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Michael Aram Seder Plates: Which is Best for Your Seder?

Michael Aram Seder Plates Review for Your Passover Seder

I live a couple of minutes away from the Michael Aram flagship store on Robertson Blvd in Los Angeles and have admired his work for quite awhile. Michael Aram is known for his artistry and innovative design, and he has quite a large selection of Judaica pieces. So large in fact that I admit I was surprised to discover that Michael is actually American Armenian and not Israeli. Some of his most popular Judaica pieces are the unique, handmade seder plates that are sure to make a statement on your seder table. They certainly aren’t traditional, so don’t expect the Hebrew names of the various items that symbolize parts of the Passover story to be engraved in any of the six compartments. But, they are absolutely beautiful. Because Aram’s pieces are handmade, no two pieces will be exactly alike. I can guarantee that any of these Michael Aram seder plates will be the talk of the Passover table. 

Michael aram pomegranate

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Nature is Michael Aram’s biggest muse, so each of the collections begin with names inspired by various natural surroundings like pomegranate, wisteria, and orchids. There are multiple pieces within each of his different collections, so if you plan on collecting his pieces over time, I would recommend checking out the other items that have been made for each of the various collections. There are currently six seder plates available to purchase either directly through the Michael Aram website or on various department store sites and Judaica boutiques. I recommend comparing shipping costs at the various retailers. You might also want to see if a store like Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s is having a sale at the time of purchase.  Let’s take a look at the various Michael Aram seder plate options available and help you decide which would be the most perfect addition to your Passover table this year. These seder plates would also make a beautiful wedding gift for a Jewish couple. 

Two of Aram’s plates, the molten and the tree of life, are a much more traditional style of seder plate. The the 6-compartment plates are a bit unconventional, but that is what makes them so striking.

Wisteria Gold 6-Compartment Plate

DETAILS AND MATERIALS

12.25″L x 7.5″W x 1.75″H

Stainless Steel, Natural Brass

Price: $250

According to his website, Aram’s Wisteria Gold Collection is “inspired by the beauty of twisted and curving vines.” He sees them “as a symbol of love and togetherness. As they grow, they loop together and separate, accommodating and allowing for whatever falls in their path. They gracefully intertwine while maintaining their own individuality.”

Grapes and wine are hugely important symbols in Judaism; there are numerous biblical references to the grape vine. Seriously, no plant is mentioned more. Each week on Shabbat, we recite the Kiddush and bless the fruit of the vine. And on Passover, we drink four cups of wine and place a fifth cup of wine on the table for the prophet, Elijah. While wisteria isn’t exactly a producer of wine, the essence of the vine is what really is on show in Aram’s Wisteria collection. And, the emphasis on the vine in his explanation really proves this point. For this reason, I believe the wisteria seder plate should be a top contender.

Check the prices at Saks 5th Avenue | Horchow | Michael Aram

Pomegranate 6-Compartment Plate

DETAILS AND MATERIALS

12″L x 10.75″W x 1.25″H

Goldtone & Clear Enamel

Price: $165

The pomegranate plate might just be my favorite choice for a Passover seder plate for a variety of reasons. The most important being that pomegranates are the most symbolic fruits in Judaism. The pomegranate is one of Israel’s seven species and is frequently mentioned in the Song of Songs. Pomegranates symbolize love and fertility in Jewish tradition. Plus, the seeds of the pomegranates symbolize the 613 mitzvot or commandments. I’m also partial to the pomegranate seder plate because it is more affordable than some of the other 6-compartment plates, yet it still retains the Aram wow factor.

Check the prices at Bloomingdales | Macy’s | Michael Aram

Palm 6 Compartment Plate

DETAILS AND MATERIALS

12.5″L x 8.75″W x 1.75″H

Stainless Steel & Antique Goldtone

Price: $275

Aram’s Palm Collection is inspired by the beauty of a windswept palm tree and the perfectly imperfect shapes of woven palm leaves and fallen fronds.” It reminds Aram of “the passage of time, and the bountiful gifts of the Palm tree, which provides everything from food to shelter.”

