Every year I am asked for new ideas for activities and discussions at the Seder. Some good Haggadot include some ideas. Here is a list of some suggestions that I created based on a message I received from the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. I wanted to share them today so that you have a few days to get them ready for your Seder. I truly hope your Seder experience is fun and memorable for all of the generations. Remember - Seder should not only be about the children.
Enjoy the time with family and friends - let's all try to make new memories for future generations.
Chag Sameach - Happy Passover
Rabbi Adam Feldman
Assignments to Prepare in advance:
a. Ask everyone to write what the seder means to them in 6 words. Deposit each response in a basket at the beginning of the Seder. During the Magid section, someone reads each card while everyone guesses who wrote it.
b. Dayenu. What have you experienced this year that made you feel grateful - when you may have said: Dayenu. This is so satisfying that it has made my life worthwhile and me overjoyed.
c. Shifra and Puah Award. Pick a story of resistance to tyranny like the midwives.
d. Nachshon Award. Nachshon was the first one willing to walk into the Red Sea before the water parted. When did I stand up or see someone stand up to show courage against conformity or take first step in difficult process.
e. Every Seder takes us back to the Exodus from Egypt as well as our earliest Seder experiences as children. Share a favorite childhood Passover memory.
f. Choose quote about freedom and slavery and share it at the Seder.
g. Prepare an interview with five questions for a key figure in the Passover story.
h. Who would you invite to the seder and what does that person have to say to us. For example, my grandmother or ML King or Moses or Miriam.
I. Build a pyramid at your Seder using Legos, marshmallows or sugar cubes. Who can build the tallest pyramid?
j. Prepare four children as four examples of politicians, or flowers, or cars (like electric car for wise child; Cadillac convertible gas guzzler for wicked child; VW Bug for simple child etc.). Bring the four pictures and explain your choices.
m. writer letter to Moses or to your great-grandparent before seder with a question and a description of him what Pesach has become in your family
n. Ask everyone to bring in four questions (about seder, freedom, Exodus, Moshe plagues etc.) of their own on index cards. Then pick from hat by youngest child and collect answers from anyone at table. Limit answering sessions to two minutes each.
Activities During the Seder
Under each chair place an envelope with a secret assignment which everyone is asked to read to him/herself as seder begins. For example, one person is asked to play the wicked child and ask pointed questions and sneer at ideas at seder and to display physically disgust at what is going on. All during the seder, that person plays that secret role, until someone notices and declares - Ma Nishtana and identifies the weird behavior.
Have each guest sign their Haggadah and take a group photo before the seder for a Pesach album to be consulted each year as to who came and what became of them in that last year.
Create your own B'nai Brak moment by collecting everyone's watch. The Chief rabbi of Uruguay used to send around children with a basket at beginning of the Seder to collect everyone's watch because no one was allowed to say hurry up it is getting late.
Some people do first half of seder up to the eating of matzah in living room while reclining on couches or on pillows on the floor. Then everyone stands to make the official move to the dining room led by seder leader with a staff or broom stick singing Avadim Hayenu and stepping across a trough of water entitled the Red Sea.
Everyone must see themselves as if they went out of Egypt. Pass a round mirror during "everyone is obligated to see oneself as if going out of Egypt. Also ask people to bring a photo of an ancestor who journeyed from liberation to freedom.