Tips for a Successful Seder

March 16, 2018

Passover is right around the corner and seder planning can be stressful. To help you plan the best dinner and service you can, we’ve asked our staff what great seder tips they have for you!

For Planning:

IMG_8794Martin: “Don’t take the whole seder on by yourself. Whether your seder is 2 people or 50, be open to all that your family and friends have to offer. Even beyond being able to help with cooking, setting the table or cleaning, other people might be able to offer valuable insights during the seder itself.”

Alana: “While your standard apple, walnut, & wine charoset is delicious, try making a sephardic version with dates and mangos or a traditional Iraqi date syrup and walnut charoset like the one in The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen!

Eran: “No question is too obvious or too worn-out to be brought to the table.  My family has each participant use a different haggadah, so we all bring different answers (and different questions, different translations and different interpretations– not to mention different arguments!) to the discussion. The night is much bigger than just the first 4 questions.

That being said, discussing and hashing out every point and every iota can be overwhelming. Decide beforehand how in-depth you want to get about various points so that you don’t get mired down.”

Miriam: “If you’re worried about keeping your Seder moving, try to streamline each section. Grab an Urchatz set so no one has to leave the room for hand washing, keeping everyone else waiting.”

Janet: “If you are welcoming friends or family who have never celebrated Passover before or are of a different faith, consider using both spiritual and secular readings to help to illustrate the relevance of the Passover story to one of personal, global, and/or humanitarian significance. Our selection of Haggadot can provide excellent sources for this purpose.

For Kids:

P1000189Julia: “Help small children rehearse for the seder the night before with a play seder set. They can go over the different parts of the seder, count the glasses of grape juice and practice telling the story. This will help them recognize what’s going on during the real seder and help them stay focused.”

Alana: “Try something new and have the children hide the afikomen! Adults and children alike will have fun with this switcharoo–but, of course, the kids still receive a prize!”

Ben: “When your seder is filled with kids, the fifth question always ends up being ‘When do we eat?’ Curb the hunger-induced interjections by setting out crudites or hors d’oeuvres before the seder and putting small bowls of nuts or fruit out during the service itself.”

Becca: “Prior to the seder, we play Passover music like Oh Listen, King Pharaoh, and Dayenu so the kids are really familiar with the tunes and excited to chime in. Also, we have some activity for the kids at intervals during the seder. For instance, we give the kids origami or plastic frogs to play with during the plagues portion of the service.”

For The Seder:

P1000171-minLarry: “Large group coming to your Seder? It’s the perfect opportunity to have two or three different Seder plates spread around your table(s). This way it won’t take as long for everyone to get their portion for the blessings. The different Seder plates can inspire interesting conversation. Get one of the forged metal ones for the kids section. No worries about breakage. Beautiful glass, ceramic, stone, hand painted wood for the rest.

Joanna: “If your seder plate doesn’t already feature removable dishes for each ritual food, I highly recommend investing in removable glass dishes. It makes clean up SO much easier, protects your seder plate, and makes it easy to pass the foods around the table.”

Miriam: “Need a reminder to stay hydrated when drinking those four cups of wine? Love music, clean water and powerful female role models? If you want to highlight the importance of the women at your seder this year, and their place in Jewish life, the Miriam’s cup is a beautiful and powerful symbol.”

Ben: “On Passover, we are commanded to recline, but who says we have to recline at the table? Try holding the first parts of the seder in a living room on couches or comfortable chairs.”

Becca: “Connecting the Passover story to a current event or poetry/prose reading is a wonderful way to emphasize the idea that we too (and those among us) are like the Children of Israel, strangers in a strange land escaping bondage for freedom. Guests can be asked to bring in a one minute spiel or the person running the service can present and begin the discussion. We also have haggadot with seder enhancement readings which one of our staff members can suggest.”

Eran: “Bring different languages to the seder!  My brother sings Ma Nishtana in Yiddish, our friend Baruch brings his readings in Russian, and our friend Zhong brings Chinese to the table.”

See anything you’ll be using in your seder? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!

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