Review by Joanna BrichettoA Passover Seder can be fun, meaningful, and still entirely kosher. But how often does this happen? Starving guests, restless children, and leaders without enough time, energy, and resources all conspire against the success of a Seder. Uncle Eli's Passover Haggadah can't help you with the starving guests, but it can help your Seder not be a crashing bore to the kids. A haggadah is the text used during a Passover Seder meal. Thousands of different haggadot exist, but they all must tell the story of God's liberation of the Jews from Egyptian slavery. Jews are commanded to tell this story to each generation, and by conducting a Seder with a haggadah, this mitzvah (commandment) is fulfilled.
Uncle Eli's Passover Haggadah uses silly rhymes and illustrations to enliven the Seder for kids. It follows the traditional order, making it easy to use with other haggadot at the Seder. You should make it clear beforehand which parts of Uncle Eli's version will be read aloud. The ten plagues would be a good choice, especially if the imaginative artwork is displayed.
One concern is that the names of the real players in this drama might get confused with the invented ones Rabbi Hillel gets equal time with Manny the matzah-dog, for example. One exception is Uncle Eli himself, who is none other than the Prophet Elijah, who, according to tradition, visits every Seder on Passover.
Try to incorporate this haggadah into regular read together times before Passover, one section at a time. This gives children time to taste the full flavor of the story, making the Seder and the holiday far more meaningful. It also allows more time for questions, which can probably be handled by the excellent glossary.
Now that the restless children are taken care of, go do something about those starving guests . . . Joanna Brichetto is a freelance writer in Nashville, Tennessee.