Each year, Passover (or Pesach) is celebrated by Jewish families around the world to commemorate the anniversary of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. This spring festival lasts either seven or eight days from the 15th day of the month of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar and is a beloved holiday to many in the Jewish community and those who open their homes to friends and family to celebrate with them.
At the beginning of Passover, families celebrate with a Seder. This cherished event includes many important steps, including lighting candles, filling a Seder plate with symbolic foods, enjoying wine and snacks like matzah, singing, and storytelling with the entire family (especially the kids).
Of course, there are also many delicious foods that families traditionally enjoy during Passover, including brisket, roast chicken, matzo ball soup, poached fish dumplings known as gefilte fish, and savory potato kugel. What observers don’t eat is chametz, or foods with leavening agents like yeast, sourdough, or sprouted grains. (That means no bread, pasta, or cookies!)
This year, Passover starts at sundown on March 27th and continues until the evening of April 4th. With many families facing their second year of challenges presented by the COVID—19 pandemic, several Pittsburgh businesses and organizations are offering ways to make celebrating at home with loved ones simple as well as special.
Read on to discover a few ways you can celebrate Passover in Pittsburgh by enjoying a takeout feast, stocking up on at-home Seder supplies, giving back to the community, and even relearning about the history of Pesach through a fun, interactive game.
While many local caterers and delis have already closed orders for Passover this year, Food for Thought has your back if you’re looking for a delicious last-minute spread for the whole family to enjoy at home. Their takeout menu includes beef brisket with carrots and potatoes, matzo ball soup, apricot chicken breasts, stuffed cabbage, and sides like potato pancakes and even homemade gefilte fish. Call today to order and pick up your feast through April 1st!
Squirrel Hill staple Murray Avenue Kosher offers the largest selection of certified kosher goods in the city. In addition to being a community grocery store, Murray Avenue Kosher has a full-service butcher and a deli with fresh warm and cold foods cooked daily. Their catering service offers all the essentials for your at-home Passover celebration, and you can also stock up on beverages thanks to their wide selection of kosher wines.
Giving it Forward Together (GIFT) is stepping up to provide over 400 “Passover to Go” kits to members of their community who may struggle to acquire the supplies they need to observe Passover. These free kits contain Seder supplies, a large-print Haggadah, and a kosher catered meal, and donations from community members make it possible to create and distribute these kits each year. “Passover to Go” kits are available to Jewish seniors, immunocompromised individuals, and those with special needs as long as supplies last. To order a kit or make a donation to fund more “Passover to Go” kits, visit the Giving it Forward Together website.
“Escape the Plagues!” is an interactive, family-friendly exploration game that considers modern plagues (how timely!) and can help you and your loved ones start a discussion about what it means to escape and be free. Themes like anti-racism, mutual aid, solidarity, and climate justice emerge through scripted stories and puzzles that offer a creative way to revisit and appreciate the Passover story. Jewish community organization Moishe House Pittsburgh will be hosting a virtual session of the game on March 28, but families of 2 to 6 can also enjoy the game together by purchasing the downloadable kit from the “Escape the Plagues!” website.This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.