How to Involve the Kids in Passover


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The Jewish holiday of Passover begins next Monday evening with the Seder, a ritual feast.  Friends and family gather together to retell the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

Rabbi Ilana Garber from Beth El Temple of West Hartford, also the mother of two young children, ages 4 1/2 and 3, has tips to help this important evening go smoothly, as a learning experience for everyone.

1.)  Manage Expectations

Give kids a heads-up about this special night, often held in the dining room with adults.  “I’ve been talking to them about next Monday, how they’ll come home early from school, they’ll take a nap and get ready.  Really working through what it’s going to look like, that it’s OK to go to bed when they’re tired,” says Garber.

2.)  Involve Kids in the Plans

“It’s a children’s experience,” she says.  “We have children’s songs.  As we go through the whole Passover Seder, we’ll put on masks at one point.  We’ll put on paper chains to pretend that we’re slaves.  We have musical instruments on the table.”  Allow children to play a role in the ceremony by giving them each a specific job.

3.)  Make the Dining Room a Classroom

“This is a multi-sensory educational experience,” says Garber.  “The whole goal is to be showing the Passover story, more than telling it.” 

When the kids are very small, Garber suggests holding a children's seder, on the floor in the family room with casual food.  But, as they get older, she believes it's important for them to see "grown-up" participation, as the adults hold meaningful conversations about what plagues them in today's world.  Kids can observe their parents asking: "How is freedom a gift that I use?  How do I make it count?"  

Garber believes "a prepared approach" will allow the entire family to experience and enjoy the Seder....while  really remembering what Passover is all about.

How do you involve the kids in your holiday planning?


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