Thanks so much for this great guest post from Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal. Rabbi Rosenthal is the Director of Education at Congregation B’nai Zion in El Paso, TX. Before moving to El Paso, she worked as Shabbat and Holidays Coordinator at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York City.
Passover is a perfect time to learn about Jewish communities from around the world, since there are so many different customs that surround the seder and Passover observance in general. Whether it is the Afgan and Iranian custom of smacking your tablemates with scallions during Dayenu or the Hungarian custom of decorating the seder table with jewels to commemorate the gold, silver and precious stones that the Israelites took with them from Egypt, Passover can really give us a glimpse into the practices of Jewish communities other than our own. Haroset is one of the ways that people can learn about other communities and their seder customs, since it seems that every Jewish community (and perhaps every Jewish family) has their own way of creating this seder plate staple.
At Congregation B’nai Jeshurun Hebrew School in New York City, Ivy Schreiber, the Director of Education, brought the Haroset Taste-Off to the students. In the weeks before Passover, each class picks one type of haroset to make. They learn about the country where it originates from and make the haroset. Finally, all the classes come together and present their harosets to a panel of judges. The judges determine the best tasting, best looking, the best presentation and the class that displayed the best teamwork. Not only do the students and teachers have a terrific time making the haroset, but they also get a window into how another Jewish community celebrates Passover.
Consider having a haroset taste off at your seder this year. Create little bowls of different types of haroset, along with a card that explains a little bit about where it comes from. Guests at the seder can try a few different kinds and vote on their favorite. You can find all the recipes here. Chag Sameach!