It was a Saturday night in March 2019 and rather than going out, I told my friends, “Sorry, I have a seder to prep for!” I had been procrastinating the creation of my Haggadah (similar to my procrastination writing this article) and instead chose to begin with the menu. I was cooking a feast for 15. This included two vegans, a very picky eater and a few dairy-free options to be safe (you never know with Jews).

I’m getting ahead of myself. How did a millennial Jewish woman from Cambridge end up hosting a 15-person seder to begin with? Well, I was lured in by the Riverway Project’s first Seder Squad. Alongside 11 other brave leaders, we all committed to welcoming friends, family and strangers into our homes on the first and second nights of Passover. 

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Although hosting is a big to-do no matter how small or large the gathering, Rabbi Jen Gubitz ensured no one went without moral, spiritual or logistical support. We were offered a plethora of learning opportunities, including making our own seder plate, charoset from around the world and a DIY Haggadah workshop at Bow Market. We also received funding from both OneTable and Riverway Project to ensure no attendee would go unnourished. Funding did not help avoid a mini crisis trying to buy matzah on the day before Passover, but a community of other hosts did. Once the seder was posted on OneTable for guests to register, the pressure was on!

I was determined to create an evening that was inclusive for all dietary needs, accessible for non-Jews and welcoming for strangers seeking a seder. Between many Google image searches, Haggadot.com and a shared folder of themed seders (I highly recommend the “Hamilton” Haggadah), I built a meme-filled, social justice-powered Haggadah. The Riverway Project even had them expertly printed and stapled into books for my guests. It was a full-stop Passover shop (or everything but the matzah).

I may have spent hours preparing, lost some blood on a mandolin cutting carrots and expanded my dishware collection, but it was all worth it. So much so that I am beyond excited to join Seder Squad 2020! AND YOU CAN TOO! 

There are a few more days to apply for Seder Squad 2020 (they might even give you a deadline extension). It’s a quick application and you don’t even have to know your theme yet (I still don’t). While I debate themes such as fermentation, Jewish comedy or an evening packed with Pesach-powered games, you could be signing up! The world is truly your matzah ball.

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