JewishBoston.com: Leader’s Guide for The Wandering Is Over Haggadah

Originally published on JewishBoston.com.

Thank you for hosting a Passover seder! Here are a few tips to make it easy to lead a Passover seder that both you and your guests enjoy. If you’d prefer to read this in an easier-to-print PDF format, you can download that here. Need more resources? Visit our Passover Guide to see more of everything.

created at: 2011-04-05Before the Seder

A small amount of preparation can go a long way in making your seder fun for everyone, including you!

Pick Your Haggadah

  • Of course, we recommend that you use The Wandering Is Over Haggadah!
  • It’s designed to take about 30 minutes from start to dinner and to be accessible to everyone.

Read Through Your Haggadah to See if You Want to Tweak the Experience

  • One of the best parts of a seder is that you can choose how to adjust your seder for your audience.
  • What type of conversation do you want to have at your seder? Seders are designed to go off track. It’s through discussion that we explore how what happened so long ago is still relevant today.
  • Look at the speech bubbles in our Haggadah and decide if they work for your crowd. To help get the conversation started, you may want to tip off some of your more vocal friends with the conversation topics in advance so they can have a first answer ready.
  • Do you or your guests have favorite readings or traditions that you want to include? Some people like to enhance their seders with additional texts connecting the themes of Passover with the contemporary world or recent Jewish history (such as the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel).
  • What types of songs do you want to include? Some people include songs from the American Civil Rights movement, while others like to include song-parodies, jokes or skits to help lighten the mood while explaining the Passover story. If you’d like to review the melodies for the more traditional seder songs, check out this online collection of song files: www.jewishbirthnetwork.com/passover-sing-along.html. For silly seder song parodies, try this site: holidays.juda.com/passover-songs.shtml.
  • You’ll notice the meal is right in the middle of the steps. If you just stop there, you’ll miss some of the best parts (including half the wine)! But be realistic – if you don’t think you and your guests will want to pick up the Haggadah again after the entrée, consider moving some of the second-half highlights to the pre-dinner slot.  Continue reading
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JewishBoston.com: Setting Your Seder Table

Originally published on JewishBoston.com.

created at: 2011-03-30

First and foremost, Passover is a holiday, so don’t be shy about using a nice tablecloth and fancy china. On the other hand, some people keep their Passover meals extra-safe from chametz (the dreaded, forbidden leavening) by plates they only have for Passover. So if you want to use fancy paper goods instead of china, feel free, whether in the name of being extra-kosher or just not wanting to wash a million dishes after the seder.

Because the seder is all about conversation, avoid tall centerpieces – everyone should be able to see one another across the table! Plus, there’s not likely to be room for elaborate flower arrangements, thanks to some special additions to our table: the seder plate, the plate of matzah, and Elijah’s cup. In some homes, they’ll also add a couple of condiments that come in handy during the seder, such as a cup of salt water and a dish of horseradish.

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