The top 5 items for Passover 2022 are handmade Seder Plates, Matzos Plates, Kiddush Cups, Candlesticks and Candelabras, and silver Wine Fountains. If you’re planning a Seder dinner, or want to buy Judaica gifts for your Passover hosts, check out the must have items for any Pesach dining table.
We’ll also take a look at the ancient Passover traditions, and the history of one of the most important holidays in the Jewish Calendar. Pesach is a special holiday that often falls in the first weeks of Spring. With the arrival of the warmer weather it’s a great time for the family to gather and celebrate.
Our quick guide to Passover is a useful summary of all the Pesach basics. It’s not intended to be a definitive guide to one of the most important Jewish holidays, just a useful reminder for anybody who needs a fast refresher on Jewish tradition.
Table of Contents
What is Passover?
Passover, also known as Pesach, is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. It’s celebrated for eight days and nights, usually in April or May. During Passover, Jews eat a special meal called a Seder and avoid eating foods that are considered Chametz – which includes bread, pasta, cereal, and other grains. On the first night of Passover, Jews light two candles and say a blessing. They then recite the story of the Exodus from the Haggadah, a book that tells the story of Passover. After the Seder, Jews eat Matzah – unleavened bread – for seven days.
When is Passover (Pesach) in 2022?
Passover or Pesach 2022 is from April 15th to April the 23rd. This year’s Seder will begin at twilight on the evening of Friday April the 15th with the ritual lighting of the candles. Most families in Israel will only celebrate the Seder for a single evening, people in the US will often celebrate with a second dinner the following evening.
Why do we Celebrate Passover?
We celebrate Passover to mark the exodus of the Israelites or Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. The Pesach tradition is thousands of years old and commemorates one of the defining moments in Jewish history. According to accounts in the Bible, God inflicted 10 plagues upon the Egyptians. Their suffering continued until Pharaoh begged Moses to lead the Jews out of Egypt forever. Passover effectively celebrates the birth of the Jewish nation.
What are the Main Passover Traditions?
The Main Passover traditions are complete abstinence from chametz (any food product containing risen grain) and the ritual Seder dinners at the start and end of the Passover week. The first Seder has its own unique Passover traditions based around the ritual telling of the Exodus story through the Haggadah. A traditional Seder also involves the symbolic drinking of four cups of wine, dipping vegetables in salty water, eating matzah and bitter herbs. Some families love to sing until late into the night.
What are the Top 5 Items for Pesach?
The Seder dinner is one of the biggest events of the Jewish year and a time when family and friends come together. A properly set Seder Table has its own special magic, especially if you are following the traditional Seder rituals. It’s certainly possible to hold a basic Seder with ordinary tableware – it’s the spirit of the rituals that count. If you want to really celebrate Passover in style, there are 5 top items of Judaica that will create an amazing Seder table.
Top 5 Products for Pesach
What are Pesach Plates?
Pesach plates are special ornamental plates for the Seder meal. They’re used to hold the six traditional Seder foods of matzah, zeroa, egg, bitter herbs, charoset and karpas. These foods each represent an aspect of the Jewish people’s experiences during the exodus from Egypt and their subsequent adventures.
A Seder plate typically has six stations or holders for the ritual food dishes, which are often labeled in Hebrew or English. A Seder plate needs to be big enough to hold all the six bowls, but may have to be passed around the table. It’s usually a decorative item and many families will treasure a silver seder plate.
Traditional vs Modern Seder Plates
It’s difficult to define a ‘traditional seder plate’. The Pesach tradition is an ancient one that has been celebrated across the world by Jews from many different cultural backgrounds. Traditional seder plates would usually have been made from locally available materials, and in the styles of contemporary craftsmen. They’d range from kiln fired clay plates with simple decorations, to luxurious gold and silver seder plates decorated with precious stones and gems.
When we’re exploring 21st century Judaica, traditional seder plates or Pesach plates are usually considered to be items that are handcrafted from 925 sterling silver.
There is either a strong Middle Eastern influence in the form of traditional Yemenite Jewish silversmithing techniques, or a more Ashkenazi antique European style.
The Yemenite influence includes intricate – and exquisitely beautiful – silver filigree decorations. The antique European styles tend to feature simpler and more elegant designs with subtler decorations. The emphasis is on highly polished, gleaming silver surfaces that shine in the light, but there are no hard and fast rules. Israeli Judaica styles are eclectic and there is plenty of mixing and matching.
Modern Judaica Seder Plates can be made from literally any material. The most popular choices are anodized aluminum, ceramics, cast concrete, glass, and wood – or combinations of several materials.
Modern designs are often brightly painted with Passover images or Jewish symbols and motifs.
Modern Judaica Passover plates usually include the traditional stations or holders for the ritual Seder dishes of matzah, zeroa, egg, bitter herbs, charoset and karpas. The design influences can range from art deco, minimalism, fun kids styles, or a blaze of modern art color schemes. The underlying emphasis is usually on functionality and practicality. However exciting the design, you still need a Seder plate that’s robust enough for family use and is easy to clean!
Love it or hate it, matzah is a fundamental part of the Passover tradition. A special matzos plate is a wonderful accessory for the Seder table, and like Seder plates, there are traditional and modern designs.
