Freedom from What?

Each year at Passover, I enjoy making this charoset for my seder plate. Charoset

Pasty and clay-colored like mud used to make bricks, this sweet mixture of fruits and nuts is meant to serve as a reminder that we, the Jewish people, were once slaves in Egypt. We worked and worked and worked… and now we are free.

But what does this freedom mean to us? And, in our own lives, what exactly have we been freed from?

Passover challenges us to use the story of our ancestors’ enslavement, and ultimate liberation from slavery, as a springboard for reflecting on our own lives and making the necessary changes to experience the joy that freedom can bring.

For me, these are continually the key Four Questions to ask ourselves at Passover:
1) What does freedom mean to me?
2) What continues to hold me back/”enslave” me from experiencing that freedom?
3) What steps am I taking to “break free”?
4) How am I helping others find their freedom?

For all who celebrate, my best wishes to you and your family as you struggle with these questions and find meaning and sweetness in your Passover experience.


Using my recipe below as background, how might you make your own recipe? How about you:

Mix up the ingredients?

  • In addition to using any other dried fruits or nuts (prunes, coconuts, raisins, pistachios, etc…), feel free to use fresh apples (Ashkenazi-style), oranges, bananas and pomegranates.

Vary the spices?

  • Ginger, cloves and/or cayenne would add interesting dimensions of flavor.

Change up your liquid?

  • Manischewitz, grape juice, apple juice and even Calvados would add wonderful sweetness and tang.



  • ¼ cup – brandy
  • ½ cup – dried apricots, chopped
  • ½ cup – dried and pitted dates, chopped
  • ½ cup – dried mango, chopped
  • ½ cup – dried cherries
  • ½ cup – dried blueberries
  • 1 cup – toasted walnuts
  • 1 cup – toasted sliced almonds
  • 1 tsp – ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp – ground all-spice
  • ½ cup – honey
  • Zest of ½ orange


  1. Combine all ingredients
  2. If possible, store in fridge overnight (flavors concentrate and develop with time)


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