Shankbone – Zeroa

Placed on the Passover seder plate to remind us of the pascal lamb.

The shankbone, or the zeroa זרוע, is one of the three basic components of the Passover service.

In ancient times, the Israelites were commanded to sacrifice one lamb per family to eat for the Passover meal.

Today, we no longer sacrifice animals in Jewish worship. Instead we place a piece of roasted meat or bone on the seder plate to remind us of the pascal lamb.

Some people specifically use a different animal than lamb, such as a chicken neck, so no one will think that you violated the traditional prohibition and actually sacrificed a lamb. Others are not so concerned about this, and they pop on a shank bone ordered specially from their local butcher. And hey, veggies, don’t worry! According to traditional understanding of Passover rituals, you can also use a roasted beet as a vegetarian shankbone.

Discover More

The Seder Plate

The placement and symbolism of the items on the seder plate.

Siddur Contents: Shabbat & Holiday Liturgy

A guide to the prayerbook and the standard service.

Passover (Pesach) In the Community

Although the central ritual of this festival is the home seder, there are a number of rituals that are observed within the wider community.