Last night was the second night, thus the second Passover sedar. The word "sedar" means "order." We read the Haggadah (spelling?) which describes Moses leading the Jewish slaves out of Egypt. They'd been building those pyramids for Pharoah for 400 years and were way tired!
Because we have a small extended family, we always invite friends over to celebrate. This time we blended several new friends from various walks of life with a few "old" friends. What was cool was that although each person was Jewish by heritage, their personal recollections of their childhood Passover sedar experiences were totally different.
In the 1960s and '70s, Reform Jews grew up reading from the free but boring Maxwell House Coffee Haggadahs. Today, those are still available but really dry. Over the years, our family was fortunate to accumulate some beautifully illustrated Haggadahs with insightful discussion questions printed in the margin of each page. For example, "In what ways are we slaves today?"
But the rocking part of the sedar was the naming of the ten plgues G-d visited upon the Egyptians when Pharoah refused to let the Jews go. We distributed plastic frogs, cows, lions, lice, hail, etc., along with masks my artist friend, Tobi Abrams, made to describe each plague! Each of the ten participants held up that particular item when it was named. It brought some levity to the sedar. Definitely a new custom for everyone in attendance!
To our family, the whole idea of the sedar is not something to rush through so we can eat, but rather an hour-long oasis in which to reflect about our lives through various discussion questions threaded through the service. COMMENTS