The moments immediately before the seder should be spent on preparing for the ritual itself. Therefore, the most practical considerations should be taken care of ahead of time. The following checklist can help you make sure that your guests are not suddenly playing musical chairs or sharing wine glasses!
Even nursery school children can count fairly well, and enjoy setting the table. If their number skills aren’t up to it, set up all the necessary chairs and tell them to set a place at each chair. Napkins and flatware will not break if they are dropped, so they are good items for children to distribute. Youngsters may also want to make place cards for everyone. Older children can be put in charge of this list.
□ dinner plates
□ salad plates
□ wine glasses
□ water glasses
□ knives, forks, spoons
□ seder plate (including the items that go on it)
□ basin, cup, and towel for hand washing
□ pillows (at least one for the leader)
□ candles and candlesticks, matches
□ bottles of wine (and grape juice) at both ends of table
□ cup for Eliyahu (Elijah)
□ optional: flowers, place cards
Reprinted with permission from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
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.)