11 Resources to Better Your Seder

April 15, 2016Jane E. Herman

With its focus on freedom, Passover is a perfect time to incorporate modern-day social justice issues into the retelling of our people’s journey from slavery to freedom. This round-up of holiday resources – including haggadot, themed inserts, an inclusion guide, and more – will help ensure a terrific and meaningful seder for everyone around your table.

  1. Talk directly to teens: Whether you’re a parent of teens or will simply be hosting them at your seder this new guide will help parents, congregations, and anyone involved with teens empower them to be an active part of the festivities and engage as leaders with those around them.
  1. Show the earth some love: This year, the first night of Passover coincides with Earth Day, making the Earth Justice Seder an especially timely way to incorporate environmental justice issues into your celebration.
  1. Acknowledge the refugee crisis: With more than 60 million people displaced worldwide, we face the largest global refugee crisis since World War II. Because our tradition teaches that none of us is free until all of us are free, we offer prayers and readings and an addition to the seder plate that not only acknowledge this crisis, but also underscore our responsibility to take action.
  1. Tackle racial justice: As our society grapples with increasingly widespread racial injustice, the seder’s Four Children can help us discuss the issue with the questions each one asks in this racial justice haggadah insert. These four questions can further the racial justice conversation around your table.
  1. Commit to ending slavery: Our world is fraught with evidence that slavery didn’t end in Egypt. With more than 20 million people – including five million children – victims of modern-day slavery and human trafficking annually, this, too, is an apt topic for the seder with this haggadah supplement as a guide.
  1. Get your guests talking: An array of other seder inserts on topics including reproductive justice, immigration, and labor, as well as modern twists on the ancient story of the Exodus can spice up the chatting and banter throughout the evening. This year, Mazon’s fifth question focuses on food-insecurity among military families, and ARZA's haggadah companion can help bring issues such as religious pluralism and equality to your seder table.
  1. Make social justice a priority: If you’re interested in focusing on just one particular social justice topic, check out these haggadot, which individually address such issues as peace, hunger, and labor, as well as modern slavery, and more.
  1. Invest in a new haggadah: Looking for a new haggadah for your celebration? The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the professional arm of the Reform rabbinate, offers many choices, including A Children’s Haggadah and a Russian-Hebrew edition of A Passover Haggadah.
  1. Start counting the Omer: For those who wish to be mindful in their counting of the Omer (Sefirat Ha'omer), this book and companion set of cards offer inspirational readings for each day, as well as a theme for each of the seven weeks of the Omer period.
  1. Prioritize inclusion: If your guest list includes children with disabilities, make sure to review these tips to make your seder disabilities-friendly. For visually impaired guests, large-print haggadot are available at no cost from the Jewish Braille Institute.
  1. Get a little geeky: Wow the URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech alums and science lovers at your table by showing this video of a Rube Goldberg machine, which tells the entire Passover story, in a lab at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

No matter the size, focus, or questions asked at your seder, may it be one that finds you surrounded by loved ones, and may everyone enjoy a sweet, wonderful celebration.

Chag Pesach sameach!

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