The Story of Passover (Seder), symbols & crafts for kids

As Christians, we may not celebrate Passover but because of our heritage, maybe we should at least acknowledge it. Our Lord's last supper was Seder.

Passover lasts for a whole week. This week in the year 2012 its starts this Friday the 6th. The holiday begins with a special meal called a Seder. Read the story of how the Jewish people were freed from slavery in Egypt in the Jewish book called a Haggadah or in Exodus 12.  

The BEST book I've found for kids on the Seder meal:

Exodus 12

1 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in Egypt. 2 He said, "From now on, this month will be your first month. Each of your years will begin with it. 3 "Speak to the whole community of Israel. Tell them that on the tenth day of this month each man must get a lamb from his flock. A lamb should be chosen for each family and home. 4 "Suppose there are not enough people in your family to eat a whole lamb. Then you must share some of it with your nearest neighbor. You must add up the total number of people there are. You must decide how much lamb is needed for each person. 5 "The animals you choose must be males that are a year old. They must not have any flaws. You may choose either sheep or goats. 6 Take care of them until the 14th day of the month. Then the whole community of Israel must kill them when the sun goes down. 7 Take some of the blood. Put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where you eat the lambs. 8 "That same night eat the meat cooked over the fire. Also eat bitter plants. And eat bread that is made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water. Instead, cook it over the fire. Cook the head, legs and inside parts. 10 Do not leave any of it until morning. If some is left over until morning, burn it. 11 "Eat the meat while your coat is tucked into your belt. Put your sandals on your feet. Take your walking stick in your hand. Eat the food quickly. It is the Lord's Passover. 12 "That same night I will pass through Egypt. I will strike down every oldest son. I will also kill all of the male animals that were born first to their mothers. And I will judge all of the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord.
 13 "The blood on your houses will be a sign for you. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. No deadly plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
 14 "Always remember this day. For all time to come, you and your children after you must celebrate this day as a feast in honor of the Lord. It is a law that will last forever. 15 "Eat bread made without yeast for seven days. On the first day remove the yeast from your homes. For the next seven days, anyone who eats anything that has yeast in it must be cut off from Israel. 16 "On the first and seventh days, come together for a special service. Do not work at all on those days. All you are allowed to do is prepare food for everyone to eat. 17 "Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. I brought you out of Egypt on this very day like an army on the march. It is a law that will last for all time to come. 18 In the first month eat bread that is made without yeast. Eat it from the evening of the 14th day until the evening of the 21st day. 19 "For seven days do not let any yeast be found in your homes. Anyone who eats anything that has yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. That applies to outsiders and Israelites alike. 20 Do not eat anything that is made with yeast. No matter where you live, eat bread that is made without yeast." 21 Then Moses sent for all of the elders of Israel. He said to them, "Go at once. Choose the animals for your families. Each family must kill a Passover lamb. 22 Get a branch of a hyssop plant. Dip it into the blood in the bowl. Put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you can go out the door of your house until morning. 23 "The Lord will go through the land to strike the Egyptians down. He'll see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe. He will pass over that house. He won't let the destroying angel enter your homes to kill you. 24 "Obey all of these directions. It's a law for you and your children after you for all time to come. 25 The Lord will give you the land, just as he promised. When you enter it, keep this holy day. 26 "Your children will ask you, 'What does this holy day mean to you?' 27 Tell them, 'It's the Passover sacrifice in honor of the Lord. He passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt. He spared our homes when he struck the Egyptians down.' " Then the people of Israel bowed down and worshiped. 28 They did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron. 29 At midnight the Lord struck down every oldest son in Egypt. He killed the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne. He killed all of the oldest sons of prisoners, who were in prison. He also killed all of the male animals that were born first to their mothers among the livestock. 30 Pharaoh and all of his officials got up during the night. So did all of the Egyptians. There was loud crying in Egypt because someone had died in every home. 31 During the night, Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron. He said to them, "Get out of here! You and the Israelites, leave my people! Go. Worship the Lord, just as you have asked. 32 Go. Take your flocks and herds, just as you have said. And also give me your blessing." 33 The Egyptians begged the people of Israel to hurry up and leave the country. "If you don't," they said, "we'll all die!" 34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added to it. They carried it on their shoulders in bread pans that were wrapped in clothes. 35 They did just as Moses had directed them. They asked the Egyptians for articles that were made out of silver and gold. They also asked them for clothes. 36 The Lord had caused the Egyptians to treat the people of Israel in a kind way. So they gave them what they asked for. The people of Israel took many expensive things that belonged to the Egyptians. 37 The Israelites traveled from Rameses to Succoth. There were about 600,000 men who were old enough to go into battle. The women and children went with them. 38 So did many other people. The Israelites also took large flocks and herds with them. 39 They brought dough from Egypt. With it they baked bread without yeast. The dough didn't have any yeast in it. That's because the people had been driven out of Egypt before they had time to prepare their food. 40 The people of Israel lived in Egypt for 430 years. 41 At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all of the Lord's people marched out of Egypt like an army. 42 The Lord kept watch that night to bring them out of Egypt. So on that same night every year all of the Israelites must keep watch. They must do it to honor the Lord for all time to come. 43 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said, "Here are the rules for the Passover. "No one from another country is allowed to eat the Passover meal. 44 Any slave you have bought is allowed to eat it after you have circumcised him. 45 But a hired worker or someone who lives with you for a while is not allowed to eat it. 46 "It must be eaten inside a house. Do not take any of the meat outside. Do not break any of the bones. 47 The whole community of Israel must celebrate the Passover. 48 "Suppose an outsider who is living among you wants to celebrate the Lord's Passover. Then all of the males in that home must be circumcised. After that, the person can take part, just like an Israelite. Only males who are circumcised can eat it. 49 "The same law applies to Israelites and to outsiders who are living among you." 50 All of the people of Israel did just what the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. 51 On that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt like an army on the march.

