Passover: Our Stories

Posted by: JCC Staff on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 12:00:00 pm

Passover is a special time of the year filled with matzah, family traditions, matzah, favorite recipes, memories, and did we mention - matzah? Your JCC staff have their own memories and favorites, so we thought we'd share a few. 

Alissa Levey Baugh, ECD Director of Curriculum & Creative Experiences
AlissaAlissa is pictured (2nd from right) with her son, daughter-in-law, and cousin at the 2017 Main Event. Alissa's son made the gefilte fish this year.

One of my favorite Passover foods was always gefilte fish. My grandfather made it from scratch when I was too young to help. As a young adult, I had the opportunity to spend the day with a family friend  and to help make gefilte fish. My mother made a modified version of my grandfather's recipe which was delicious. Over 20 years ago, I became a vegetarian and gefilte fish was no longer part of my diet, one thing that I truly missed!  When I found this recipe for mock gefilte fish, I gave it a try and have been making it every year. Serving it with fresh made horseradish is a must!
From the Passover Section of the Jewish Vegetarian Cooking by Rose Friedman
Vegetarian Gefilte FishIngredients:
  • 3 medium Potatoes, peeled              
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped             
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 large Aubergine/eggplant                  
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced/crushed
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and paprika
  • matzo meal as required
  1. Boil or steam the potatoes until they are tender, then put them to one side.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425F/220C/gas mark 7
  3. Fry the onions in a little of the oil until they have turned a dark, golden brown colour.
  4. Top and tail the aubergine/eggplant, slice it in half lengthwise, sprinkle the flesh with oil and place them on a greased baking sheet, flesh sides down. Prick the skin in a few places with a fork.
  5. Bake the aubergine/eggplant in a preheated oven until the skin starts to shrivel and the flesh is soft (about 20-30 minutes). Scoop out the flesh when it has cooked. Turn the oven down to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.
  6. Mash the potatoes, add the cooked onion, the aubergine/eggplant flesh, garlic, parsley, season to taste with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and paprika, then mix in sufficient matzo meal to make a firm [but not hard] consistency.
  7. Wet your hands and shape tablespoonful of the mixture into patties. Put the patties on oiled baking sheets and sprinkle each one with a little oil. (I form the mixture to look more like gefilte fish balls.)
  8. Bake them in the oven for 30 minutes until they are golden brown.
  9. Serve them hot or cold with salads and horseradish (Chrain).

Sally Scharff, Member Services

SallyA favorite memory: I always enjoyed the huge family seders that we had when my children were young. I’ll never forget the year that my son was 2 and my daughter was 1; my mother-in-law bought Matthew a white suit and I had an adorable pink dress for Sheena. While I was putting my makeup on, Matthew found my red lipstick and colored his sister’s dress!
As for food, I miss my oatmeal breakfast during Passover but this healthy version of Charosets is just as good! Charosets is a mixture of apples, nuts, and wine, which resembles the brick and mortar made by the Jews when they were slaves under Pharoah.
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • A few dried apricots, cranberries, dates, and prunes
  • A splash of grape juice
  • Add a sprinkle of cloves, nutmeg, and ginger, and lots of cinnamon
  • Stevia to taste
  • Dried coconut
  • Walnuts, cashews, and almonds
Chop the apples and dried fruit into bite-size pieces, add spices, grape juice, and top with coconut and nuts. Refrigerate 24 hours before eating.
Enjoy some of Sally's other Passover meal faves - and they're healthy, too! 
Amy Goldstein, Director of Corporate & Community Engagement
AmyMy favorite memories include searching for the Afikomen - always so much fun! Also, opening the door and waiting for Elijah to mysteriously drink the glass of wine set out for him on the table, and singing silly songs about plagues.
Betsy Cowan, Chief Programs Officer/Vice President
BetsyAs a young child, my favorite “Jewish” books were What the Moon Brought (my mother’s linen bound edition) and The Adventures of K’tonton, both by Sadie Rose Weilerstein. These children, twin girls in the first and a thumb sized boy in the second, had adventures and sometimes misadventures set in the different Jewish holidays. Ruth and Debbie had Passover dishes that were blue and white delft, so when the time came to replace our family’s set, my mother found one that closely resembled the illustrations in the book, and I would look forward to unpacking them every year, just as the girls did in the story. I still credit these two books as giving me an appreciation for the Jewish holidays that I still value….
One year at our seder, we had a guest who used an electric wheelchair and our house was at the top of a long, steep driveway. The chair was able to climb up the driveway slope slowly, but his support facilitator was worried that the angle was too steep for a safe descent. Another of our guests, a volunteer paramedic, had rappelling ropes in her truck, and she jerry-rigged a pulley to lower him down!
Ingrid Eastman, Accounting
IngridThese are a few of my family's favorite dishes for Passover. Enjoy!
Passover Cheesecake
For the Crust (Pre-heat oven to 350)
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed almond or coconut macaroons 
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine melted
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Pat down in spring form pan.

Cheesecake filling

  • 6 3oz packages cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients together and pour into spring form pan. Bake on the middle shelf of your oven for 40 minutes. Turn off oven and leave in for one hour. DO NOT OPEN OVEN! When completely cool, can be frozen.

Squash Kugel

  • 6 or 7 yellow squash, washed & grated
  • Large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons matzo meal
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • Additional matzo meal
  • pats of butter or margarine

Pre-heat oven to 325. Brown chopped onion in about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Mix squash and onion with 2 tablespoons of matzo meal, salt, & pepper. Beat 3 whole eggs. Mix all ingredients. Put in greased pie pan, and bake at 325 until done. When almost done, sprinkle with matzo meal and dot with butter.

Beet Borscht

  • 1 bunch beets, cut into cubes
  • 1 med. onion
  • lemon to taste
  • sugar to taste
  • salt
  • 2 or 3 egg yolks

Cook beats and chopped medium onion on low heat until tender, half covered. When beets are tender, add lemon & sugar to taste. Add salt. Beat 2 or 3 egg yolks. Start adding hot beet juice gradually, then add beets. Serve cold.

Mama's Matzo Balls

  • 1 cup chicken fat or vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/3 cup hot chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg or ginger (or use 1/2 teasp. each)
  • 2 small cups matzo meal

Cool to lukewarm a cupful of fat and then beat eggs with egg beater. Add other ingredients, then roll into balls the size of walnuts. Cover with thin cloth and set in cool place from 1 to 24 hours. You can freeze before you cook! When ready to use, defrost then drop in boiling salt water, cover and boil for 20 minutes or longer. Then add to soup.


This is a great post! We wrote a similar guide to a happy passover in 2018
Posted by: Grace Nakimura on March 30, 2018 at 12:29:50 pm

Leave a Comment

All comments will be reviewed for posting consideration.
* required
Back to top