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Published: Tuesday, 3/30/2004

Youngsters learn to prepare Seder meals

As the eight-day celebration Passover approaches (it begins

sundown Monday), Phyllis Wittenberg will prepare the kindergarten

and first-grade classes of David Stone Hebrew Academy in Sylvania

for their Seder meals at home.

Mrs. Wittenberg teaches Judaic studies to the 5 and 6-year-olds.

Many families have their own traditions, she says. Part of the

Seder says to tell the story to your children. There are things that

built into the Seder to keep children interested.

She shows the children how participate in the school s model

Seder. Each grade has their own Seder so parents can see how the

children are growing in knowledge of Passover, she says.

The Seder plate contains symbolic foods needed for retelling

Passover story; it includes a decorative Seder plate, small cups or

ramekins to hold the symbolic foods, and small wine glasses,

which are part of the ceremony.

The foods are parsley or celery leaves (karpas); salt water; a roasted

egg; roasted lamb shank; horseradish or romaine lettuce (maror);

and an apple or a dried fruit, nut, and wine mixture known as

haroset. Matzo is on the table; because bread or any leavening

prohibited at Passover, matzo is needed for both the Seder and

main meal.

Jolie Brochin, 5, holds sliced apple as Matthew Fink, 5, and Phyllis Wittenberg put spice into a food processor. Jolie Brochin, 5, holds sliced apple as Matthew Fink, 5, and Phyllis Wittenberg put spice into a food processor.
LONG / BLADE Enlarge

For the model Seder at school, the kindergarten makes the

haroset, Mrs. Wittenberg says. Haroset symbolizes the mortar

when we were slaves in Egypt.

The youngest students are able slice apples with an apple slicer,

add walnuts, cinnamon, and kosher grape juice, and mix this

a food processor.

They sing a song as they prepare for this task: Apples, nuts, cinnamon, and wine. Chop, chop, chop. It s haroset.

This is a simple food with kids, Mrs. Wittenberg says. Each

child follows the tradition of the Seder by bringing items from

home: a hard-boiled egg, celery (karpas), radish (maror), and a

Passover cookie or macaroon, which is made with no leavening

or flour. We provide the haroset, matzo, and grape juice.

She notes there are both Ashkenazic haroset and Sephardic

haroset (sometimes spelled charoset). Her recipe is similar

Ashkenazic style with apples, nuts, wine, and cinnamon.

The Ashkenazic Seder contains foods from Yiddish-speaking Jews

whose families migrated to America from northern and eastern

European countries between 1880 and 1920, writes Zell Schulman

Let My People Eat!: Passover Seders Made Simple (Macmillan, $27.50).

The Sephardic foods are from Jews from the Mediterranean countries. These were Spanish and Portuguese Jews and those from Turkey, Greece, Italy, and Israel. North African Jews also prepare foods in the Sephardic manner. Ms. Schulman s Sephardic

Charoset includes pitted dates, golden raisins, dark raisins, apple,

sweet wine, orange juice, ground ginger, and blanched slivered

almonds.



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