The 30 Minute Seder For Passover? Come On Now Jews!

I’m not the most religious person in the world. I consider myself one of those high and mighty types that state, “I’m more spiritual than religious” whatever the hell that means. I think it means that you sort of follow religious beliefs when it’s convenient (sort of like rappers thanking Jesus for winning an award and then expecting Jesus to come visit them when they’re in jail). Anyway growing up we knew we were Jewish (mostly by the way people treated us. I’ve actually had people say, “I never met a real Jew before” as they looked me up and down as if I might be packing the ten commandments or an adding machine under my shirt or something or “My dad says I can’t play with you anymore because you’re dirty Jews.”) my brother and I were both Bar Mitzvah at the age of thirteen, we went to synagogue for the high holy days and we never had a Christmas tree in our house but went for the Hanukkah candles and telling all the kids in the neighborhood that we were better than them because we got eight nights of gifts without anyone having to come down our chimney or eat our cookies. That said there has always been one Jewish holiday that has been my favorite which I observe whole-heartedly and that, my friends is Passover. So I was a bit distressed to see in last week’s Sunday New York Times magazine an ad for a thirty minute Seder. The 30 minute Seder for Passover? Come on now Jews! – Don’t Get Me Started!

For those of you who don’t know, Passover is the celebration of the Jews’ bondage (how we love to suffer and celebrate our suffering) and their ultimate release from slavery in Egypt back in the day of the Pharaoh. At this holiday we all sit around a table and re-read the story with our family which is called the Seder. We read from books called, Haggadahs with one person leading the Seder and the rest taking turns reading aloud. It’s sort of a call and response thing in your own home. There is symbolic eating (we’re Jews, we’re always going to find a way to get food in there) – bitter herbs to remind us of the bitter times and charoset which is a combination of chopped up apples and wine to remind us of the sweet things that happened – Jews are all about the balance. And as the story is told and you look around the table at your family, I’ve always found myself feeling very fortunate that my family is together, healthy and can manage to stay in the same room with one another for hours on end without any drama. And while some years we’re unable to be together, this year we will travel not to the holy land, as the Haggadah instructs us to say about where we’ll spend next Passover but to a much holier place, San Diego where my entire family will be around the table for the first time in many Passovers.

I’ve attended Seders with other portions of my extended family through the years. My uncle is a rabbi (and is now a flight attendant, no, I’m not kidding) and for years when I was not near my immediate family I would spend it with their side of the family. He would try to do the entire Seder with his New York family goofing around, not paying attention and generally being rather disrespectful as they would trade eye rolls and throw rolls across the table at one another. Undaunted my uncle would do the entire Seder by the letter.

The deal is that a good portion of the Seder is read prior to the meal so as people get hungry they tend to want to rush the reading and get to the eating, I get it. But there’s something about reading the entire story the way that it has been done for decades that just seems as though doing less would be disrespectful of the Jews who suffered not only at the hands of the Pharaoh but of those who could not partake in this or any Jewish holiday as they were starved in concentration camps or live in places even today where freedom of religion is not an option. Am I overly sentimental that I feel the weight of the Jewish community past and present more during Passover? Am I less of a Jew because I don’t think this everyday of the year? I don’t know. But I do know that while nothing in the world can happen fast enough for me, like heating things in a microwave oven getting impatient that it’s taking a full minute or tapping my foot when someone doesn’t respond to my text or email in five seconds, this is the one time of year that I’m willing to take the time to turn off my phone and do what my ancestors have done for years without trying to speed it along. Am I unfairly judging the people who do the 30 minute Seder, I guess and I also guess that the real important thing is that whether you tell the story in 30 minutes or three hours, at least you’re taking the time to be with your family and tell the story regardless of how abbreviated. So as to not incur any guilt for knocking a 30 Minute Seder idea I’ve never tried causing a Jew’s business somewhere to possibly suffer…here’s the website to order your 30 minute Haggadahs…and yes, you can download it so you still have time to get it before Passover! 

The 30 minute Seder for Passover? Come on now Jews! – Don’t Get Me Started!

 

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Comments 8 comments

relache profile image

relache 6 years ago from Seattle, WA

My father's record for shortest Sedar was 20 minutes. I was a senior in high school, and the ritual-reducto came about so that the family could Seder, eat and then all rush to my Nat'l Honor Society induction. He's been known for some quick ones over the years, but I think that was his personal best. Of course, no had taken the start of Passover into consideration as I was the only Jewish kid being inducted. (I grew up in a town of mostly Preppie Catholics)


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

Hello Scott from a preppie Catholic point of view, Sedar sounds like a great time to bring the family together and well spent celebrating the meaning behind it. Instead of just getting together for 5 minutes and opening presents as is the case sometimes in my own family. Thorougly enjoyed this.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Hilarious! You are such a funny, sensitive, intelligent person!

And did it acutually happen? Did someone actually say “My dad says I can’t play with you anymore because you’re dirty Jews.” Is such a thing possible? But WHY??

Anyway, I have become an instant fun with reading your first hub! Must read more!


somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 6 years ago from Las Vegas Author

De Greek - Thank you so much for reading and your comments. And yes, the year was 1970 and the place was Marlton, NJ when the neighbor boy we had played with for months came to our house to deliver the news he wasn't allowed to play with us anymore. Nice, right?


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA

“My dad says I can’t play with you anymore because you’re dirty Jews.”

Happened to me too..... it was in Soviet Union around mid 60s... I was too little to understand it, so I went to my mother for explanation. This way I realized I was Jewish. Proud ever since.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA

30 minutes Passover Seder....Sounds too contemporary.

We are a secular family celebrating all Jewish Holidays. We don't do it strictly according to the rules, and yet, we get out of the table long after midnight on First Seder...


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

You cannot imagine how angry this makes me on so many levels including the damage this did to innocent children FROM BOTH HOUSES!

It's so difficult to believe, but of course I do not doubt your word.


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 6 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Okay, this was probably meant to be serious and I get that, but Scott, you are too funny to write or talk on video about serious things. You will have a ball with this one (I am a spiritual jew). I know, don't get you started. The rabbi uncle turned stewardess, Scott please, I am recouping from pneumonia and the laughing is making me cough too much. Maybe i should wait till Im well to continue with more of your hubs. No, I insist on torturing myself. Off to the next one.

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