The Passover Seder is supposed to be fun and engaging to anyone we find present around the table. We read about how the “wise son” receives wisdom, the “evil son” receives sharp confrontation, the “simple son” is taught the ABC’s of Judaism, and the “one who doesn’t know how to ask” is engaged in dialogue that will open him up.
Many of us know how to engage kids with fun games, props, junk food, and the promise of really cool Afikomen presents. But how do we engage the adults and make sure the Passover Seder becomes more than an annual family get-together featuring matzah and Manishevitz?
Questions that provoke discussion about relevant topics can help bring your Seder to life. Here are 20 conversation-starters for your Seder table that will help you engage even the least interested guests. You can pose the questions yourself, or- with a little pre-passover prep- you can create conversation cards and hand them out to your guests for them to facilitate the conversation.
1. When doing the “salt water dip”: Has anything ever happened to you which seemed bitter at the time but later turned out to be sweet?
2. When breaking the Matzah and hiding the Afikomen: What is a “hidden” aspiration that you have, i.e. something that you have postponed for later in life but you plan/aspire to one day get to?
3. When speaking about God’s promise to Abraham: What can we learn from Abraham about standing up for what you believe against popular belief? Are we living up to our title as the "children of Abraham"?
4. What contributions have the Jewish people made to humanity over history?
5. When speaking about how the Jewish people were sent down to Egypt: How have the hardships in our life helped us become better people?
6. During Vehi She’Amdah: Why has there always been so much hate and discrimination including antisemitism and racism in the world? Does it still exist today?
7. When speaking about the beginnings of Jewish life in Egypt: How does the Jewish people’s assimilation into Egyptian culture resemble Jewish assimilation throughout history?
8. When speaking about Jewish identity in Egypt: What does Jewish identity mean in Exile? What role does your religion and culture play in your life as an American?
9. When speaking about the harsh slavery: In our day-to-day lives, do we really love what we do or are we more like slaves to our work?
10. The word Mitzraim resembles the Hebrew word for constriction. What is our personal Mitzrayim? What is holding us back the most?
11. When speaking about the plagues: Are there signs in our life pushing us to change that we are just refusing to see?
12. Are there signs around us that God exists? What are they?
13. Pharaoh Vs. Moshe: What are the ingredients to be a great leader?
14. When speaking about the various miracles: Does the existence of the Jewish people defy the natural order of the world? Are we a miracle?
15. If you knew 100% that God would help you succeed- even through miracles- what new endeavor would you take on?
16. When speaking about jumping in the Red Sea: What have you done recently to step out of your comfort zone?
17. When singing Dayneu: What are the gifts in our life that make it all worth it?
18. What Mitzvot/Jewish gifts are you most appreciative of? Israel? Shabbat? Torah? Something else?
19. When reciting Hallel: If you could fully express gratitude to someone in your past who really made a difference in your life, who would it be?
20. When eating Matzah: If you could eradicate laziness from your life and live with complete discipline, what would you accomplish?