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  • Barbara Sarshik

Balancing the Old and New

Most of us like to add something new to our Seders. When we recite the traditional plagues, we may add modern plagues such as environmental despoliation. When we place a shankbone and maror on our Seder plates, we may add an orange or cocoa bean to symbolize today’s social justice issues. We add new foods to our traditional Seder menus as well; plates of salmon filets and bowls of vegan matzo ball soup often sit side by side with brisket on the buffet. Riesling wine joins Manischewitz Concord grape on our tables. We keep cherished traditions while adding new elements to keep Seders engaging for all of us.


Music provides a terrific opportunity to incorporate something novel into our Seders. I love to sing “Dayenu” and chant the Four Questions. I know, though, that many of us are more engaged with Passover teachings if we can sing song parodies set to Broadway classics or Beatles songs.

I’d like our Passover music to appeal to everyone, including pop music fans. In that spirit, check out “Towers,” one of my latest song parodies. Set to the infectious and well-crafted “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus — which won Record of the Year at the 2024 Grammys — the parody lyrics go:


I can’t build myself towers

Make the stone out of sand                                     

Boss you around for hours

Say things you can’t countermand

I can make you keep slaving

When I wave my own hand

Yeah, you can serve me better than I can


While your Seder guests are belting out a parody set to a mega-hit, they will absorb a vital lesson about the arrogant and cruel Pharaoh who enslaved our ancestors.


You may also like “You, Eloheinu,” a new parody set to Billie Eilish’s wistful “What Was I Made For?” — which won Song of the Year at the 2024 Grammys and an Oscar for Best Original Song at the 2024 Academy Awards. The parody lyrics express the angst and fear the Hebrews might have felt wandering for years through the endless desert, and a yearning for a secure life in their own homeland.   


Now we are free, far from the tyrants

We long to be much more than migrants

What were we made to

Do, Eloheinu?


This year, try adding the newest of the new to our beloved traditional music at your Passover Seder. In addition to 2024’s “Towers” and “You, Eloheinu,” we also have 2023’s “Mighty Pharoah,” set to Taylor Swift’s “Anti-Hero.” You can find PDFs to download and share in our song index or listen to sample vocal tracks. Note that our newest songs have the highest numbers, so they will appear at the bottom of our listings. We also have instrumental recordings that you can use to accompany you and your Seder guests as you channel your inner pop icon.


Chag sameach!



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