With Passover upon us, we have much to celebrate this time around. As we gather our families around the seder table this year (in person and online), the story of exodus resonates as deeply as ever-- we celebrate hope, renewal and breaking free from a year of constraint. As we know, Passover is one of the most sacred holidays on the Jewish calendar, and our varying backgrounds and customs make it that much more vibrant.
To prepare to celebrate Passover this year, we polled our staff for their favorite recipes, traditions, and memories. Just like we retell the stories of our ancestors, we thought the re-telling of our favorite memories and customs would be a unique way to learn more about each other and spark inspiration this Passover. We wish you a wonderful holiday of health and happiness. And from our family to yours – enjoy our Melton staff responses below – equally delicious and uplifting! Recipes below.
Rabbi Rachel Bovitz, Executive Director, Melton International
Location: New York City, NY
Yael Weinstein, Director of Community and Online Learning, Melton International
Location: Windermere, FL
Tradition: Susannah Heschel, daughter of R' Abraham Joshua Heschel, introduced the idea of putting an orange on the Seder plate as a symbol of inclusion for gays, lesbians, and all marginalized Jews in the community. It is said that a certain gentleman responded that an orange no more belongs on a Seder plate than a woman does on the bimah. So, as a wife and mother of sons, the orange on our Seder table sends a clear and powerful message of inclusion and acceptance, and is a reminder that we – each and every one of us – are created in the image of God.
Rabbi Noam Hayman, Director, Melton Trans-Tasman Hub
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Best Passover memory: Every Pesach, ever since we were children, my mother would make the most incredible and fluffy coconut macaroons. I remember as a child trying to find the hidden container on its shelf and maneuvering myself above chairs and benchtops to get to them. As the youngest child, it was even more difficult doing this without getting my brothers' attention!
Steve Kerbel, Director, Melton Washington DC
Location: Rockville, Maryland
Special Custom #2: I have a hobby as a serious lover of Israeli wines. Once our daughters were grown (maybe a little before), wine tasting became an element of our Seder. We usually have 5-6 open bottles and talk a bit about the land of Israel and connect to the concluding blessing after the 4th cup, which ends with the phrase, "for the land and the fruit of the vine."
Megan Pener, Director Melton KC
Location: Overland Park
Tradition: Every year since I was a child, my mom and I have made meringue cookies together. They are what I look forward to most during Passover. Not only are the cookies my favorite, but the time spent with my mom is priceless.
Robyn Teplitzky, Development and YESOD Consultant, Melton International
Favorite Passover food: Passover Mandel Bread (Recipe below.)
Deborah Slosberg, Director Melton Louisville
Location: Louisville, KY
Favorite Passover food: I look forward to making my delightful potato salad every Passover. (Recipe below.)