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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Greenberg

What Story Does Your Passover Plate Tell?

At dinner tables around the world, families will sit together to tell the story of how the Hebrew people were freed from slavery in Egypt. The dinner is guided by a Passover Haggadah and a Seder plate while families sing, ask questions, tell stories, and act out scenes as if they jumped back in time to Ancient Egypt themselves. In every generation, we should see ourselves as if we personally came out of Egypt.

Passover is all about story-telling.

Every Seder plate tells a story. Not only does it tell the story of Passover – the mass Exodus of Hebrew slaves from Egypt – but it can also tell a different kind of story, too. Stories of family, relationships, community, education, etc.

Here’s my family’s story.

I grew up visiting a lot of junk in my childhood. And now as an adult – I visit even more junk. But now – most of the time – I get to take it home with me. My family loves going to antique stores, thrift stores, rummage sales, flea markets – you name it. If there is junk for sale somewhere, you’ll more than likely find one of my family members there, too.

A few years ago my family came to visit. My husband and I had just moved to a neat little town and they came to visit us in our new home and explore. Of course, we hit up the largest antique store we could find. The town we moved to has a rich Jewish history. But nowadays, it feels like we’re the only Jewish family in the whole county. It’s very rare to find anything Jewish unless it’s the small half-filled end cap in Hobby Lobby displaying dusty Chanukah decorations that are at least a decade old. So you can imagine my surprise when I found this at the local antique store.

I was shocked. I thought this was the most beautiful and elegant Seder plate I had ever seen. And it was right in my very non-Jewish town of all places! The price was a little too steep for me, so I took a photo of it to remember what it looked like. I tried talking down the price with the owner (because I wouldn’t be Jewish if I didn’t) but he was immovable. We moved on and my family went home a few days later.

When my husband & I traveled up to Ohio to visit for Chanukah/Christmas a few months later, this Seder plate was the first thing I unwrapped! I was so confused! I was in Ohio… but I found this in Georgia! Here, my dad went back to the antique store before leaving town and bought it for me as a surprise. Whenever I see this Seder plate, I always think of my father and his loving-kindness toward me. The other plate I have was a gift for my daughter when I was pregnant. My daughter will be 7 months old for her first Pesach, so next year she will be the youngest in the room asking the questions during our family Seder!

Those are the other stories my seder plates tell.

What story does yours tell?

I asked a few friends from our community about their Seder plates and what stories they told. Like Chanukah Menorahs, Seder plates come in different styles and beautiful colors! Here’s what they shared with me:

The Pack Family’s Seder Plate

“My mother dove deeper into the Scripture and is now very invested in Messianic Jewish beliefs with us. Mom giving us this Seder plate really demonstrated her blessing the spiritual choices my husband and I made for ourselves, our children, and the future generations of our family.”

Andrea’s Seder Plate

“I LOVE these colors, they’re my favorite plates! I look forward to the years ahead when I can share the meaning of this special holiday with my grandchildren.”

The Feinbergs Seder Plate

“We bought this plate in Israel a year before our first baby was born, and we have used it ever since. For the last 15 years or so, it has served as our model/sample at our congregation’s interactive Seders. Everybody takes a paper plate and crayons to craft their own personal plate and then has to collect/prepare the elements so they have something to eat! You shave off some horseradish root, make your own salt water, prepare charoset “bricks” from scratch while Pharaoh torments you with a red licorice whip, etc. Then we recline on pillows on the floor as freed slaves while reenacting our history complete with many flying plagues. After the meal, we remember Yeshua’s Last Seder as we share the afikomen and drink the cup of wine. Chag sameach!

The Richman Family Children’s Seder Plate

“The reason I bought this Seder plate was to use it to teach my son Joel and future children the Pesach story. I love how it’s a childproof colorful plate that tells the story of Passover. Incorporated in the design are the plagues, the four questions & traditional song and the pictures are what drew me to it.”

Catherine’s Seder Plate

Growing up, we were not allowed to discuss with anyone our Sephardic heritage. Although my grandfather led a group of believing Jews from about 1920 until his death in 1969. We did everything quietly. It wasn’t until I married that my mom explained that her family was “hidden away.” A remnant of Jews expelled during the Inquisition. Persecuted by both Jews and Gentiles for embracing Yeshua, but keeping their Jewish Identity. Several years ago the Holy Spirit spoke to my Mom’s heart that it was time to come forward publicly. She began to teach in many churches about her heritage and faith. About 15 years ago I gave my Mom the plate pictured. It signified the journey that had come full circle. What had been covered for hundreds of years was finally shining brightly. She cried when she opened it. My grandma passed away last year, at 101 years old. She spoke Ladino as her primary language, as did my Mom growing up. Several of the younger folks in my family have taken up the challenge of saving the traditions and uniqueness of a lost culture. A culture hidden in the mountains of “New Spain” in the protection of the Sangre De Cristo range. Ironically, covered by the “Blood of Jesus.”

Kevin’s Seder Plate

“This Seder plate has been in my family since I was a kid. We used it for Passover every year. Then my Mom had it packed away for years and when I came to know the LORD, she gave it to me.”

The Gillespie Family’s Seder Plates

“Like many Christians whom the LORD has drawn to follow the Biblical traditions, our families were skeptical and sometimes antagonistic about our decision to celebrate Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection as part of our Passover celebration. No more Easter eggs, baskets or chocolate bunnies. A few years later, my sister briefly dated a Jewish man. When he learned we celebrated Passover he suggested they make a Seder plate for us in support. I love that my sister took the time and effort to paint the dish. Her boyfriend wrote the Hebrew. Even though we have to wash it by hand and have to be careful to not put food directly on the surface–as the finishes are not safe for food–it has such a special place in our hearts. Our celebrations of the Biblical feasts were seen in a positive, sweet way.”

The Tokajer’s Seder Plate

“My brother-in-law got this beautiful Seder plate for us while he was in Israel.”

Catherine’s Seder Plate

“For my birthday this year, I went with some friends to Kiln Time. We each picked out a plate and turned them into Seder plates 😁 I plan on keeping it as a family Seder plate for future generations.”

What story does your Seder plate tell? Post your photo below!

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