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Apr 14 2014

“Frogs in the Bed” Passover Coloring Page

By at 12:07 pm

Need to keep little hands occupied while you cook and prepare for the seder? Print out this adorable Passover coloring page from Jewish children’s book author Ann Koffsky. This picture is excerpted from her book, Frogs in the Bed: My Passover Seder Activity Book. More free Passover pages are available on Ann’s blog.

Passover coloring page Ann Kofsky

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Apr 11 2014

My Mother Was a Master of Passover Cooking & I Still Don’t Know How She Did It

By at 1:59 pm

My mother was a master of Passover cooking and I still don't know how she did it.

Of all the Jewish holidays, Passover was the one my mother really owned. It gave her the perfect excuse to commit entirely to two of her most beloved occupations: cooking elaborate dishes and listening to Beethoven, preferably simultaneously and definitely the violin concerto. In my memory she cooked for two weeks in advance of the seders, for over 20 guests on each of the two nights.

While my grandmother set me and my sisters to work polishing the silver and the cleaning lady labored mightily, heaving the vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs, my mother reigned in the kitchen. She made everything from scratch–richly concentrated chicken broth that she simmered and skimmed until there wasn’t a speck of fat, fluffy kneidlach, gefilte fish from three types of white fish purchased at the most expensive fish shop in town and then ground by hand at home, roasted chickens, tzimmes, three different green vegetable dishes (including steamed asparagus with lemon sauce), brisket cooked in a mustard-garlic paste, individual meringues that she served with sweetened fruit for dessert, and sponge cakes. And I am pretty sure I missed a few things. Read the rest of this entry →

Free Stuff Alert: “Dinosaur on Passover” E-Book

By at 11:17 am

Dinosaur on Passover e-book

Still looking for ways to get your kids amped up for Passover? When in doubt, add DINOSAURS!

“Dinosaur on Passover” is the perfect story to celebrate Passover with your kids. It’s the story of an eager, playful dinosaur who show’s up at a young boy’s house for the seder and causes a bit of havoc. Discover even more Passover e-books for kids here.

We’ve got one free download of “Dinosaur on Passover” to give away to a lucky reader. To enter, just fill out the form below and we’ll choose a winner on Monday, April 14th. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 10 2014

You’re Not a Grown Up Until You Host Your First Passover Seder

By at 12:15 pm

You're Not a Grown Up until you host your first seder

It’s official. I am finally an adult. I will be hosting Passover seder, first and second night, in my own home with my tablecloths, fancy wedding registry dishes, and glasses. I’m also making the matzah ball soup for the first time ever this year. Last year, my husband and then 1.5-year-old daughter Charlotte and I were living at my parents’ condo for the year and had a bi-coastal Passover (1st seder in New York, 2nd seder in Seattle). Of course we helped with the cooking, singing, and clean-up at our respective parents’ houses, but I didn’t have to sweat all the details, like do we have enough folding chairs for 16 people and is anyone a vegan or gluten-free, lactose intolerant, or pescatarian?

I’ve had many memorable Passovers in the past; eating curry and mangos with a Baghdadi family in Bombay, a seder in Russia when my sister was spending the year in St. Petersburg, Passover in Uganda with the Abuyudaya, and once, bringing a box of matzah for a spring break to Cuba. My favorite Passovers of all time though, are the Passovers I have with my family. We do the whole Haggadah, sing lots of songs, and weave in new traditions while keeping the old. My brother-in-law recently introduced the practice of whacking your table neighbor with a green onion when singing Avadim hayinu (We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, now we are free.) We each have our favorite readings and like to point out the crumbs and brisket stains in the Haggadot from Passovers past. This time of year, my mouth waters when I think about the perfect bite of matzah with a big spoon of haroset, topped by a slice of gefilte fish, with a dollop of horse radish on top.

We’ve been talking about getting ready for Passover for the past month and Charlotte is super excited for all the visitors, especially her new cousin, baby Galit. We listen to Dayenu on repeat from her PJ Library CD in the car, and I hope this will be the first Passover she actively remembers. I’m looking forward to sharing and passing on all our Passover schtick to her over the years. Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday, despite the matzah crumbs, which descend like cherry blossom petals all over the place.

Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 9 2014

Three Seders, Two Cities, One Diet

By at 10:54 am

matza-brei-serving

My family has always made an effort to make the Passover seder fun. Yes, we are retelling a very serious tale of fleeing bondage, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have four question finger puppets or 10 plague interactive toys, right? It wouldn’t be our seder if we didn’t have a water gun to symbolize the slaying of the first born. As an only child, I was always the target.

Is it just the toys that make the holiday special? No. For me it’s about being with the extended family in New York, lovingly talking over each other, laughing harder than we laugh all year, retelling a story that Jews have been telling for centuries, and eating yummy food.

