What role does social media have in the telling of the Exodus from Egypt? We asked Daniel Berkal, inventor of the Tweder, to tell us a bit more about that.
What led you to start the Tweder?
The initial thought behind the Tweder was that it was a way for people from all over the world to have access to a proper seder. But there was more to it… While noticing a bored relative sending text messages under the table during a seder several years back, it became obvious that the printed page seder is no longer as relevant to today’s audience as it could be. This is a time when the entire family comes together to take part in a ritual dinner that maintains the traditional structure while also being open to dramatic interpretation. No two seders are exactly the same and it changes over time. It’s part of the beauty of the holiday. It’s also an inclusive holiday… one in which everyone is supposed to take part. What better way to get involved than through Twitter? Read more...
In rounding up tales of Passover traditions, we thought it would be interesting to ask someone for whom Passover is relatively new (and probably strange). We asked Benjamin Errett, Managing Editor at the National Post and author of Jew and Improved, to tell us about his seder experiences. And since his decision to convert was based on his wife Sarah, it is only fitting that she helped him with the interview. Below is Ben Errett’s interview, as illustrated (and added to–see the ending) by his wife, Sarah Lazarovic.
Sarah Lazarovic’s illustrations are featured throughout her husband Benjamin Errett’s Jew and Improved: How Choosing to be Chosen Made Me A Better Man. The HarperCollins Canada book is now out in paperback and available here.
Where are ya gonna stash that afikomen?
This Passover, you should make this incredible Afikomen envelope! This felt envelope from Kveller.com is a great option for an afikomen-hiding apparatus to make with your kids.
- Felt for the envelope as well as to decorate it
- A pencil
- A ruler
- Sharp scissors
- Sponge or paint brush
- Trim or ribbon
- Hot glue gun
- A button, snap closure, or hook and eye closure (optional)
1. Cut out a square or rectangular envelope shape (or copy the one provided on Kveller.com)
2. Write, paint or stencil the word “afikomen” in English or Hebrew onto the flap closure of the envelope. Check out Kveller’s detailed instructions on getting your letters and shapes just so. Read more...
We wanted to speak to some famous Jews about Passover. Writer and Bad Mother Ayelet Waldman reluctantly agreed.
So, in our pre-interview discussion, you warned me that you hate Passover. Why is that?
Because I am Jewish and thus do constant battle with my bowels. The LAST thing I need is to spend 8 days ingesting cement. Plus that dinner is too damn long.
What does your family do for Passover?
We clean the Chametz out of the house, we drive ourselves insane eating nothing but cardboard ground up and reconstituted to resemble bread, cookies, cake etc., and we have a seder at which we beat one another about the head and shoulders with scallions.
What are some parts of Passover that you sort of like/are able to stand? Read more...
We spoke to some famous Jews about their Passover traditions and alternatives, and who better to start with than Alternadad himself, Neal Pollack.
What are some alternative traditions (or twists on the original) that your family does for the seder? Or rather, how have you updated the seder to make it something hip and relevant rather than an ancient bore?
The current seder crowd in my family is largely under the age of 10, so I make it a point to keep things moving quickly. We hit the high points: The Hillel sandwich, the Exodus story, the Four Questions, and so on, but I don’t hit anything over the head very hard. Read more...
Some ideas for making plagues fun!
What do you do when you’re Yahweh and the Egyptian Pharaoh won’t let the Israelite slaves go? Obviously, you send out a plague or 10 to show Pharaoh you mean business. How then do we teach the young ones about what went down between Moses and the Israelites and Pharaoh? Turning the water of the Nile into blood doesn’t exactly scream fun and games… and yet here are seven fun and silly plague-themed gifts:
1. Bag ‘O Plagues – all your favourite plagues in a handy carrying bag
2. Bento Box O’ Plagues – same as above, but in a box
3. Plague Pyramid – same as above, but – wait for it – in a pyramid!
4. Passover Plague Masks – Dress as your favourite plague! Boils, anyone?
5. Plush Plagues – Who doesn’t love cute and cuddly lice?! Read more...
One of our favourite Passover rituals
Bunch parents of the Jewish persuasion cite the search for hametz by candlelight, and it’s subsequent burning in a bonfire of starchy glory, as a thrilling childhood memory. Therefore, please note that the correct date for performing this Passover ritual with your bunch is TONIGHT.
Apparatus: Ten pieces of bread or other hametz (carbs), a candle or flashlight, a bag, a feather.
Hide the ten pieces of hametz in sneaky places around your house. Wait until dark.
Turn off the lights, light the candle or flashlight. Search your home for the pieces of hametz, when you find one, sweep it into the bag with the feather.
When all ten pieces have been discovered, burn the hametz.
Happy Passover from Bunch!
Photo by Brian Negin via Flickr