Planning for a Seder Too Good to Passover: Part II

As we launch this year’s model sedarim, heading into the Passover Holiday itself this weekend, let’s continue the conversation about planning a seder we began in Part I last week…

It has become a tradition for organizations to use the pedagogy of Passover to advocate for causes.  We can change customs (“The Four Children”), add customs (“Miriam’s Cup), or adjust customs.  One common adjustment is the addition of a “fifth question”.  In addition to the traditional “Four Questions” we add one to address important issues of the day.  You can go online and find a myriad of examples of “fifth questions” that deal with everything from gun violence, hunger, drought, Israel, peace, etc.  You can find a “fifth question” for almost every cause.

Of course sometimes the questions and the conversations they inspire are more important than the answers…

As we collectively prepare to celebrate our freedom Friday evening, I would like to share with you some of my “fifth questions”:

Jon’s “Fifth Questions” for Passover

Head of the Ottawa Jewish Day School: Why is this conversation about OJCS different than all other ones?

Jewish Day School Practitioner: How can I meaningfully address the “relevancy crisis” while still addressing the “affordability crisis”?

Israel Advocate: If I will not literally aim towards “Next year in Jerusalem…” how can I use those words to inspire my deeper engagement with the Land, People and State of Israel in the year to come?

American Expatriate in Canada: How do I understand an “exodus” story living abroad for the first time?  How do you balance exercising the responsibility of citizenship with the responsibility of residence?

Parent: How can the imagery of the “Four Children” remind me that my children are unique – from each other as well as everyone else – and that the responsibility for “personalized learning” is as much (if not more) a parent’s as it is a teacher’s?


What are some of your “Fifth Questions”?  Drop your answers in the comments below and I will highlight any good ones that come back to me.  I will also share any interesting answers to mine, or other questions, that I hear during the holiday.  I know my seders will be enhanced through your wisdom…

Wishing you a chag kasher v’sameach…

Author: Jon Mitzmacher

Dr. Jon Mitzmacher is the Head of the Ottawa Jewish Community School. Jon has recently begun his rabbinical school journey at the Academy for Jewish Religion and is thrilled to have joined the faculty of the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI) as a mentor for Cohort 12. He was most recently the VP of Innovation for Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools.  He is the former Executive Director of the Schechter Day School Network.  He is also the former head of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, a K-8 Solomon Schechter, located in Jacksonville, FL, and part of the Jacksonville Jewish Center.  He was the founding head of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Las Vegas.  Jon has worked in all aspects of Jewish Education from camping to congregations and everything in between.