Some questions to generate dinner-table conversation

Countless studies and reports have come out over the importance for children and families to have dinner together. It is a time to sit down and enjoy a meal and more important, to talk with one another. (A brief aside: a few nights ago, my husband and I were at a restaurant, and I wanted to take a picture of this family sitting together with mom, dad and three kids all looking down at their cell phones – a common picture today.)
Jewish practice has given us the mandate to have Shabbat dinner together each week. although the numbers of families who do that is not nearly as high as the number of families who sit down for at least one Passover Seder.
We have it in our tradition. We have the perfect meal with family, friends and even strangers sitting together and not only eating, but talking and sharing. Yes, the Seder has a plan (it even means “order”), but everything we do is to provoke questions and discussion. How wonderful if we did this every night. When Passover is over, make a plan to have dinner with lots of questions.
But this week, as we conclude the holiday, here are some questions from
· Freedom is a central theme of Passover. When in your life have you felt most free?* The word “Seder” means “order.” How do you maintain order in your life?
· Moses is considered one of the greatest leaders in our history. He is described as being smart, courageous, selfless and kind. Which of today’s leaders inspires you in a similar way?
· In Hebrew, the word for Egypt is “Mitzraim,” which literally means “narrow place.” What is one way that you wish for our society to be more open?
· Is there someone – or multiple people – in your family’s history who made their own journey to freedom?
· The Passover Seder format encourages us to ask as many questions as we can. What questions has Judaism encouraged you to ask?
And, of course, we need a few light-hearted questions on our favorite subject: food:
· How many non-food uses for matzoh can you think of?
· The manna in the desert had a taste that matched the desire of each individual who ate it. For you, what would that taste be? Why?
· Afikoman means “dessert” in Greek. If you could only eat one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Conclude this Passover with questions, then challenge your family to ask one question per person at dinner every day.

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