But, what does all of that mean in a year when my cousin’s due date is right in the heart of Passover time and I’ve started a diet which I’ve publicized online? Read the rest of this entry →

The Glamorous Housewife’s Guide to Hosting Your First Passover Seder

By at 10:05 am

The Glamorous Housewife's Guide to Hosting Your First Seder

If you have been following along with my Shabbat tutorials, you will realize that it only takes a little bit of planning to create a wonderful meal for family and friends. The same holds true if you are planning to host this year’s seder. It might seem like an overwhelming task the first time you try, but if you break each section up into smaller components and start a few days ahead of time, you should be able to hold a beautiful seder with very little anxiety.

Here is the checklist of what is included in a seder celebration:

– Guest list: Who is coming?

Menu: What are you serving for dinner?

Haggadah for each person at the meal.

Seder plate, plus what goes on it.

– Salt water for the table.

– Wine and a goblet or glass for blessings.

Elijah’s cup. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 19 2014

Win an Autographed Bronfman Haggadah & iPad Mini!

By at 2:14 pm

Win an autographed copy of The Bronfman Haggadah and an iPad mini

Whether we like it or not, Passover is coming in less than a month (April 14 to be exact). To get you into the spirit (and to ease your seder-plannng anxieties), we’ve got an exciting giveaway for Kveller readers.

The Bronfman Haggadah, written by the late Edgar Bronfman, a renowned philanthropist and Jewish leader, and illustrated by acclaimed artist Jan Aronson, is a visually gorgeous haggadah and a radical reimagining of the traditional Passover text. With a diversity of powerful readings from abolitionist Frederick Douglas to Ralph Waldo Emerson to poet Marge Piercy, this haggadah transmits a positive message about the capacity for peace and understanding and will be a welcome addition to any seder.

the bronfman haggadah, inside

Four lucky winners will receive their very own autographed copy of The Bronfman Haggadah, and one very lucky grand prize winner will get an iPad mini (16GB, wi-fi, non-retina) along with the autographed book. To enter, fill out the form below and we’ll choose a winner next Wednesday, March 26th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Mar 10 2014

Get A Free Passover Prep Kit by Signing Up With DipTwice

By at 3:22 pm

DipTwice-cover-art

We know, we know–just bringing up the word Passover can send shivers down your spine. There’s so much to do, especially if you’re hosting your own seder. Between trying to perfect your matzah ball soup to figuring out how you’ll get a toddler to sit through an especially long meal, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

But wait–we can help. DipTwice, an amazing resource where you can create your own personalized family Haggadah, is offering a free Passover Prep Kit to all interested Kveller readers. The kit includes recipes, a detailed holiday checklist, and tips to personalize your seder. It may not cook your soup for you, but it can definitely help ease some of the Passover planning stress.

Want your own Passover prep kit? All you have to do is sign up here. And if you want to learn more about creating your own Haggadah from DipTwice, check out their website for more details.

Happy stress-free Passover, all!

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Mar 22 2013

Celebrating Passover South of the Mason Dixon Line

By at 1:43 pm
Piggly Wiggly Jewish

Photo by by Ben Husmann via Flickr

Coastal Georgia is not an ideal place for a novice to make gefilte fish.  I realized this at the counter of City Market, Brunswick’s fish market.  The display case was filled with fresh shrimp.

“Do you have any carp?” The man looked at me quizzically. “Um, what about pike?” He shook his head slowly. “What kind of fresh fish do you have?”

“We have grouper. How were you planning to cook it?”

“I’m going to – er, make fish meatballs out of it,” I said.

The shopkeeper looked at the meaty pink fillets sadly, then back at me with a raised eyebrow. “Fish meatballs?”

“Well, yeah it’s this tradition …” I trailed off.  Passover in the South, I had learned, was a tradition unto itself.

John and I were newlyweds when we moved to Columbia, South Carolina in 2006.  We embraced the south with all our might, and were soon eating grits, drinking tea and bourbon in rocking chairs on our front porch, and resting on Sundays – not because it was our Sabbath, but because nothing was open. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 18 2013

My Passover Change of Attitude

By at 10:02 am

frog finger puppetWhen it comes to Jewish holidays, family, and children, Passover is the Big Kahuna.

There’s no question that there’s something for the kids in almost every holiday: presents and gelt at Hanukkah, costumes at Purim, running around the yard at dinnertime during Sukkot. But when it’s time for the seder, the pressure is on. This is the most widely celebrated Jewish holiday, even among secular families. This is when we tell the Passover story, that iconic tale of oppression and enslavement, powerful leaders, bravery in the face of the unthinkable, and God’s redemption of the Israelites. Regardless of the details, this is the narrative of our people, and it’s one that we are compelled to pass along to our children. Read the rest of this entry →

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