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"Passover Food Coma, Again Next Year"—Six Words at Your Seder


At the soul of the Six-Word Memoir project is how this simple prompt, “Tell a story in just six words,” can spark so much conversation. It’s not much of a stretch to say that Jews (among which I’m one) don’t need a lot of help conversing. So to ask us to boil down the essence of  life is a challenge. That’s what we were thinking when we launched Six Words on Jewish Life as a section of, the genesis of the book of the same name, one made possible with the support of the nonprofit Jewish cultural mavens at Reboot.

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 1.24.22 AMSince the debut of Six Words on Jewish Life, each Passover we’ve received wonderful reports about how Six Words has found a place at Seders. If you’re looking to add a conversation starter to your table this Passover, here’s a tried and true way to engage friends and family of all ages with Six Words.

1. Ask everyone to take a few minutes to think of Six Words on Jewish life. These Six Words could be very general or quite specific. For example:
• What are Six Words to describe what being Jewish means to you?
• Can you share a thought about Passover in Six Words?
• What is your Six-Word story of this past year that has brought you to this moment of reflection?
• Write a fifth question for the group to discuss, formed in exactly Six Words.

2. Go around the table and have everyone share their Six Words.

3. Ask each person to take a minute or two to share the “backstory” to their Six Words. If you have a large group, narrow it down by asking just the oldest and the youngest person at the table offer a brief backstory.

Need inspiration? Here are a few Six-Worders on Jewish Life from the teens in a summer writing program at Brandeis University called BIMA. Each summer I head to Newton, MA and teach a class with their instructor Jon Papernick in which we ask the kids to come up with their own Six Words on Jewish Life and talk about what they mean.

  • “Only a Jewish boy, Mom said.”
  • “We spent our budget on lox.”
  • “One small Jew, one loud family.”
  • “Light is off, find a goy.”
  • “Old woman comes just for Kadash.”
  • “Passover food coma, again next year.” (The inspiration for the title of this post.)

For even more inspiration, check out Oy! Only Six? Why Not More? Six-Word Memoirs on Jewish Life, 360 takes on what it means to be a Jew from everyday folks and machers like Larry David, Maira Kalman and Jonathan Safran Foer. It even looks a little bit like a Haggadah…



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