Resources For Your In-Person Seder
It’s hard not to measure preparation and plans for this year’s Passover against our memories of where we were in–physically and emotionally–two years ago, when the world went into lockdown and our Passover celebrations needed to transform quickly in order to keep everyone safe from the rapid spread of Covid-19.
Last year’s Passover came at a less dramatic moment–we had adapted (more or less) to pandemic living and many of us were already vaccinated by the time the holiday came. Some families figured out ways to safely gather for an in person seder while many folks continued with a zoom or hybrid seder experience.
With Covid rates dropping or remaining steady in more parts of the world this year, even more families and friends will be gathering for larger, in person Passover celebrations. While rapid testing may become a precursor to the traditional seder order in many homes, the holiday gathering will otherwise resemble more or less what it looked and felt like before the pandemic: abundant food and wine, a mix of generations, and a telling of the Exodus tale through food, songs, stories, readings and whatever innovative elements your tribe might include.
But for many young children who were babies and toddlers in 2019, this may be the first seder with a larger group of people that they may remember–and the feeling of a large gathering and ritual meal may be a little overwhelming. For children with developmental delays or with sensory sensitivities (including those on the autism spectrum) who have spent most of the last two years in a predictable (if isolated) environment, this year’s larger Passover gathering may feel especially intense.
Even for slightly older children (ages six to nine) with no known anxiety or sensory issues, this year’s seder will be a true ‘Ma Nishtana HaLaileh Hazeh’ moment. Tonight, we are sitting around a table, reading the Haggadah and eating a Passover meal with other folks…and you may not really remember what this experience felt like three years ago.
Fortunately, there are simple ways that you can help your kiddos navigate their way through your Passover experience–and create meaningful connections to our holiday’s rich story and traditions: