Category Archives: Passover

Recognizing Moses

"Who is this Moses?" (name that quote)

Right about the time I posted the Moses and Pharaoh giveaway, I updated my iPhoto software. It has a face-recognition feature that freaks me out a little.  I played around with it last night, what with being awake at 2:30am and feeling generous with my time. It automatically scrolled through my pictures asking me to name and then confirm whom was whom. Until I did so, all faces were tagged “unnamed.”

And then, up popped Moses. Pictures of Continue reading

LEGO Chametz: #Exodusgram 2

This did not happen to me, but it sure could have….

Continue reading

LEGO Mitzrayim: #Exodusgram 1

LEGO Israelite minifig caught in a narrow place.  (The oppressive sandal is supposed to look all ancient Egyptian.) Continue reading

“Why We Celebrate Passover:” book review

Looking for one Passover picture book that tells the story of Passover without scaring the Underoos off a kid?  One book that describes basic Passover customs and assumes no prior knowledge?  And a book with attractive artwork, rhythmic text and not too many words on a page?

Here it is: Why We Celebrate Passover, written and illustrated by Howard M. Kurtz (Pigment & Hue, Ages 3-8, paperback, 24 pages).  Not sold at Continue reading

Giveaway: Moses and Pharaoh Action Figures for Passover

Two sets of Moses and Pharaoh Action Figures ready to ship....frogs included. Photo from

A giveaway. My first. I make this leap in order to share something marvy for Passover.  I love Jewish toys, and if there is cuteness or kitsch involved, I love them even more.  Take this Moses and Pharaoh action figure set.  No really, take it.  I have two sets to give away.  I want to share them with two winners who will play the heck out of ’em.  Let me explain… Continue reading

Passover Parent: classroom Show and Tell resource

Me and Moses down by the school-yard…

New here: permanent pages (see top menu) for parents who want to lead a Jewish holiday Show and Tell in the classroom. I’ve made quite a few of these visits myself (I have a teenager and a preschooler), and my observations, mistakes and successes might help you plan your own.  I’d love to hear about your experiences, so please comment on the Passover (or Hanukkah) page to share what’s worked or not worked for you.

Passover’s coming, and if you feel the urge to share your family’s traditions with your kid’s school, see the obsessive detailed guidelines at the Passover Parent page.  You can select elements that appeal to you and make your classroom visit as short and simple Continue reading

Target seder plate for 2012: with friendly tweak

Target seder plate 2012

Target + Passover + Hebrew = an unlikely triangulation.  Of course I bought Target’s five dollar seder plate last year, and of course I bought this year’s version the instant it appeared.

As if I need more seder plates. I have so many each guest could have their own. Which reminds me of something I get asked every year: “it’s a plate, but we don’t eat or serve from it?”  Very confusing.  Seder plates just hold the symbolic foods so we can direct attention to each one when the haggadah tells us to.  Continue reading

How (and why) to Let Kids plant Tu B’Shevat Parsley

Tu B'Shevat parsley for Pesach karpas

Tu B’Shevat parsley for Pesach karpas

Tu B’Shevat is the New Year and/or Birthday of the Trees, but the classic Tu B’Shevat planting activity doesn’t really have much to do with trees. We plant parsley.  All over America, little Jewish kids plant parsley seeds on Tu B’Shevat.  Sounds like Sunday School in Chelm, right?  But it does make sense.  To germinate parsley seeds and use the plant two holidays later as the karpas on a Passover seder plate connects our earliest Spring holiday to our main Spring holiday, and it lets kids get their fingers dirty fostering green life from dormant seeds. Tu B’Shevat is the official start of the agricultural year, when tree sap (and all lifeforce by extension) begins to rise after winter rest.

Parsley, though, is not a tree. It’s easier, folks say, easier than Continue reading

Grow Your Own Maror (after Passover)

Grating horseradish root for Chain. No, the goggles don't help.

Grating horseradish root for Chain. Annual photo op.

Passover seder has passed.

Did you buy a big ol’ horseradish root for Maror this year?

Did you toss it on the compost heap yet?

Well, run right out and pull it back off.  You can use it to grow a new one for next year’s seder. Even a small piece should take root just fine. Your kid can help you, and then proudly claim ownership at Passover.

HOW WE CAN USE IT WITH KIDS Continue reading

Passover S’mores

Tam Tam cracker s'more

Tam Tam cracker s’more

I want my kids to think Passover is fun.  What’s more fun than marshmallows and fire?

Continue reading

DIY Passover Plagues Box: the box

Plagues toy assembly line. The kids sort and fill each Box O’ Plague before each seder.

In DIY Passover Plagues Box, I gave reasons and instructions for a kid-created seder activity: a box of plagues toys. You can keep the toys in a bin and pull them out every year, adding to and tweaking the selection as your kids grow. Preferably, they do the adding and tweaking with you.

