Passover is a holiday celebrating and commemorating the Israelites’ liberation from slavery and their exodus from Egypt, as told in the beginning of the Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible (and subsequently reinterpreted in several debatably good movies). Following the command that the story should always be taught to the next generation, Jews across time and space have celebrated this joyful holiday. As you might imagine, many aspects of the Passover celebration have withstood the millennia of observance, and many traditions have been added, taken away and changed over time. Now, the choice is yours.

This seder is generally designed to take about 45 minutes from start to dinner, and to be accessible to everyone. Make the experience your own by including additional readings or favorite family traditions. You can also create new traditions relevant for the guests with whom you will be sharing your seder.

You’ll notice the meal is right in the middle; if you just stop there, you’ll miss some of the best parts (including half the wine)! But be realistic—if you don’t think you and your guests will want to pick up the Haggadah again after the entrée, consider moving some of the second-half highlights to the pre-dinner slot.

Just as seders vary from household to household, so do leadership styles. Our recommendation is to encourage lots of participation; that way everyone is invested in the experience and there will be more lively conversation.

This Haggadah deliberately minimizes the role of the leader so every guest can participate at his or her comfort level. Take the time to make sure everyone at the seder introduces themselves and let them know they can participate as much or as little as they’d like.

As leader, though, you’re not completely off the hook! It’s your job to keep things moving forward and to help each person participate.

haggadah Section: Introduction