Most people opt for contemporary ceramic matzos plates from Israel that are painted to look exactly like a slice of matzah.
Why do we eat Matzah at Passover?
When Moses led the Nation of Israel out of Egypt, God commanded them to sacrifice the Paschal Lamb and consume the meat with bitter herbs and unleavened matzah. God also commanded Jews to commemorate the Exodus every year and abstain from chametz for the seven days of Passover.
What is chametz?
Chametz (also spelled “hametz”, “chometz” or “חמץ”) is any food product made from wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt that has been allowed to rise or become leavened. Chametz includes bread, pasta, cake, cookies and even some alcoholic drinks and are not Kosher for Pesach.
Like Shabbat, the traditional Seder ritual begins with the recitation of the Kiddush or sanctification, and drinking wine (or grape juice).
A silver Kiddush cup is a wonderful Judaica item that every Jewish family should own.
Traditional vs Modern Kiddush Cups
Your choice of design for a Kiddush Cup is entirely a matter of personal taste. The cup itself is simply a vessel for the wine or grape juice. It is the recital of Kiddush that sanctifies the event. A gleaming goblet style sterling silver Kiddush cup (or Kiddush cup set with a silver tray) certainly looks stunning at the center of your Seder table, and creates a real feeling of ancient ceremony and ritual.
If your home decor and interior design is more modern, an anodized aluminum Kiddush Cup is a great choice. Anodized aluminum may sound like an ugly industrial product, but it’s actually a strikingly beautiful material that is ideal for creating designer tableware items like Kiddush Cup Sets. The anodized aluminum is available in a variety of bold colors and can be worked into some amazing designs.
3 Top Tips for Buying a Kiddush Cup
- If you’re a connoisseur of fine wine, buy a silver Kiddush cup with a gold plated interior. The gold plate is ‘neutral’ and doesn’t affect the taste of the wine in any way. When you drink from a gold plated Kiddush cup, you’ll be able to savor the full aroma and taste of the wine itself.
- If you’re buying a Kiddush Set for regular use, don’t base your choice solely on its ornamental value. You need functional tableware that is robust and easy to clean. If you’re buying traditional sterling silver, choose Kiddush cups that are easy to bring to a gleaming polish.
- If you want to buy a luxury Kiddush cup, or a Kiddush set as a Passover gift, wedding gift or housewarming present, consider buying a personalized gift. ICOJ silversmiths can easily engrave a dedication, name or blessing into a Kiddush cup. Other options can sometimes include silver solder designs, enamel inlay, stamping, or the addition of gemstones.
Candlesticks and Candelabras for Passover
Every Jewish dinner table should have either candle sticks or candelabras for Passover. Lighting candles is not only part of the Pesach Seder, it’s also hugely important in wider Jewish tradition. Holiday dinners aside, there’s little that’s more homely or intimate than the warm glow of beeswax candles over a dinner table!
Should I Buy Judaica Candlesticks or Candelabras?
If you’re looking for a stunning centerpiece that will bathe your dinner table in warm light, buy a candelabra. If you have limited space (or a long banqueting style table) consider buying a set of silver candlesticks that you can arrange at intervals along the table. It’s a question of personal taste and what’s practical for your home.
If you prefer an old fashioned antique look, or you love traditional Yemenite silver filigree work, 925 sterling silver candlesticks are probably your first choice. There are also plenty of simple and elegant modern designs crafted from high quality 925 silver. There are collectors of fine Judaica who will tell you that silver is the only authentic material for Passover candlesticks and candelabra. In fact, Passover candlesticks can be made from all kinds of materials and can be inspired by any modern style.
Modern Pesach candelabras and candlesticks are made of colorful anodized aluminum, ceramics, glass, cast concrete, copper – pretty much anything that can be crafted into a beautiful and functional design. A minimalist concrete candle, or matte anodized aluminum candelabra might suit your home decor far more than ornate silver filigree, studded with Israeli amethysts. It’s all a question of personal taste and every choice is valid!
Top Tip: Silver Candlesticks
Highly polished silver is a natural partner for vivid Israeli Blue enamel or anodized aluminum (or amethysts or lapis stones). Subtle blue decorations on silver candlesticks recreate the traditional colors of Judaism and the modern Israeli flag.
If you’re already buying a Kiddush Cup Set for Passover, it’s definitely worth considering a silver wine fountain. The idea might sound extravagant, but it’s actually a wonderfully practical item of tableware. A silver wine fountain is also a fine ornamental item that will look superb on your shelf or liquor cabinet when you’re not using it.
How does a Silver Wine Fountain Work?
A silver wine fountain is basically a stable column with a tray for a set of Kiddush cups. You can pour a bottle of wine into the main Kiddush cup at the head of the column. The wine flows down gently through hidden miniature pipes to simultaneously fill the smaller Kiddush Cups. Your Passover guests can take their wine cups from the stand with no fear of spillage.
A well designed wine fountain isn’t just a Passover item, it’s ideal for any dinner. When you buy a wine fountain, check that the stand itself is stable and robust. You’ll also need to check that the fountain is easy to disassemble and clean.
Hopefully we’ll be free to celebrate Passover 2022 without any lockdowns or restrictions. If you’re hosting a Seder, our Top 5 Pesach products will help you to create a Passover table fit for a palace!