Tags Posts tagged with "Passover"


In celebration of it 65th anniversary, “The Ten Commandments” heads to select theaters nationwide on Sunday, March 28, courtesy of Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Paramount Pictures.

Yul Brynner and Anne Baxter in a scene from the film.

Throughout film history, Hollywood has produced a number of sweeping epics and generation-defining movies. However, one Biblical saga – Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” – has withstood the test of time.

Shot in Egypt and the Sinai on one of the biggest sets ever constructed for a motion picture, the 1956 film is universally acknowledged among critics as a cinematic masterpiece with a legendary cast including Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, and Ann Baxter. From its Academy Award-winning director and revolutionary Oscar-winning special effects to its sweeping score and unforgettable sets, “The Ten Commandments” tells the inspiring story of Moses in all its stunning glory. Once favored in the Pharaoh’s household, he turns his back on a privileged life to lead his people to freedom.

In addition to numerous awards and accolades, the movie remains one of the biggest box office successes in cinema history (with theatrical sales adjusted for inflation).

The screening includes exclusive insights from Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz.

In our neck of the woods the film will be screened at the AMC Stony Brook 17, 2196 Nesconset Highway, Stony Brook at 1 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. Running time is 3 hours 55 minutes. Rated G. To purchase tickets in advance, visit www.fathomevents.com.

Fig, Orange and Almond Passover Cake. Photo from Pexels

By Barbara Beltrami

Because Passover excludes the use of leavening, eggs play a major role in many dishes. And because with all those eggs the cholesterol police are going to get after you anyway, you might as well use them in some scrumptious Passover desserts. Many are easier than you would imagine and tantalizing to your sweet tooth. So take your pick from the following recipes and enjoy every bite.

Fig, Orange and Almond Passover Cake

YIELD: Makes one cake


10 eggs separated

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups matzo cake meal

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Zest of 1 medium orange

1/3 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1 cup chopped almonds

12 dried figs, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 10” tube or bundt pan with vegetable oil. In medium or large bowl beat egg yolks with sugar until lemon-colored; add cake meal, cinnamon, zest, orange juice, allspice and almonds. In large bowl beat egg whites till peaks are stiff; fold into batter, then fold in figs. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 50 minutes. Unmold cake and let it cool. Serve with coffee, tea or sweet wine.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Passover Torte

YIELD: Makes one torte


5 large eggs, separated 

3/4 cup sugar

8 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate

8 ounces unsalted butter, melted and cooled, 

1 cup skinned hazelnuts, very finely chopped


Preheat oven to 375 F. Line bottom and side of greased 9” spring form pan with aluminum foil. Place pan of water on bottom shelf of oven. In large bowl beat egg yolks with sugar until they turn pale yellow; add chocolate, butter and hazelnuts and mix well. In large bowl beat egg whites until stiff, then fold into chocolate mixture. Pour batter into pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes; remove from oven and let sit a few minutes in pan, then unmold, invert onto a plate and peel off foil. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired and serve with fresh berries.

Passover Sponge Cake with Strawberries

YIELD: Makes one cake


Matzo flour

8 large eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup sifted matzo cake meal

Dash salt

Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

3 cups heavy cream

2 quarts fresh strawberries, washed and hulled


Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 9” cake pans and dust with matzo flour. In large bowl beat egg yolks until pale yellow; add sugar and beat again. Stir in matzo cake meal, salt, lemon zest and juice. In large bowl beat egg whites until stiff, fold into batter and distribute evenly between two prepared cake pans. Bake 45 minutes, set on a rack to cool, then remove from pan. While cake is cooling, whip cream, then coarsely chop one quart of the strawberries and mix them into half the cream. Spread mixture over one of the cake layers; top with second cake layer and use remaining cream to frost top and sides of cake. Halve remaining strawberries and use to decorate top of cake. Serve with hot tea or coffee.

Passover Pistachio Macaroons

YIELD: Makes two dozen


3 cups shelled unsalted pistachios

1 cup sugar

3 egg whites


Preheat oven to 325 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment. In a food processor grind the nuts but don’t puree them. In a medium bowl combine the ground nuts and sugar; fold in the egg whites; refrigerate about 10 minutes. Leaving an inch or so in between, drop batter by the tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake 11 to 14 minutes or until macaroons start turning golden brown. Serve with fresh fruit or sweet wine.

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze

By Barbara Beltrami

Spring is here, or is it? As I sit here writing this a week before publication and approximately two weeks before the holidays, the third snowstorm in two weeks is swirling outside my window. The calendar says spring started on March 20, but right now it’s hard to take that seriously. Anyway, think positively with me and read on.

