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Passover 2014 006_resizeHow was last night’s Passover different from all other Passovers (of recent vintage, that is)? Easy. Last night was the seder in which we mostly ditched the kids’ haggadahs; left the plastic frogs, rubber bugs, band-aid boils, and pom-pom hail in an upstairs storage bin; and kicked it old style.

It was glorious. Well, Matt would say there were too many fits and starts about what we were going to do next and who would do what, but to him—the contrary child—I would answer as follows: (1) You’re right; we’ll be better coordinated next year. (2) That’s part of the traditional seder service, and some fits and starts will probably always be there. We Jews aren’t as down on the super choreographed rituals as other religions are.

My getting-to-be-traditional second night seder features friends and their daughter, who is not quite eight. As Simon is halfway to eight himself and pretty mature for his age, my friend and I agreed that we’d leave the kiddie props unused and see if we could manage an abridged but traditional seder, complete with all the major blessings, lots of Hebrew singing, and the traditional oral re-telling of the Passover story, AKA the magid.

I have to say that Simon exceeded my expectations. He sat politely at the table, watched the goings on with interest, sang along when he could (thank goodness for Dayenu, the Hebrew song with a one-word chorus!), and enthusiastically searched for the Afikomen. Best of all from my perspective, when it was time to take turns around the table reading the English explanations for the symbolic foods on the seder plate and to tell the story of the Hebrews in Egypt, he enthusiastically volunteered to join the grown-ups and take his turn.

That he did so with confidence and fluency was just the icing on the flour-less cake. I have pretty great memories of family seders from my childhood and remember how proud I felt when I could start joining in with the reading and chanting. Watching Simon read from the same haggadah I used as a young girl and seeing the pride on his face brought it all rushing back.

Happy Passover everyone!

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