A Pesach seder is one of the three things for which most Jews, regardless of their level of faith or observance, will find time. (A bris and bar mitzvah being the other two.) It seems to be one of those ancient customs that defines us as a people. Everybody has an opinion about seder. For some families it is all about the food, for others the family gathering, and for some it is the Judaic component that ties it all together. And while I find comfort and significance in all of these, as anybody who has EVER planned, cooked, cleaned or prepared for Pesach in any way, shape or form will tell you, it is also a SHITLOAD of work. We all have lives that are busy and complicated, and Passover is kind of like the flu; it creeps up on you slowly and then hits you square in the face before you have had time to react.
My family is no exception. We have always tried to gather as many of the extended branches together for a big, honking old-style family seder. We cook, we plan, we clean, we sing, and we have over the years, created many a family Haggadah. Some have been accepted and some have been merely tolerated, but we continue to experiment and try new things. We have had arguments over food and we have had battles over the dividing up of responsibilities, but we still manage to come together as best we can as a collective. (Other family commitments always understood!) This year will be no different with the expressed exception that the Sister/Cousin (yes-I am calling you out!!!) has asked me to re-examine the Haggadah. Without going into family politics, I have hedged. I am perfectly willing to lead the family in song and I am perfectly willing to help with whatever cooking and cleaning might be needed, but the Haggadah is a project that I am not so willing to tackle again. It is complicated and never easy, and frankly it CANNOT possibly please us all. That said, I would like to propose a possible idea, with the expressed caveat that if it doesn't work, I can abandon ship and we revert to the book used last year.
I am asking all of you-related to me or not-friend, stranger, or colleague-to send me your Passover ideas. I want the best of what you have. I want your favourite readings and I want your favourite songs. I want your recipes and I want your kid's projects from synagogue or school. I want interactive, online, printed book, and games. I want new liturgy and I want old. I want Bubby's ideas and I want the youngest at the table's. Send it all to me. Every scrap, every page, every note. I will then take what I get and what I already have and try to make something resembling a seder out of it.
If you send me readings from books, please include the title and page number. If you send me stuff from a Haggadah, I need to know which one. If you have a particular song-I need the artist and album; a website-the address. In other words, reference your stuff people. I won't use it unless I can credit. It is only appropriate.
There is a deadline for this little exercise. The first seder is on March 29th and I need time to prepare, so you all have until Friday evening March 19th. Shabbat and all. You can respond in the comments section of this blog. Facebook is also available for those in the know, as is my private email.
Take care friends. This is an exercise that matters a great deal to me. (The Husband is probably groaning out loud as he reads this! Relax Honey. I have given myself an out!) Don't hedge or hesitate. There is nothing that I will deem too off-the-wall. Time is of the essence. The night sweats will only get worse as 15 Nissan approaches.