10 Ways to Enjoy the Seder
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10 Ways to Enjoy the Seder

10 Ways to Enjoy the Seder

How to bring more meaning and enjoyment back to the family Seder.

by

Let's face it – we have all experienced some pretty boring Seders in our days, or some that have turned into just another family dinner party devoid of meaning. In order to bring more meaning and enjoyment back to the family Seder, try the following:

  1. Go to the dollar store and buy some "visual aids" for the plagues. When you get to that part of the Haggadah, throw out a pile of frogs...plastic cows and animals...snakes and spiders...ping pong balls (hail)...dark sunglasses (darkness)...Be creative and fun. The kids (and adults) will love it.

  2. Buy some dollar store "prizes" for kids. When they ask a good question (which is what you're trying to stimulate), they get a prize. Also give prizes for asking the Four Questions, good singers, etc... The kids will keep busy playing with their prize (doll, soldier, etc.) until they think of another good question and jump back in.

  3. Explain to everyone that they are like royalty on Seder night. And since kings and queens do not pour for themselves, everyone gets a "pouring partner" who fills up their glass with wine or grape juice (or a combo) at the appropriate time. People pair up and have fun with this.

  4. Read the Haggadah in the language that you best understand. That means English is fine. Share the reading by going around the table and taking turns.

  5. It's okay to stop during the reading for a good discussion on the topic at hand. You may want to prepare some questions in advance to throw out at people such as:

    • "If the Haggadah tells us that we are still slaves and not free, our definition of freedom must be very different. We are Jews in North America, aren't we free? What is the Jewish definition of freedom?"
    • "Next year in Jerusalem? How many of us really want to live in Israel? What does the Land of Israel mean to you?"
    • "The wise son doesn't sound so wise. He doesn't seem to know anything. What is the Jewish definition of wisdom?"

    There is no such thing as a dumb question. Encourage an atmosphere where people feel comfortable asking questions about what's being said in the Haggadah. Once a question is asked, invite everyone to think about a possible answer, and/or to look in their Haggadah to find one.

  6. Tell everyone to eat a light meal before coming to the Seder. That way they won't be starving and want to hurry through the Haggadah. This is not a dinner party – the reading and discussion of the Haggadah is the whole point of the evening! Let people know in advance that they will be reading through the Haggadah and discussing issues long before they begin eating. Don't let the meal become the focus.

  7. Assign topics to present to various guests. For example, give someone the section on "The Four Sons" and get them to learn and discuss the meaning behind each son to present to everyone at the table.

  8. Use the same Haggadahs so that everyone can follow. We highly recommend the ArtScroll edition. They also make a kid's version.

  9. If you are trying to change the focus of the family Seder toward something more meaningful, try hosting it at your home this year ("home team advantage"), and always invite guests who are not family. When "guests" are there, even the most cynical family member is on their best behavior. Try it. It works.

  10. In addition to Aish.com's Passover site, use "The Passover Survival Kit" by Shimon Apisdorf. It's available at your local Jewish bookstore and is filled with great tips and insights into making the Seder fun and meaningful. It's also a terrific source of questions to stimulate conversation, ideas on each section of the Haggadah, and more.

Passover Bingo Board

Games like Passover Bingo (www.passoverbingo.com) bring the Haggadah alive, keeping kids and adults eagerly participating at your Seder. The Passover Bingo board game has words and images that are central to the Passover holiday. It's professionally designed to help people learn about Passover. This game can be used at any time to learn about the important events and personalities of Passover, or during your first and second Seders for Passover.

This unique Jewish board game, which is fun and educational, can be enjoyed by the entire family. It helps motivate people to follow along with the story of Exodus. Guests at your traditional Seder will be participating and paying rapt attention to the pages, thanks to this easy-to-play game. People who play it before or after the Seder will leave satisfied that they have grasped the basic concepts of Passover, made so accessible in a colorful graphic format.

The Passover Bingo game features bright colors, cards that are durable, large, and easy to read, words and pictures on the boards that correspond with the Hagaddah and story of Exodus from Egypt, and enough cards for up to six players. A word list and explanations are included, so the bingo game can be played any time people get in the Pesach mood.

This popular board game makes a great gift for family or friends. It's available at www.passoverbingo.com for $24.95, and a portion of profits are set aside for tzedakah.

Published: April 2, 2003


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Visitor Comments: 9

(9) Harry Green, April 13, 2011 4:53 AM

Give little prizes en route for good questions.

Encourage questions from the table / guests, throughout the Seder. Give little food prizes, like almonds or raisins en route through the Hagaddah throughout the meal. When the guests pick up on what is going on, they will be quick to join in. A guaranteed method to keep all interested, not just the young, but the young at heart. I have been doing this for over 25 years, and now one of our married sons is carrying on the tradition in Israel.

(8) Tamara, April 3, 2008 2:59 PM

prises

We used prizes for a number of years, but they eventually became a distraction. I like the prize ticket idea (comment #2), We have reverted to the traditional nuts & nosh prizes - the kids tend to be hungry so this can help.
I also find that using finger puppets can help for the more "boring" segments. There is a lot of acting going on at our table - quite entertaining and helps to keep everyones' attention.

(7) Iris, April 26, 2007 1:38 PM

My sedars are more meaningful than my grandparents

As a child, when my grandfathers were alive, the seders were a punishment. Both grandfathers read, mostly to themselves, from Haggadahs that I think were in Yiddish. Every word was read or mumbled. BORING. The only time we kids were allowed to participate was to sing the 4 Questions and the songs at the end. Also, I hated the food. My grandmothers were NOT good cooks and I can't stand gefilte fish, borscht, sharve, salz-wasser-egg-soup. There were always remnets of walnut shells in the charoses. (Growing up, "home cooked meals" did not evoke warm and fuzzy feelings. Quite the opposite.)

My seders are said in English, and everyone takes a turn reading. We sing the songs in Hebrew. We use a Children's Haggadah and we always invite others, often Gentiles. They love being invited and always ask questions. We get a kick out of hearing them try to pronounce Hebrew terms, which adds to the levity.

Each year I vary my charoses recipe. I use at least a dozen apples and 3 pounds of nuts because people always ask to take some home. (I make up containers for my guests before hand.) When I go to work and eat charoses sandwhiches, I am always asked, "what is that?" with a not too pleasant look. I tell them it is a fruit and nut pate. It always gets them to ask for a taste. It never fails to please.

But, I do miss the stories told by my grandparents and older relatives who have since passed. New comers in my life can never quite fill that void.

(6) Anonymous, April 5, 2007 9:23 PM

prize tickets

for kids who are beyond dollar store prizes but need an incentive...prize tickets, each worth a certain amount of money, to be redeemed during chol hamoed or after pesach. works for us. Also, we stick to pretty basic story telling with interesting midrashim. most kids aren't interested in deep philosophy or fine points of halacha.

(5) satyaprakash, March 28, 2007 10:36 AM

in the age 58 i need some good things by all ways

after using this site will give my experience till then thanks

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