Passover Resources from Rabbi Spitz

Dear Friends,

Our Pesech seders are a celebration of our collective identity. The following are some resources to help you prepare and to enrich your gathering of family and friends.

1.The Order of the Haggadah, a Program. When we read through the Haggadah its structure is unclear, which is ironic since the word “seder” means order. The traditional seder is actually a four-act play. The second act is the “telling,” composed of four different tellings, each structured with a question, an answer, and words of praise. Please consider using this program to both pace and give context to the flow of the teaching.

2.This year the Conservative Movement’s Law Committee approved the eating of rice, beans, tofu, corn, and chickpeas on Pesech, in Hebrew called Kitniyot. Beginning in the 12th century, Ashkenazic Jews (those living in Eastern Europe) avoided eating legumes on Passover for fear of confusion. Technically, it was permitted to eat these items as they are not of the five forbidden grains: barley, wheat, oats, spelt and rye. The forbidden grains are precisely the items that we also used to make matzah. Jews from Iran, Yemen, and Mediterranean countries (Sephardim) never forbade kitniyot. The Conservative Movement has decided that now is the time to offer this more expansive alternative due to the unity of Jews and the increase in vegans or those eating more vegetables. This ruling does not mean that a Jew needs to eat rice and many will refrain from doing so due to family custom. I share a few articles on the topic to further fill you in. I will add that I come to this topic with some hesitation, as I am used to a certain approach to Passover and yet this year, I am open to eating what until now was outside Ashkenazic practice. Heaven knows, there will remain for my family and me many rules of Pesech eating.

Los Angles Jewish Journal, “Rice and beans for Ashkenazi Jews on Passover?”

Reisner and Levin, “A Teshuvah permitting Ashkenzin to eat kitniyot on Passover,”

Elliot Cosgrove, A Manhattan Rabbi’s Sermon on kitniyot and why he will not be eating rice this year:

3.A detailed guide for the preparation of foods for Pesech:

4.Carl Cedar, our music specialist, has put together a collection of songs to enliven your Seder.

So many food rules! Particularly on Passover what we eat tells a story of our people’s past and our identity. Traditionally, the greeting for Passover is “May you have a kosher and happy holiday.” May it so be for you and your family.

Hag Sameakh, Elie