A Passover Seder can be a long, drawn-out service where the Haggadah is typically read by taking turns going around the table. You listen to your 6-year-old cousin sound out each word and watch as your 86-year-old Grandma struggles to even see the words, all while your stomach is grumbling. Eventually, the cardboard we call matzo begins to look attractive either because you’re starving or buzzed from the never-ending glasses of wine. Luckily, there are several ways to help make the Seder more bearable.
Keeping drinking that Manischewitz. Everything will start to look much better – even your Mom’s college roommate’s stepson who reluctantly joined your family’s Seder because he had nowhere else to go.
2. Acting Out The Seder
Rather than keep with the tradition of going ’round the table or taking turns by age to read the Haggadah, find some examples of the Passover play online and assign roles. Grouchy Grandpa can be Pharoah. The youngest at the table gets to be Baby Moses. Bring costumes and props for the splitting of the Red Sea and frogs. Whether you are among a random group of people who are mostly strangers or your closest family members, a play allows people to both relax and enjoy themselves. If you have a script, email it around ahead of time and let people add their own shtick and animate their role how they see fit.
3. Ten Plagues
Since I was a little girl my favorite part of the Seder was dipping my pinky in the wine glass and putting a drop of wine along my plate as each plague was read aloud. Imagine if you elaborated on this part though!? Think about what the 10 plagues would be in 2016: no Wi-Fi? Gun violence? Election year? Stuck in traffic? Low battery? Global warming? There are also finger puppets and masks and those fun little plastic frogs that you can make hop across the table and fake locusts that you can scare people with. You can also turn it into a game of charades; write each plague on a small piece of paper and let each guest take one and act it out. No one said Passover had to be boring!
4. Hiding The Afikomen (For Adults!)
Tradition says that once you are bar or bat mitzvah’ed that you can no longer look for the afikomen. But what if there aren’t any kids at your Seder? And even if there are, why can’t everyone participate? Up the stakes and take the game to the next level!
5. Singing The Seder
Have you ever been at one of those Seders where they read every part of the service in Hebrew AND English and then sing some songs too, effectively doubling the length of the service? Sheesh! Most prayers now have melodies to them and you can sing nearly the entire service now. Or at least simply don’t bother reading what you sing instead, like “Dayenu,” “Let My People Go,” and “Frogs Were Jumping Everywhere.” And who can sing the last verse of “Chad Gadya” in one breath the fastest?
Can’t forget to mention the guest of honor again: the wine. No matter how your Seder plays out or for how long, no wine is too much wine as long as you have a ride home. There’s a reason that you’re supposed to recline!
Passover is really a fun holiday where we get to celebrate our exodus from slavery. It doesn’t have to be boring or depressing. Enjoy your Seder, drink your wine, eat your gefilte fish, pop some macaroons and then help clean up all the matzo dust. L’chaim!