Thanks to The Well, #Friendseder is gaining momentum this April in Metro Detroit.

By Allison Jacobs

Featured photo courtesy of Lowell Weiss, featuring his son Ben Weiss and Angela McCoy

Passover has never been more fun in Metro Detroit. The Well, a nonprofit dedicated to community-building, education and spirituality geared toward Jewish young adults, initiated the #Friendseder movement locally, calling it “the best thing since boxed Matzah.”

Not unlike “Friendsgiving,” the #Friendseder campaign encourages young adults to host a personalized Passover gathering during the month of April.

According to 36-year-old Jacob Krause, a member of The Well’s Bucket List (board), the launch of #Friendseder has been a long time coming.

“The Bucket List has been talking about the idea for some time — we have a partner that helped create a Haggadah for our #Friendseder and we were able to change it to match the style we wanted.”

Hosts could download the Haggadah with ease off friendseder.com, a website designed for the occasion. The site also includes recipes and other tips and tricks for hosts, along with printable decor.

Another key element of #Friendseder is adding a creative spin on traditional Passover rituals.

Eddie and Elise Aronowitz, Nechama and Jason Lurie, Michael and Samantha (Sammi) Shapiro, Mike Sternberg, Steven Davis and J. Jacob Krause Courtesy of J. Jacob Krause

Instead of telling the Passover story in your typical fashion, Krause transformed the tale into a soap opera for his #Friendseder guests, who were between 28 and 40 years old. Each person was asked to portray different characters. For the plagues, Krause used marshmallow hail and toy frogs.

Another local host and Bucket List member, Audrey Bloomberg, was eager to share #Friendseder with her Shabbat dinner group through The Well, which has been going strong for three years.

“We decided to host a #Friendseder because me and my boyfriend go back to his hometown in New Jersey to celebrate the holiday and we rarely get to see our friend group,” Bloomberg says.

Bloomberg and her boyfriend sat down with four couples for an evening filled with red wine Jell-O shots instead of the four cups of wine and bananas with salted caramel instead of the traditional parsley in salt water.

Rose Garber, Tzvi Tanenbaum, Patrick Cowan, Audrey Bloomberg, Vadim Garber, Amber Harte, Seth Harte, Rita Cowan, Ross Sandelius Courtesy of Audrey Bloomberg

 

Audrey Bloomberg’s wine jello shots Courtesy of Audrey Bloomberg

Lowell Weiss’s #Friendseder was also a hit. The Bucket List member opted to mix and match with the traditional Maxwell House Haggadah and #Friendseder Haggadah.

“I love the idea of modernizing our traditions and thought #Friendseder was a great way to try something new,” Weiss says.

He even added his family’s tradition of an egg breaking contest, where each participant gets a hard-boiled egg and is paired with another contestant. The two proceed to “tap” eggs and whichever egg cracks is the loser — this year’s winner was Weiss’s six-year-old son Ben.

A non-Jewish guest with Greek heritage added olives to the seder plate at The Weiss family’s #Friendseder Courtesy Lowell Weiss

Between games, food and storytelling, each #Friendseder has its own agenda, with elements that can be adapted as the host sees fit.

“It (the Haggadah) really was interactive — I might change it moving forward to add some of my own things,” Krause says.

The beauty of #Friendseder is that it is completely customizable. To experience the joys of #Friendseder, visit friendseder.com.

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