Passover or Pesach is one of the most important events in the Jewish calendar. Even if you’re not religious, it’s a special time to celebrate thousands of years of cultural heritage. The highlight of the Passover holiday is the family dinner or seder, a special ritual meal that’s replete with tradition and ceremony.
Wednesday April 5th – Wednesday April 12th 2023
To listen to the entire article, please click on the play button
Passover 2023 begins on the evening of Wednesday April 5th and ends a week later at sunset on Wednesday April 12th. Some Orthodox, Hasidic and other Jews will observe Pesach for an extra day. The Hebrew date for the start of Passover 2023 (based on the Jewish lunar calendar) is the 15th of Nisan, the first night of the full moon after the spring equinox.
How do I Prepare for Passover?
Your Passover preparations will depend on your plans. If you’re hosting a seder for several people, you’ll need to prepare for Passover well in advance. Cooking for an entire extended family and guests is a mission. In addition to normal shopping, you’ll need to buy special Passover foods.
The best way to prepare for Passover is to create a checklist and make sure you have everything organized well ahead of time. Don’t rely on last-minute shopping for essential Jewish Passover foods and ingredients.
To view the entire catalog of Passover seder plates
How do I prepare food for Passover?
It’s a good idea to prepare your Passover menu in advance. If you don’t have easy access to a good Jewish deli or supermarket, ordering traditional Passover foods online may be an option. If you do order online, don’t leave it until the last minute.
Apart from the obligation to avoid chametz (leavened bread) at Passover, there’s actually quite a wide choice of traditional seder foods. Ashkenazi and Sephardi traditions both have delicious Passover dishes. Many were originally wholesome peasant dishes and are actually good budget options today.
To view the entire catalog of Passover plates
Must-Have Foods for Passover
If you want to celebrate a traditional seder, you will need a few key food items. Some ingredients are more popular than others, and some are more relevant to particular Jewish traditions. Apart from matzos (unleavened bread) and wine, you’ll need six traditional Passover ingredients for your seder plate.
- Zero (Lamb shank bone or chicken wing or neck)
- Beitzah (hard-boiled egg)
- Maror (horseradish)
- Maror (onion)
- Charoset (fruit and nut paste)
- Karpas (parsley or celery)
Passover Silverware and Tableware for Your Seder
One of the most beautiful moments of the Passover Seder is when all the guests sit down around a perfectly laid table. Nothing beats a crisp white table cloth laid with gleaming silver Judaica and a host of steaming dishes.
- Silver Shabbat Candlesticks
- Kiddush Cup Set
- Kiddush Fountains or Kiddush Wine Stands
- Handmade Silver Trays
- Matzos Plate or Match Boxes
- Pesach Plate
You can buy traditional handmade silver Judaica for passover online, or explore our collections of modern Judaica with handmade anodized aluminum and ceramic Passover tableware.
What are the Four Questions of Passover?
Mah Nishtana HaLeila HaZeh?
A traditional seder can be a long event and it’s not always easy to keep small children engaged and happy. Our ancestors had some wisdom when it came to kids. They traditionally encouraged the youngest child at the table to ask the four questions of Passover.
The questions begin with the Hebrew phrase “Mah Nishtana HaLeila HaZeh?” or “Why is this night different from all other nights?”
- On all other nights, we eat either unleavened or leavened bread, but tonight we eat only unleavened bread?
- On all other nights, we eat all kinds of vegetables, but tonight, we eat only bitter herbs?
- On all other nights, we do not dip [our food] even once, but tonight we dip twice?
- On all other nights, we eat either sitting or reclining, but tonight we only recline?
Each question can be answered with a response from the Haggadah or a simple explanation for the kids. The four questions of Passover are a kind of seder narrative and an opportunity to teach the ancient traditions as the meal progresses.
What are the 15 Steps of Passover?
The traditional 15 steps of Passover are a series of mini rituals that plot the course of the Seder according to the haggadah. Not every family observes all the 15 steps of Passover, but traditionalists expect a seder to continue for hours.
Even if you’re not religious, it’s definitely worth experiencing a full seder with all the 15 Passover steps at least once in your life. It’s an insight into a different world where people had a different attitude to time and had more patience.
The 15 steps of Passover
It’s not a coincidence that there are 15 Passover steps. The number is symbolic and exists to remind us of the 15 steps in the ancient Temple of Jerusalem. These were the steps that the Levites stood on during religious services in the Temple. They are also remembered in the 15 Psalms known as The Songs of Ascent.
- Kadesh – The recital of the blessing and the first drink of wine.
- Urchatz – Washing hands.
- Karpas – Dipping Karpas (parsley or celery) in salty water.
- Yachatz – Breaking the matzo slice.
- Maggid – Reciting the Passover story, the four questions and the second drink of wine.
- Rachtzah – Washing hands with an accompanying blessing.
- Motzi – Traditional blessing that comes before eating bread.
- Matzo – Traditional blessing that comes before eating matzo.
- Maror – Eating the maror or bitter herbs.
- Koreich – Eating the matzos and maror ‘sandwich’.
- Shulchan orekh – Serving the seder meal.
- Tzafun – Eating the afikoman (matzo).
- Bareich – Blessing and third drink of wine.
- Hallel – Recitation of the traditional Hallel and fourth drink of wine.
- Nirtzah – The end of the seder.
Top Tips for Attending a Seder
Don’t arrive hungry to a seder with 15 Passover steps!
A ritual seder is a special family event, although some participants are secretly relieved that Pesach only comes once a year. If you’re attending a traditional seder with all 15 steps of Passover, you could be in for a long wait before you actually eat.
If some guests are late (not unusual in Israel) the Kadesh or opening blessing could be delayed. Even though you’re in for a big meal eventually, it’s best not to arrive ravenously hungry. Don’t feel bad about having a snack beforehand!
Honor your Seder host with a gift.
If you’re invited to a Passover 2023, it’s good manners to bring a gift. A bottle of Israeli wine is a good default choice, or a wine holder or wine glasses. An item of Passover Judaica like a matzos plate or a Pesach plate is also a great choice.
You can commemorate the seder, or just make the gift a little more personal, by adding an engraving or other personalized touches like a family name in enamel inlay or silver solder letters.
To view the entire catalog of Passover seder plates