Montreal elementary school students participate in Passover traditions
Kindergarten students at Solomon Schechter Academy hosted a model Seder at the school Wednesday morning.
With Passover on Friday, there are advantages to teaching children about the tradition, parents and families said.
“It takes a big load off of me,” joked Ralph Munk, whose grandson, five-year-old Nathan Manel, took part.
Munk has several grandchildren at the school. “This Friday night they’re all going to be participating,” he laughed. “All six grandkids are gonna help me out — it’s a lot easier.”
He also says that it’s important for the family for the children to learn their history and where they are from, and that Nathan was looking forward to it.
“He could barely sleep last night because he was super excited about today,” said Nathan’s mother, Shari Munk-Manel, with a grin. But her son playfully disagreed.
“No I wasn’t,” he said.
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Nineteen kindergarten students participated, along with their grandparents. It’s an event the school has been doing for the last 40 years.
“We teach the kids the tradition, what’s going to be [like] with the whole family, and that way they can take part in the real Seder,” explained teacher Simona Parynte. “Preparing five- and six-year-old kids for it can can be challenging, because there is a lot to learn — even for Nathan, who had to practice at home.
“He would always say, ‘Why do we have to practice? I know it,'” his mother laughed, “and [I] would say, ‘Well, I wanna make sure you do it loud!'”
But it can be emotional for some kids, because the Passover story is about slavery.
“Some of them are scared, but we say it was long, long ago, and that it’s no longer happening,” Parynte said, adding that they do get over their fear and have fun.
For Ralph and his wife, Ketty, attending these model Seders has become a tradition.
“Our three children came to this school, and now our six grandchildren are here, from grade 3 to pre-kindergarten, so we’ve attended about 30 of these model Seders,” Ralph beamed.
This is their fourth one this week. But for Shari, who has two older kids at the school, this was her last model Seder with kindergarten students. She will attend all of them until her kids graduate.
“I will come to the big school Seders,” she smiled. “I probably have another 12 Seders or 16 or something in the coming years, but that’s it for me in the little school.”
“Mommy, you have 14 Seders left!” Nathan interjected.
“Ok, 14,” his mother laughed. “Thanks for checking.”