Passover is almost here and hopefully you have begun your preparations from food to Haggadah and, of course, who’s coming? Many families have a Passover Seder tradition that remains the same no matter the year or the people coming. However, many groups are in a different space for many reasons. There is the brand-new-to-the-Seder group who are wondering what to do. Then there is that group of families who have an ever-changing family to prep for — new babies, becoming teenagers, aging members, etc., etc. And, of course, there is always the group who wants to do it differently “just because.”
So how do we prepare for the endless possibilities that doing Jewish gives us? Step 1 — embrace the opportunity and start exploring. Remember also, that you don’t need to start from scratch — add something new each year, try a new tradition, explore the adventure of making this an experience for learning and growing. Fortunately, we have the internet to explore!
Here is a way to start — there are 15 steps in the traditional Seder (surprised?). Check out any Haggadah to find those steps and then pick one or more to make new this year.
Try some of these ideas
Seder plate: Put all the items out as a buffet and give each person a plate with the names and spaces for each (you can go all-out or just print a picture and paste it on a paper plate). Let each person create their plate to take to the table and put in front of them. That way each person has a little of everything.
The Four Questions: Don’t read the answers from the Haggadah but ask everyone what they think are different reasons. Then challenge each person to add a question.
The Four Sons: There are so many possibilities here — choose a theme of interest; for example, for a sports-minded family, describe the Wise, Wicked, Simple and Innocent Athlete, or insert lawyer, doctor, musician, etc. How do these roles play out in life? What are we like?
Afikomen: Time for adults to take this deeper while the children look. What does the hunt for the afikomen teach? What is more engaging — seeking or finding? Should adults also look? Can it be a scavenger hunt with clues (that, of course, teach)?
Food: What is leavening all about? What is kitniyot, and is quinoa kosher for Passover?
The Ten Plagues: After reciting the traditional ones, find new plagues that are in our lives today and how we can get rid of them or learn to live with them.
Questions galore: Play Passover “Jew-pardy” by giving answers and asking for the question.
Songs: There is no Seder complete without songs, and after four cups of wine everyone can sing.
This is just a start — get working on it and remember that Passover is about our story and our memories. We remember the story from Exodus and continue to make memories each holiday. That is what has kept the Jewish people throughout the years so keep telling our story — it belongs to us all!
Laura Seymour is Camp director emeritus and Jewish Experiential Learning director at the Aaron Family JCC.