Our favorite way to store and use the toys is in a home-made Box o’ Plagues, created from an empty matzah box. Continue reading

DIY Passover Plagues Toys

assemble your own kit

DIY plague toys

DIY Passover Plagues Box and Dramatic Re-enaction

Everything about the seder is designed to teach kids. Symbolic foods, the four questions, songs, Rabbinic lessons and the many discrepancies therein: eating yet more matzah for dessert (afikomen), leaning on pillows at the table, all that dipping? But usually, seders are so long and boring not much learning goes on, except learning that seders are long and boring.

Re-enacting the plagues can make seders more educational and fun. We are commanded to think of ourselves as slaves in Egypt: toys, props and simple costumes facilitate this leap of the imagination. Continue reading

Seder Plates by Target

Seder plate at Target: cheap and cute

At Target yesterday I found an endcap full of seder dishes. This discrepant event was so discrepant I almost didn’t believe it. Five bucks for a large, melamine seder plate with shallow depressions for each symbol, and with the English and Hebrew name for each.

Hebrew at Target?

And for $1.99 you can get a coordinating square matzah plate with just the three little Hebrew letters that spell matzah.

So very surprised and happy.  Maybe melamine isn’t the earth’s friendliest material, but I am overlooking this fact in favor of the bigger fact that Target is selling dishes for my holiday.

Maybe this is a yearly occurrence where you come from, but not around here.

Todah rabah, Target.

After Passover: Balabusta busted

Plague. How many frogs does one girl need?

Plague. How many frogs does one girl need?

I never actually claimed to be a balabusta. I said it was a title to which I aspired. So I can admit the following:
Until yesterday, all the Passover stuff was STILL OUT. We’ve been stepping over frogs and matzah trays and Miriam cups and place cards every day for weeks. I did put the Passover dishes away on time, but the decorations Continue reading

Seder by skype

Bubbe in action. So much so, even the camera shook. A blurry shot of Bubbe singing Chad Gadya.

Bubbe in action. So much so, even the camera shook. A blurry shot of Bubbe singing Chad Gadya.

We live in Nashville.  Our families do not.  At Passover, we vie with all sorts of other events and obligations and complications to get family here for seder.  Usually, we must place our order for Bubbe at least a year in advance.  Bubbe, now a widow and free agent, triangulates amongst Nashville, Philly, and New York for her seders.  Although we placed our order for Pesach 2009 early enough, health issues cropped up that made this much-anticipated visit impractical.  So, we had to go another year without Bubbe’s famous Yemenite rendition of the Hallel, and without Bubbe’s table-slapping, wine-glass-spilling gusto throughout the whole, never-long-enough-for-Bubbe evening.

She spent seder #1 with the Philly mishpacha, just a short drive away from her Center City high-rise.  For seder #2, we figured she would settle Continue reading

Afikomen Treasure Hunt


Moses and the Pyramids

The last time I won a contest was when I was six.  I colored something, Mom sent it in, and months later, long after I’d forgotten about any contest, I got a box of 64 crayons in the mail; the kind of box with the built-in sharpener and the staggered stadium-seating for all 64 crisp, fragrant, pointy, Continue reading

Baking with Dead Nana

from generation to generation: Passover bagels

from generation to generation: Passover bagels

    Passover bagels?  Isn’t that an oxymoron?  Nope.  And believe me, they are so unlike real bagels, they will not induce any guilt or doubt about the Spirit of the Law in those who may be prone to such feelings about fluffy kosher for Passover baked goods.  These bagels are heavy, sweet lumps devoid of all fluffiness, and are in every respect, kosher.

     When Dead Nana was very much alive, she contributed Pesach bagels to every seder.  They take the place of yeast rolls on the table, and are lovely at soaking up the juice from Aunt Bobbie’s brisket.  At dairy breakfasts, straight from the oven, Continue reading

Big Decision for a Small Seder


darkness and boils

Passover is a huge deal at our house. Part of the hugeness comes from years of seder memories… family and friends squeezed into our tiny dining room, knocking our knees against the fold-up table legs, spilling wine on the once-a-year starched linen tablecloths, throwing fake plagues at each other, eating till we nearly spew. Ah, memories.

Actually, ALL of the hugeness comes from the seders. Our seders. When we have elected, for one reason or another, to go to someone else’s house for seder, we always regret it later. It just isn’t the same. We love the freedom Continue reading

We Have Tam Tams

Here in the Buckle, I expect to have trouble getting all the Passover groceries I want. The grocery stores, bless their hearts, seem to forget Jewish holidays change dates every year, and sometimes wait too late to put stuff on display. They hardly ever order the same things year to year, and I might just have to do without Bazooka bubble gum and mini-marshmallows. And the matzah: they don’t know from Passover vs. regular, so I always doublecheck the hecksher on the box.

Last year we had one box of matzah to last the whole week. I was calling friends to borrow a sheet of matzah just to eke out a second seder. But it wasn’t just me: Continue reading