The Shavuot Seder – Experience Report

I finally was able to do my Shavuot Seder with a group of people.  An amazing thing is that it was done with people who were all over the world thanks to   I give the experience a pretty big thumbs up.  I think I’d give a good 1.5 hours in the future, and I’d want to have a little more time to prep the study sections.

Get the Text: Shavuot Seder Haggadah

This seder uses cheese, which is a traditional food for Shavuot.  For each of the prophetesses in the seder I picked out a special cheese.  Here’s my list of cheeses, prophetesses and why — other than it was available at the store.

Shavuot Seder Cheese Plate
Shavuot Seder Cheese Plate

Sarah:  Labne 
This is a middle eastern goat’s milk “spread.”  I chose this because it’s a simple cheese made from goat’s milk and it seemed it this case like the place to start and also the kind of food that Sarah might have actually eaten.

Miriam: Goat’s Milk Brie from Wellspring Creamery
The name is why I chose this one.  Miriam is deeply associated with water and wells, so it was a natural choice when I saw it.

Devorah (Deborah): Big John Cajun Cheese from Beehive Cheese
This one was chosen for the spicy nature of it, because there’s a line I use from Leah Novick in the seder, which refers to Devorah’s “fiery spirit.”  After I picked it up, I realized there was a bee aspect too — and since Devorah means bee — it couldn’t be more perfect!  In writing this post, I realized this creamery also makes one of my other favorite bee-themed cheeses called “Barely Buzzed” and “Sea Hive.”  So yummy!

Hannah: Vintage 5 Year Aged Gouda
Hannah’s life seemed dry and hard, but you never know what can come from truly heart-felt prayer.    Aged gouda looks dry and hard, but it’s so tasty and delicious — like Hannah’s child, it was something worth waiting for.

Abigail: Midnight Moon from Cypress Grove
How do you not choose a cheese called “Midnight Moon” for the prophetess who sees the future, even if she is just following the obvious signs?

Hulda: Mitica Raw Goat from Murcia Curado
Strong, simple, clear and biting.  That feels like the lesson of Hulda

Esther: Ash-coated Chèvre 
Esther was hidden away until it was time for her to be revealed.


Share your thoughts!

Passover Menu 5771

The theme for my 5771 seder was “Oasis at the Elim.”  I had written about this concept a couple of years back, but had gone in a different direction that year.  This year, I finally decided to do a menu with the “oasis” theme.

I hope this inspires your Pesach menu planning!



Charoset Sampler

Apple & Walnut, Ashkenazi-style

Date & Fig Sephardic-style

Fig & Port Wine


Avocado Soup with Herbs, Slivered Radishes, and Pistachios

Main Course

Chicken Tagine with Apricots & Spiced Pine Nuts

Oven Roasted Asparagus with Olives & Almonds

Herbed Quinoa


Oranges with Pomegranate Molasses



Coffee, Tea, Wine, Sparkling Water

Part IV – Adar I | Elements of Embodied Judaism

Ether - Photo by Kieran Huggins. Used by Creative Commons Attributions Permissions.
Ether – Photo by Kieran Huggins. Used by Creative Commons Attributions Permissions.

I started this series in  January 2010, with an Introduction to Embodied Judaism and  “ Part I: Elements.”   In the fall of 2010, I picked it back up in earnest with the first of four planned seasonal guides,  Part II – Autumn and Part III – Winter.  I started writing these in a fortuitous year, because it is a leap year.  We don’t move straight from Winter to Spring in leap years — we have a pause, a moment of liminal space, a moment to explore the element of Aether/Void.

Adar I, in a leap year, is the moment where the element of Aether/Void comes to the forefront.  Truthfully, this fifth element — like all elements is always present.  It is the element that transmits all other things.    While the other four elements are well founded in Jewish tradition, you may be asking if Aether is really Jewish.

I don’t know.

Continue reading “Part IV – Adar I | Elements of Embodied Judaism”

5770 Passover Menu

Not a thrilling theme for this year, but some good food none the less.  Here’s the menu for my 5770 seder:



Homemade Gefilte Fish


Fresh Market Salad


Amy’s Famous Brisket

Cumin Flavored Meatballs with Onion Jam



Ashkenazic Charoset

Sephardic Algerian-style Charoset

Herbed Quinoa

Lemon Cucumber Salad

Apple Banana Matzah Kugel


Oranges with Pomegranate Molasses

Caramel Matzah Crunch

Passover 5769 Menu

Passover menu planning is always a fun experience for me.  I just love food and creating a menu that enhances the spiritual experience of the seder is a great exercise.  I like to try a few new things every year, but also mix in a few fan favorites.  This year I’m bringing back the charoset sampler, but the rest of the menu is new.  I hope this menu works well the with the latest version of the Peeling a Pomegranate Haggadah (shameless plug, I know).

Below you’ll find my final menu with links to either the recipe, if I found it online, or the book it can be found in.  As I have a freezer full of local beef,  I opted to serve meat this year.  Be sure to see my 5768 menu, if you are looking for a vegetarian Passover menu.  I always try to serve a few good Kosher wines, just to prove to the skeptics that they exist.  I discovered a new winery this year: Yogev. The store had a tasting, and I bought two bottles.  They are both blends. The Shiraz blend is a smoky flavor which made me think it would go well with a mushroom dish (which I’m not making) and the Merlot blend is a nice spicy wine -which is exactly the opposite of what I would have thought.  I’m not great at wine-pairing, so I hope these and whatever my guests bring will go well with the food.

5769 Passover Menu
Menu Card template (doc)

Continue reading “Passover 5769 Menu”