Although most, if not all, Jewish holiday meals use certain foods and dishes to symbolize various elements of the celebration, the seder meal does so in a way that is integral to the ritual of the meal itself. From the maror to the zeroah, each has its place in the structure of the seder. Of all these symbolic foods, charoset is definitely my favorite and I have to agree with Gil Marks when he says in the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food that it “is unquestionably the most flavorful and arguably everyone’s favorite of the seder foods.”
Recently in The Forward, Jay Michaelson compared four characters from “Glee” to the “Four Children” from the Passover seder tradition. What I loved about the piece was Michaelson’s point that for young Jews, Jewish identity is one variable in a multi-variable identity that youth will embrace, when and if they find it meaningful. What bothered me about the piece was the language Michaelson used describing Rachel Berry, the analogous “Wise Child,” as an “irritating control freak” and “intolerable.” It was particularly difficult to read this because, well, I used to be Rachel Berry.