As Passover approaches, I often have families ask me for ways in which to make the holiday more meaningful for adults and children alike. The key to a successful Passover seder is to make the evening relevant for your guests. The Haggadah demands that each generation must see him/herself as though he/she personally came out of Egypt.
Some of the most creative seder ideas are generated from the idea of seeing one’s self as a slave and focusing on ideas of liberation. Try transforming your dining room into a scene from Egypt. Lego characters become the slaves, and you can construct pyramids out of old cardboard boxes. You can use Lego to build an ancient Egyptian pyramid too! Have your children help decorate the scene with small rubber frogs, which will remind us of the 10 plagues.
If your guests are really brave, encourage them to dress the part, whether they want to be Pharaoh or Moses. Have them act out the Exodus in your living room! Whether or children are small or big, it sometimes helps to move the re-telling of the Passover story away from the dining room table, to a spot where everyone is more comfortable. Mix it up, and your guests will really enjoy lounging on the living room floor as they watch the riveting tale unfold.
I also encourage families to serve appetizers to keep everyone, young and old, in a good mood! Often, seder participants have trouble waiting for the meal to begin, and this will allow everyone to remain on their best behavior. My final word of encouragement would be not to neglect the adult participants too. Ask guests to bring their favorite bottle of wine, and be prepared to share a little about it. Once the children go to sleep, don’t be afraid to continue the adult conversations over what is really important- the value of freedom and what that means to us in 2016. How does slavery still exist in our world? What can we do to free ourselves from the various forms of bondage in our lives? Wishing you all a very meaningful Pesach, lively and creative sedarim, and a holiday filled with thoughtful questions.