Scottish Council of Jewish Communites
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

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Scottish Council of Jewish Communities
Representing, connecting, and supporting Jewish people in Scotland

A Guide to 'JOES Boxes'
'Jewish Objects for Education in Scotland'



Seder Plate

The Seder plate is used at the festival of Pesach (Passover), which lasts 7 or 8 days, in the spring, usually in April. Pesach commemorates the Exodus from Egypt when the Jewish people, who had been enslaved by Pharaoh, escaped, and crossed the Red Sea into the desert. During the whole week, we only eat matzah (unleavened flat bread) and all fermented grain products, such as bread or beer, are prohibited, in order to remember the hurry in which the Jewish people left Egypt, with no time to let their bread rise.

On the first two nights of Pesach, Jewish people attend a Seder (meaning “order” because there is a standard sequence), a special meal that includes the telling of the exodus story using special foods to dramatise aspects of the story. At different parts of the ceremony we drink four cups of wine or grape juice, and three pieces of matzah.

The Seder plate is used to present the various foods used to represent and commemorate different aspects of the exodus story. The plate will have separate segments that contain the following foods:

Maror: a bitter herb, often horseradish, to represent the bitterness of slavery.

Karpas: a green herb, often parsley, which represents springtime. It is dipped in ...

Salt water, which represents the tears of the slaves.

Charoset: a paste of chopped apples, dates, raisins, and grape juice (recipes vary between families, countries, traditions etc!) to represent the mortar used by the slaves.

Bone: a small meat bone representing the lamb sacrificed by the Jews in Egypt for their last meal before the Exodus.

Egg: a burnt egg representing the sacrifice that was offered at the Temple at Passover, and also, because an egg is round, a general symbol of renewal.


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