Many years ago I hosted my first Passover Seder and placed steaming hot dishes of food on the table as we sat down and opened the Haggadah. First question, “why on this night did mom put dinner on the table and not let us eat?” The food was far from hot when we finally answered all four questions and completed our retelling of the Passover story.
Although I will never be mistaken for a quintessential Jewish mom, I have learned a lot about hosting a Seder in the intervening years. Perhaps my most important learning has been “make it relevant.” To that end, we retell the Passover story as a group with one person starting the narrative and others chiming in with additional details or the occasional correction:
“Miriam hid in the bushes and then a Princess, -"
“Actually the Pharaoh’s daughter.”
“Right, the Pharaoh’s daughter, came down to the river and saw the baby in the rushes.”
2014 marked the year that we made technology relevant to the Seder. Our household observes strict no-technology-at-the-dining-table rules. However, this year we embraced technology to bring together family across borders and share in our Seder via Google+ Hangouts. We set up a laptop at one end of the table, right beside Elijah’s cup actually, and those of us physically at the table crowded to the other end so we could all be on camera simultaneously.
The slight audio time-lag made the story retelling somewhat disjointed, but the pleasure of all sharing the Seder together more than compensated.
My daughter is now mulling over designs to transport food digitally so we can all share in the same food. However, even though we didn’t all serve ourselves from the same dishes, we certainly all shared a meal together.