Haggadot.com in the LA Jewish Journal

Posted by Haggadot

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Eileen Levinson's cover design for the Jewish Journal.

Thanks to the Julie Gruenbaum Fax & the LA Jewish Journal for their coverage of Haggadot.com today! Be sure to pick up a copy if you live in the area. The cover is a seder plate designed by Haggadot.com's creator, Eileen Levinson. And congrats to our contributors, Will Deutsch and Ken Goldman for getting their work featured as well!


How many ways can you ask four questions?

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On Haggadot.com you can find the four questions in many languages, from Croatian to French. Contributors have also shared a wide variety of alternative ways in

which the four questions might be asked. Some have even taken it a step further and added a 5th question. This section of the Seder is a great point for some discussion

around the table. Here are a few clips that can help get the conversation going:

Ma Nishtanah Remembered

Why is this night different?

4 Quotes and 4 Questions

Rhyming Haggadah Four Questions

Four Discussion Questions

Four Questions for Ourselves



My Haggadah: Made it Myself

Posted by Made It Myself Books

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"Move over Maror. Make Room for Markers, Glue Sticks, Fabric Scraps and More"
-by Francine Hermelin Levite
With found materials in your home and and the tools for a DIY Haggadah, you can create a seder that gets to the essence of the Exodus story and engage everyone at your Seder table. 
Last week I staged a riff on the model Seder -- a Haggadah-making party at  our neighborhood Manhattan fabric store. One of the beautiful and unique elements of the ancient Passover tradition is that it can happen anywhere and does not need a professional at the helm. Telling the story of our Exodus is a unique opportunity to deepen understanding of our precarious and privileged state of freedom.
Fourteen kids ranging in age from 7-12 met at Jem Fabric Warehouse on lower Broadway owned by Michelle Vaharian and her family. (The sheer existence of the warehouse speaks volumes to another Jewish family tale best reserved for a different post.)
Our guide for the afternoon was the DIY Haggadah, My Haggadah: Made It Myself  that I wrote with the help of my crafty and crafting family over the past 8 years. With its open-ended questions and sometimes irreverent drawing prompts, My Haggadah: Made It Myself is designed to be a conversation tool for kids -- alone or with their parents -- to wrestle with Passover's themes.  Just like the Seder's Four Children who approach the Seder with different styles, this book has ample space for people to express themselves in their own style: words, drawings, photos, or collage. Kids say the darnedest things about plagues and miracles. Last Friday, as I hope will happen tomorrow at the actual Seder, we used the book to stop, listen and capture the moment.
Below are some excerpts from our journey:
The Four Questions  are actually not questions at all, but a collection of curiosities about the ritual meal: matzah, maror, dipping twice and reclining. Page 23 offers up a Cabinet of Curiosities, where participants are asked to list other strange things at their Seder. For 9- year old Dylan those include among others "Little Brother, Teenage Girls, Loud People." Legitimate curiosities indeed.
The Maggid/Story section invites kids to create their own plague. For 12-year old Luca,  it is a man whose body morphs into the spelling of the word "Boredom."  As the Jews are fleeing Egypt, we're asked to consider and collect our most precious items in a suitcase, "If you had to pack in a hurry, what would you take?"  From football jerseys to family, 12-year old Noah's bag is stuffed to the borders as if he is determined to find room for everything on his list. As the kids were drawing, they broke into a conversation about Africa and areas where kids today have to flee in an instant. 
What appeared on the surface to be a crafting day was at its core an afternoon of lively conversation and personal connections to a Jewish story packed with universal themes. Plus it was a great prep for Seders to come.
To get more information on My Haggadah: Made It Myself, please visit www.madeitmyselfbooks.com
Upload your own images to the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/myhaggadahmadeitmyself.

Posted by Haggadot

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It’s not the only thing (thankfully!) that we eat at Passover, but there is no question that matzah is THE food of the holiday. Matzah, also known as “the bread of affliction,” is the big symbol at the Seder table. We hold it up in the air for acknowledgement and are required to eat a portion of it…we even hide a piece for the children to find.

There are all types of matzah too; egg matzah, whole wheat matzah, thin matzah, and of course, shmurah matzah. The latter is matzah that has been been hand-made and guarded from start to finish to ensure that it follows the most stringent laws of observance. Whether you spell it matzo or matzah, you can enjoy some of our favorite clips about it:

Never before seen DIY Matzoh Baking

A Moroccan Tradition of Passing the Matzah

Matzah Eating Meditation

If you want to take it a step further, you can always make your own matzah!

Highlighted LA Artist Contributors

Posted by Haggadot

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Adding visually engaging and interactive pieces to your Haggadah helps to promote thoughtful discussion at the Seder table. We are so fortunate to have such an amazing collection of work from so many talented artists on Haggadot.com.

