Hello dear readers,
Pesach is the holiday of the spring, and the spring is the time of newness and rebirth. It’s time for new plants and new beginnings. Springtime is the beginning of the Jewish people’s nationhood, and it is one of the four dates listed as a Jewish new year (the firsts of Nissan, Elul and Tishrei, and the fifteenth of Shvat). It’s spring cleaning and spring forward. At the same time, I sometimes feel that of all the holidays, Pesach is the one that most holds on to the past, to the old. The same recipes, the same Pesach dishes, the same tunes, the same afikomen hiding places. At festive meals for other holidays, like Rosh Hashana and Sukkot, the conversation can go any which way it pleases; for Pesach, the Hagaddah frames the meal every time.
Now, of course, it is a fine balancing act to keep both new and old components. You don’t want to just throw out all the valued traditions and heirlooms and histories purely in the name of something new, and you also don’t want to keep repeating the old things over and over with no opportunity for freshness. So, how can you inject some newness and differentness to your seders this spring? Try these helpful tips:
1. GO SOMEWHERE NEW.
A change in your location can do wonders for a change in your mindset. A kosher Passover vacation could be just what the doctor ordered. A family getaway could give you an entirely new frame of reference when you celebrate Pesach: new people, new seders environment, new foods.
Alternatively, somewhere new could be right around the corner: consider doing seders with relatives, or neighbors, or people from the community. If you’re doing two seders, getting invited as a guest for even one of the two can make a big difference in changing your views of old and new. I know the Goldbergs and Shoemakers have an arrangement where the Goldbergs host the Shoemakers for the first seder and the Shoemakers return the favor for the second. (I realize that arrangement won’t be new for them, but trying it might be new for you, dear reader!)
2. INVITE SOMEONE NEW.
Of course, a geographic change isn’t the only way to give your seders a taste of spring newness. You can also mix things up by inviting new people to your seders. Maybe someone new in the community, or someone you don’t know so well but would like to know a little better. Having new people and making new relationships can give your seders a whole new dimension.
3. PLATE SOMETHING NEW.
Consider adding different options to your seder plate. If your karpas is always celery, maybe have a few different options like radish, parsley or potato! Of course, I would recommend keeping the old karpas too, just in case someone really wants the celery, but this can be a new way to mix things up early in the seder experience. Or maybe different recipes for charoset?
How else do you add a dash of new spice to your seders? Let me know!