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Celebrating Passover with Shalom Sesame: Seder Traditions


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Passover, one of the most widely-celebrated Jewish holidays, commemorates the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt during the spring month of Nisan. The rituals and customs of this holiday connect to spring, renewal, and freedom. Shalom Sesame segments showcase holiday preparations and customs, the biblical Passover story, and Hebrew words and phrases related to Passover. 

Together with your children, watch the Shalom Sesame videos below to learn about the customs of the Passover seder. Then try some of the discussion ideas and activities below recommended by Reform Jewish educators to further extend the lessons learned in the videos. If you wish, share your experiences and ideas in the comments sections below!

Discuss

Afiko-what? The afikoman is a piece of matzah that is broken and hidden in the early stage of the Passover seder. The word "afikoman" means dessert in ancient Greek and it is called the "dessert" of the Passover meal. You can talk about differences between the afikoman and desserts eaten on other nights and why the children think we end the seder meal with the afikoman.

Modern additions to the seder table. Some families add a special goblet of water to the seder table called “the Cup of Miriam.” This symbol honors Miriam, the sister of Moses, who played a vital role in Jewish history. Many families have also begun adding an orange to the seder plate as a way of acknowledging the role of women in Jewish life. Ask your children what symbolic foods or objects they would add. What parts of the Passover story would these objects represent?

Activities

A game that can do good. Finding the afikoman is usually the children's role at the seder. Often, children are rewarded for finding it with gifts of their choosing. On Passover, as on many other Jewish holidays, giving to those less fortunate is built into the holiday traditions. Try this: Whatever you give to your child for helping to find the afikoman can also be given to another, less fortunate child. For instance, if your child asks for a particular book, get two copies and give one away or donate the cost of a book to a good cause.

Cook with your children. Entrée to Judaism for Families provides tools for helping children learn to cook, with clear, step-by-step instructions for every recipe and tips for adults to make the experience safe and rewarding. The book, featuring delicious Passover recipes like matzah brei and double coconut chocolate macaroons, is a great starting point for sharing stories about the meaning and history associated with each recipe.

Make a seder plate. Bring out your family seder plate or share photographs of seder plates. Try out the Interactive Seder Plate with your child to learn about the foods that go on a seder plate, and how they are connected to the themes of Passover. After exploring different types of seder plates, kids can make their own using a paper plate and magic markers or other materials.

Sing! Bring music into your family’s seder tradition. Seder Songs features 22 tunes for the Passover seder, from tried-and-true traditional melodies to modern-day favorites.

Watch

Les Matzarables

Shalom Sesame takes on the Broadway Musical! Join the Muppets as they search high and low for "Matzah in the House."

Kids Talk About the Four Questions

Listen to different children recite the Four Questions, a song traditionally sang at the seder that asks "How is this night different from all other nights?"

It’s Passover, Grover!

Grover asks Shoshana questions about the Passover seder, and learns about holiday customs and traditions.

For more Shalom Sesame videos, activities, and other materials, visit our friends at Shalomsesame.org.