Passover 101: Caplansky’s and others hosting traditional Seders

Passover 101: Caplansky’s and others hosting traditional Seders

Tomorrow evening, Zane Caplansky will put away the carving knives to host two seven-course Seders featuring traditional Passover foods (Image: Renée Suen)

Passover, the holiday commemorating the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt, starts tonight at sundown. During the Passover Seder, an age-old ritualized dinner derived from Biblical commandments, a number of symbolic foods are consumed to represent the themes of slavery, freedom and springtime, including: matzo (unleavened bread), a reminder of the haste in which the Israelites fled Egypt; maror (bitter herbs, usually horseradish), to represent the bitterness of slavery; beitzah (hard-boiled egg), a symbol of life; karpas (green vegetables, typically parsley), to represent hope; zeroa (roasted lamb-shank bone) to symbolize the sacrificial offering; and, our favourite, four glasses of wine to celebrate freedom. While the Seder is usually celebrated in the family home, a number of Toronto institutions are offering alternate options.

• On Tuesday, April 19, Zane Caplansky will be leading two Seders at Caplansky’s. For $45 ($20/child), Seder participants will be treated to a traditional seven-course meal with wine. Caplansky’s Seders are open to everyone, but reservations are required for both the 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. seatings. 356 College St., 416-500-3852,

Other GTA locations hosting public Passover Seders, complete with catered dinners and Haggadah readings:

• Chabad of Danforth-Beaches, April 18, 8:30 p.m. $50/adult; $25/child. Reservations required. 2273 Queen St. E., 416-809-1365,

• The Chabad House at the University of Toronto, April 18 and 19, 9 p.m. For undergraduates, graduates and faculty. Reservations required. 67 Sussex Ave., 647-722-3188,

• Partnership of Chabad Midtown, Miles Nadal JCC, Jewish Family and Child, April 18, 7:45 p.m. $70/adult; $35/child. Reservations required. 750 Spadina Ave. (Miles Nadal JCC), 416-516-2005,

• Those hosting their own Seders can turn to All the Best Fine Foods, which is carrying a number of holiday favourites, including: chicken soup with matzo balls ($13, serves four), spinach kugel ($1.95/100 grams), flourless orange-almond cakes ($16.95, serves eight), coconut macaroons ($11.95/18 pieces) and meringues ($6.95/24 pieces). 1101 Yonge St., 416-928-3330,