New Slant on Seders

To learn more about the latest seder trends, The New York Times called upon Fran Lebowitz, the New York writer and popular party guest.

Q. It's a contradiction in terms, but what modern traditions are people introducing to their seders this year?

A. I have no idea. I've gone to the same family seder for 47 years and I still haven't gotten seated at the adult table yet. My little cousins have to fight me for the Afikomen.

Q. Interesting new dishes?

A. No. It's entirely possible that in the early fifties, a very large brisket was delivered to our family and we're still eating it. We not only have the same food, we have the same conversation.

I don't go anywhere else for holidays but to my family. I went to London for one holiday when I was in my 20s, and now it's mentioned at Passover as a plague -- 'The Year Fran Went to London.' That's the one between locusts and blood.

Q. So you've never heard of the new symbols, like the orange on the seder plate?

A. What's that supposed to stand for -- Florida?

Q. So nothing changes in your family seder?

A. My cousins in Israel have different melodies -- the wrong ones. They're the cheerier Jews. All Jewish melodies should be in a mournful key. I mean, if you're going to be cheerful, you might as well be Episcopalian.

Q. Do you ever have non-Jews at your seder?

A. Sometimes, but I don't like it because then the seder takes too long. Everyone feels they have to explain.

Q. So there is nothing liberating for you about the seder?

A. How freeing can it be to have to get to Poughkeepsie by 6 p.m.?

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