By Francine Hermelin
Over the next few weeks check out one of the DIY Haggadah-making workshops happening around the country. Share the creative spark ignited from rich open space conversations with those closest to you.
For those of us who work or live with kids, we know that they are audacious conversation starters.
“Why can’t that man (referring to the gentleman sleeping on the street) sleep in our guest bed?”
“Why can’t I wear my pajamas to school?”
“Wait, chicken is actually a chicken?”
Unfortunately, in the day to day of our lives we’re too often running to the next meeting, appointment or phone call to stop, engage and see where their curiosity and idealism lead us.
Enter the Passover seder. It’s the perfect playground to explore lofty ideas about justice, hope, destruction and gratitude. It takes place in our homes, is multisensory (ideal for the easily-distracted), provides curious props, gestures, and the master story of the journey from oppression to freedom. Moreover, with eye-tearing foods and the directive to “tell this story as if you were a slave,” seder can provide a much-needed dose of mindful empathy.
I created the DIY Haggadah, My Haggadah: Made It Myself with my kids shortly after our fearless seder leader, my father, passed away. My childhood family was emotionally vested in recreating his same seder year after year, word for word. My husband felt estranged to rote repetition and our 3 ½ year-old, entrenched in the “Why Phase,” wanted answers. To quote from the Four Children, my growing family declared, “This has no meaning to us.” As you know they/we were not alone in our quest to rethink ritual in contemporary ways. Requests came in for the material I was putting together; PDFs started traveling.
While we might like digital things, kids love touch. Kids speak through pictures, artwork, drawings and words. (You know you love to also.) A physical book with stickers emerged, and crafting workshops rich with tactile materials soon followed. Jumping off the seder’s 15 steps, each page invites creators to delve into the essence of the Passover experience through art, collage, language and an exchange of ideas. Kids have a lot to say about injustice, plagues and miracles. Like progressive educational spaces, this book cultivates the conversation from those around the table through both art and language.
Jump-start your conversation. Participate in a DIY workshop below and infuse your seder with your ideas.
Date: March 30th
Age: families with kids aged 3-10
Location: Congregation Mount Sinai, 250 Cadman Plaza W., Brooklyn, NY 11201
Date: April 13th
Location: Book Court 163 Court Street, Brooklyn NY 11201
Date: Sunday, April 6th
Cost: free with admission
Date: Sunday, April 6th
To register, contact: Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal