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Jewish celebrations often include wine as a symbol of our joy. The seder starts with wine and then gives us three more opportunities to refill our cup and drink.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen. We bless the source of compassion that creates the fruit of the vine.
We are grateful to participate in mitzvot (actions that enhance our relationship to what's sacred in life, and to celebrate special times. We are thankful to read our sacred stories, and remember the Exodus from Egypt. We experience blessing in the gift of Jewish traditions.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, she-hechiyanu v’key’manu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh. Let's bless the source of sacredness that keeps us alive, raises us up, and brings us to this happy moment.
Drink the first glass of wine!
To wash your hands, you don’t need soap, but you do need a cup to pour water over your hands. Pour water on each of your hands three times, alternating between your hands. If the people around your table don’t want to get up to walk all the way over to the sink, you could pass a pitcher and a bowl around so everyone can wash at their seats… just be careful not to spill!
Too often during our daily lives we don’t stop and take the moment to prepare for whatever it is we’re about to do.
Let's pause to consider what we hope to get out of our evening together tonight. Go around the table and share one hope or expectation you have for tonight's seder.
Passover evokes compelling narratives of slavery and freedom with honoring the cycles of nature. As we remember the liberation from Egypt, we also recognize the stirrings of spring and natural growth unfolding in the world around us. The symbols on our table bring together both elements of these celebrations.
We now take a vegetable, representing our joy at the dawning of spring (mindful that more snow might come!). Let's now dip it into salt water, a symbol of the tears our ancestors shed while they suffered as slaves. Before we eat it, we recite a short blessing:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree ha-adama.
We bless the source of everything that creates the fruits of the earth.
We all have aspects of ourselves that sometimes get buried, like heavy snow, under the stress of our busy lives. What has this winter taught us? What elements of our own lives do we hope to revive this spring?
An important Seder tradition is to place three pieces of matzah on the table, and then break the middle matzah into two pieces. The larger piece becomes the afikomen, literally “dessert” in Greek, and will be hidden in a secret place. After dinner, the youngest people at the table will have to hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up the meal and win a prize!
We eat matzah to remember the Israelites' hurried escape from Egypt. As slaves, they had faced many false starts before finally being let go. When they had the chance, they rushed to pack up, took whatever dough they had, and ran with it before it had the chance to rise.
Let's uncover and hold up the three pieces of matzah and say together: This is the bread of poverty and suffering which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. All who are hungry, come and eat! All who have unmet needs, come and celebrate Passover with us! Once we were slaves, now we move towards becoming more free.
Breaking the middle matzah is a moment to look around the table, to look at the abundance in our lives, and express gratitude. It's also a moment to reflect on the continued presence of suffering and oppression in the world. We acknowledge that thousands of people around the world live in poverty and don’t have enough to eat. We are reminded of the millions of people fleeing oppression and violence in search of a better life. Today - still, so many people yearn to live with safety, dignity, respect, and freedom.
By Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Rabbi Lauren Holzblatt, from the AJWS Seder Supplements Resource Guide
On Passover, Jews are commanded to tell the story of the Exodus and to see ourselves as having lived through that story, so that we may better learn how to live our lives today. The stories we tell our children shape what they believe to be possible—which is why at Passover, we must tell the stories of the women who played a crucial role in the Exodus narrative.
The Book of Exodus, much like the Book of Genesis, opens in pervasive darkness. Genesis describes the earth as “unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep.”1 In Exodus, darkness attends the accession of a new Pharaoh who feared the Israelites and so enslaved them. God alone lights the way out of the darkness in Genesis. But in Exodus, God has many partners, first among them, five brave women.