Seder Symbols
Special foods on the Seder table remind us of the Passover story:

Matzah - reminds us that the Jews had to leave Egypt quickly and had no time to allow the bread to rise.
Greens - Parsley or celery - remind us that Passover comes in the spring when everything begins to grow.
Salt water - Reminds us of the tears of the Jewish slaves in Egypt.
Charoset - A mixture of apples, nuts and wine - reminds us of the mortar the Jews used to make bricks to build Pharaoh's cities. 
Maror - A bitter vegetable like horseradish - reminds us of the bitter way Pharaoh treated the Jewish people.
Roasted Egg - Reminds us of the new life that grows in spring.
Shank bone - Reminds us of the roasted lamb the Jewish people ate when they celebrated the first Passover.
Wine - A symbol of holiday joy.
Elijah's cup - There is a legend that the prophet Elijah visits each Seder to wish us a year of peace. 
Miriam's cup - We fill a cup to symbolize a well to honor Moses' sister Miriam. When the Jewish people were in the desert, Miriam was a source of strength and comfort to them.

Seder Crafts

Seder Plates - Decorate paper plates with Passover symbols. Glue foil muffin cups to each one and fill with individual portions of parsley, charoset, egg, moaror and a small bone. Give a Seder plate to every small guest. 

Kiddush Cup or Cup for Elijah or Miriam - Cover two paper cups (one size apart) with foil. Glue them bottom to bottom. The smaller one is the stem of your wine cup.

Passover placemats - Cut labels from matzah, wine, gefilte fish and other Passover foods. Arrange them in a collage on pieces of construction paper. Cover on both sides with clear adhesive paper. The placemats may be wiped clean and stored for future holiday meals.

Place cards - Fold index cards in half. Decorate with pictures of passover symbols or spring flowers and write each guest's name on a card.

Matzah Cover - Sew fore pieces of felt or cloth together leaving one side open to insert the three matzot. To decorate the top cloth, color with crayon, cover with waxed paper and iron to set the design. Make a matching afikomen bag. (This is a game where the family patriarch hides a piece of Matzah.)

Pillow Cover - Draw, paint or embroider Passover symbols on a special pillow case to cover the pillow used for reclining at the Seder.

Ten Plagues - Add some drama to your Seder. Bring the 10 plagues to life:
Blood: Use red food coloring in a glass of water.
Frogs: Try plastic ones or stickers.
Lice: White rice. If you want, add eyes with a black magic marker.
Beasts: Animal masks or toy dinosaurs.
Boils: Color round band-aids with red marker.
Cattle disease: Plastic cows colored green.
Hail: Styrofoam packing pellets work great!
Locusts: Plastic grasshoppers.
Darkness: Blindfolds.
Death of the firstborn: This one is tricky, but you can use skeletons, black armbands or toe tags.

Matzah Magnets - Post your shopping list or favorite recipes on the refrigerator with matzah magnets. Glue buttons, fabric scraps or bits of yarn onto broken pieces of matzah. Spray with varnish or shellac and glue magnets to the backs. 


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