Unitarian Universalists draw wisdom from other world religions, such as Judaism. One important Jewish holiday is Passover or "Pesach." The Passover "Seder" is a ritualized meal which involves eating traditional symbolic foods and telling the story of the Israelites' escape from Egypt. For Unitarian Universalists, the meaning of the story extends to the liberation of oppressed people everywhere.
The traditional foods include: sweet wine, matzoh, horseradish, charoset (made with chopped walnuts and apples, and a little wine), a green vegetable (green onions, parsley, or lettuce), a beet or a bone, an orange, a boiled or roasted egg, gefilte fish, matzo ball soup, and macaroons. If you do not have the traditional foods available, you are of course welcome to participate with substitute foods, pictures of foods, or even imaginary (truly virtual) foods!
Preparation for the Seder
The first part of the Seder involves readings and the ritual foods. Then there is a break to eat dinner. Dinner often includes matzoh ball soup and gefilte fish, along with a protein and vegetables–but never includes bread or any other leavened food such as muffins. After dinner there is a final part of the ritual, and then macaroons or another unleavened dessert is served.
If possible, set the table with the following items (in addition to dinner plates and silverware).
- The Seder plate (not a plate to be eaten from), which holds:
- a cooked beet or a bone (e.g., a chicken leg bone)
- a spoonful of Charoset – a mixture of chopped walnuts, chopped apple, a little wine, and cinnamon (here's a recipe)
- red or white prepared horseradish
- a fresh green vegetable – parsley or green onion or lettuce
- an egg cooked in the shell
- an orange
- A plate with three squares of matzah wrapped in a cloth napkin
- A glass of salt water
- A bottle of sweet wine (or juice)
- A wine glass for each person
- An extra wine glass for Elijah the Prophet
- A bowl of Charoset, a bowl of horseradish, and fresh green vegetables for the participants
To obtain a PDF of the Passover story that we will be reading during the Seder, contact Maureen.
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