Passover Seder Tips

Passover Seder Tips from Rabbi Harry to make your experience more playful, interactive and creative (from an anonymous writer):

1.  After cleaning and preparing it is fun to do a bdikat ḥametz. In my family we make ḥametz packets using tin foil and we hide them around the house and with the lights off we go on a ḥametz treasure hunt using only candle light.
2.  Pre planning: Think about who is coming to your seder and how you can integrate play into the seder. You can prepare guests ahead of time by asking them to lead parts of the seder or to bring something unique or special from their own Passover traditions. Ask guests to bring a response to a specific question that is open and ripe for dialogue.

3.  Seder preparation: Set aside time to polish ritual items. If you do not yet have special Passover dish ware change something in your home to signify Passover. Create or purchase special Passover items like a ke’arah (seder plate), Cup for Miriam, Cup for Elijah. Pull out family recipes for Passover foods or create new ones from cookbooks or the Internet.
4.  Have guests sign and date the Haggadah they are using. It may be fun in the years ahead to see who attended the Seder on any given year.
5.  Research different Jewish ethnic Passover traditions and integrate ones that you feel would be fun and fitting for your Seder.
6.  Some fun discussion questions: “If you were producing the Exodus movie, which actors would you cast as Moses, Miriam, Pharaoh…..?” After Mah Nishtanah, generate a fifth question. Many good contemporary haggadot come with a leaders guide: read it. You may be surprised by the quality of questions and suggestions that it offers.
7.  At the Seder we are obligated to feel as if we personally are being liberated. If Mitzrayim, the place of stuckness is a state of mind or a state of being-discuss how we are currently stuck and enslaved. How is the story of liberation from Mitzrayim relevant in our world and in our lives right now?
8.  Serve one another as a symbol of your liberation. In our home no one pours their own wine or washes their own hands at urḥatz.
9.  Be flexible. Hold part of the Seder on the floor using pillows. Turn you dining room into a tent. Weather permitting go outdoors.
10. Set up a job board so everyone can be involved in the serving and cleaning and not everyone jumps up at once when you serve soup.
11. Serve large veggie trays and dips so when you get to karpas and make a blessing on the greens you can eat so no one can whine about being hungry. We like to serve artichokes when they are not outrageously expensive at karpas.
12. Karpas is about springtime and sprouting and blossoming. This is a great time to bless children.
13. Make props for plague kits: marshmallows can be hail, red food colouring for blood, lots of stuffed animals for wild beasts. Use your imagination and kids toys to create a fun and playful 10 plagues.
14. Interview a few of the main characters. “Yocheved were you scared when you placed Moses in the river”?  "Pharoah, after all the horrible plagues what kept you so stubborn, how did it feel to have your heart hardened?“ "Israelite child, where did you think you were going? What personal stuff did you have to take with you? What happened the night you put blood on your door posts?  "Could you see fish in the walls of the Sea of Reeds?”
15. Sing, dance, tell stories and create meaningful and wonderful memories.

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An inclusive, warm, and progressive Conservative synagogue in Victoria, B.C.

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