Archive for Passover

Preparing for Passover, Beyond the Brisket

JaneChaibraceletFrom Jane Moritz, Chief Maven Officer, Challah Connection:
Now that our 3 sons are out of the house, my husband and I are cleaning out and packing up our house as we get ready for our next home in our next life phase. With the dumpster filling up outside our garage and my no-tchotcke-left-unturned focus, I was particularly moved when I received a recent email, “From Purim to Passover,” about preparing for Passover. The author, Nigel Savage, President of Hazon beautifully discusses prep that is well beyond the brisket. I wanted to share it with you and whether you are Jewish or not or religious or not, these are thoughts that we can all make use of. Here is an excerpt from his email:

From Nigel Savage, President,
nigel-savage“I think of the period from seder night until Shavuot as a sustained reflection on the nature of freedom, and in particular about traveling from freedom from (want, oppression, slavery) to freedom to (make a difference in the world, exercise choice, restrain oneself in certain ways.)
The period from Purim to seder night is thus preparation for this. It’s the work we need to do to be able to start to leave our own enslavement and to think freshly and confidently about our freedom.

And the tradition’s great insight – hidden in plain view – is that a significant part of that process is about getting rid of stuff.
Certainly this involves removing chametz, traditionally understood – bread and beer and whisky and other fermented products. But the deeper gift of this period – certainly in our time, certainly in the west – is the deeper notion that we have too much stuff of all sorts, and that if we truly want to be free – if we want even to begin to imagine our true freedom – the road to doing so involves getting rid not only of literal chametz but of existential chametz – the superfluities that hinder our freedom.

So in our household we do kasher our home in the traditional sense; we keep a fairly strictly kosher kitchen and that is important to us. But as well as the traditional koshering, we take the opportunity to try to get rid of stuff. We take stuff to goodwill, or to the office. Give things to friends. Throw things out.” For Nigel’s complete letter, click here.

Happy Passover!

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Help Your College Student Celebrate Passover

JoinouremaillistSpring Break is early this year. Or maybe Passover is late. Either way, the eight-day holiday begins at sundown on Friday, April 3, about a week after classes resume. If your kids attend an out-of-town college, they may be celebrating without you.

SederEssLGCampus Hillel programs and other Jewish organizations do a good job of organizing at least one seder for students. You may want to do a little research in advance, to be sure your student signs up. If your kid tends to procrastinate, he or she might wake up on April 3 and realize that there is no place reserved at the seder table. And college students seldom have the facilities, ingredients – or frankly, the skills – to create a last-minute seder on their own.

PassMealLGHere’s one way to be sure that your college kids have a positive Passover experience at school: Send a seder in a box from Challah Connection. They get it all: the Haggadah, matzah, grape juice, dessert – even a seder plate. Everything is kosher for Passover, so they’ll have everything to make a seder, except the festive meal.

But wait! Challah Connection has the meal too! Order by March 20, and we’ll send your college student a complete Passover dinner on April 2, to feed four to six people: matzo ball soup, roast chicken, brisket, potato pancakes and tzimmes, a stew of sweet potatoes and carrots. This marvelous meal is an amazing treat for students – and you can order it for yourself, too! That way, you won’t have to spend all day in the kitchen before your guests arrive.

CandyMacPlatterLGIf your kids are anything like mine, they are eager to dig into those traditional Passover foods, as they ask the time-honored fifth question of the seder: “When do we eat?” They’ll stuff themselves, but they always seem to make room for those amazing desserts! Be sure your Passover order includes a platter of Pesadich cookies, candy and macaroons, or decadent, chocolate-covered matzo, to make their seder experience complete.

Visit and browse our selection of kosher for Passover gift baskets, for your students, your family and for yourself. Join our mailing list, and receive holiday reminders, delicious recipes, and special, money-saving offers. Happy Passover!

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Passover Hostess Gifts Made Easy

JoinouremaillistSo, you’re invited for the seder! Mazel tov! Someone else will do the cooking and the worrying. You just have to show up. Right? Well, yes, but it’s so nice to bring a gift for your host or hostess.