The palm is also a significant symbol in Judaic tradition. The date palm is one of three plants bound together to form the lulav which is shook on the holiday of Sukkot. The palm is also commonly used as the roof covering (s’chah in Hebrew) for the sukkah, the temporary structure constructed for the week of Sukkot.

Check the prices at Amazon | Horchow | Michael Aram

Molten 6 Compartment Plate

DETAILS & MATERIALS

15.25″L x 9″W x .5″H

Stainless Steel

Price: $200

Aram’s Molten Collection is inspired by “ancient craftsmanship and the application of these time-honored techniques to modern shapes and environments. The collection also strives to represent the clean lines and minimal atmosphere associated with the ideals of contemporary life and progressive design.”

While the piece itself might appear modern, the molten plate is a more traditional style seder plate because the six areas allocated for the items on the seder plate are all constructed within the one large plate. So, if you are looking for a contemporary Michael Aram piece, but wish to have a more traditional seder plate, the Molten 6 Compartment Plate might just be your best option.

Check the prices at Bloomingdales | Macy’s | Michael Aram

Black Orchid 6-Compartment Plate

DETAILS & MATERIALS

11.25″L x 10.25″W x 2.25″H

Black Nickelplate & Stainless Steel

Price: $275

According to Aram, the Black Orchid Collection has an almost gothic feel and “was inspired by the powerful sensuality of orchids and the rich ambiance of haute couture. The dark atmosphere of the orchids against the hammered metal is like the afterglow of a beautiful evening.”

The orchid doesn’t have an obvious or significant connection to Judaism, and the shape of the orchid plates don’t resemble the traditional seder plate as closely as some of the others do. It’s common to see the word Pesach (Passover in Hebrew) written in the center of the plate and that word is surrounded by the six items. But, because the black orchid has a center bowl and only five bowls surrounding it, you will have to choose which item to put in the center. While each item symbolizes something important, this might be a great opportunity to highlight which item’s meaning has been most significant to you over the past year. You can put that item in the center bowl and explain the reason why you did so during the seder. What might be less important one year might become the “star” item the subsequent year.

What do the six items on the seder plate symbolize?

  1. Parsley – the parsley is dipped into salt water to remind of the slave’s tears.
  2. Charoset – the mortar or substance that the Israelite slaves used to lay bricks
  3. Bitter Herbs – the bitterness of slavery
  4. Lettuce – the bitterness of slavery
  5. Shank Bone – the sacrifice the Israelites made the night they fled Egypt
  6. Egg – the cycle of life, renewal, rebirth

Check the prices at Macy’s | Horchow | Amazon | Michael Aram

White Orchid 6-Compartment Plate

DETAILS AND MATERIALS

11.25″L x 10.25″W x 2.25″H

Nickelplate & Stainless Steel

Price: $275

While the Black Orchid highlights the orchid flower’s seductiveness, Aram’s White Orchid is meant to illuminate the “ethereal spirit of the orchid flower.” While just as detailed as the black orchid, the white takes on “an element of brightness that {he} associates with new beginnings. When {Aram} think of white orchids, {he imagines} the purity and sweetness of a newborn child, or a newlywed couple at the beginning of their lifelong journey.”

The white orchid plate also has one center bowl surrounded by five bowls.

Check the prices at Bloomingdales | Macy’s | Amazon | Michael Aram

Tree of Life Seder Plate

DETAILS AND MATERIALS

12.25″L x 11″W x 7″H

Nickelplate

Price: $170

The Tree of Life seder plate is definitely the most traditional seder plate of the group. It features a tree standing upright in the middle of the plate which is surrounded by six hollows or depressions for the six symbolic seder items. The plate has a rippled finish giving the impression of a shimmering body of water.

You’ll see that this piece is no longer on the Michael Aram website, so it is more difficult to find.

Check the prices at Bloomingdales | Ebay

Which of these Michael Aram seder plates are your favorite? Let us know in the comments below! You can read more Jewish holiday content on the BMA blog!

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