The Sayder (Sedar)
I always loved Passover. To me, it is like a Jewish Thanksgiving. The food is the same every year, we are thankful and reflective and you know no matter how religious you are or not that every Jew is sitting down around the world celebrating Passover.
Passover has been constant over the year and what I mean by that is it is always the same. We read from the Haggadah, we go through the prayers, we do the four questions, we sing Dayenu, we eat matzoh ball soup. This year was different. We were on a plane the first night. Total screw up on my part but the second night we went to a friends house who is trying as an adult to discover as well as figure out how Judaism will play a role in his life. Keep in mind he grew up in an orthodox household.
Together with a small group of friends who are also looking to figure out Judaism in their lives, they created a site call The Sayder. A group of about 18 of us sat around the table for a sedar which was lead by a rabbi (although he is going to rabbinical school coming this fall) and we followed The Sayder. It was one of the best sedars I have ever been too. I can't get it out of my head. I only wished we had this type of service around my table growing up. This sedar was a conversational, interactive and a learning opportunity. It also made me feel part of the Jewish community which is significant.
We began the Sayder with every person telling their name and say one significant thing that changed in their life since last Passover. Since I didn't know everyone at the table, that was a great way to start. It was insightful and gave us each a slight glimpse into where each of us were in our lives. The afikoman was hidden at this point. We did follow some classic parts like four glasses of wine, etc.
Then we were to name organizations that we thought we making significant changes in the world today to make the world a better and freer place. I named Hot Bread Kitchen. At that point we broke up into pairs and discussed what is enslaving you today and holding you back from being freer. The conversations were really interesting as we then returned to the table. At this point we had some food.
Next question was what solutions can we identify to make life better and freer. Conversations flowed from the changes taking place in the Middle East, to giving back, to Governments being dysfunctional, etc. Then we had dinner.
Our last question was each of our visions for a freer world. How did we hope to see the world next year at this time. Also we searched for the afikomen and who ever found it decided which non-profit organization we would donate money to. Hot Bread Kitchen was chosen and so I was thrilled.
Then came dessert. It was a long night but incredibly insightful, thoughtful and engaging. I keep thinking about the night. Next year, not in Jerusalem but at my house with my kids and friends that can't get home from the girls college and we will follow The Sayder.