This year, as so often happens, Easter and Passover fall at the same time. No matter which holiday we observe, it is a signal to officially welcome spring. Out with the old dried up winter floral arrangements, in with pussy willows and daffodils. Out with hearty stews and soups and root veggies; in with asparagus, tender young greens and tiny new potatoes.

And while each holiday has its own religious and traditional observations, many dishes prepared for the feasts have a lot in common. For Passover, eggs are used in abundance to replace the forbidden leavening; for Easter, eggs from the eponymous bunny find their way into many creative dishes. Clear broths served with matzo balls, thin noodles or tortellini usher in the holiday meal, and light fluffy cakes made with flour or matzo meal and egg whites offer a grand finale.

So set your table with daffodils, roast a leg of lamb or a ham and those tiny new potatoes, prepare a bunch of asparagus and perhaps a baby arugula and mache salad and whip up a feather-light spring-y (pun intended) cake. (Next week I’ll give you a recipe or two for those cakes.)

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze

YIELD: Makes 6 servings


2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and washed

½ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking pan and lay asparagus in it. In a small bowl, mix together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce and brown sugar. Being sure to coat all the spears, gently toss the asparagus with the balsamic mixture. Bake, gently tossing again once or twice, for 10 to 20 minutes, until asparagus are tender. Remove to platter, sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve hot, warm or at room temperature with roasted meat or fowl and potatoes.

Roasted Baby Potatoes and Carrots with Shallots

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings


2 pounds baby potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled

1 pound baby carrots, washed and trimmed, if necessary

2 shallot bulbs, peeled and separated into cloves

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

One handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, de-stemmed and finely chopped

Coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl toss all the ingredients together, then place in a large shallow baking dish and put in oven. Turning occasionally with a spatula, roast 30 to 45 minutes until carrots are tender and potatoes are crisp on the outside. Serve immediately with roasted meat or fowl.

Baby Arugula, Mache and Green Grape Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings


3 cups baby arugula, washed and patted dry

3 cups mache, washed and patted dry

1½ cups green seedless grapes, washed and patted dry, then halved lengthwise

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 to 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 teaspoon honey

½ teaspoon prepared mustard

1 garlic clove, bruised

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: In a large salad bowl, toss arugula, mache and grapes together. If using within an hour, do not refrigerate; otherwise cover and refrigerate until one hour before use. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice, honey, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Remove garlic clove before dressing salad. When ready to serve and not before, toss the mixture with the greens and grapes and serve immediately with roasted meat or fowl or as an appetizer.



Matzo Brei

By Barbara Beltrami

Passover is the joyous Jewish holiday that celebrates the exodus of the children of Israel in ancient Egypt from slavery to freedom. As they fled, they had no time for their bread to rise, and that is how we came to eat matzos (unleavened bread) for Passover.

The matzo has come to present itself in many forms, although I think everyone’s favorite is still that pale square megacracker that is a wonderful support system for everything from butter to horseradish to jam to salsa and everything in between.

Since Biblical times, it has also managed to evolve into matzo meal, which then has become the foundation for all sorts of delicious recipes. That being said, my all-time favorites are the traditional ones for matzo balls, matzo brei, and matzo meal pancakes.

Matzo Balls

Matzo Balls

The butt of many a joke, especially at the expense of mothers-in-law, these little round gems turn chicken soup into a treasure.

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings


2 eggs

¼ cup vegetable oil

¹∕₃ cup cold seltzer or club soda

¾ teaspoon salt

1 cup matzo meal

DIRECTIONS: Beat the eggs, oil, soda and salt together. Stir in the matzo meal, adding just enough to make a stiff batter. Chill for at least one hour. Form into 18 balls and cook for 30 minutes in boiling salted water or broth. Serve with chicken soup.

Matzo Brei

Matzo Brei

Not as familiar perhaps as matzo balls, matzo brei is broken up matzos soaked for a short time in warm water or milk, then mixed with beaten eggs and fried. It makes a great breakfast or side dish, and with the addition of whatever your imagination dictates, a delicious main dish.

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


4 eggs, beaten

1 scant teaspoon salt

1 heaping tablespoon grated onion (optional)

4 matzos

Butter or oil for frying

DIRECTIONS: Combine the eggs, salt and onion (if using). Break matzos into large bite-size pieces and soak in water or milk until softened but not mushy. Add to egg mixture and stir well. In a medium skillet heat the butter or oil; then add matzo mixture to it. Fry until lightly browned and heated through. Serve with maple syrup, apple sauce or sugar. If using onions, serve with sour cream or soft cheese.

Matzo Meal Pancakes

Matzo Meal Pancakes

Because of their crispy exterior and light interior, these pancakes are a nice change from regular ones.