There is Yocheved, Moses’ mother, and Shifra and Puah, the famous midwives. Each defies Pharaoh’s decree to kill the Israelite baby boys. And there is Miriam, Moses’ sister, about whom the following midrash is taught:
[When Miriam’s only brother was Aaron] she prophesied… “my mother is destined to bear a son who will save Israel.” When [Moses] was born the whole house… filled with light[.] [Miriam’s] father arose and kissed her on the head, saying, “My daughter, your prophecy has been fulfilled.” But when they threw [Moses] into the river her father tapped her on the head saying, “Daughter, where is your prophecy?” So it is written, “And [Miriam] stood afar off to know what would be[come of] the latter part of her prophecy.”2
Finally, there is Pharaoh’s daughter Batya, who defies her own father and plucks baby Moses out of the Nile. The Midrash reminds us that Batya knew exactly what she doing:
When Pharaoh’s daughter’s handmaidens saw that she intended to rescue Moses, they attempted to dissuade her, and persuade her to heed her father. They said to her: “Our mistress, it is the way of the world that when a king issues a decree, it is not heeded by the entire world, but his children and the members of his household do observe it, and you wish to transgress your father’s decree?”3
But transgress she did.
These women had a vision leading out of the darkness shrouding their world. They were women of action, prepared to defy authority to make their vision a reality bathed in the light of the day.
Retelling the heroic stories of Yocheved, Shifra, Puah, Miriam and Batya reminds our daughters that with vision and the courage to act, they can carry forward the tradition those intrepid women launched.
While there is much light in today’s world, there remains in our universe disheartening darkness, inhumanity spawned by ignorance and hate. We see horrific examples in the Middle East, parts of Africa, and the Ukraine. The Passover story recalls to all of us—women and men—that with vision and action we can join hands with others of like mind, kindling lights along paths leading out of the terrifying darkness.
1 Genesis 1:2 2 Babylonian Talmud, Megillah 14a 3 Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 12b
The formal telling of the story of Passover is framed as a discussion with lots of questions and answers. The tradition that the youngest person asks the questions reflects the centrality of involving everyone in the seder. The rabbis who created the set format for the seder gave us the Four Questions to help break the ice in case no one had their own questions. Asking questions is a core tradition in Jewish life. If everyone at your seder is around the same age, perhaps the person with the least seder experience can ask them – or everyone can sing them all together.
מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילות
Ma nishtana halaila hazeh mikol haleilot?
Why is this night different from all other nights?
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכלין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלּוֹ מצה
Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin chameitz u-matzah. Halaila hazeh kulo matzah.
On all other nights we eat both leavened bread and matzah.
Tonight we only eat matzah.
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר
Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin shi’ar yirakot haleila hazeh maror.
On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables,
but tonight we eat bitter herbs.
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָֽנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּֽעַם אחָת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעמים
Shebichol haleilot ain anu matbilin afilu pa-am echat. Halaila hazeh shtei fi-amim.
On all other nights we aren’t expected to dip our vegetables one time.
Tonight we do it twice.
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין. :הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּֽנוּ מְסֻבין
Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin. Halaila hazeh kulanu m’subin.
On all other nights we eat either sitting normally or reclining.
Tonight we recline.
Jewish tradition speaks of four types of people who react differently to the themes of a Passover Seder. Historically these are children, but we know many of these types as adults. It's like a Jewish Myers-Briggs test!
What does the wise child say?
The wise child asks, What are the teachings given to us for how to live as a community in freedom?
This child or adult is responsive to guidelines for how to observe the holiday of Passover and make it meaningful.
What does the alienated or confused child say?
The alienated or confused child asks, What does this whole thing mean to you?
Notice that the alienated or confused child does not include herself or himself in the question. One traditional, but problematic Jewish response is to say, “It is because of what God did for me in taking me out of Egypt. Me, not you. Had you been there, you would have been left behind." But this only drives an alienated or confused child even further away. This child or adult is indirectly asking for compassion, not shaming or blaming. What would be another, kinder response to this child's alienation or confusion?
What does the simple child say?
The simple child asks, What is this?
To this child, answer plainly: “When we were slaves in Egypt, we were helped and redeemed by a force beyond our comprehension." (Hat-tip to the Jewish theology of Star Wars.)
What about the child who doesn’t know how to ask a question?
Help this child ask, by offering stories and listening to their own.
Start telling the story:
“Once we were slaves, and now we are free.”
Do you see yourself in any of these children? Which archetype resonates with you, and why?
Adapted from Rabbi Rachel Barenblat's Velveteen Rabbi.
Once upon a time, during a famine our ancestor Jacob and his family fled to Egypt where food was plentiful. His son Joseph had risen to high position in Pharaoh’s court, and our people were well-respected and well-regarded, secure in the power structure of the time.
