Passover seder in my family is the event of the year. For as long as I can remember we would start preparing for the seder well before Purim, not for the cleaning, cooking or purchasing, but for the games, activities, discussions and parody songs that would be created for the seder that year. As three generations of our family sat together, we ate the same foods, told the same story, read the same Haggadah and responsive readings every year, but the conversations changed and the excitement always grew each year.
Around the world, Passover is the most observed holiday on the Jewish calendar. While not all Jews observe the laws of Passover to the same extent, the narrative of our people lives on through this holiday. Every family has their own tradition that connects to Passover. And, the experiential nature of the Seder lends itself to the enjoyment and understanding of young and old alike.
The holiday of Pesach is often spoken about in Jewish education circles as the initial example of experiential education. Coming before we had summer camps and youth groups to depend on to give our students an experience, the seder provides all of the essential elements to an educational experience. It begins with the lesson plan, the 15 steps that let the learner know what will be covered during the “lesson.” The Torah clearly gives us our educational objective – the SWBAT (by the end of the lesson, “Students Will Be Able To”) – in Shemot, chapter 13, verse 8, when it tells us that we are to tell our children on this day that it is because of what God did for me when I went forth from Egypt. And so, we set out on this journey with the understanding that the seder is supposed to in some way explain to us and make us feel the connection with our ancestors in Egypt and the power of faith in God that brings us to each Pesach.
It is from this love that I offer the following suggestions to liven up the experience of your seder. They have been compiled from many years of trying to please an audience from 3 years old to 85 years old.
Hag Pesach Kasher V’sameach, may this be a holiday of joy and rebirth for each of us.