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Apr 04

Reimagining Seder Symbols

בכל דור ודור B’chol dor va’dor—in every generation,  Jews reimagine a Judaism that speaks to them personally. At the Jewish Enrichment Center, children mold a Judaism that piques their interest, inspires them to ask questions, and allows their creativity to guide them.

Today in Beit Nitzanim, we began a project to reinvent a part of the Passover Seder.

We began with the text, “Rabban Gamliel used to say, ‘Whoever does not talk about these three things on Passover does not fulfill his/her responsibility, and these are they: פֶּסַח (pesach—The Passover offering), מַצָּה (matzah—unleavened bread), and מָרוֹר (maror—bitter herbs).”’

Over the next few weeks, children will explore their own interpretations of these symbols and design their own projects inspired by these interpretations. It’s just the beginning of our project, but children are tapping into so many skills that we’ve been growing together throughout the year: Working with a partner, exploring my own interpretation, and using my words or pictures to show the idea I care about. 

Children practiced their chavrutah (partner) skills to prepare to work in with a partner later in the day. We made eye contact and made sure that each person got a chance to talk one-at-a-time.

Practicing making eye contact.

Practicing making eye contact.

Children were excited to find brand new research notebooks inside of their binders!

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In pairs, children explored פֶּסַח (pesach—The Passover offering), מַצָּה (matzah—unleavened bread), and מָרוֹר (maror—bitter herbs). They used their senses to look at, smell, and taste these three symbols. Then they made notes in their research journals.

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Using her sense of smell.

Using her sense of smell.

Tasting maror (bitter herbs).

Tasting maror (bitter herbs).

First grade notes.

First grade notes.

Finally, children began to make connections between the symbols and the Passover story in Exodus 1-15. They drew and wrote about their associations.

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Second grade notes.

Second grade notes.

We’re so excited to continue reimagining Rabban Gamliel’s symbols!

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