Passover is a very special time for Sephardic Jews and many communities have different practices, customs, and rituals on the holiday.
Most of you already know that most Sephardic communities (but not all) eat kitniyot; such as rice, corn, millet, dried beans and lentils, peas, green beans, soybeans, peanuts, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and mustard. But did you also know that many Sephardic communities have developed various customs and practices for the Seder itself?
Some of these customs include:
- Beginning the Seder by passing the Seder plate over the heads of all the guests, to demonstrate that we were once slaves in Egypt and carried heavy burdens on our heads.
- Lightly whipping fellow dinner guests with a scallion during the singing of Dayenu to remind us that it was a miracle that we were freed from the lash of oppression.
- Eating a soft matzoh that more closely resembles the matzoh eaten by the Israelites leaving Egypt.
- Making a date-based charoset paste or chutney.
You can experience some of these unique customs in DC this year. For the first time, Sephardic Jews in DC will be hosting our first Sephardic Seder. At this Seder you will learn more about these customs, as well as sample the many traditional Passover dishes from various Sephardic and Mizrahi communities across the world.
To reserve your place at our seder please purchase them on our EventBrite page. Please note that the Seder is primarily geared towards Young Professionals in the DC Metro area (20’s and 30’s).
Sephardic Jews in DC will also be co-sponsoring a fun Mimouna happy hour and dance party along with the Israeli House, Moishe House, EntryPointDC, and JScreen. A Mimouna is a traditional festival event celebrating the end of Pesach. The custom was brought over to Israel by Sephardic refugees from Northern Africa and has been adopted as a National Holiday in Israel. Join us to celebrate the end of Passover with traditional Moroccan and Israeli sweets, great Happy Hour specials, henna artists, dancing, and awesome music! Buy your tickets here.
To learn more about Sephardic Passover customs please consult ethe following links:
- For Kashering a kitchen for Pesach, AISH has a wonderful and easy to follow guide: http://www.aish.com/h/pes/l/88909197.html.
- For amazing Kosher for Passover recipes: Healthy Sephardic Cooking.
- Tori Avey’s food blog
- Jewish Food Experience recipes
- Please consult an Orthodox Sephardic Rabbi for any specific questions you may know.