By, Laura Schultze, JTFN Communications Associate
Ah, Passover. The time of year when your family comes together, there’s an overload of delicious food, and we tell the story of the Exodus and reflect on the story of our ancestors. We are instructed to remember, revel in our freedom, and ask as many questions as we can, so start by asking your family some questions about giving. At the Jewish Teen Funders Network, we strive to strengthen and grow the field of Jewish teen philanthropy, and we’d like you to help us by starting the conversation at your Passover Seder with this handy-dandy list for bringing philanthropy home!
Some families treat the Seder like a potluck, others have cooking skills greater than their siblings. Some make the perfect flourless cake, or some are like me- just really good at mixing. Whatever your family enjoys, from brisket to matzo ball soup, it’s time to mix up the conversation!
For younger family members: There are four questions that are asked each Seder. If someone gave you $100, who would you give it to? Why would you give it to them? Why give at all? What's different about giving with your family?
For family members a little older: We all know the story of the 4 sons. What does it feel like when you give like the wicked? Or the wise? What about giving simply, or as the son who doesn't know how? When have you given and felt like each of the sons?
For the oldest family members: What is enough when it comes to giving your money or time? Is one more valuable than the other?
Around your table
Whether your family uses a traditional Haggadah or the Harry Potter Haggadah, Seder traditions continue to morph and are passed through the generations. This year, try adding family philanthropy to your tradition. Have each generation share stories of the giving that has influenced them the most. When parents and grandparents tell their children about their own family giving, where they give to, and why they give, it will inspire them to give with you. And when children talk about giving, it is sure to inspire the family in return. Encourage your children to share with you what is important to them and decide together how you can address those issues as a family.
So, how do you bring it up? A great way to bring philanthropy to the table is to add an element to your Seder plate. The elements on the seder plate are symbols and exist for the purpose of asking questions. In recent years, some families have added an orange to the seder plate to represent women’s rights. Adding a new tradition was a vehicle for a new conversation to take place at the table. So what can you add to make a conversation about giving? Choose an item that represents the way your family gives. Some examples include: trail mix (showing the diversity of community), or dark chocolate gelt (the sweetness of giving). Check out these other items you can add to your Seder plate.
An Afikomen Twist
Add this new tradition to your Afikomen search! Start by deciding how much money you would like to give.
- Hide enough Afikomen pieces for each person who would like to participate at your Seder (parents included!). Send everyone to find the pieces (one piece per person)!
- Gather everyone together. What is happening in the world that you want to change? Collect answers from every person.
- Notice the different sizes of the pieces of matzah. Give each finder a bit of money based on the size of their matzah piece. If each person gave separately, how much of an impact would that have?
- Make groups based on the values discussed. How much money would each group have all together? What is the difference between the two giving styles, and how and where do they want to give the money?
Your conversation can go multiple different ways. Some families choose to give all together. Others like to split and give based on their values. There is no wrong way to give, and by starting this conversation with your family, the giving will continue to evolve and grow.
Pesach Sameach from the Jewish Teen Funders Network!