Generations passed and our people remained in Egypt. In time, a new Pharaoh came to power. He found our difference threatening, and ordered our people enslaved. In fear of rebellion, Pharaoh decreed that all Hebrew baby boys be killed. Two midwives named Shifrah and Puah defied his orders. Through their courage, a boy survived. Fearing for his safety, his family placed him in a basket and he floated down the Nile. He was found, and adopted, by Pharaoh’s daughter, who named him Moses because she drew him forth from the water. Thanks to Moses' sister Miriam, Pharaoh's daughter hired their mother, Yocheved, as his wet-nurse. Thus he survived to adulthood, and was raised as Prince of Egypt.
As Moses grew, he became aware of the slaves who worked in the brickyards of his father. When he saw an overseer mistreat a slave, Moses struck the overseer and killed him. He fled into the desert. Moses encountered a burning bush in the desert, and a Voice called him to lead the Hebrew people to freedom. Moses argued with that Voice, pleading inadequacy, but the Voice disagreed and saw potential where Moses only felt fear. Sometimes our responsibilities choose us.
Moses returned to Egypt and went to Pharaoh to argue the injustice of slavery. "Let my people go!" he demanded. Pharaoh refused, and Moses warned him that his cruelty would cause great suffering. These threats were not idle; ten terrible plagues were unleashed upon the Egyptians. Only when his nation lay in ruins did Pharaoh agree to our liberation.
Fearful that Pharaoh would change his mind, our people fled, not waiting for their bread dough to rise. Our people did not leave Egypt alone; a “mixed multitude” went with them. From this we learn that liberation is not for us alone, but for all the people of the earth. Even Pharaoh’s daughter came with us.
Pharaoh’s army followed us to the Sea of Reeds. We plunged into the waters. Only when we had gone as far as we could did the waters part for us. We mourn, even now, that Pharaoh’s army drowned: our liberation is bittersweet because people died in our pursuit. To this day we relive our liberation, that we may not become complacent, that we may always rejoice in our freedom.
As we rejoice about becoming free, we regret that our freedom came at the cost of the Egyptians’ suffering. We pour out a drop of wine for each of the plagues as we recite them.
Dip a finger or a spoon into your wine glass for a drop for each plague.
These are the ten plagues the Egyptians suffered:
Blood | dam | דָּם
Frogs | tzfardeiya | צְפַרְדֵּֽעַ
Lice | kinim | כִּנִּים
Beasts | arov | עָרוֹב
Cattle disease | dever | דֶּֽבֶר
Boils | sh’chin | שְׁחִין
Hail | barad | בָּרָד
Locusts | arbeh | אַרְבֶּה
Darkness | choshech | חֹֽשֶׁךְ
Death of the Firstborn | makat b’chorot | מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת
The Egyptians suffered from ten plagues because after each one, Pharaoh refused to open up his heart, change his perspective, and let the Israelites go. What are the plagues in our world today? What behaviors do we need to change to fix them?
The traditional Haggadah lists ten plagues that afflicted the Egyptians. We live in a very different world, but Passover is a good time to remember that, even after our liberation from slavery in Egypt, there are still many challenges for us to meet. Here are ten “modern plagues”:
Inequity - Access to affordable housing, quality healthcare, nutritious food, good schools, and higher education is far from equal. The disparity between rich and poor is growing, and opportunities for upward mobility are limited.
Entitlement - Too many people consider themselves entitled to material comfort, economic security, and other privileges of middle-class life without hard work.
Fear - Fear of “the other” produces and reinforces xenophobia, anti-immigrant sentiment, antisemitism, homophobia, and transphobia.
Greed - Profits are a higher priority than the safety of workers or the health of the environment. The top one percent of the American population controls 42% of the country’s financial wealth, while corporations send jobs off-shore and American workers’ right to organize and bargain collectively is threatened.
Distraction - In this age of constant connectedness, we are easily distracted by an unending barrage of information, much of it meaningless, with no way to discern what is important.
Distortion of reality - The media constructs and society accepts unrealistic expectations, leading to eating disorders and an unhealthy obsession with appearance for both men and women.
