"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


Looking Ahead to Passover

Are you having a vegan seder this Passover? I'd love to compile accounts of vegan seders across the country and hear how they went. Did you have nonvegan guests who really learned from the experience? Did you supplement the typical hagaddah readings with your own commentary? Did you come up with the ultimate vegan alternative to the shankbone on your seder plate? After you have your seder, send an e-mail to mcroland@gmail.com with just a few sentences telling me how things went, and I'll compile the best ones in a blog post.

Here are some tips for Passover:
* Click here to read vegan Passover recipes from PETA and here for vegetarian Passover recipes from Jewish Vegetarians of North America.
* If you're going to a seder where you expect to be the only vegetarian or vegan there, talk to the host in advance and offer to bring a vegan dish with you. You'll guarantee that you'll have enough to eat, and you'll also get to expose people to meat-free eating.
* Read Deborah Wasserman's No Cholesterol Passover Recipes or Roberta Kalechofsky's The Vegetarian Pesach Cookbook.
* Take the opportunity to embrace raw foods.
* Be consistent with your meat-free ways 365 days a year: Find out why we are NOT compelled to eat meat at the seder.
* Use quinoa instead of other grains on Passover. According to Kashrut.com, "Quinoa seed (i.e. not flour, and not flakes) under the certification of Kosher Overseers is acceptable kfp without further checking. These products are sold under the brand names of Ancient Harvest and Trader Joe's. ed. note: Quinoa must be in closed boxes."
* Eat legumes and rice on Passover. (Note: This one's controversial, and I invite everyone to research this on their own before reaching the conclusion that I did.) Legumes and rice have historically been viewed as forbidden by Ashkenazis but kosher-for-Passover by Sephardim. In November 1997, Rabbi David Golinkin of the Rabbinical Assembly of Israel addressed the Ashkenazi tradition of avoiding legumes and rice on Passover and said, "In our opinion, it is permitted (and perhaps even obligatory) to eliminate this custom. It is in direct contradiction to an explicit decision in the Babylonian Talmud (Pesachim 114b) and is also in contradiction to the opinion of all the sages of the Mishna and Talmud except one ...." Traditional Jews will want to steer clear of processed legume-based foods (e.g., soy-based mock meats) that aren't certified kosher-for-Passover because they very well might contain wheat or other chametz ingredients.
* Check out this article about the connections between vegetarianism and Passover by Richard Schwartz (author of Judaism and Vegetarianism), and integrate some of its messages in your seder.
* Use Roberta Kalechofsky's Haggadah for the Liberated Lamb (or its abbreviated version, Haggadah for the Vegetarian Family) at your seder. Kalechofsky has also written the book Journey of the Liberated Lamb: Reflections on a Vegetarian Seder, which is suitable for young audiences.


  • At 4/04/2006 7:36 PM, Blogger heebnvegan said…

    This post has been picked up by RadicalTorah.org. Check it out here: http://www.radicaltorah.org/?p=77.

    Special thanks to heebnvegan reader Stephen M. for his helpful feedback about the original version of this post.

  • At 4/04/2006 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I will be hosting my 2nd Vegan Seder this year in Orange County.. last year we had 30 people, this year it looks like more than 40 will show up... and I get to cook for them all.. *yikes*
    I will email you about the disaster/success when it actually happens.
    Good luck to anyone else attempting this!!

  • At 4/04/2006 8:18 PM, Blogger heebnvegan said…

    Good luck preparing for that, and kudos to you for hosting such a huge shindig.

    Can't wait to hear about the "disaster/success." :-)

  • At 4/07/2006 12:55 AM, Blogger KleoPatra said…

    AWESOME!!! Thank you!

  • At 4/07/2006 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So technically, I shouldn't eat any soy - based products - soy milk, tofu, etc.? (I've never really attempted to keep pesach since I began vegan...)

  • At 4/07/2006 7:14 PM, Blogger heebnvegan said…

    If you're looking for the technical, traditional answer--Nothing that hasn't been certified kosher for Passover should be considered kosher for Passover. One reason is that these products might have mixed with and may even include chametz ingredients (e.g., wheat and barley).

    But if you're trying to keep kosher for Passover for the first time since you went vegan, I would encourage you to draw the line wherever you see fit. It's better than doing nothing at all. :-)

    Perhaps the best compromise would be to try making your own soy milk, etc., while forgoing processed soy-based foods for the week.

  • At 4/10/2006 10:37 AM, Blogger Avi said…

    "Legumes and rice have historically been viewed as chametz by Ashkenazis but kosher-for-Passover by Sephardim. "

    That's not correct - Ashkenazim have never considered them Chametz but rather "kitniyot" (small other stuff). Hence the prohibition is a custom. However, it is difficult in America to find kosher-for-passover kitniyot hence you would have to check each kernel individually. It's also worth noting that Moroccons and others do not eat rice on Passover. Also, Rabbi Golinkin's teshuva was only meant for Israel.

    However, I have spent 5 or 6 years as a vegan in the United States keeping kosher year round and kosher for Passover (without kitniyot, although that's actually more difficult in Israel). While I'm not a vegan anymore (still a vegetarian), it's still very much possible to keep Kosher and KP. (even without kitniyot, but if you can find KP kitniyot, that's up to you (and a respected rav) and all that)

  • At 4/16/2006 12:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    I am vegan and keep strictly Ashkenazi kosher for Passover, but my mom is not vegan, so we had a vegan-friendly seder with a vegetarian seder plate. Would you still like my story?

    Cool idea, either way!

  • At 4/16/2006 12:26 AM, Blogger heebnvegan said…

    absolutely, please send it my way :-)


Post a Comment

<< Home