Earlier today, we announced the winner of our Best Seder Ever contest. Here’s another of our favorite entries.
There are a lot of dips in the Passover seder, points out Joan Vick of New Hampshire, who shared this story with us. There’s the spring vegetable in salt water. There’s the ten drops of wine we pour for the Ten Plagues. And then there are some others…Ms. Vick gives us two stories in one, and they’re both great.
My family does great Seders. Some of the best were a series of Three Dip Seders in a ski lodge in Killington, Vermont. Whatâ€™s a three dip Seder? First you dip karpas in salt water, then you dip maror in charoset, and then you put the kids to bed and dip yourself in the hot tub.
However, this was not my best seder ever. The best seder I ever attended was in 1979, which I organized with Judith Goldshmidt at the Barter Theater in Abingdon, Virginia. We were the only Jewish kids in the company, and we decided to invite everyone to a seder. This meant importing matzah, gefilte fish and wine from New York, and the two of us cooking for days.
We set up a large table in the rehearsal hall, and kept the soup warm in crock pots. We used the Maxwell House haggadot, which — if you havenâ€™t noticed — has stage directions. So when it says, â€œPoint to the matzah and say: __,â€ that is just what our actor friends did. In their best declamatory stage voices, they stood up, book in one hand, gesturing with the other, â€œThis is the bread of our affliction.â€ It was the most dramatic seder Iâ€™ve ever attended.
Pronounced: SAY-der, Origin: Hebrew, literally “order”; usually used to describe the ceremonial meal and telling of the Passover story on the first two nights of Passover. (In Israel, Jews have a seder only on the first night of Passover.)