Passover – How will you do it? Long or short? Traditional or modern?

Here comes Passover! The Christmas of Judaism! Unlike Christmas, Passover hasn’t been absorbed into other traditions and acquired reindeer, elves, plaid quilts, snowy sayings and more. But it has traveled to other parts of the globe and adapted to new foods and climates. Here’s a nice explanation of some of the details of a Sephardic observance of Passover.

Like so many important holidays and life cycle events there are things that we feel comfortable altering and other things that must remain the same in order for us to feel the celebration is authentic.

What is needed for an AUTHENTIC Passover Seder?
I bet that what is authentic for each of us actually changes over the years. When we are young or have young children we want the Seder to be child-friendly, fun, visual and full of things to handle.

There may be games you made up for enhancing the Seder that you simply need to play for a real Seder experience. One of my sisters-in-law grew up Orthodox that meant not using electricity during the holiday. However, she and her sisters had a particular Passover record that they simply had to play at their Seder. When one of the Orthodox husbands objected the other sister’s husband, also Orthodox, said, no, we must respect the tradition of our elder. He raised his daughters with the record, so we will continue to play it.

There are probably special foods, special recipes, that are required. In my family my sister makes a particular charoset and I make another one. Both are necessary to our Seder.

But what about the ceremonial part? The Haggadah? There are hundreds of versions for sale and you can even make your own. They vary in length from 3 minutes to an all night ordeal.  According to tradition there are 14 parts to a Seder. Read them all here.

Just ONE of the steps, step 5, is the Maggid, the telling of the story. Many of us think of the story telling as the whole Seder. Take a look at the 14 steps. Ask yourself is there something here that I want to enhance? Is there a step I’m missing out on? Is one of my Seder regulars going to particularly love one of these ideas/steps?

It is possible to invite people to take on one or more of the tasks. Someone you know may love some of the teachings behind the two Washings of Hands. Let that person say a few words. One year a Muslim friend of mine shared the Arabic words that corresponded with Hebrew concepts. A family practice that has hung on despite my kids growing up is my practice of having a plate of small kosher candies. Every time someone asked a question or adds an idea they receive a candy. Some eat their candy immediately others line them up like trophies in front of their plate.

There is so much to play with! Go for it. Please email me your fun and innovative practices to I can’t wait to hear from you.

A few articles to check out:
We Didn’t Raise Our Daughter in a Religion and Now She Wants a Bat Mitzvah! What should we do?
Should I Baptize My Baby to Put my In-Laws “at peace”? 
My Jewish Grandsons Went on an Easter Egg Hunt and I’m Freaking Out!