by Julia Rebecca and Jamie Rose
Julia Rebecca and Jamie Rose are childhood friends who met during their religious school years at Temple Beth Israel in Portland, Oregon. Both now live in Los Angeles and have reconnected over their love of interior design, décor, food and art. After commiserating about how difficult it was to incorporate Jewish meaning into their homes that was both personal and stylish, they decided to create Rebecca and Rose, a blog celebrating beautiful Jewish living through decor, food, art and more.
Passover is a holiday with loads of opportunities to involve and center on children. After all, they play a pivotal role in the Seder, making their affinity for the celebration one to capitalize on. We have great memories from our own childhoods that we hope to pass down to the next generation, so we're here to share a few ways to help your kids, nieces, nephews and friends develop their own lasting links to this special holiday for Jews everywhere.
Pre-Seder: Get Reading
Never have there been so many great books to get children interested in celebrating Passover. We love the idea of incorporating one of these into your bedtime routine in the days leading up to the holiday to help your little ones understand what we're celebrating and their special part in the Seder.
- My First Passover by Tomie dePaola
- The Great Matzoh Hunt by Jannie Ho
- Passover is Here! by Bobby Pearlman
- A Sweet Passover by Leslea Newman
- Five Little Gefiltes by David Horowitz
Seder: Involve, Involve, Involve
No matter the age of your children, there are a host of ways to get them involved so they feel like participants, not just observers. Here are some of the things we'll be doing to engage our youngest family members this year:
Have them help set up the Seder plates: Whether you do a prominent centerpiece Seder plate or small Seder plates for each of your guests, have your children help you with the preparation—from shopping for the items to chopping the apples or dates for the haroset to laying out the ritual foods on the table. Your children will feel a huge sense of pride when you let your guests know that they helped prepare the beautiful table settings.
Have them design place cards: Since many families opt for more formal seating arrangements for the Seder, why not have your little ones get creative and design place cards for each of your guests? This can be as simple as taking white card stock, folded in half and having them take the lead with pens, crayons or even watercolors.
Have older children read parts for the Seder: Prepare your little ones for an opportunity to read aloud from the Haggadah. Let them know ahead of time that they will be called on, or select a specific section that they can practice beforehand with you.
Celebrate the Four Questions as a performance: Being the youngest in the family does have perks and one of them is being the headliner for the Four Questions. Up the production of the performance –hand over a homemade or play microphone so that your little performer feels the star treatment. The Passover story also has performance potential with kids or adults taking the roles of Pharaoh, Moses, Aaron, Miriam or even the frogs. The kids can create simple props to help everyone get in the swing of things—a staff for Moses; a headdress for Pharaoh; a tambourine for Miriam. And don’t forget to include some plastic frogs and ping pong ball hail.
Up the ante on the afikomen: Depending on the ages of your children, you'll want to hide the afikomen so they can find it, but do so in creative ways. Add clues to the hunt for them to follow and work together as a team to find the hidden treasure. Don't forget to award them equally; chocolate covered matzah, books and games are favorite prizes of ours.