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How to Choose Your Passover Haggadah

It’s that time of year again. Spring is in the air, families are making their travel plans, and matzah is on sale (seriously, $4 for five boxes at my local A&P!). Besides choosing the best recipe for matzah ball soup, there’s another important Passover decision on your hands: the Haggadah. The Haggadah is a major determinate in how your seder will turn out. Long or short, funny or serious, traditional or modern–there’s a Passover Haggadah for everyone out there, little kids included. Here’s a review of some of our favorite Haggadot, as well as some online materials that just may suit your fancy.

Online Option:
Haggadot.com

If you’re a fan of mixing and matching, Haggadot.com is another website where you can create your own finished product. It offers thousands of readings, artwork, and even video clips that you can pick and choose from to form your ultimate Haggadah. The site offers traditional and liberal templates that you can use as a foundation, leaving the rest up to you. Go forth and create!

Books:

1. Sammy Spider’s First Haggadah
This is part of the Sammy Spider series that covers most major Jewish holidays with beautiful illustrations and a totally non-scary spider protagonist. It has plenty of fun Passover songs like, “Crunch Goes the Matzah” (sung to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel). While this one is definitely aimed at kids, the illustrations are pretty and unique enough that adults won’t mind flipping through it, either.

2. New American Haggadah

This brand new Haggadah is edited by Jonathan Safran Foer with translations by Nathan Englander, making it the hippest Haggadah for all you book nerds out there. With commentaries from Jewish writers like Lemony Snicket and Jeffrey Goldberg, it’s definitely a hodge podge of Passover goodness.

3. The Katz Passover Haggadah

This one is the coffee table book of the Haggadah world. Its glossy pages boast intricate artwork that is colorful, beautiful, and sometimes even a little scary. I’d probably avoid showing your kids the picture of Pharoah bathing in a pool of blood while a decrepit slave sits with his hands chained to his neck, but the adults at the table might appreciate the brutality.

4. My Very Own Haggadah
This Haggadah doubles as a coloring book, so it’s a great way to keep the kids occupied before, during, and after the seder. It’s been around for over 30 years, so it can serve as a nice reminder that what entertained you as a child still has the potential to entertain your own kids. 5. A Family Haggadah

There are two editions of this Hagaddah, one with the subtitle, “A Seder Service for All Ages” and the other, “For Families with Young Children.” The one for young children comes with a disclaimer in the introduction: “Do not attempt to discuss all the questions and do all the suggested activities. That would make the seder long and tedious.” I like the honesty. Both are very easy to follow and come with the Hebrew, English, and transliteration of all the prayers and songs involved with the seder. They’re also nice and small, so you don’t have to worry about overcrowding the seder table.

 

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