Six different seders
1. Families with young children. The Passover seder as theater is a naturalfor young children. The seder is simplified. The evening is shorter. Young children especially enjoy the active involvement: especially putting on costumes, and moments like"journeying through the desert", "building the pyramid", whipping ex-slaves with green onions, hearing the army on horseback coming and running through the sea, as well as the expected hunt for the afikomen.
We also put out Passover coloring books, young children’s Passover board books and picture books for any children who need these to get through the evening.
Being able to nibble throughout the early part of the seder also helps us satisfy this group’s needs. But please note, this is a seder for families with young children. It is not a children’s activity, with adults in accompaniment. Most important is actually to create a me aningful experience for the adults.
2. Families with older children. With older children, we are able to do include more texts from the maggid section of the seder. There is still plenty of room for dramatic theater. They seem to really enjoy filling out their passports and then engaging in the tete a tete with us over the question of what is their slavery and how are they treated. With older kids, we begin to broach the question of their internal slavery.but there are also opportunities to discuss the different kinds of slavery in our time. We usually invite one or two people who have a significant story to tell, whom we know will engage the rest of the participants and be able to converse comfortably with them. It may be a Holocaust survivor, or a more recent immigrant who suffered in another country, or someone who had been homeless, or someone who is in recovery from an addiction.
3. Men’s seder. Gesher has invited its men’s groups and potentially
interested Jewish men to this seder. It emphasizes a good meal, a lot of meaningful discussion. Most years, we have made a paper midrash of the journey we take from slavery to freedom, reflecting on the stages of the seder as they reflect this journey. (We created this idea as an adaptation of the work of Jo Milgrom in her book Hand Made Midrash.
4. Women’s seder. This seder appeals to women who are searching for spiritual connection. The Passover story is told from the perspective of Jewish women’s voices in the midrash and in modern commentaries of our own.
5. Singles and couples without childre. This seder is one of our most successful. We usually do it on the Friday of Passover and singles come in droves. Because it is mainly adults and our assumption is that either committed Jews have already been to a seder, or they will be satisfied with something spiritual and replenishing, we focus on a section of the seder, rather than doing it all. Usually this has something to do with the passage from slavery to freedom and asking people to identify where they are on thisjourney.
6. Women’s and Daughters’ Seder. This seder has allowed mothers and daughters to experience the seder as Jewish women of different generations, understanding that the journey of Passover brings joy and memory to every generation.