. But what’s appropriate, and how should it be presented?