Passover: Time-honored and New Traditions

Passover is a time of traditions, some simply accepted as “what we have always done,” and others that may hold a deep meaning for us. It is also a time on the Jewish calendar that begs for efficient planning with the amount of dishes that make their way to the seder table! Here are some fun, interesting, “feel good” ideas for your seder this year.

PLANNING IS KEY, BUT HAVE FUN: A memorable seder need not be so because of the time it takes to get to the food and the long haggadah script. Planning ahead with friends and family attending can turn the seder into an interactive, fun time for all ages. Dr. Ron Wolfson in My Jewish Learning recommends giving “homework” in preparation for the evening, whether it is bringing a poem, creating or singing a song of their choice, or children’s artwork tied to the Passover theme and the seder. Turn the search for the afikomen into an inclusive experience with a scavenger hunt with hints and alternative prizes so all ages can “win

CREATE A PLAGUE BAG: A simple paper bag filled with items from a dollar store can represent the 10 plagues and bring laughter to your seder. Little plastic frogs (frogs) and small black insects (lice) can “plague” your table as the kids try to jump them around while small cows can stand in for livestock pestilence and rubber insects for locusts. Cotton balls or light-colored bouncing balls can take the place of hail. As for darkness, sneak in an eye mask or sunglasses to darken your eyesight. A tiny plastic red cup can be used to show how water added to it “turns into” blood. For boils, a sheet of tiny white/red stickers will garner giggles as the children stick them on each other. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Get each child their favorite wild beast to play with at the table. As for the slaying of the first born, a tiny plastic skeleton might do. Use your imagination to find these fun items at your dollar store or online.

A TIME FOR MITZVOT: As we get ready to welcome our families into our homes to retell the stories of Passover and eat a plentiful meal, we should remember those that are less fortunate. Following the Passover theme of escaping and helping others up, volunteering your time or donating to local organizations enables you to provide for others directly or indirectly. Here are some local ways that you can give immediate assistance.

  • Sign up with Jewish Community Alliance for Refugee Resettlement (JCARR) to give your time, fulfill the wish list of items needed and/or donate monetarily to help new refugees coming to our country to start a new life.
  • There are a plethora of scholarships offered to our community members to help with experiencing Israel, college financial assistance, professional development grants for Jewish educators, Jewish camp for children, Talmud Torah classes for children with individualized learning and special needs, and so much more. Donating your time or funds to the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven can go a long way!
  • Join the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven’s Women’s Philanthropy to participate in a variety of educational, social and fundraising events.

Share some of your traditions with us at We would love to spotlight our Greater New Haven Passover innovators!

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