If so, are you panicking ? Please, no panicking.
Whether you’re new to putting on a Seder or you’ve done it for years, we can provide some tips and techniques.
If people volunteer to bring dishes — and there isn’t a concern about kashrut (keeping kosher) — they will feel good to be able to help.
Many people like to bring their personal family favorites to share — and it makes them feel good to bring Bubbe’s special potato kugel.
Or, if you have non-cooks who still want to help, they can bring wine, beautiful strawberries, or even a can of macaroons.
What kind of Seder should you plan?
The Passover Seder asks us to retell the story of what happened to our ancestors – and to imagine that we, ourselves, were in the desert.
But the spirit and length of your Seder are totally up to you (depending on your tradition). You can follow a Haggadah word for word. Or you can pick and choose the parts that work for you.
Especially if you have a group that is new to Seder, or young, or not inclined to sit for a long period of time, it is perfectly fine to opt for a short version. Hit the highlights. Laugh. Sing. Eat.
Organizing your Seder around 15 steps
Regardless of the depth and breadth of your Seder, you can organize it around the 15 steps – the same basic steps that are in virtually every Haggadah.
When our kids were young, they took a huge piece of cardboard on which they colored an enormous pie chart with “slices” for all of the steps. It was so big, it needed its own chair! During the Seder, the girls took turns moving a pointer from one step to the next.
Now, we’ve created something all families can use that we call the Passover Seder Steps Follow-Along. You can learn more about it here.
In this activity, the participants move a game pawn from step 1 through step 15, keeping everyone engaged in the process.
The feedback we’re getting is great.
“I love the board and the illustrations are simply wonderful!” Scott
“Love it! You’ve perfectly balanced the choose-your-own adventure and follow-the-leader aspects of the Seder Steps — and in quite a whimsical way.” Ken
“I like how you have left room for personal creativity, and at the same time, made the game complete enough not to have to add to it.” Hannah
Hit the highlights with the 15 steps
The reason I like using the 15 steps as a framework is that you can shorten or lengthen to accommodate the needs of your group – while feeling good that you are “walking through” the key touchstones.
You sing the Kiddush, wash hands, dip parsley, break the middle matzah, and so on.
Except for step #5, you can move through all the steps very quickly – if that’s what your family prefers.
Step #5 – called Maggid – is the major step of the Seder and involves telling the Seder story, along with asking the Four Questions. Here, too, you can go more quickly or really engage in wonderful conversations, depending on the age, experience, and interests of your family and guests.
What are some of your favorite Seder memories?
To learn more about the steps and symbols of the Seder, check out “Celebrate Passover: How to Plan a Fun, Simple Seder.” This digital guide comes with two audio MP3s, including one that teaches how to pronounce the 15 steps, the 10 plagues, 8 blessings, and more.
Next week: How to choose a Haggadah for your family.