As the opening strains of “There’s No Seder Like Our Seder” begin, I look around the room at the family and friends that have gathered to celebrate this first night of Passover. Both daughters came home from college for the Seders, a holiday / event that they both look forward to each year. Do we do a traditional Seder – Yes and No. The underlying text we use – Yes. The method of delivery – No. The Seder has the potential for being a stuffy affair, but not in the Zeiler household! I learned early on that the more fun we have, the more everyone stays involved. In the back of my mind, I still have pictured Uncle Hy, at my Mother’s parent’s house, sitting at the foot of the table, head back and snoring.
How many time do we go to some event and it is exactly the same way it was the previously. Yes, there is some comfort in repetition and know every step by heart. As I get older, in a world where each day has its own challenges, there is a warm feeling of doing something by rote as a means of comfort. That would relate to me, but what about the other people in the room? Can I really say, “If it was good for my grandfather…”? When the girls were little, Debbie and I started to host the Seders, but we wanted it to be accessible to our children, including them and be fun at the same time. The Seder had to be fun for the adults as well. We started to look for things to enhance the experience, which included song sheet, which eventually became a part of our homemade Haggadah. Then came props, some I use, some others use.
Gab’s freshman year, we did not know if she would come home. She came home. This year, both Gab and Bec were not 100% sure they were coming home – they were here. When asked what they like about coming home for the Seders? They answered that they enjoy the company, being with family, and our own tradition. Everyone is involved in some way or other. This year, Bec did all of the baking. With some new kids at our Seder, the girls included them and helped created activities for them. We are proud that our children realize the importance of keeping everyone engaged.
Sometimes, we go through the motions of ceremonies that have been handed down, as a way to connect with our past or share our culture backgrounds with our children. Sometimes, we need to inject a little something to make it relevant, to make it fresh and to make it exciting. How do you make your family traditions exciting?