Ahhh, spring is in the air. Which means so is the sweet smell of bitter herbs. Passover gives us a lot to chew on (literally—and not all of which is that tasty) as we retell the really, really ancient story of our exodus from Egypt, finishing on a note to plants seeds of hope for the future. So what better way to start this spring than by making your Passover green.
Our three-part Green Your Passover series gives you all the tools you need to bring eco-friendly style to your seder. (After all, the Passover talk about locusts and lice and vermin can get a little buggy.) Read Part 2 of the series – all about your seders – below, and check out Part 1 about getting ready for the holiday.
PART 2: THE SEDERS
Green your charoset. Charoset is the sticky-sweet mix of apples, walnuts and cinnamon that represents the mortar the Israelites used to lay bricks while they were enslaved in ancient Egypt. This year, spice your charoset with fair-trade cinnamon, and use organic or locally-grown apples for an environmentally-friendly crunch.
Add something “green” to your seder plate. In the past several decades, many families have begun to add extra symbolic foods (like oranges and olives) to their seder plates to represent contemporary issues from gender equality to promoting peace. Pick a symbol that represents sustainability to you – like a leaf or a thimble full of clean water – and set it near or on your seder plate to spark conversation.
Use an organic free-range egg. The roasted hard boiled egg on the seder plate symbolizes both rebirth and the festival sacrifice that was historically offered in the Temple in Jerusalem. This year, use a free-range egg (ideally from the farmers’ market, where you can ask the farmer how he raises his chickens), and look for organic, hormone and anti-biotic free eggs as well.
Use potted flowers as your centerpiece. Skip the cut flowers – which are beautiful, but often grown unsustainably and shipped in from far away – and choose potted, seasonal flowers to make your seder table beautiful. They are kinder to the environment, and will last a long time after the seder ends!
Go vegetarian or source ethical meat. Go meat-free this Passover and swap out the chicken soup and brisket for homemade borscht and matzoh lasagna. Or, if you plan to serve meat, make sure it is ethically-sourced. There are several companies that produce ethical, kosher chicken and meat – serve them up, and let your guests rave!
Share food justice texts. The best seders are the interactive ones. This year, bring food justice and environmental-related texts to your seder and start a discussion around the table. Check out On1Foot’s text database or Hazon’s Food for Thought sourcebook to get you started. Plus, check out Repair the World’s roundup of awesome service and food justice-related haggadot and seder supplements.
For additional ideas and Passover inspiration, check out Hazon’s healthy and sustainable Passover resources, as well as Uri L’Tzedek’s, Bend the Arc’s, and The Shalom Center’s food, justice, and earth-focused haggadot.