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Lubbock, Texas, USA

This bespoke seder was created for attendees at the Texas Tech Humanities Center conference on “Food and…” as well as congregants of Shaareth Israel in Lubbock. This interactive event included many traditional elements (singing, ritual foods) and some innovations (“academic” speeches, videos, an invitation to wear festive hats rather than yarmulkes).

We produced a hybrid program/menu/haggadah that included this invitation:

There will be elements of audiovisual communication tonight, and people will make speeches and sing, but the heart of the Seder, and of Seder&, is to be at home, sharing books, wine, food, and thought. At your table you’ll find companions, ritual foods, instructions, art supplies, and this combination guidebook/program. (Download PDF here)

Much like our 2011 (much smaller) seder-based work, On Order , Seder& followed the shape of a traditional passover home meal, but alternated between table-based small group activities and speeches, etc, from the front of the hall. At each table, participants were assigned roles for the evening: Informant (Jews or folks with seder experience), Facilitator, Child (the designated interlocutor), Archivist (charged with documenting the table’s activities through photo, text, and drawing on the tablecloth), Server, and Reader. These roles interacted and recombined throughout the evening; for example, after the Child read the traditional four questions (“why is tonight different than all other nights?”), the Reader read a passage of commentary on the questions, and the Facilitator led the table in a discussion of them.

Each table had a traditional seder plate with the ritual foods, but each individual found at their place a hand-throne ceramic plate made by Grant Gustafson, with an ampersand graphic fired into the glaze. At the end of the evening these were washed and gifted to the participants as souvenirs.

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