Afikomen, Afikomen Wherefore Art Thou?


 

The afikomen: dessert or simply a ploy to keep children — and some adults — awake through most of the seder? Most people probably favor the latter, and tend to choose one of two techniques to make finding the half-piece of matzah interesting:

Method No. 1: Hiding the afikomen somewhere in the room/house/neighborhood for the child or children to find it.

Method No. 2: A child steals the afikomen from the leader’s place at the table when he or she gets up for rachtzah (washing the hands), hides it somewhere else and gets to bargain back for it. (This only works if a second child doesn’t take the matzah from the hiding place of the first.)

In either case, there is usually some prize or reward for finding the afikomen, thus allowing the adults to be able to continue the seder — and merrily sing “Chad Gadyah.”

While most children would probably welcome a monetary gift, you aren’t supposed to give money out at the seder. So, if your family chooses method No. 1, go the present route with one of these kitschy, quirky, “isn’t that cute,” “I wish I got that” items. (Note: if your family chooses afikomen-finding method No. 2, be warned that Sony PSP or Club Libby Lu might come up at the bargaining table.)

“Ma Nishtanah?” just got a whole lot cuter with artist Yitzy Erps’ reversible 4 Questions Finger Puppets. Each plush puppet has a seder item on one side, with its year-round equivalent on the other: matzah/bread, maror radish/carrot, cushioned chair/hard chair and karpas/beet.

$12.95. Ages 3 and older. ” target=”_blank”>www.chosencouture.com.

When your kid shouts, “I have boils!” don’t panic — it is just Matzah Ball Bingo. Two to six people can play this educational (shhhh, don’t tell the kids) retelling of the Pesach story. No reading required, which means parents can spend the seder at the adult table.

$8.95. Ages 4 and up. ” target=”_blank”>www.cafepress.com/yidgear.

Need a way to infuse your holidays with creativity? One word: Haggadah-rama — and there are 51 more where that came from. Lynn Gordon and Nina Miller condensed some very cool ideas into the playing card-size 52 Activities for Jewish Holidays. Pick one and make a memory.

$6.95. ” target=”_blank”>www.dreamworks.com.

As strange as your family is, be glad you aren’t having seder with the Byrneses and the Fockers. But you can bring Ben Stiller, Barbra Streisand and Bobby DeNiro home for the holiday on the just-released “Meet the Fockers” DVD. Cool extras include more than 60 bloopers and 20 deleted scenes, feature commentary with director Jay Roach, a Fockers’ family portrait and a virtual tour of Streisand’s Malibu mansion (just kidding).

$29.98.