Make Your Own Seder
Are you conducting your own seder for the first time this year? Here are 20 questions to ask yourself to help you prepare.
BY: Rabbi Alan Kay and Jo Kay
When you think about what you want your seder to express about your family, think about what memories you want to create for your children and grandchildren and for those who share your seder table. Perhaps the memory is of family and friends coming together, with all their variations and differences, which attest to how we are all always changing and how those changes can serve to strengthen us. If the seder does not have meaning in our immediate lives, we cannot connect the past to the present and the present to the future; and if we cannot do so, the past has no immediacy. Our challenge is to search the past for that which will add meaning to our celebration and consequently to our lives in the present.
Passover is not a time for going inside yourself; rather it is a time for coming out of yourself and acknowledging your membership in a family, in a community, in a people. Perhaps that is why it is easier for those who are not Jewish to relate to Passover more than any other holiday on the Jewish calendar.
Passover is a bridge between the past and the present and the future, between and among people of various backgrounds and faith communities. That is why we have so many non-Jews sitting at our seder tables. So many are comfortable with the concept of exodus from bondage.
The observance and celebration of Passover is in the hearts and minds and souls of the people who sit around your table. It is as much a state of mind as it is a state of action. It is as much a state of being as it is a state of practice.
You decide what you want your seder to express about you and your family or your group.
Perhaps you get it now: Passover is an important holiday and the seder the centerpiece of the holiday.
What Kind of Seder Do You Want?
Following is a series of question aimed at helping you to determine what you want from your seder. They are designed to help you think critically and openly about your likes and dislikes, your needs and your concerns, where you have been and where you hope to go.
1. Did you attend your grandparents' seders as a child? What did you like most about them? What did you like least?
2. What are the elements from those seders you would like to sustain or revive, to include in your own seder?
3. what are the elements from those seders you would like to discard? How will that make your seder different?
4. Which haggadah was used at the seders you attended? Were they haggadahs you would like to use, or do you want to find another haggadah for your seder?
5. Do you want a haggadah that is more traditional or more liberal? Would you like more Hebrew or more English or a combination of both?