So, nu? What should you bring? Passover hostess gifts can be tricky. If your hosts observe the holiday traditions, they have been working very hard to clean the house and banish all traces of chametz (leavening.) You may love to cook or bake, but they may not be in a position to accept home-prepared food items. Flowers are nice, but the first seder night is on Shabbat* so the Sabbath-observant hosts may not want to handle cut flowers after the sun goes down.

A thoughtful seder guest does have some nice, worry-free options when it comes to Passover hostess gifts:

MoradDuoLgKosher wine is a welcome seder gift, as guests are obliged to drink four cups of wine during the ritual meal. Don’t worry, you are not limited to the syrupy-sweet Concord wines of your grandparents’ generation. Many stores now carry fine kosher wines to please the most sophisticated palate. Choices include Israeli imports, derived from Merlot, Cabernet, Chardonnay and other popular varietals. Choose a white wine to complement the gefilte fish, and a red to go with the brisket. Be sure the wine is clearly labeled “kosher for Passover.”

Passover Cookie Platter, Challah ConnectionPassover desserts also make a lovely gift. Never in the 3,000-plus years of Passover observance has a single Jew complained that there were too many desserts. Bring or send a basket of their favorites: rainbow cookies, macaroons, chocolate-covered matzah, seven-layer cake, candy, nuts, fruit and more. You’ll be invited back every year!

Passover Judaica items are the way to go, if you prefer to give a gift that will last beyond one evening, Challah Connection offers a beautiful selection of Passover Judaica. Trivets from Israel can be a beautiful addition to the seder table, and a decorative match box cover will remind them of you every time they light Shabbos and yontif candles, all year round. If the seder guests include young children, some Passover games and books will keep them engaged and make the seder a fun, educational experience for the kids and their parents.

Challah Connection will deliver your gift directly to the hosts’ home, so you don’t have to schlep. And every Passover gift basket at is certified kosher for Passover. You can share the joy of the holiday and experience the freedom of knowing your gift will surprise and delight your hosts.

Visit and order your hostess gift. Then buy a gift for yourself, too. Enjoy!

* Passover begins on Friday evening, April 3 in the year 5775 (also known as 2015.)

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A More Beautiful Passover Seder

JoinouremaillistThis year, Passover begins at sundown on Friday, April 3. Whether you are a host or a guest, chances are you’ll be attending a seder, as Passover is the most widely celebrated of all Jewish holidays.

The seder is so much more than a meal. It is an experience that engages all of our senses: taste is primary, but we also hear the ancient story and our favorite holiday songs, smell the horseradish, and lean on a pillow, as we raise up the matzah and seder plate for all to see.

MDSPLargeThere is a principle of Judaism called “hiddur mitzvah,” beautifying or enhancing the mitzvah. When we perform a mitzvah — a religious obligation – it is not meant to be unpleasant. We strive to enhance the experience, and to make it even more memorable in every way. For example, Jewish tradition tells us to refrain from eating matzah until the seder itself, so that we can savor that first taste — which is much improved when you haven’t eaten it in a long time!

One way to add to the beauty and enjoyment of the holiday is to purchase Passover Judaica – ritual objects and books that are unique to the holiday – and use them in your seder, this year and every year.

If you are hosting a seder this year, you will want to have a beautiful seder plate. If you have a seder plate, think about adding a special matzah plate and a matzah cover, Elijah’s cup, even a new serving bowl or decorative utensil, can add to your experience.

This could be the year to replace your mismatched Haggadah “set” that you picked up for free at the local supermarket, and finally buy a beautifully illustrated Haggadah – or a whole set – to use and cherish at this seder and all the ones to come.

HamTrivLGIf you already have a full complement of Passover Judaica, Challah Connection offers a beautiful selection of Judaica items that are suitable for any occasion. Trivets from Israel can be a beautiful addition to the seder table, and a decorative match box cover will enhance your enjoyment of Shabbos and yontif candle lighting, all year round.

If you will be a guest at the home of friends or family, consider bringing or sending a beautiful Judaica item as a hostess gift. Challah Connection will deliver your gift directly to the hosts’ home, so you don’t have to schlep.

Visit and browse our Judaica items, as well as our marvelous selection of kosher for Passover gift baskets. And have a beautiful Passover!

