A sweet twist on Passover Seder

Sunday, April 4, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:31 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Chocolate milk and an array of chocolate-laden treats were savored Wednesday night by members of MU’s Jewish community at the Hillel Center’s eighth annual celebration of “Chocolate Seder.”

“The best thing about the Chocolate Seder is the ability to celebrate Passover in a different way — a nontraditional way ... (that) makes the observance come to life,” said Cipporah Yaghoubian, an MU senior who was been active in the Hillel Center, the Jewish student center, for four years.

Chocolate Seder is a twist on Passover Seder, a two-day celebration that begins on Tuesday and transitions into Passover — an eight-day exultation of freedom, said Kerry Hollander, director of the Hillel Center.

During Passover Seder, Jews gather to commemorate God’s deliverance of the Jews from Egypt through feast, fellowship and reflection on the past, according to Chabad Online Network.

Although chocolate is not an integral part of Passover Seder, “every type of food served at Passover Seder symbolizes an aspect of the Jews enslaved in Egypt,” said Yaghoubian.

Parsley, for instance, is dipped in salt water to serve as a reminder of the tears of the Jewish slaves, said Hollander. This symbol is mimicked in Chocolate Seder by dipping strawberries in melted chocolate.

The Hillel Center is preparing for Passover by thoroughly cleaning the kitchen, which involves emptying and cleaning all the drawers and either buying new dishes or dipping the old ones in boiling water, said Hollander.

This cleansing symbolizes “the actual, theoretical and philosophical new beginning of Judaism as a nation,” said Hollander. The holiday is also often marked by purchasing new clothes.

Yaghoubian said that although she loves the chocolate-covered matzah at Chocolate Seder, “This observance is more than that. It celebrates the idea that we became a freed people with the help” of God.

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