5 Unusual Seder Customs (not) to Try!

Every year, Jews of all backgrounds come to the seder with an unusual collection of customs from all around the world. Here are a few highlights to spice up your own seder.

  1. Welcoming a Surprise Guest: Many families open the door to welcome Elijah the Prophet at their seder, but how many of us have actually welcomed him in? This year, surprise your neighbors by dressing up as Elijah and pay a visit to their door (and write to us if they let you in!).
  2. Getting Comfortable: Do you lean when drinking wine and munching on matzah at the seder table? Find it uncomfortable or awkward in that dining room chair? Try starting the seder on your sofa for a true lounging experience this year (but beware, some of my family enjoyed it so much that they started coming in P.J.’s).
  3. Split the Sea at Home: Relive the exodus from Egypt and experience crossing the sea by jumping over bowls of water (do NOT do this over soup – even if it was called Yam Soof).
  4. Real Live Plagues: Spike your father’s water with red food coloring, fold jumping origami frogs, spread plastic toy animals around the house and scavenge them out. There are so many possibilities for engaging the family here – your imagination is the limit – as long as it doesn’t include actually killing the firstborn seder guests.
  5. A Competitive Edge: Keep the kids tuned in with games like chocolate chip seder bingo. Distribute cards with Passover icons and have the kids listen for ‘matches’ in the seder discussion – each rewarded with chocolage chips. But DO NOT try adding drinking games here… seder wine and Slivovitz plum brandy were never meant to be a pair!

Check out last year’s list for more ideas and share your favorite customs below (or email

About the Author
Yoni Sherizen is a director of Gesher, a Jerusalem-based organization devoted to bridging the differences between Israelis and strengthening a shared Jewish identity.
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