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Tu B’Shevat, Purim and Passover–Reminders of What’s Important

Winter and early Spring bring lovely Jewish holidays that are perfect opportunities to remind us of important lessons: appreciation of NATURE and FREEDOM. These holidays are also wonderful occasions to send kosher holiday gift baskets to friends and family.

Tu B'Shevat Fruit Basket, Challah ConnectionKnown as Jewish Arbor Day or New Year for the trees,  Tu B’Shevat is a day to honor trees, nature and the earth. On Tu B’Shevat—celebrated on the 15th day of the Hebrew month Shevat—we celebrate nature and specifically trees and their bounty. On this day we put environmentalism on the front burner as we appreciate the beauty that trees bring to our lives and their fruits. On Tu B’Shevat, it is tradition to eat foods grown on trees or in the earth. Naturally, fruit and nuts make wonderful kosher gifts and Challah Connection offers many fresh fruit baskets to choose from. Carob as well as foods considered Israel’s 7 species, grapes, olives, dates, figs and pomegranates, are also popular. Tu B’Shevat is on February 4, 2015.

Purim is a celebration of freedom, strength of women and the ability to stand up to adversity. Purim tells the story of the wicked Haman who plotted to kill Jews and the beautiful Jewish Queen Esther

Pure Essentials, Challah Connection

who schemed and ultimately saved the Jews. We are instructed to read the Megilla (Purim story) every year at Purim to remind us of the important Purim events and lessons. To help bring it to life for young children to adults, we eat hamentashen—the triangle cookie—that represents Haman’s triangle shaped hat . It is considered a mitzvah to share food gifts, shalach manot, with friends, family and the poor. Our Purim Gift Basket department is full of many Purim gift choices and Shalach Manot. Purim is on March 4.

Following Purim by just a month is Passover, which puts the lesson of slavery vs freedom on the largest scale of the year. Passover, which is 8 days and begins on April 3 with the first seder, tells the story of the Jews’ life as slaves in Egypt followed by their exodus out of the desert to freedom. The Passover Cookie Platter, Challah Connectionseder is filled with symbolism from the way we sit to the foods we eat. The purpose of the seder is to “never forget” and to hold our freedom dear to us. The best known Passover food tradition is matzo, which reminds us of the unleavened bread that our forefathers and mothers ate because they did not have time to wait for their bread to rise. Passover gifts abound as Passover is a wonderful, springtime holiday that is truly a time to share. Visit our Passover Gift Basket department for the finest Passover gift giving. Passover begins on April 3.

If you need help making your selections, we are always here to help:

TOLL FREE: 866-242-5524
CHAT: On our website

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Finding Modern Meaning in the Passover Story

We tell the Passover story every year about us being slaves in Egypt and the hardships we endured. How can we really relate it to our modern lives? When I was in Israel, I visited “Women of the Waters”—the most beautiful mikvah I have ever seen, in Tzfat. On their website,, they shared Passover wisdom this way:

“The Kabbalah wisdom teaches us that anything holding us back, that enslaves us and blocks our unique divine light from shining, is called Egypt – (in Hebrew Egypt is called Mitzrayim, the narrow straits). Yes, whatever it is that distorts our clarity of vision and purpose, preventing us from feeling our true essence aligned, things like anger, sadness, jealousy, dependency on peer approval, impulsivity, resentment, laziness, desire to control, dishonesty, materialism etc. are all our modern day “enslavement”, these are all binding and imprisoning us from accessing our true selves and our personal miracles.”

How do we enslave ourselves by narrow minded thinking, prejudice, etc.? With Passover beginning in less than a week, now is a great time to think about your vision of your most free, creative, well “aligned” self.

Is there someone who helps bring out your best self? Why not send a Passover gift basket to that special friend? Feeling distanced from family, emotionally or physically? Vow to reconnect this spring, or even “attend” the family seder from a distance using Skype. Feeling enslaved by technology? Make Passover an excuse for a technology holiday – use the land line only until Passover ends. Looking for a closer connection to your community? Invite someone new to your seder, or offer a seat at the table to someone who just moved to town. If you live in LA, let me know – I know someone who moved there just last week and would really love and appreciate an invitation to seder!

In reaching out to others, we sometimes find more of ourselves. Think about how to navigate your way out of the narrow places, widen your horizons, and expand your expression of your true self during this time of wonder.


