Alternate Activity 3: Passover Seder
Materials for Activity
- A Passover haggadah
- Optional: Music for the traditional song "Eliyahu Hanavi" (Elijah the Prophet)
Preparation for Activity
- Arrange for youth to attend a Passover seder. If the seder will happen a while after the group has studied Judaism, be prepared to refresh their memory on important topics.
- Invite a guest to tell the group about the meaning of Passover and what to expect at the seder. If someone who will host the group at the seder is not available, find out if your congregation has members who are familiar with the Passover seder and are willing to meet with the youth.
- Obtain the haggadah that will be used in the seder the participants will attend. Or, gather a few different haggadot for youth to browse ahead of time. "Seder" means order, and a haggadah serves as the order of service for the Passover ritual meal. Any haggadah will provide the story of Passover interspersed with the elements of the ritual meal. You can find many online, including these contemporary haggadot which include English transliteration of Hebrew text:
- Freedom Seder, first used for an interfaith gathering in April, 1969, at the one-year anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
- The Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah
- Passover Offerings on Beliefnet
- Optional: Familiarize yourself with the song "Eliyahu Hanavi" (Elijah the Prophet), traditionally sung at the Passover seder. You can listen to the song on YouTube. The songbook Rise Up Singing , edited by Peter Blood and Annie Patterson (Bethlehem, PA: Sing Out Corporation, 2004) has the lyrics and guitar chords. Write the lyrics to "Eliyahu Hanavi" on newsprint, and post:
Eliyahu Ha Navi,
Eliyahu Ha Tishbi,
Eliyahu Ha Giladi.
Bimhera yavo elenu,
Im Mashiach ben David. (2x)
(Translation: Elijah the Prophet, Elijah the Tishbite, Elijah the Giladite, May he soon come to us, with Mashiach the son of David.)
Description of Activity
Youth gain a greater understanding of Passover and celebrate Jewish heritage with other people of faith.
As Unitarian Universalists, we celebrate the diversity of faiths in our world. One way of doing this is to celebrate holidays with people of other faiths. Most communities have synagogues or Jewish organizations that invite non-Jews to Passover seder. Jewish members of your congregation might celebrate Passover with a seder. As a group, prepare for and attend a seder at Passover.
One way to prepare would be to invite a Jewish member of the congregation to speak to the group about the meaning of Passover. Your minister might speak to the group. You could also download information from the websites above.
Before the seder, obtain a copy of the haggadah (the text that sets out the order for the seder) used. Review the parts of the haggadah. What meaning does it hold for them? More generally, what meanings from Passover do they see reflected in our Unitarian Universalist faith?
Ask youth how they think the haggadah and the seder might hold different meanings for Jews and non-Jews. Invite any youth who identify as Jewish to reflect on the different meaning they might draw from the Passover rituals, as Unitarian Universalists who are also Jewish.
Share with the group that it is controversial that some UU congregations hold seders. Do they feel this is cultural misappropriation? What if UUs of Jewish heritage lead the Seder? Does that change things?
Including All Participants
Determine the accessibility of the seder location. Make arrangements so everyone in the group will be able to participate fully.