Synagogue approaches children's Passover education with contemporary festivities

Dan Wing
April 18, 2019 - 10:56 am
Congregation Rodeph Shalom

Dan Wing/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Traditions vary from family to family for Passover, whether through the use of a generations-old Haggadah or a particularly pungent gefilte fish recipe.

As Passover begins Friday evening, one local synagogue took time Wednesday to teach some of its youngest members the traditions of the Seder — in an nontraditional way. 

Inside the Buerger Early Learning Center at Congregation Rodeph Shalom — which is open to children of all religions — Rabbi Eli Freedman and his guitar taught children some of the history of the Passover Seder, while keeping it as fun as possible with songs and other activities. 

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Freedman said putting a little personal twist on the traditions with music or props prevents the kids from getting bored.

"There's a moment in the Seder, a ceremony, where we wash our hands. Instead of just washing the hands, we brought spray bottles out and spritz the kids a little," he said. "Some families for the 10 plagues like to get little puppets, or I've seen little jumping frogs people get."

Those little changes can make a world of difference in holding a kid's interest, while also educating them.

"The egg (represents) the circle of life," Freedman said of one of the foods placed on the Seder plate. "The matzo — we can't eat other bread like challah because they didn't have time to bake bread."

While donuts, bagels and pizza are off limits, he said, one thing you can definitely have is lots of time with family and friends.