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Seder Plate 101

The Elements of the Seder Plate

seder platePreparing the seder plate can get to be a little rote – we’ve done it so many times before. We don’t think too hard about it, we just follow the printed directions on our seder plates! But in case you need a little reminder of why we’re really doing “all this,” as it says in the Hagadah, here’s a brief lesson in the elements of the seder plate.

1. Three matzot.

They’re actually meant to symbolize the three castes of Jews: Priests, Levites, and Israelites. Then there’s also the three measures of fine flour Abraham told Sarah to use for the matzo. Finally, Abraham and Sarah were visited by three angels. So three is a big Passover number!

2. The lamb shank.

It represents the sacrifice that was made the night before the Jews left Egypt. After that, a sacrifice was made every year in the Holy Temple on the afternoon before Passover. Can you imagine that sacrifices were made in the temple? Hard to conceive of today!

Passover seder plate3. The egg.

It symbolizes the holiday offerings people brought to the Holy Temple. It’s also a symbol of life and renewal, of course.

4. The bitter herbs (maror).

Our forefathers were plenty bitter during their enslavement in Egypt, and this is our reminder of their suffering.

5. The Charoset.

This delicious treat is meant to symbolize the mortar and bricks the Jews made during slavery in Egypt. Apples, nuts and wine make a tasty reddish “mortar” – good thing there was no concrete back then or who knows what charoset would have to be made of!

6. The root vegetable.

We place a non-bitter root vegetable on the seder plate to remind ourselves of the arduous work the Jews did as slaves.

eclectic Passover seder plate7. The lettuce.

It’s actually also a reminder of the bitterness of slavery. When Pharaoh first deceived the Jews into working for him, he was not so harsh. But eventually the Jews became entrapped in cruel slavery. The symbolism is that the lettuce leaves are sweet, but if you left Romaine lettuce to grow, its stem would eventually turn bitter and hard. So remember, use Romaine, not iceberg!

If you’re invited to be a guest at the seder this year and you need a Kosher for Passover gift, a seder plate is a wonderful Passover hostess gift that will always be appreciated. Many families put more than one seder plate on the table, especially when there’s a large group. So bring along one of our beautiful seder plates, or add to your own collection!

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Win a Passover Gift with our Kosher for Passover Dessert Contest!

kosher for Passover cake

With so many unique and meaningful traditional foods that must be prepared for the seder (like charoset and gefilte fish), kosher for Passover desserts are one part of the seder menu where we can get a little more creative. We want to know what you’ve tried in your own kitchen that’s been a hit Passover dessert!

Enter our Passover Dessert Contest!

Challah Connection is giving three wonderful kosher for Passover gifts to the lucky winners submitting our favorite, most creative Passover dessert recipes.

Have you made your own gourmet version of chocolate covered matzo perhaps? Maybe you’ve kicked that recipe for Passover sponge cake up a notch or two, or created your own version of the traditional Passover raspberry roll cake? Please share your success!

Win a Passover Gift as a Prize, or Send It to your Seder Hostess!

RULES: By Monday, March 18th, post your kosher for Passover dessert recipe in the comments section of our blog or email it to along with any other interesting facts related to your recipe. If emailing, include subject line: “Passover Dessert 2013.” Recipes will be judged based on creativity, originality and ease of use. Winners will be announced on March 20th. If you are a winner, we will email to notify you and at that time get your name and shipping address so we can send your prize.

First Prize:

Our delicious Savory Nosh Basket for Passover, a value of $119.99.




passover macaroons gift basket

Second Prize:

A sweet Passover Candy and Macaroon Platter, a value of $39.99.





Passover cookies gift basket

Third Prize

Schick’s Assorted Kosher for Passover Cookies, a value of $14.99.


Prizes will be shipped to you or a recipient that you choose (US shipping only).

We can’t wait to choose and share some wonderful, creative kosher for Passover dessert recipes with you.


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Select a Unique Passover Gift Basket that Lasts

Whether you’re an invited guest for a Passover seder or you want to spread the joy of Passover’s spirit of freedom, a beautiful kosher for Passover gift basket will mark the holiday that heralds springtime! We have a wonderful selection of gift baskets for Passover brimming with delicious treats and staples for the holiday: chocolate covered matzo, Barton’s almond kisses, and Passover nut platters among them. Maybe this year you want to send a special piece of Judaica they’ll use and appreciate now and for many years to come?