Unawareness - It is easy to be unaware of the consequences our consumer choices have for the environment and for workers at home and abroad. Do we know where or how our clothes are made? Where or how our food is produced? The working conditions? The impact on the environment?
Discrimination - While we celebrate our liberation from bondage in Egypt, too many people still suffer from discrimination. For example, blacks in the United States are imprisoned at more than five times the rate of whites, and Hispanics are locked up at nearly double the white rate. Women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. At 61 cents to the dollar, the disparity is even more shocking in Jewish communal organization.
Silence - Every year, 4.8 million cases of domestic violence against American women are reported. We do not talk about things that are disturbing, such as rape, sex trafficking, child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse, even though they happen every day in our own communities.
Feeling overwhelmed and disempowered - When faced with these modern “plagues,” how often do we doubt or question our own ability to make a difference? How often do we feel paralyzed because we do not know what to do to bring about change?
In our home we have a custom of evoking Jewish comedians of the 20th century. We call it the 'Shrug, Upturned Palm' gesture. Dayeinu is one of those moments to enlist this. (Someone from the Clermont house can demonstrate.) Had we experienced even just one moment of kindness described in the Exodus story, it would have been enough – dayeinu! (Shrug, upturned palm.) Let's sing together:
אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָֽנוּ מִמִּצְרַֽיִם, דַּיֵּנוּ
Ilu hotzi- hotzianu, Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim, Dayeinu
If the Divine had only taken us out of Egypt, that would have been enough!
אִלּוּ נָתַן לָֽנוּ אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה, דַּיֵּנוּ
Ilu natan natan lanu, natan lanu et ha-Torah, Natan lanu et ha-Torah , Dayeinu
If the Divine had only given us the Torah, that would have been enough.
The complete lyrics to Dayeinu tell the entire story of the Exodus from Egypt as a series of gifts we received to be able to live in freedom. Dayeinu reminds us that each of our lives is the cumulative result of many blessings, small and large.
We have now told the story of Passover…but wait! We’re not quite done. There are still some symbols on our seder plate we haven’t talked about yet. Rabban Gamliel would say that whoever didn’t explain the shank bone, matzah, and marror (or bitter herbs) hasn’t done Passover justice.
The shank bone represents the Pesach, the special lamb sacrifice made in the days of the Temple for the Passover holiday. It is called the pesach, from the Hebrew word meaning “to pass over,” because God passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt when visiting plagues upon our oppressors.
The matzah reminds us that when our ancestors were finally free to leave Egypt, there was no time to pack or prepare. Our ancestors grabbed whatever dough was made and set out on their journey, letting their dough bake into matzah as they fled.
The bitter herbs provide a visceral reminder of the bitterness of slavery, the life of hard labor our ancestors experienced in Egypt.
בְּכָל־דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת־עַצְמוֹ, כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרָֽיִם
B’chol dor vador chayav adam lirot et-atzmo, k’ilu hu yatzav mimitzrayim.
In every generation, everyone is obligated to see themselves as though they personally left Egypt.
The seder reminds us that it was not only our ancestors who were redeemed; we experience liberation in our own day by remembering stories of redemption.
May we continue to reach future holidays in peace and happiness. Let's raise our glass and drink a second cup of wine.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.
We bless the source of all that is, that creates the fruit of the vine.
Drink the second glass of wine!
Contributed by Truah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Our hands were touched by this water earlier during tonight's seder, but this time is different. This is a deeper step than that. This act of washing our hands is accompanied by a blessing, for in this moment we feel our People's story more viscerally, having just retold it during Maggid. Now, having re-experienced the majesty of the Jewish journey from degradation to dignity, we raise our hands in holiness, remembering once again that our liberation is bound up in everyone else's. Each step we take together with others towards liberation is blessing, and so we recite:
--Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kidshanu bemitvotav vetzivanu al netilat yadayim.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִּם.
Blessed is the source of time, space, matter, and water, for this sacred opportunity to lift up our hands.
The blessing over the meal and matzah | motzi matzah | מוֹצִיא מַצָּה
The familiar hamotzi blessing marks the formal start of the meal. Because we are using matzah instead of bread, we add a blessing celebrating this mitzvah.
בְָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִיא לֶֽחֶם מִן הָאָֽרֶץ:
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.
