Thursday, April 1, 2010

Props to Alix and the gang for an amazing seder

Hey Moishe House Team,

For my blog, I wanted to give a shout out to Alix, for her awesome work planning the Moishe House Boston seder. Not only was the seder engaging and meaningful in its own right, but it involved all the participants in preparing for, planning, and leading it, which helped the event live up to our house's larger goals of leadership development and empowerment.

Alix worked with the Shabbat and holidays team to split up all that had to be done into roles, tasks, and eventually shifts, and then included in our invitation that anyone who wanted to join had to help out. Everyone was invited to work one-two four hour shifts cleaning and kashering the house, shopping, cooking, decorating, setting up, or cleaning up. On top of that, Alix invited people to choose a part of the seder - like "kadesh,"the wine, or "urchatz," the hand washing, and to find a way to share it with the group that was meaningful and fun. Everything, from the RSVPs to the shopping lists and recipes was organized on a google doc so that people could take ownership of what was going on. Then, Alix worked with our board member Julie Aronowitz to collect everyone's ideas along with seder readings from some creative hagadot, to make our very own Hagadah.

The result was a seder where everyone was both a participant and a leader. My favorite part was the maggid/story-telling section, organized by Rakia, a single mom in our community, who is an amazing educator and musician. She led a full on improv drama of the exodus story. Partipants played a variety of roles, including Moses's mom Yocheved, Moses' sister Miriam, Pharaoh's daughter, the Egyptians, the Israelite slaves, Aaron, Moses, God, and each of the ten plagues. The star was Rafael, Rakia's four-year-old son, who played Moses, and shouted with more and more enthusiasm "Let us go!" each time Pharoah refused the Israelites and ignored the plagues.

We also did a cool thing for Elijah's cup where we started with an empty cup, and everyone went around adding wine to the cup saying how we would help contribute to redemption through our own actions to make the world better. When the cup was filled, I had the honor of taking Rafael, the four year old, to open the door for Elijah. On the way down, he said to me, "Is Elijah real?" "I said, I don't know. But I hope so. Because he's supposed to come and tell us that the Messiah is coming and that the world is going to be how we wish it were."

When we got to the door and opened it, Rafael was almost bowled over by the windy air, or perhaps with the entrance of Eliahu hanavi. "Elijah!" Rafael pleaded. "Please come and make the world better. But don't worry, you have us to help you."

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