Passover begins at sundown on Wednesday, April 8.

The Passover Seder is one of the most important home rituals in the Jewish tradition. Two people together are enough to make a seder! For those of who are on your own or unable to do the seder yourselves, Rabbi Ruhi Sophia is leading a one-hour virtual Community Seder the first night of Passover. Enjoy a short seder with the community, then have dinner on your own.

Attend the TBI Virtual Community Seder led by Rabbi Ruhi Sophia
Erev Pesach, Wednesday, April 8, 5:30pm

We will set up a Zoom meeting and send registrants a meeting link Monday.
Sign up here by April 5th for the TBI virtual seder!

We’ll be using the Saratoga Haggadah, compiled years ago by Rabbi Ruhi Sophia’s parents! It takes more than 30 minutes, but not more than an hour to get to the meal. Also, before the seder, please see “Day of the First Night” section (in green text) in the step-by-step list below so that you’re ready to go at 5:30pm.

This page contains a variety of resources from Rabbi Ruhi Sophia and others to assist you in creating your own seder experience.


Getting Ready for Pesach, Step by Step

Here is Rabbi Ruhi Sophia’s guide for those who are managing their own seder for the first time. Download guide here.

ASAP:  

  • Decide what Haggadah you will use and acquire it (see some suggestions farther down on this page)
  • Have a household conversation about goals for the seder, which could include: 
    • Traditional Passover liturgy 
    • Singing Passover Songs together 
    • Being silly together 
    • Having interesting conversation about how we do liberation today 
    • Any other you come up with (My family’s seder goals are usually all of the above, and our Seders are very long! You decide what your goals are, and how much of the liturgy to focus on, how much open conversation time, etc.) 

In the next two weeks: 

  • Clean your house as best you can, getting rid of food containing the five forbidden grains: wheat, spelt, barley, rye and oats, or “quarantining” (see what I did there?) all of them to one spot in your house and… 
  • Sell your hametz (either entrusting me or Chabad to do so on your behalf). You can authorize me to sell it here.
  • Plan a menu for seder night. I grew up having vegetarian seders; some of my favorite recipes are spinach cheese squares and quinoa stuffed mushrooms). You can also google lots of other Pesach recipes online. Or you can keep it minimalist: eat the traditional seder plate foods plus just some soup and salad. 
  • Buy matzah, maror, and wine/grape juice 

In the final days leading up to Pesach: 

  • Finish cleaning your house 
  • Clean out your oven (self-clean cycle, if it has one) 
  • Kasher any dishes that you can, (and you decide how far to go with this) and/or pull out Pesach dishes  

Day before first night: 

  • Advance prep cooking and shopping 
  • Make charoset (It likes a day or two to sit and absorb flavors. There are many recipes, from many Jewish traditions. Ashkenazi recipes like this one usually have fewer ingredients, whereas Sephardi recipes like these feature more dried fruit and spices.)  
  • Boil eggs (if not vegan) 

Night before first night (Tuesday eve, April 7): Bedikat Chametz (click here for a how-to guide)

Day of first night: 

  • Set table, make sure you have: 
    • Wine in glasses plus more for future glasses and Elijah’s cup 
    • Salt water for dipping parsley and eggs 
    • Napkins for people to wipe fingers after dripping wine for the 10 plagues 
    • 3 Matzh in a covered stack 
    • Special napkin or other cloth to be afikomen cover 
    • Seder plate with parsley, maror, charoset, egg (or vegan substitute), shankbone (or veg substitute)  
    • Some people put an orange on the seder plate, or other additions (see the supplemental materials) 

Haggadot, Guides, and Music for your Seder

The most important thing about a seder is that it is an opportunity to internalize the Exodus story, make it come alive for today. There are a wide variety of Haggadah options, and depending on your household, different options will be right for you.  

IF YOU HAVE TIME AND CREATIVITY TO DO IT YOURSELF:  

  • Haggadah Coloring Book: Adults and kids will enjoy coloring the illustrations and creating your own drawings. My Illuminated Haggadah is free to download.
  • Make your own Haggadah: Free site to compile your own Haggadah, based on traditional, liberal, or secular templates from haggadot.com. 
  • Sefaria: Here’s the full text of the Haggadah (most is translated; nothing is transliterated) 

IF YOU NEED TO DOWNLOAD A SHORT, KID-FRIENDLY SEDER: 

  • Saratoga Haggadah compiled years ago by Rabbi Ruhi Sophia’s parents! It takes more than 30 minutes, but not more than an hour to get to the meal. 
  • 30-minute Seder An abbreviated Seder, with the ritual completed before the meal; hard copies can be purchased, or you can purchase a pdf to download and make copies. 
  • An even-shorter Haggadah from PJ Library 
  • “A Guide to the Seder” by Jewish Federations of North America 

IF YOU WANT TO BUY A PHYSICAL HAGGADAH BOOK: 

  • A Night to Rememberthis is Rabbi Ruhi Sophia top pick recommendation! 
  • A Night of Questions – this is the Reconstructionist Haggadah that we’ve used each year at TBI’s community seder. 