YIELD: Makes 2 to 4 servings


3 egg yolks

½ teaspoon salt ½ cup cold water

¾ cup matzo meal

3 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Oil for frying

DIRECTIONS: Beat together the egg yolks, salt and water. Stir in the matzo meal; then gently fold in the egg whites. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil, then drop the batter, one heaping tablespoon at a time, into it. Turn once to brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sugar and cinnamon, maple syrup, honey, fruit or jam.

Each of the six items arranged on the traditional Passover Seder plate has a special significance to the retelling of the story of Passover.

By Rabbi Aaron Benson

Rabbi Aaron Benson

Weeks of preparation will pay off in the homes of many Jews when they begin to celebrate the holiday of Passover, which begins the night of April 10 this year and lasts for eight days after that.

Passover is reportedly the most observed Jewish holiday for American Jews. This means that most Jews in the United States will attend a Seder meal (the festive meals held on the first two nights of Passover), refrain from eating leavened products (called chametz in Hebrew) and will eat matzah, the special unleavened flat bread associated with the holiday. All of these observances commemorate the Jews’ release from slavery in ancient Egypt. This theme, freedom from slavery in Egypt, shapes the Passover holiday and still has a lot to tell all of us today.

At the Seder meal, some Jews sing a song that contains the line, “once we were slaves and now we are free people.” Catchy as the tune may be, the message does not accurately convey the spirit of Passover in the Jewish tradition. For Jews, freedom from slavery in Egypt is not freedom to do anything and everything one wishes to do. It is, as our religious laws teach us, so that we may serve the values and principles of our tradition, so that we may take up the obligations of leading just and thoughtful lives without the excuse that anyone else’s will might constrain us from doing what is proper.

As said, this is a concept that has universal application today. How often do we confuse “freedom” with having no responsibilities, no cares, no obligations but satisfying ourselves? When we let this become our philosophy of life, we are not freeing ourselves; we are in fact enslaving ourselves to our appetites and our desires. This is not true freedom or anything close to it.

Passover teaches us that freedom is the freedom to take on responsibility, to stand up for what one believes in, to not leave it to others to tell us what is right and not to leave it to others to do what is right either, but to do it ourselves. Perhaps that is why so much work goes into preparing for Passover — to be truly free isn’t easy, in fact it is hard work, but the rewards, like those that come from having a house ready for the holiday, are well worth the effort.

Happy Passover and best wishes.

Rabbi Aaron Benson is the rabbi at North Shore Jewish Center in Port Jefferson Station.

By Rabbi Mendy Goldberg

Friday night, April 22, Jews the world over will be celebrating the first night of Passover with a traditional meal called the “Seder.” During the Seder, we observe various traditions such as eating the “matzah” (an unleavened bread) horseradish and drinking four cups of wine.

Mendy-GoldbergwAll of these rituals are reminders of the Jewish people’s exodus from Egypt 3,327 years ago, the birth of the Jewish nation. Our ancestor’s miraculous release from oppression to freedom has served as a source of inspiration for many generations and will do so for many more to come.

A central theme of this holiday is asking questions and providing relevant answers so that children will understand the significance of this celebration. I, however, find myself asking year-after-year the same question: What meaning does an ancient story and its associated ceremony hold for the average American in 2016?  How can we look at events that transpired so long ago and still be spiritually inspired by them?

The answer is found in the Talmudic dictum: “In every generation a person must feel as if he or she was liberated from Egypt.” In other words, we have a responsibility to make an ancient experience important to us living in modern times. We achieve this by recognizing that the imprisonment from which the ancient Hebrews sought emancipation is conceptually still present.

Slavery finds many forms and takes on various appearances. In days of old, it was depicted by a whip-toting taskmaster hovering over a slave with a chain wrapped around his ankle. Today, bondage is often found in our jobs, relationships and attitudes where we find ourselves addicted to a certain negative trait and find it excruciatingly difficult to “break free.” Sometimes we are trapped in a bad relationship or negative habitual behaviors with no easy way out.  Then there are those who are enslaved to material items and cannot possibly fathom life without them. At times we box ourselves into believing less in ourselves then we are truly capable of. Are these not the modern-day equivalents of slavery?

Therefore, every year as we begin the holiday of Passover and the celebration of freedom, we are reminded that the stories we recount and the rituals we observe are more about a commitment to the present then reminiscing about the past. During this time of year, we once again reaffirm our obligation to fight all forms of bigotry, negativity and slavery, be they within or without, to think and do “out of the box,”  realize and actualize our true potential. And, most important, we devote ourselves to being positive members of society at a time when we all crave the most priceless blessing of all: peace on earth.

Rabbi Mendy Goldberg is the Rabbi at Lubavitch of the East End in Coram.