Every Spring, Jewish families come together to celebrate Passover. The holiday honors Jewish traditions and commemorates the history of the Israelites’ escaping enslavement in ancient Egypt. This celebration of Jewish liberation is filled with many symbolic cultural ceremonies - preparing and enjoying the Seder meal, storytelling, reciting blessings, drinking wine, and more. For parents, Passover is an opportunity to teach little ones about their faith's history and why celebrating matters. Here to share her family traditions and provide some tips for celebrating with kids is Marion Haberman of @myjewishmommylife.
What will be meaningful to my children?
Whenever I start thinking about the next Jewish holiday, I start on the floor! I sit at their level and think about what my kids can see, touch, and experience before the holiday begins. I can get lost in my long list of things I need to do for the holiday and forget that so much of that preparation won’t be things that will be meaningful to my kids. That’s why I use this trick of starting at their eye level and thinking about what they will get to see, touch, and feel as we begin to prepare for Passover. I look around their playroom, do some decluttering (one of my favorite mom activities!), and replace some of the toys they’ve grown out of with holiday items so that their space is part of the holiday preparations.
Start with books
First up are our favorite Passover books! We have a little Jewish holiday library that we’ve collected over the years. I like to choose a mix of books that include the story and history of the holiday and explain how we celebrate it. I display those on their bookshelves and choose a few to keep in their rooms for bedtime stories.
The Jewish holiday of Passover commemorates the Jewish experience of being freed from slavery in Egypt. Aspects of the story are hard for children to understand, and an important component of the holiday for me as a mom is translating those stories into ones my kids can understand. Having books and visuals on hand is helpful. The Passover story also focuses on the matzah the Jewish people ate on their journey out of Egypt, so food becomes a focal point of the holiday. We use this time to collect food for those in need to continue the legacy of providing sustenance for anyone on a difficult journey.
Use toys & music to build the excitement
Up next, I take out our Passover toys. We have a wooden Seder plate and even pretend matzah, a huge favorite in our house. I also put out some new crayons and paper and encourage them to create their own decorations for their playroom inspired by the books and toys for the holiday. I also like to download my favorite Passover songs and make a playlist that I’ll turn on whenever we’re in the car in the weeks leading up to the holiday.
Get your littles involved in the preparation
Finally, I like to involve them in the holiday preparation. For our family, that means a lot of work in the kitchen, cleaning out all of the food that isn’t kosher for Passover, and cooking special holiday recipes. Throughout the rest of the year, I usually shop for our groceries online and collect them at the store, but for Passover, I like to bring my kids into the store with me and let them find the items we need, like the giant box of matzah we buy each year.
Throughout the weeks leading up to the first night of Seder (a ceremonial dinner at the beginning of the holiday), they will see the dining room transform into a beautiful space and the kitchen be cleaned from top to bottom. I know I’ll get a little lost in all the preparation, but that’s part of the holiday fun, after all!
What are your family's traditions for Passover? Do you have a favorite kids' book or activity for Passover? Share in the comments below or with other moms on our Facebook VIP Group!