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Liven Up Your Seder 2009

Each year, I try to provide a series of new ideas to enhance the Seder experience. Here are some engaging options for 2009, with some old favorites at the end of the post.

The Middle Matzah of Brokenness: Haggadah Insert for During Economic Recession: Add this ritual before or in place of the Yachatz reading.

Jewish World Watch’s Matzah Set: My favorite! The 5-card set explores the symbolism of Matzah as it relates to issues of affliction, redemption and action. It serves as a resource for discussion at your Seder table and as an advocacy kit with current action items!

The Fifth Question: What Would You Ask? My Rabbinical friends offer one more question to ask at the seder, along with a short elaboration on why their question is timely and meaningful. Pick one or two to read at the seder and then invite participants to answer.

Top Ten 10 popular Passover Videos of years past: many animated, many musical, not all kid-appropriate. Plus two more, from Birthright and United Jewish Communities. Consider playing one or more during your seder to engage the YouTube generation. Since seder is supposed to be a multimedia experience (playing with food, telling stories, teaching each of the four types of children in ways he/she can hear), playing YouTube video is just the next appropriate addition!

Why is There a Football and a Corkscrew on our Seder Table? Add this new ritual to your seder, encouraging new ways to tell the story of the Exodus.

In Search of Freedom: A Passover Seder for Darfur: From American Jewish World Service. Integrate elements of this or make it your seder this year.

AIPAC’s Haggadah Supplement is designed to invite discussion around your seder table about the necessity for each of us to participate in the political process in order to make a difference for America and for Israel.

Contemplating Elijah: Read and consider at the appropriate Seder moment: Harvey Cox comments: “I have come to look forward to the opening of the door for an Elijah who is always a no-show, and I have come to believe that precisely by not appearing, that great prophet is showing us something we need to know. What does it mean that there is never anyone at the door? What if, for all practical purposes, no messiah can be counted on? Would that make any significant difference in the way we engage in the present human enterprise?” Through the poem Elijah’s Violin, poet David Lehman responds.

Contemplating Elijah 2: Poet Phil Schultz responds to: “The question is by not appearing at the door does Elijah deliver a greater gift of wisdom, or is the disappointment of his dependable absence a secret message only prophets can understand?” How do your seder participants respond?

Now, Some Old Favorites:

Can We Eat Beans, Rice, Corn and Peas on Passover?

Answers to the age-old question about eating kitniyot on Passover.

Passover: Ancient Rituals, New Perspectives
Spice up your Seder: Dressing in Drag, Getting Stoned, Pillow Talk, Feeling the Beat
Reflections from Sedona as We Prepare for Pesach OR Oy, Why Did We Have to Wander for Forty Years?
Rabbi Kipnes’ 8 Ways to Make Your Family Seder Engaging
Sing along with Cantor Doug Cotler’s Favorites
Almost everything you wanted to know about Passover: Preparing for Passover, Hunting for Hametz, How to make your Seder meaningful, How to capture the attention of the kids,The Story of Passover in 6 (short) Scenes, For the Adult Seder: Four Ideas from the Rabbi’s Tisch (table)

Creative Ideas for Your Passover Seder Table, 2004
Make your seder engaging and meaningful this year!

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