Illustrated Journeys: Reimagining the Seder Plate

The Seder plate is a special plate that holds symbolic foods significant to the retelling of the story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt – the Passover story. From the maror (horseradish) representing the bitterness and harshness of slavery to the karpas (green vegetable) representing hope and renewal, each food helps tell this ancient story.

This year, we have an opportunity to re-envision the Seder plate, connecting the Jewish experience of flight from persecution toward safety to the journeys of today’s refugees and asylum seekers. What items might we place on the plate to recount this story and make
connections between the Biblical exodus, other Jewish migration experiences, our own families’ experiences, and the stories of those who comprise the 80 million people who are forcibly displaced today?

Use the guiding questions to determine what 6 objects you would put on the plate. Kids (of all ages!) can draw their objects,
and adults can have a group conversation about why you chose the items on your Seder plate. You could also consider asking guests to share an object from their re-imagined Seder plate at a moment in the Seder they think is thematically or symbolically appropriate.

Think of an object or two from the original Seder plate that you think best represents the themes of the Passover story and add that to your Seder plate. Or, consider whether there is another object you might add to represent the biblical Exodus story. 

Think of an object or two that represents your family’s story of migration. It could be a family heirloom or it could be symbolic of some piece of your family’s particular journey.

Think of an object or two that represents the journeys that today’s refugees and asylum seekers make from danger to safety. Use some of the specific stories you have heard (like the ones in the HIAS Haggadah) to help guide you.

Throughout history, the Jewish people have been expelled from many of the places we have called home due to our religion. Think of an object or two that represents this repeated displacement to add to your Seder plate.

After your Seder, consider sharing your Seder plate on Instagram. Tag @hiasrefugees and use the hashtag #sederplate

haggadah Section: Commentary / Readings