By: Adam and Lecia Sud
With Passover as a major holiday for those of the Jewish faith, we wanted to turn to our good friends, Adam Sud, and his mother, Lecia. Adam told us that his mom is a great influence in his life. This is the Sud family’s first plant-strong Passover, and they’ve provided some good tips to make your Seder a lovely gathering with family and friends.
Passover is an important, biblically-rooted, Jewish holiday. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible (in the Book of Exodus). It is where the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. During the observance of Passover, certain dietary practices are carried out, mainly abstaining from eating any leavened products like bread, pasta, etc.
Adam and his mom have mapped out plans for a plant-strong family Seder as Passover begins. This charming read will have you feeling as though you are dining with the Sud family. Thank you, Adam and Lecia!
In their own words…
Adam has been plant-strong for three years now and recently, the rest of the family has
joined Adam on his plant-strong journey. This will be our family’s first plant-based Seder. It has been a time filled with researching helpful ideas to make our Seder a plant-strong and cruelty-free celebration, without including the more traditional, animal-based and forbidden foods during Passover.
For years I have prepared the tradition Passover meal for our family and extended family using the recipes that had been passed down for generations. However, this year I found joy by preparing this plant-strong and cruelty-free Seder with my son, Adam.
Unlike most Jewish holidays celebrated in the synagogue or temple, Passover iscelebr ated in the home. Food is always a memorable part of any Jewish holiday, however, with Passover, the food literally directs and tells the story of the celebration.
You can’t have Passover without the Seder plate. For us, having a cruelty-free Seder table has a greater and deeper spiritual significance. Passover is observed for eight days (outside of Israel) and begins with a feast called the Passover Seder. The Seder is held on the first and second nights of the holiday. The Seder(which means “order”) is a festive meal where the story of the exodus (plus prayers and song), is read while certain rituals are practiced in a set order.
Traditional rituals include several animal foods. This makes a plant-based celebration seemingly difficult. We have found that it is possible to have a plant-strong Passover Seder with some planning and creativity. Leavened foods such as breads and pasta are forbidden during Passover. In their haste to escape Egypt, the Jews did not have time to let their bread rise and instead, ate unleavened bread or matzoh. Leavened foods include any bread, pasta or foods made with yeast. Eating grains like wheat, rye, barley, spelt and oats is encouraged; however, without any yeast. Ashkenazi Jews (Jews from Eastern Europe) also stay away from other foods known as \’kitniyot\’, which includes beans, corn, green beans, poppy seeds, mustard seeds, etc.
Because quinoa is considered a protein rich seed, it is allowed. Soybeans are prohibited which can make it seem more difficult for those who are plant-strong .
What the Sud Family’s Plant-Strong Seder Plate Will Look Like
Carpas – A vegetable or herb. We use parsley to symbolize spring. It is dipped in salt-water to symbolize the tears of our enslaved ancestors.
Maror – Bitter herbs. To remind of us of the bitterness of slavery. We will use horseradish.
Charoset – To symbolize the mortar used to layer bricks and the hard labor done by the slaves, we mix nuts, apples, wine, and spices to bring about the sweetness of freedom.
Z’Roa – Traditionally, a shank bone is used to symbolize the lamb that was slaughtered to mark the doors of the Jews so that the angel of death would “pass over” their houses. In making a cruelty-free Seder plate, we’ll use olives and grapes to symbolize the commandment of compassion for the oppressed.
Beitzah – Hard Boiled Egg. Which was used to symbolize the mourning over the loss of the temple. We will be using an avocado pit. You can also use any seed or edible flowers.
A cruelty free Seder table must also have egg-free matzoh and vegan wine. We will be using a cruelty-free Haggadah (the Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder), which we found online:
Each person sits down to their own Seder plate along with the main Seder plate at the center of the table. Instead of gefilte fish, a plant-based gefilte fish is made using chickpeas, sautéed vegetables, seaweed flakes, seasoning and lemon.
The next dish that is served is traditionally a chicken-based, matzoh ball soup. We will be making a plant-strong based vegetable soup with quinoa matzoh balls. The main course is open to whatever your family likes to eat using any of your favorite plant-based recipes, excluding the forbidden foods.
For our dessert, we will be making a flour-free vegan chocolate torte and fresh fruit.
We hope our ideas will help you to enjoy a plant-strong and cruelty-free Passover.
The story of Passover expresses the importance of compassion over cruelty. We believe that with a plant-based and cruelty-free celebration, we are able to better connect with the true spirit of Passover.
Next year in Jerusalem.
“Chag Sameach, Y’all” (Joyous Festival, Y’all)!
Adam and Lecia
Many thanks, Adam and Lecia for this rich recount of the meaning of Passover, and how you will make it Plant-Strong.