Passover: Bold and Boundless

Inspired by the upcoming Passover holiday (April 19th through 25), I am delving into Judaism A Way of Being by the heady Yale professor, David Gelernter.

One of Professor Gelernter’s central points is that “separation”~the parting of the red sea, traife from Kosher~is one of the chief tenets of Judaism. The professor’s examples of “separation” and unmelding go on and on. According to the theory, chaos is “mixed togetherness, unseparation”.


What I most love, and especially at the Jewish holidays, is a plate where everything is touching, where the family and friends around the table are from all different walks, religions and ethnicities, and the holiday menu is a pastiche of Ashkenazic and Sephardic. Oy!! My holiday is all about a “no boundaries approach to celebrating”….does this make my Passover somehow “alternative” ???????

Charoset – a bare canvas for so many flavor combinations

Charoset,the sweet and nutty mixture eaten between two pieces of matzoh that symbolizes the mortar, which the enslaved Hebrews used to make bricks when they were building store-houses and buildings in the cities of ancient Egypt, is my perfect metaphor of “no boundaries” togetherness. What could be better, I ask myself, than a peaceful coexistence at one table of Central European (Ashkenazic) charoset of walnuts, apple, honey, cinnamon and wine coexisting with Yemeni charoset in which pepper and coriander is added to the mix. Inspired by our Jewish-Indian ancestors, I want charoset with pomegranate and dates boiled down to a sweet syrup called “halek”.

My European-style charoset might include everything from almonds, apples, and pears to chestnuts and oranges. Going Greek style would mean customizing it with pinenuts. Charoset could also include Mission figs, dates, pistachios, bananas, allspice, ginger, cloves, Vidalia onion. All could find their place at the table.

Our Kosher Moroccan friend, Joelle Lallouz goes so far as to include rose petals.
( recipe below)

What I want most from my Passover is to serve bold and colorful foods, to an eclectic assortment of family and friends, with no boundary other than good taste. We’re seeking redemption from “separateness” (sorry, Professor) and the boredom of boundaries. Come join us at Entertaining Company as we travel around the world this Passover!

Joelle Lallouz (Shallot Bistro)Moroccan Charoset Balls Recipe

1 Pound Hazelnuts
12 oz Almonds
1 Pound Pitted  Dates
12 oz Raisins
2 cups Crushed Rose Petals

Instructions for the Moroccan Charoset Balls recipe:

  1. Using a food processor, pulse the petals fine.
  2. Using a food processor, grind the nuts together coarsely. Add dates and raisins and process until consistency is smooth but still has some texture.
  3. Prepare balls of the mixture about 2 inches in diameter .
  4. Roll each ball into rose petals and serve on pretty tray.