If the kids show up at your seder next month only to ask the Four Questions, eat, and find the Afikomen, they might not be getting as much out of the holiday as they could be. Seders were designed as teaching tools. We do odd things at seders like dip food in salt water, lean on pillows at the table, and spill wine on purpose just to make guests curious enough to ask why. So, why is this night different from all other nights? To make Passover so real, so memorable, that we appreciate our freedom and from whence it came.
The highlight of Passover is the seder dinner. This feast of freedom is an evening of ritual so elaborate that a how-to guide is required. Throughout many centuries of Jewish tradition, this manual for the dinner's order of events ( seder means order) has become canonical: it is called the Haggadah or telling. Why On This Night? is a new haggadah that gives children ages 6Ð10 (and older) fresh roles to play, even the role of seder leader. It follows the traditional structure, and sections in Hebrew include transliterations and English translations to make prayers and rituals accessible to everyone. But author and artist have created a feast of freedom of their own a fresh, creative haggadah that reawakens the true spirit of the holiday. It is packed with activities, songs, poems, questions, recipes, and ideas to make the seder come alive. Even the youngest children are not left out. Strategically placed discussion questions are just as appropriate for preschoolers as for adults. Children who cannot yet read may rely on the story-telling power of the extraordinary artwork. The plentiful linoleum-cut paintings by Louise August are inviting, simple, and appealing to all ages.
Whether you suspect your seders have become a bit too predictable, or you are searching for a creative way to engage younger guests, this family-friendly haggadah will breathe new life into an old tradition.
Joanna Brichetto has been known to dress in a pharaoh costume for her seders.