We are grateful for the opportunity to eat bread that comes from the land.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתַָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה:
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat matzah.
We express our gratitude for the opportunity to participate in mitzvot (the things we do to enhance sacred relationships) such as eating matzah.
Distribute and eat the top and middle matzah for everyone to eat.
Dipping the bitter herb in sweet charoset | maror |מָרוֹר
Adversity and resilience. Suffering and insight. Broken shards and new forms of being. These are the themes of Passover and our own lives. We recognize this by dipping our bitter herbs into the sweet charoset. Let's say the blessing together.
ברוּךְ אַתָּה יְיַָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מרוֹר:
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat maror.
We bless the wellspring of compassion, for the opportunity to infuse our lives with meaning, by eating bitter herbs.
Eating a sandwich of matzah and bitter herb | koreich | כּוֹרֵךְ
When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, one important ritual involved eating the lamb offered as the pesach or Passover sacrifice. Think of it as a holy BBQ for the Divine. The great sage Hillel would put the meat in a sandwich made of matzah, along with some of the bitter herbs. The Temple no longer stands, and we don't incorporate sacrifice into our Jewish practice anymore. But we honor this custom by eating a sandwich of the remaining matzah and bitter herbs. Feel free to include charoset in the sandwich - it's a reminder of the possibility for practicing kindness with one another even during difficult and bitter times.
Eating the meal! | shulchan oreich | שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ
Enjoy! But don’t forget when you’re done we’ve got a little more seder to go, including the final two cups of wine!
Finding and eating the Afikomen | tzafoon | צָפוּן
The playfulness of finding the afikomen reminds us that we balance our solemn memories of slavery with a joyous celebration of freedom. As we eat the afikomen, our last taste of matzah for the evening, we are grateful for moments of silliness and happiness in our lives.
Singing songs of YAY! | hallel | הַלֵּל
This is the time set aside for singing. Some of us might sing traditional prayers from the Book of Psalms. Others take this moment for favorites like Chad Gadya & Who Knows One. To celebrate the theme of freedom, we might sing songs from the civil rights movement.
Fourth Glass of Wine
As we come to the end of the seder, we drink one more glass of wine. With this final cup, we give thanks for the experience of celebrating Passover together, for the traditions that help inform our daily lives and guide our actions and aspirations.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן:
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.
We give thanks for the blessing of so much wine and song!
Drink the fourth and final glass of wine!
We now refill our wine glasses one last time. We lift up Miriam's cup to honor her leadership, and open the front door to imagine the prophet Elijah joining our seder.
In the Bible, Miriam was bold and brave, saving Moses from death. She led the Israelites through the Red Sea to dance and celebrate their freedom on the other side. She provided strong leadership and found sources of water during the wandering in the desert. The Babylonian Talmud teaches, "If it wasn’t for the righteousness of women of that generation, we would not have been redeemed from Egypt." Miriam's cup symbolizes her courage.
Elijah was a charismatic prophet who cajoled a disbelieving people to live more harmoniously and equally with one another. Jewish stories imagine Elijah as a harbinger of peace, so we set a place for Elijah at many joyous, hopeful Jewish occasions, such as a baby’s bris and the Passover seder.
אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּי, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי.בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד, עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד.
Eliyahu hanavi Eliyahu hatishbi Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu hagiladi Bimheirah b’yameinu, yavo eileinu Im mashiach ben-David, Im mashiach ben-David.
Elijah the prophet, the returning, the man of Gilad: return to us speedily, in our days, to redemption.
But Jerusalem is more than a place, it is a feeling, it is a hope. At this point in the seder, 1/2 or 1/4 sheets of paper should be passed around to each participant, along with an envelope and writing utensil. Folks are invited to write a brief note to their future selves inspired by "next year in Jerusalem." As metaphor: what is our own personal Jerusalem where we hope to see ourselves a year from now?
Everyone seals and addresses their envelope to themselves, and the seder leader, or whoever is leading this exercise takes responsibility for keeping the notes all year and mailing them the following Pesach season.
This exercise can be done formally when everyone sits down to dessert or it can be introduced when the break for the meal happens and people can elect to write the notes at their leisure.
I often have a basket out for people to drop their notes in.