Tonight and tomorrow night, Jewish families and friends in the United States and around the world will gather for Seders to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt and the triumph of hope and perseverance over injustice and oppression. For most Jewish families, the Passover meal is full traditions passed down through the generations like the maror, or bitter herbs, which symbolize the bitterness of slavery in Egypt or the matzoh, unleavened bread, which recalls the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt – giving them no time to allow their bread to rise.
While some families hold the secret to the fluffiest matzoh balls in town, others have created new traditions to share with their families and friends.
Here at the White House tonight, President and Mrs. Obama will again host a small Seder, complete with recipes provided by friends and family. It’s a tradition that started in Pennsylvania in 2008, when after a long day on the campaign trail then-Senator Obama gathered a group of staffers – Jewish and non-Jewish alike – for an impromptu Seder. Each year since, the same group, along with a few close friends and family, have come together to carry on the tradition at the White House. Among the family recipes on the menu this year are a traditional chicken soup with matzoh balls, braised beef brisket, potato kugel, carrot soufflé, and matzoh chocolate cake.
As the eight days of Passover begin tonight, we reached out to eight Jewish chefs around the country to share their own thoughts, menus and recipes for a healthy, satisfying Seder. We hope these recipes will give you some new ideas for your own Passover traditions.
We’re grateful to these participating chefs:
Note: These commentaries, menus and recipes are products of the chefs themselves.
Danielle Borrin is the Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and liaison to the Jewish community.