Friday, May 26, 2006

Discover why this night is different from all other nights.

by Susan Cetlin

Last year, the chairperson of our ritual committee and me in the role of chairperson of our spirituality committee spent many evenings designing a synagogue based family Shavuot seder. We wrote an actual Shavuot Hagaddah for the evening, which was led by our Rabbi and Cantor.

Our Haggadah was loosely based on ideas from an article in Hadassah Magazine (May 1988) by Gershom Gorenberg called "A Primer for Shavuot" which described one family's Shavout traditions and other sources including chapters from Ellen Frankel's book, "Sacred Therapy: Jewish Spiritual Teachings on Emotional Healing and Inner Wholeness" and Mindy Ribner's book "Kabbalah Month by Month: A Year of Spiritual Practice and Personal Transformation."

The seder, modeled after the Passover seder, included blessings over the first fruits, dipping the fruit in yogurt and date honey (representing the "land of milk and honey"), explanation of the Shavuot seder plate which included fruit, date honey, yogurt, water, tomato, flowers and barley/wheat), singing Mi Chamokah and Miriam's Song, Am Yisrael, telling of the Maggid, asking and answering four questions about Shavuot and singing a Shavuot Ma Nishtanah, pouring wine, Torah reading and midrashim, yachatz (breaking the tablets), searching and reassembling the tablets, reading the Ten Commandments, reading excerpts from the Book of Ruth, and telling a story by Mindy Ribner about receiving. The seder culminated with a festive meal with traditional Shavuot food. There was much singing and discussion. The broken pieces of the tablets were hidden and the children searched for the pieces and put them together into a Ten Commandment puzzle.

Following the festive potluck meal, our Rabbi led a Tikkun Leil Shavuot. There were also squirt guns for the kids and lots of fresh spring flowers decorating each table.

The seder was a big hit and we hope to make it an annual tradition.


Anonymous Becca said...

Thanks for sharing: would you be able to post the haggadah itself on this site?

12:05 PM  

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