What goes on a Seder plate?

The following items are part of a Seder plate, according to a Passover 101 workshop handout from Rabbi Scott Sperling of Beth El Congregation in Winchester:

Karpas: Greens. This is usually parsley, to represent the spring season, which “parallels the rebirth of the Jewish people as they escaped bondage in Egypt.”

Haroset: Clay. This is is made from a combination of groundnuts, wine and fruit to look like the cement Jewish slaves used to build their homes in Egypt.

Maror. Bitter. This is typically horseradish or Romaine lettuce, to symbolize the bitter experience the Jews had in Egypt.

Beitzah: Egg. This is typically a hard-boiled egg, to symbolize the second sacrifice that was offered in the temple in Jerusalem on every pilgrimage festival, which are Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot.

Zeroa: Shank bone. This is a lamb shank bone, to represent the lamb the Jews had to sacrifice to avoid the 10th plague God caused in Egypt. The 10th plague resulted in the death of all first born children in Egypt. In order to avoid that, the Jews slaughtered the lamb and spread its blood on their doorposts. Rabbi Scott Sperling, of Beth El Congregation in Winchester, said vegetarians could use tofu, sugar cane or a turnip as a substitute.

Hazaret: Horseradish. Some Seder plates have another spot for a bitter herb to make a Hillel sandwich, which is a combination of the bitters and haroset sandwiched between the hard matzo bread.

Orange: Literally an orange. The orange is a new additions and is believed to have originated from a when a rabbi spoke against allowing women to serve as rabbis, saying “a woman in the clergy makes as much sense as an orange at the Seder table.” Sperling said the orange represents inclusiveness, particularly for women and gays and lesbians.

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