A Week Without Bread: Keeping Kosher for Passover

Matzo ball soup!


I’m sure you’ve all noticed the new table in the Peirce servery that’s filled with boxes of matzah, weird cereal, macaroons, and dishes such as matzo ball soup and matzah pizza.  But what is it all for?  This week is Passover, the Jewish holiday celebrating the ancient Jews’ exodus from Egypt.  In honor of this occasion, Jews host a Seder (which was held last Friday evening, April 3rd), a long meal in which we recite the story of the Jews leaving Egypt.  Following this Seder, Jews typically refrain from eating anything with leavening for seven days, and this is called keeping kosher for Passover.  This means no bread, cakes, crackers, most cereals—basically anything that is made of wheat, rye, oats, barley, or spelt, that has been able to rise in the oven or become fermented.  It is quite the challenge, and I was a bit worried about keeping kosher for Passover while being in a new place, but Kenyon has certainly stepped up to the task.        

Not getting to do Seder with my family was definitely the hardest part of being at Kenyon during Passover, but Hillel hosted a lovely Seder at the Parish House that was packed full of Jews and non-Jews alike.  Good food was prepared, including a kosher for Passover chocolate cake for dessert, and the Jewish chaplain led the service part of the meal. 

The next day, I was nervous about whether they would have any food that I could eat for breakfast in Peirce, but Peirce has come up with some cool kosher for Passover recipes that it has put out on the aforementioned Kosher for Passover table.  There is cereal that’s kosher for Passover as well as matzah brei for breakfast, which is a dish made of matzah fried with eggs.  Of course Peirce provides matzah, the typical Passover food of unleavened bread, on which you can put peanut butter, jelly, cream cheese, butter, deli meats, or anything else to make a good sandwich.  Peirce also makes matzo ball soup, a traditional soup kind of like chicken noodle soup, but instead of the noodles one puts in matzo balls—dumplings made of matzah meal, eggs, and water.  Peirce has also made matzah pizzas: matzah with tomato sauce and melted cheese baked on it, which is so good.  For dessert we can eat the macaroons Peirce has put out, a typical Passover dessert, along with kosher for Passover cookies.

Hillel has also been helpful in keeping kosher for Passover.  They have lots of leftovers from the Seder in their fridge that I was able to eat for some of my meals, as well as ingredients for making your own matzah pizza or sandwich, chips, and kosher for Passover desserts.  Thanks to the efforts of Peirce and Hillel, it hasn’t proved to be the challenge I thought it would be to keep kosher for Passover at Kenyon, and I was able to enjoy the holiday despite being away from home.