The Passover Problem

Passover is hard to explain. Looking past the fire and brimstone story for a second, there’s still something about lamb’s blood (“jeez, poor lamb”), haroset (“am I supposed to eat that?”) and the afikomen (“can you explain again why you hide half a cracker?”) that just doesn’t translate into Gentile-speak very well.

But every year around this time or so, I get all excited about bringing my non-Jewish friends in on the glorious party that is a Passover Seder. Sometimes my family asks, “why?” and sometimes my friends ask “don’t I have to be Jewish?” I just brush aside all that awkwardness and insist that they’d be missing out on the most ridiculously awesome holiday of the year. Thanks to FOMO, they always come.

But then what? I have a bunch of RSVPs from people who don’t know the story, don’t know the language, don’t know the tunes, and don’t know why they should care. To ensure that everyone at the table has a good time, I do the following:

1) Emphasize to my non-Jewish friends that Passover is completely different from everything else, and that it is okay to feel out of their element.

2) Also mention there will be wine. Mandated wine. At least four cups of wine.

3) Let the Jews know that there will be non-Jews at the Seder, so they can prepare to be patient.

4) Include a Seder “cheat sheet” at the beginning of the haggadah, that defines the basics – the words “Seder”, “Haggadah”, a blurb about what it is we are celebrating, etc.

5) Make it clearly understood that the celebration of Passover is a celebration of freedom, not a celebration of defeating the Egyptians.

6) Rework the haggadah so that there’s less Hebrew and and more discussion, interactive activities, and fun.

7) At the Seder, make sure everybody has been acquainted before properly starting.


For anyone else entertaining their Goyim friends this year, I hope this helps!


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