Special Sections

Taking The Haggadah Personally

Three tales of one-of-a-kind works for the seder.
Staff Writer
04/12/2011 - 20:00

A former student of Rabbi David Silber at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education offered the rabbi a suggestion a few years ago — he should do his own Haggadah, based on the Passover-based classes and lectures he had given for three decades.

The rabbi’s first answer was “no.”

“I’ve never written anything in my life,” he explains. “I teach. I speak. I’ve never written — maybe two or three articles.”

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Young Ones, Old Story

New items for the kids at the seder table.
Special To The Jewish Week
04/04/2011 - 20:00

Keeping the kids entertained well past their bedtimes at the Passover seder is no simple task. While you were busy scouring the floors and cleaning out the cupboards, The Jewish Week scoured the Internet for affordable gifts that will keep the tots focused on the story of the Exodus — without leaving you wistfully planning your own. Order some extras — you just may want to “borrow” a few of these masks, finger puppets, and punching bags, too. After all, who says that fun at the seder is just for the kids?

 

Afikomen Mambo

Encourage the kids at the seder to act out the Ten Plagues with the finger puppets.

Digging In To Your Roots

This Passover, add a little color to the seder meal with a tuber or two.
Editorial Assistant
04/04/2011 - 20:00

Most people already have one root vegetable — horseradish, to denote maror — on their seder table. But for kosher cooks looking for a little more excitement over the weeklong holiday, there should be a few more colorful tubers at the meal.

Add jicama to your slaw recipe for a crunchy, light and tasty dish on your Passover table.

Ten Choices For The Four Cups

New wines to brighten up your holiday table.
Special To The Jewish Week
04/04/2011 - 20:00

As April nears every year, it is not only accountants who find themselves in an annual crunch. The month between Purim and Passover is the busiest period of the year for those who work in the ever-growing kosher wine industry. Wine producers and importers rush to get their new wines to market, and many wine merchants will sell more kosher wine during this four-week period than they sell in the other 48 weeks of the year combined.

These new wines, from Israel and the United States, are among a crop of new products that reach the market in time for the seder

A ‘Knead’ To Bake

Proponents of handmade matzah hope to reclaim a mostly lost practice.
Special To The Jewish Week
04/04/2011 - 20:00

Every spring, after she finishes scrubbing and scraping the kitchen for Passover, Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder can’t help but rejoice. But for her, the celebration isn’t merely a private utterance of gratitude, but a full-blown party: an annual matzah-baking bash, which includes a dozen or so friends and their children kneading and rolling and pricking and baking — and a fair amount of nibbling too.

Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, at one of her matzah-making parties. Courtesy of Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder

Passover 5771

A Jewish Week Special Section - The Taste of Freedom: Passover 5771
04/04/2011 - 20:00

Passover 5771: Retelling the Story, Haggadah publishing trends, tweeting the seder, keeping the second seder fresh.

 

Passover 5771

Journal Watch

04/04/2011 - 20:00

Of all the arcana of Jewish life, that most universal instrument, the Jewish calendar, is one of the more enigmatic. Solar? Lunar? Length of month? Two days of a holiday, or one? What about the “leap month”? And whence derives our calendar? Ancient Judaea/Palestine? Babylonia? The Tanakh? The Talmud?

Judaism For The Star-Struck

Can the zodiac be integrated into the Jewish tradition?
04/04/2011 - 20:00

When my great-nephew Owen arrived in the world in January, there was a collective spate of “Your constellation is good!” OK, we shortened the sentiment to “mazal tov!” but the meaning was the same. We were congratulating the new parents on their mazal (from Akkadian, “location of a star”), luck that’s credited to the stars and has nothing to do with merit. Which begs the question: Is there mazal for Jews?

Zodiac painting from the ceiling of the Bialystoker Synagogue, New York. 	PHOTO BY MICHAEL DATIKASH

Good Samaritans

Israel’s smallest religious minority offers Jews a glimpse of what might have been.
04/04/2011 - 20:00

What would the Jews look like had they not been exiled to the four corners of the earth, had they gone untainted — but also unenriched — by the cultures in which they tarried? Imagine Jews who retained their fierce attachment to the Torah and the faith of their fathers, but without the rabbinic response to displacement.

Over The Moon

Rosh Hodesh, Susan B. Anthony and the teenage girl.
04/04/2011 - 20:00

I recently attended my daughter’s fifth grade American Heritage Ceremony. The students researched how various important documents from American history were created and then wrote and performed in skits about what they learned. One group was assigned the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

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