And when you think of a Seder, what comes to mind? What’s your vision of a Seder?
On the Orthodox side of my family, both Seders (Sedarim) are multi-hour, joyful gatherings preceded by a month of pre-cleaning and weeks of pre-cooking. It doesn’t start until after sunset and goes and goes and goes. All the kids chime in with the wonderful things they have learned in their Jewish day schools.
That is a sharp contrast to our family. We’re an interfaith group that has about 45 minutes of Seder in them – not including dinner – before there’s a rebellion. (Since I lead the Seder, I can watch the body language to know how I’m doing.)
What kind of Seder is right for you?
Here’s the thing to feel sure of. It doesn’t matter a bit what anyone else does. What would make it feasible and not daunting for you and for your family this year?
The place to start is to create a vision for what makes sense for you. Don’t focus on details like menu or table setting now.
If you have gone to Seders in the past, what do you remember liking? Not liking?
Do you have a friend or family member who could co-host with you this time? We know of two families who have passed Seder hosting back and forth for 20 years!
Answer these questions to build an idea of what would work for you:
- Who would you like to come to your Seder?
- Who is the most likely person to lead the Seder?
- Given your background and the people coming, how long a Seder makes sense?
- Are you more comfortable in a formal setting – silver, china, white tablecloth – where everyone dresses up? Or less formal? (We don’t own china or silver, because we knew that would never be a fit for us. But we do have a special tablecloth and napkins we save for Passover.)
Need some help?
Our digital guide, “Celebrate Passover: How to Plan a Fun, Simple Seder,” can help you get ready, without panic.
Here’s what one reader said:
Ellen Zimmerman’s guide “Celebrate Passover” removes the angst of hosting a Passover Seder and replaces it with warm encouragement, smart tips and easy to share educational tidbits. She gave me confidence to host a Seder that focuses on enjoying being with family and creating memories.”
- Three core concepts of Passover to share with young children
- Seder shopping list
- What to cook ahead
- Setting the Seder table
- Engaging children at the Seder
- Before-the-Seder family fun activities and craft ideas
You also get an audio tutorial that gives you a refresher on pronunciations of the key parts of the Seder. Learn how to pronounce the names of the 15 steps, 10 plagues, 8 blessings, along with an introduction to the Four Questions.
Next year in Jerusalem – and at your Seder
I love the advice from Rabbi Adar — to help you let the perfectionism go:
The purpose of the seder is to tell the story of freedom in a way that will make it a part of everyone around the table. It is a shared experience that will build memories for the group at the table. Have fun with it. Some of the best seders I’ve been to involved spilled wine, crumbs everywhere, a burnt side dish, and a lot of laughter . . . Every year at the close of the evening, we remind ourselves that Passover will come again next year.”