Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How I Won My Seder and You Can Too!

This post is dedicated to Rachael's night shift and Stein's bookmarks' bar. 

That's right, I sit at the head of the table and drink from a fishie cup

Seders are supposed to be a celebration of our freedom. We used to be slaves in Egypt, but God made the Egyptians drink blood and then killed their children, so now we're free! Seders are also meant to maximize the enjoyment of the kids - to keep them interested and excited as their four questions are answered. BUT, this is a tall order because seders are also long, heavily ritualized, and mostly conducted in a different language. Three things children (and their handlers) tend not to love. But fear not, dear readers, your Shirby has the answer:

Seder Bingo. 

Intrigued? I bet you are. Here's how it works...

Having been fortunate enough to celebrate Passover with a similar crowd of family and friends for the last twenty-three years, I had a pretty good idea of what would happen at our two seders this time around. That my father would, for example, employ a Yiddish accent at some point each evening was pretty much a lock. So I made each person their own personalized Bingo card with nine events that I predicted could reasonably take place at a Lurie/Todes/Davis seder. The goal was to cross off as many of these events with your provided crayon (pictured above) as possible. An example is seen below:


The rules were simple: you could not directly cause something on your card to happen, but you could use your influence to increase the likelihood of it happening. For example, you could not take my arm and make me knock over my wine glass, but you could keep filling up my wine glass in the hopes that I would eventually spill it myself. I also asked that people announced what they were crossing off as the events occured so that everyone could find out what was written on each person's card. The person with the most boxes crossed off by the end of Had Gadyah would be the winner! 

The great thing about Passover is you get two cracks at it. So after running a beta version on the first night, I made some adaptations for the second. I got rid of anything with too high an element of chance (eg. "Bryan is the Simple Son" - since that is assigned by my Dad and is virtually impossible to influence one way or the other) and replaced them with two interactive options:

1. The Over/Under
I gave people the option to choose an over/under on a given scenario. For example, Wayne eats + or - 1.5 matzah balls. So if you think he will eat none or one, you circle - and if you think he will eat two or more you circle + . 

2. The Pick Two
I gave participants the option to choose two of three words they thought they could get a given person to say. For example, Asher says "Instagram," "Football," or "Pizza." You pick whichever two of those three words you think he is more likely to say.

Here is an example of an improved second night bingo card:

I'm happy to report that Seder Bingo was a big success on both nights. It kept people interested and on their toes, which was exactly my intention. You lose again, Pharoah! 

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