Friday, March 13, 2015

Upgrade Your Seder

from the pages of Kadima, the newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:

From the desk of …                    
 Rabbi Barry Schwartz

Upgrade Your Seder

Your Seder is hopefully a warm and welcome family get­together. But is it in need of an upgrade?

The following are some of my personal suggestions. I am always trying to add something new to keep the ceremony both timeless and timely.*

1. Add new music­: How about a medley of American spirituals and freedom songs, like Go Down Moses, If I Had a Hammer, Oh Freedom, We Shall Overcome?

2. Add new readings:­ Old and new, like excerpts from Exodus, Thoreau, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

3. Add new languages: Try asking the Four Questions in multiple tongues based on the knowledge of your participants.

4. Add new drama­: Ask the thespians among you to act out the Exodus, or try scenes from the story “charades” style.

5. Add new food­: Sephardic haroset, for example, is really delicious, and there are many variations.

6. Add a quiz­: Make those kids work for their afikomen treat by taking a holiday quiz.

7. Add social media­: There’s some funny stuff on the web, so use those phones and tablets to enhance the holiday rather than detract.

8. Add new ritual: Fill Elijah’s cup by having everyone pouring a little from their own and offering their own personal prayer for peace.

9. Add new discussion: How do we imagine that we were slaves and set free, as the Haggadah commands? Where in the world do we need more freedom? What can we do about it as individuals, as a community, and as a nation?

10. Add new guests: “Let all who are hungry come and eat.” Who might you invite to your Seder this year in need of companionship? Or, to strengthen a friendship?

* I’m preparing a PDF of my own supplement; contact me if you would like it. And this year you can sample some of these ideas first hand as we revive the Congregational Seder (Saturday evening April 4 at 6:00 PM, details forthcoming)...

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