Star of the television sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” Mayim Bialik is advocating for a vegan Passover. Bialik, a neuroscientist, actor, and writer highlights the importance of cleaning in Passover tradition and during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“To prepare our homes for Passover, we clean our house of anything leavened,” explained Bialik in a video shared by Jewish Veg. “It’s kind of an amazing and fascinating time to be going through this kind of cleaning. Because we’re also in a process of cleaning and disinfecting in the wake of COVID-19.”
Passover, or Pesach, is an annual Jewish holiday that is celebrated in spring. It commemorates the Israelite’s Exodus from Egypt and freedom from slavery. The festival begins on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan and lasts for either seven or eight days, depending on the celebrant’s denomination.
“I think it’s important for us to realize that cleaning is a way of protection,” continued Bialik. “And another thing that we do to protect ourselves is to guard what comes into our bodies and what we take in. So eating plants is one of the things that I do to protect my body.”
Jewish Veg is a vegan advocacy group that aims to “inspire and assist Jews to embrace plant-based diets as an expression of Jewish values.” Bialik is also a founding member of Shamayim V’Aretz Institute, a Jewish animal advocacy group.
Passover Seder, a ritual meal, begins the festival. The dinner is shared while retelling the story of the Exodus, and many of the symbolic dishes contain animal products. Fortunately, many people share vegan-friendly variations on traditional foods, including Matzo Ball Soup.
This vegan matzo ball soup recipe from Short Girl Tall Order is perfect for Passover. Instead of the animal fat and eggs that these Passover soup dumplings traditionally contain, the recipe combines silken tofu and ground flax with matzah meal, herbs, and oil.
“Eating plants and having a plant-based diet, it prevents inflammation, it helps with nutrients, it helps with immunity,” said Bialik. “So as we clean out our houses during Passover it’s important to remember we’re also protecting ourselves from COVID-19. And we’re also protecting ourselves—all the time—with our plant-based diet.”