Send some Passover Judaica as a Hostess Gift

Passover PlateThis is truly a piece of Passover Judaica to treasure: A beautifully painted Passover tambourine celebrating Miriam’s role in the exodus. This version of Miriam’s timbrel has vivid, lively colors and is a functional tambourine that makes a wonderful, musical addition to your seder. Created by artist Betsy Teutsch, this tambourine is a  professional Remo percussion instrument that can be hung in the home and taken out for joyous celebrations! BUY $97.99

Miriam’s Cup for your Seder Table

Miriam's cup   Send your daughter, your mother, or the wonderful hostess who invited you to the seder a beautiful Miriam’s Cup to grace the festival meal’s table! Not only is it the perfect hostess gift for Passover, but it’s wonderful for any girl celebrating her bat mitzvah this year, or that special young woman starting a household of her own. BUY $45.00

A Special Elijah’s Cup

elijah's cup passover This silver plated Elijah’s cup is wrapped with decorative wire and small colorful beads. Why not make it a Passover gift for your grandson, your son, or that special nephew? Who says it’s only the hostess who should get a hostess gift for Passover, anyway? Bring one to your seder host!  BUY $47.00

A Unique Haggadah as a Passover Gift

unique Passover haggadahThis is a unique Passover gift anyone would love to receive. The Hamsa is thought to bring good luck and protection. Here, it becomes the backdrop of a beautifully different Haggadah. Send this unusual Passover gift and make an artful impression that will inspire and extraordinary seder. BUY $19.99

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Passover: Create more Freedom at your Seder

One of my friends’ fathers jokes every year that “Passover is a holiday where we celebrate freedom by enslaving women in the kitchen.” Okay, so he’s got a point! But isn’t all this preparation for the seder an example of true freedom, when you really think about it? Are we really “enslaved” in the kitchen, or there by choice?

It may not always feel like “freedom” when you’re busy in the kitchen for days on end making matzo balls and chicken soup and polishing up your seder plates. But it’s also a labor of true love: love of family, love of tradition, and yes – love of freedom.

Of course, on the flip side, we are also free to choose not to do certain things on Passover! Preparation for Passover seders and the week of keeping kosher for Passover can be quite tiring. Here are some ways to lighten the load of seder preparation. Or maybe you’re going to a seder instead of hosting this year? Bring them one of our beautiful kosher for Passover gift baskets and be their favorite guest.

Let Us Deliver the Passover Dessert

kosher for passover desserts

You’ve arranged for all the other parts of the seder meal – why not leave dessert to us?

This Kosher for Passover gift basket includes a box of Matzel Toff – matzoh covered with delicious toffee and enrobed in chocolate. Plus the nostalgic Barton’s chocolate Almond Kiss candies, Seder Maven Passover macaroons, assorted cookies, and dried apricots. There’s even herbal tea and honey to top it all off after a fulling meal and scrumptious dessert. BUY NOW $179.99

kids activities for Passover

Keep the Kids Entertained

You can’t be watching them when you’re trying to serve the matzo ball soup, but you can give them some activities to keep them occupied!

Send a Passover gift basket for kids packed with holiday fun. A coloring book, crayons, masks and stickers – what more could they need? Keep the Lollycones hidden till it’s just about dessert time, then break them out while hot coffee and tea is being served – the kids are bound to stay put and stay safe! BUY NOW $49.99.

Passover seder hostess gift

Arrive Prepared with a Kosher for Passover Hostess Gift

Invited to a seder this year? Not sure what to bring as a hostess gift that’s kosher for Passover and delicious? We’ve got you covered, and you don’t even have to bake anything.

Bring some Renanati Cabernet Sauvignon in an elegant gift box and tin of Barton’s Almond Kisses, cello wrapped together and tied with colorful raffia. It’s a simple, elegant hostess gift for anyone hosting a Passover seder. BUY NOW – SPECIAL PRICE! $62.50

Share Ideas for a Simpler Seder

What are some things you do to prepare for Passover that others could learn from? Please do share your ideas here, so we can all learn some ways to make a seder without feeling like we’re “enslaved in the kitchen.”

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