Supplemental Seder Materials: 

Videos and sourcesheets by Rabbi Ruhi Sophia (geared towards Talmud Torah students, informative for adults as well!): 

Haggadah supplements from Various Jewish Non-profits  

Music: Find traditional and contemporary versions of Passover songs here. 

General Passover info from a Reform Jewish perspective: go here. It features many links, including history, customs and rituals, Passover family activities, food and recipes. 

The Ten Plagues: This one-page document has ideas for discussing the Ten Plagues with children. 

18 Doors: Lots of good material at here, particularly for interfaith families. 

The Seder Plate

The big mitzvot of Pesach are to eat matzah during Pesach, and to get rid of chametz (leavened foods) in advance of Pesach. But there are other traditional foods featured during the seder. You can find out the symbolism of each in detail here. But for your shopping purposes, they’re listed below:  

  • Kosher for Passover Matzah 
  • Maror (horseradish raw root or in jars) 
  • A shank bone (some vegetarian families use a beet, the only vegetable that bleeds, to remind of the Passover sacrifice) 
  • Parsley (a symbol of spring, used early in the Seder) 
  • Charoset (a sweet mixture recalling the mortar that our ancestors used in their labors. Recipe samples in timeline below)  
  • Hardboiled eggs, also symbolizing springtime, and traditionally the first food eaten as part of the festive meal (and dipped in salt water, like the parsley). 
  • Wine or grape juice 

Online Seders

Havaya@home: Thursday, April 9, 4:00pm Pacific time. FREE.
A free, one-hour, family friendly gathering. No experience necessary. No haggadah required. All you need is yourself and, if you want, some Passover-related foods (matzah, charoset, bitter herbs … and whatever else you want to eat or snack on). And invite your friends to join us (virtually, of course!). Register here.

Passover Seder with Beyt Tikkun: Thursday, April 9, 6:00pm Pacific time, online via Zoom, led by Rabbi Michael Learner. FREE.
»  Learn more and reserve a spot

Discussions, Events, Music, and Activities

Monday Nights with Hadar: Sing and Learn for Pesach
Mondays at 5:00pm Pacific time
On March 30th, come together with Rabbi Avi Strausberg and Rabbi Yosef Goldman as we gather virtually for a special event centered around the theme of redemption. Register here to receive a Zoom link prior to the broadcast or tune into Hadar’s Facebook to watch via Facebook Live.

Online Workshop from Ritualwell: Your Passover Prayer: Giving Voice to Isolation, Quarantine, Freedom and Liberation
Wednesday, April 1, 10:00-11:00am Pacific time on Zoom
Join acclaimed liturgist Alden Solovy on a spiritual journey to give voice to your personal prayer for this Passover amid the challenge of global pandemic. Register here.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks WhatsApp group: Join him on WhatsApp as he offers some inspiration in these challenging times and share a daily idea on the Haggadah and the themes of Pesach. Join the group here.

Recon Connect: The online hub for live experiences from across the Reconstructionist movement! Several are Passover-related!

Hebrew College Passover Companion: Click here to get this collection of essays, poems, and midrashim dedicated to longtime esteemed faculty member Judith Kates.

Books (including some Haggadot) that we recommend

The Open Door: A Passover Haggadah, by Sue Levi Elwell and Ruth Weisberg

A Family Haggadah, Shoshana Silberman

A Different Night: The Family Participation Haggadah, Noam Zinn and David Dishon

The Jewish Journey Haggadah, Adena Berkowitz

The Art of Jewish Living: The Passover Seder, Dr. Ron Wolfson

Keeping Passover: Everything You need to Know to Bring the Ancient Tradition to Life and to Create Your Own Passover Celebration, Ira Steingroot

Creating Lively Passover Seders: A Sourcebook of Engaging Tales, Texts & Activities, David Arnow

Make Your Own Passover Seder: A New Approach to Creating a Personal Family Celebration, Alan Abraham Kay and Jo Kay