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
6. Do you want a haggadah that includes gender-sensitive language, illustrations, or activities for children?
7. Have you made you own seder? If not, why? If yes, what kind of experience was it?
8. Which parts were successful and which were less successful? What do you want to preserve, and what do you want to change?
9. Are you a more conservative or traditional person, or do you want to try something different this year?
10. Are there certain parts of the seder you think must be included? What are they? Are there parts of the seder you would like to eliminate? What are they? Would you like to know where you can be creative and still maintain what a traditional seder requires?
11. Are you a more liberal and progressive person? What kinds of changes would you like to try? What issues would you like your seder to include or address?
12. Are you going to be the leader, director, or producer of this seder; or do you have a partner or a team with whom to plan and conduct the seder? Does you partner or team have a clear sense of what they would like the seder to be? Have you shared your thoughts and feelings with one another? How can you include your different ideas and discuss them during the seder?
13. How do you want to divide up the responsibility for the many parts of the seder? Who will be involved in the planning and leading of the seder service?
14. What would you like your guests to bring to the seder? Is there something you would like them to think about, to write about, to talk about at the seder?
15. Who will be responsible for the shopping and the cooking? Who will prepare the ritual foods and symbols?
16. Who will be attending your seder? Will there be young children at your seder? How will you keep the children involved? Will grandparents be attending? Do they have any special needs? Are friends, Jews and non-Jews, attending? How will you help them become a part of the seder?
17. Where will your seder be held? Does the space accommodate the needs of the people who will attend? Is there room for children who may not be able to sit at the table? Have you thought about ways to use the space in order to keep the children engaged?
18. What about music? Can someone play an instrument and possibly teach the melodies to your guests? Could you use a tape or a CD to accompany the singing during the seder? Have you thought about distributing song sheets to your guests? Do you have the need to stick to traditional songs and melodies, or are you open to including songs that address today's issues and use familiar modern melodies, songs that are easy to sing and fun for everyone involved?
19. Has anything happened to your family during the pat year that would be meaningful for you to include in your seder: Have people in the family become ill and unable to attend? Has someone died who should be remembered? Have children married and no join the seder with a spouse or a partner? Have children been born and added to the chain of tradition? Have family members moved to a new home, to a new community, to a new state? Have family members changed jobs?
20. Is anything happening in your community at home, at work, or in the world that you would like to include in your seder?