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Getting ready for Pesach Seder with Ayeka

Published
Posted on April 21, 2016

The Seder is intended to be a personal experience. By now we know the story. We don’t need more historical information or sermons. What we need is a way to personally connect with the Passover story and to each other. We need quality conversations.

That is really what a Seder is: an organized conversation around a table with matza and lots of wine. Ayeka is here to help make this conversation less awkward and boring and more relevant and personal. We have put together a group of activities and questions that will help every member of your Seder table feel more involved and interested in what is happening.

 

PRE-SEDER: 

At Ayeka, we have found that pre-Seder activities immeasurably deepen the Seder experience. They enable people to move into Seder mode so that they are not unprepared or unfocused when they walk into the Seder. It also allows people to feel more comfortable with each other, dispense with some of the small talk, and free up the Seder conversation for more substantial discussion.

  • If possible, bring everyone together for an evening a week or two before Seder.
  • If it is not possible to actually physically gather people together, then at least have them participate in one Pesach activity which they can then share at the Seder.
  • This will help focus the guests on the Seder and set the stage for them having something personal and thoughtful to offer.

Below are our recommended 3 pre-Seder topics. All of these contain both a pre-Seder element and a “During the Seder” section. We suggest you choose at least one of the subjects and read it by yourself. After that, share it with the other people who will be at your Seder. You can do this in person, on the phone, or by email. The key is that you get a chance to think about these questions before the Seder begins.

 

AT THE SEDER: 

I. Guided Conversations

One of our favorite exercises is what we call “spiritual chevruta”:

  1. Pose a trigger question.
  2. Have everyone turn to the person next them and discuss it for a few minutes.

Often at the Seder one person talks and everyone listens. It is hard to listen for a long stretch of time. Sometimes people tune out; sometimes people interrupt. The spiritual chevruta changes the rhythm of the Seder and offers everyone the opportunity to talk.

Last year I partnered off with my youngest daughter (13) and we had a short but very memorable conversation. Other couples couldn’t stop talking. We try to keep the questions personal, rather than theoretical. You get to decide how long the chevruta should last, but we find that 6-10 minutes usually works well. After the given time ends, ask people to share what they discussed and if anything really meaningful came up during their conversation.

II. 4 Questions for 3 People 

We all know the Four Questions. We all know that this night is different from other nights. How about a new take on this idea? We have come up with Four NEW Questions for some very important people at your table:

  • The Seder Host – who’s running this thing anyway? Ask the host some questions.
  • The Seder Elder – the oldest person at the Seder has some wisdom to impart.
  • The Seder Slave – who did all the work? This table didn’t get set by itself. Take some time to ask the person most taken for granted a question or two.

III. Afikomen Cards 

What do you do when the kids start getting bored or acting up? The answer is to pull out an Afikomen Card. We have created 16 cards that suggest a question or activity to keep the children involved and in good spirits. We have categorized the cards by age: 4-8 year olds and 8-12 year olds. So, grab a card and get ready for a laugh as your kids discover more meaning and fun in the Seder.

IV. Modern Miracle Collage 

Print out copies of our Modern Miracle Collage. At the Seder pass them around and ask the participants which images they think most illustrate the Hand of God in the world today. Why did they choose the images they did? What would they add? Think about maybe making your own collage for next year. It’s a great activity for the family to do together.