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Every Passover we ask “why is this night different from all other nights?” This year truly feels different. We have compiled resources and ideas that can help you address various relevant topics (ie. dealing with the absence of a loved one; addressing Israel/Palestine). There are also ideas for how to enhance your seder experience for adults and kids, or to hold an informal seder and have a different sort of celebration!


Addressing our lives and current events

Here is a not-so complete collection of readings that can add to your seder experience. Whether this is a particularly difficult Passover for you or you are looking for some justice-focused readings, these might help!

Coping with the Empty Chair at the Seder (that a loved one used to occupy)
When a loved one’s place is empty, it can be particularly painful. Here is one way to cope.

Mental Health
Incorporate this Mental Health Seder Plate by Blue Dove Foundation. On difficult days, when we feel stuck, it's important to take care of ourselves. What goes on your mental health seder plate?

Addressing Israel/Palestine
Mah Nistanah - why is this night/year different? Rabbi Josh Weinberg of ARZA offers many ways to re-think and re-invent parts of the seder to address the current war directly.

Using the Candle Lighting as a Prayer for Hope
This reading by American Jewish World Service is a beautiful way to recognize current events and pray for all people.
This reading, co-created by an Israeli woman and Palestinian woman, prays for peace in Israel/Palestine while lighting the festival or Shabbat candles.

New Symbols to Put on the Seder Table

FAIR TRADE CHOCOLATE OR COCOA BEANS FOR LABOR ISSUES- The fair trade movement promotes economic partnerships based on equality, justice and sustainable environmental practices. We have a role in the process by making consumer choices that promote economic fairness for those who produce our products around the globe. Fair Trade certified chocolate and cocoa beans are grown under standards that prohibit the use of forced labor. They can be included on the seder plate to remind us that although we escaped from slavery in Egypt, forced labor is still very much an issue today.

AN ORANGE FOR LGBTQ+ EQUALITY- Many households and congregations have begun adding an orange to the seder plate as a way of acknowledging the role of people who feel marginalized within the Jewish community. Professor Susannah Heschel explains that in the 1980s, feminists at Oberlin College placed a crust of bread on the seder plate, saying, “There's as much room for a lesbian in Judaism as there is for a crust of bread on the seder plate.” Heschel adapted this practice, placing an orange on her family's seder plate and asking each attendee to take a segment of the orange, make the blessing over fruit, and eat it as a gesture of solidarity with LGBTQ Jews and others who are marginalized within the Jewish community. They spit out the orange seeds, which were said to represent homophobia.

OLIVES FOR PEACE- The olive branch is famous for being the symbol of peace. As such, olives were introduced to the seder plate as a symbol of hope for a future peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

A POTATO FOR ETHIOPIAN JEWRY AND REFUGEES- In 1991, Israel launched Operation Solomon, a covert plan to bring Ethiopian Jews to the Holy Land. When they arrived in Israel, many were so ill that they were unable to digest substantial food. Israeli doctors fed these new immigrants simple boiled potatoes and rice until their systems could handle more substantial food. To represent the continuous exodus of refugees from oppressive regions, we include the potato.

What if I want to keep it informal or do something different?
How can I liven it up for the kids?

PJ Library’s Passover Resources for kids including crafts, videos and stories.

Uh oh, I don’t have a haggadah!

If you don’t have a haggadah at home, you have options:

  • Create your own at This database includes readings, pictures and prayers galore. It’s easy to build a haggadah that fits you and your sensibilities.
  • offers a very hip, very free, very downloadable haggadah.
  • For something simple and fun, check out this Coloring Book Haggadah
Thu, May 30 2024 22 Iyar 5784