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Your Very First Passover Seder
What to Expect

With the start of Passover coming, hosts and hostesses are making up their guest list and holiday menus. Passover is a time to invite both friends and family to share the seder meal.

Often guests are invited who have never attended a seder and are curious (and a bit anxious) about what they can expect. Here are some tips from an expert, Jane Moritz, Owner of Challah Connection, an online shop for foods and kosher gifts baskets for Jewish occasions.

If you have never been to a Passover seder and this year you've been invited to one, don't panic. Here are some tips from expert, Jane Moritz, owner of Challah Connection, to make it a truly fun evening.

  • Unless the host has said to dress casually, wear nice clothes (no jeans).
  • Expect it to be a long night. The seder will begin somewhere around 6 and could be over at 11 or later. Every family has their own traditions, but typically there are a few minutes spent schmoozing with the other guests. You'll then sit down at the table. Let your host seat you--there may be assigned seats.
  • Everyone will get a hagaddah (book containing the Passover story). The Seder is led by one person (usually the head of the home), but everyone is expected to participate in the reading. All of the responsive reading is in English but there will be various prayers in Hebrew. Don't worry about not knowing Hebrew. No one is taking notes.
  • If you're curious as to when you're going to eat the meal, flip forward through your hagaddah to find "The festive meal is now served." We usually count down to the meal by the number of pages left until that text (that's our family tradition).
  • Most important is to have fun. A seder is meant to be a wonderful time with family and friends; to share a story that is relevant to all people of all backgrounds.

If you really want to impress your hosts, let everyone at the table know that you know these traditions:

-Finding the Afikomen: Early in the Seder, a special piece of matzo, the afikomen, is broken in half and hidden away. Later, the children will search for it and the one who finds it gets a prize.

-The Four Questions: The Hagaddah includes four questions traditionally asked by the youngest child at the Seder. The questions are about the holiday and encourage children to discuss and learn about their religion and the history of their ancestors. Why not practice these before the seder--you'll look like a real star.

What to Bring to the Passover Seder:

Most important is to ask your host what he or she needs. Wine? Dessert? A Side Dish? If they assign you a dish, make sure that it contains no flour or other ingredient that is not Kosher for Passover.

If your host keeps a kosher kitchen all year round, be sure that whatever you bring is kosher and pareve] (pareve foods contain no dairy; usually meat is served at a seder and it is not kosher to serve meat and dairy together).

If your host says that you don't need to bring anything, then definitely bring something. Great choices are wine (kosher for Passover), flowers, dessert or Passover gift baskets from The Challah Connection.

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