The Seder Table Haggadah
By Terry Wunder, Moishe House Senior Program Director
The Passover seder is a really weird tradition. When else do you get your entire family/friend group together to read a book, out loud, for one to three hours? That is a lot of time to keep a lot of people interested in a story that they may have heard every year for their entire life.
When I was a Moishe House resident we faced the issue of hosting a seder for 50–75 people and wanting it to feel like a seder, but not be boring. To solve this problem, we created the Seder Table Haggadah — a seder based on that peer-led experiences are more fun and interesting for both the leaders and participants.
I’ve made a section of the table haggadah to show you in this article!
Click on the photos to enlarge.
How does it work?
The haggadah is a timeline, drawn on butcher paper, that starts at the beginning of the seder and goes through the post-meal end. Each seat at the table corresponds with one item of the seder agenda that is led by the person sitting in that seat. You start the seder by explaining how it works and just walk down the timeline and each person leads their part!
Written at each stop on the timeline are
- a) instructions of what to do (e.g. “Ask this discussion question.”, “The second glass of wine is coming up — make sure everyone’s glass is filled!”),
- b) the content to be read or lead, and
- c) fun stuff (quotes from famous Jews — see the Justice Ginsburg quote on my haggadah, space to draw the plagues, discussion question prompts to get to know other people, etc.)
For example, if you’re sitting at The Four Questions seat, you read and lead the four questions as it is written or as you would like to lead it.
You can totally make a table haggadah that doesn’t cover the ENTIRE seder, because it’s really a lot. It’s a great way to do the exodus story itself or even just the ten plagues — one plague at each chair! (And then you can ask people, what are your ten plagues? For example: my plagues right now are the ten plagues of social media, e.g. inane political fights, posts that start with “I’m not complaining, but…”, and anything that isn’t cute dogs).
What resources do I need to make it?
Making a Seder Table Haggadah definitely takes work, but is so worth it because your guests will see the effort and have a unique seder experience!
For this example, I used lots of free, awesome resources like…
- The uber-comprehensive Moishe House haggadah that has tons of different things to do for each part of the seder. (The 17-Year-Old Jewish Feminist Ten Plagues is so good)
- This google drive of haggadot from Rabbi Brad Greenstein, Senior Director of Jewish Learning
- Racial and social justice supplements from HIAS, AJWS, Repair the World (including this passover pyramid cut out).
- In the haggadah example that I made here, I coupled our own exodus story with refugee stories taken from the AJWS resource.
What else do I need to know?
- You don’t need to be particularly artistic to make this thing awesome. Find things you like, print them, cut them out, paste them on, and try it out!
- I am totally here for you if you’re interested in making a table haggadah and are feeling challenged by the task. Email me and we can chat about it!