Here are a few highlights from the Los Angeles creative community:

Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik

Will Deutsch

Marcus J. Freed - Bibliyoga

Hillel Smith

Simone Gad

House of Lions

Jacob Perlin




Children & Teen Supplement

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If you are searching for some material to make your Haggadah more child/teen friendly, here is a supplement with some great clips from different Haggadot.com contributors. This is a fabulous way to make your Seder more accessible and interactive this year!

Child/Teen Supplement  


Do-It-Yourself Seder Ideas

Posted by Haggadot

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Passover is almost here! If you are looking for some easy DIY projects to make this year’s Passover special and put your personal touch on the Seder, check out some of our favorites:


Prelude to Passover

Posted by Jodi R.R. Smith Smith

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Prelude to Passover

Tips for Children at Your Seder Table

Seder, loosely translated, means “order.” But in my house it never quite seemed that way. With 48 guests comprised of 3 generations of relatives and friends, our Seders were more like controlled chaos than an orderly affair. Yet we were always able to finish by midnight. This was because everyone, adults and children alike, knew what was expected of us at the Seder. 

Children have always played an integral part of the Passover Seder. During the beginning of the Seder the Four Questions are chanted by the children at the table. The Seder continues with the story of the Four Sons, which is retold so that its meaning can be understood by all who have gathered. And, of course, the Seder meal can not conclude until after the children have found the Afikomen. 

The key to a successful Seder with children is advanced preparation. Here are some tips to help your family prepare for Passover:

The Week Before the Seder:

  • Have your children help you as you begin to prepare the house for Passover. Use this time together to discuss what Passover is and to share some of your memories of Passover from your childhood.
  • Find an age-appropriate book about Passover to read to your children. Talk about your family’s traditions, whether they match or vary from the information in the book. This book can be brought to the Seder for the children to look at and read when they become fidgety.
  • Begin reviewing the chanting of the Four Questions. The more often your children practice, the more comfortable they will be when reciting in front of the other Seder guests. Have a back-up plan just in case your child gets cold feet. Usually, help from an older sibling is enough to coax the questions out. So be sure to let older children know they might be pinch hitting. 
  • If the Seder is not at your house, check in advance with the hostess about logistics such as mealtime and seating arrangements. This information will help you plan ahead. If the meal will be later in the evening, you should make sure your child has a late lunch or snack. For some children, sitting next to a grandparent or an older cousin can be used as a reward for good behavior through the meal.

The Day of the Seder:

  • Prepare your children for conversations with adults. Younger children should have short answers to questions such as how old they are, what grade they are in, and their favorite book. Older children should be prepared for conversational questions about what they are learning in school, what activities they are involved in and any upcoming plans. You can encourage children who are shy to become family detectives. They can ask relatives questions about family history.  “How are the people in the room are related?”  “How did the family come to America?” Or, they can ask questions that will elicit longer answers such as “What is your favorite Passover memory?” 
  • Remind your children of proper table manners. Review each utensil and its use. Make a game out of it. Have your children practice setting the table with the full setting of flatware. Ask your child what utensil they would choose for a particular food item or course. Doing so will familiarize your children with basic table manners so that they will be more comfortably during the Seder. In anticipation of some ceremonial foods your child might not want to eat, you may want to review what to do with food they do not like. 
  • Discuss with your children what behavior you expect at the Seder table and why it is important they behave in this manner. You may wish to cover when it is appropriate to be excused from the table, how to help clear the dishes, and topics of conversation.
  • Let your children choose what special clothes they will wear to celebrate the holiday. With all of the rules guiding holiday behavior, doing so will allow your children to play a proactive part in the holiday.
  • If you will be guests at a Seder, encourage your children to bring a gift. A picture they have created, or a box of candies (Kosher for Passover, of course), are a thoughtful way to thank your hosts.

While not every child will behave impeccably during the entire Seder, it is important to recall that even the Wicked Son plays an important role in the Seder. A bit of planning and preparation can go a long way in making your Seder as orderly and enjoyable as possible.

Jodi R. R. Smith of Mannersmith is a nationally known manners maven. To ask your etiquette emergency question please visit:




The Etiquette Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Manners now available!

Make Your Own Seder Plate

Posted by Haggadot

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Green Capiz bowls for an elegant and creative Seder plate.

Make Your Own Seder Plate

Passover is less than two weeks away. (How did that happen—wasn't it just Purim)?!

If you're hosting a Seder at your house and want to try something new for a Seder plate you can easily put one together with dishes and platters found at stores you might not expect to find items for a Seder plate! Here's what I mean...

One Seder plate was put together with small bowls I found at Pier One Imports for only $1.50 each and they are sitting on a white platter from Crate and Barrel ($11.95). At $20.95 this is so affordable, you can probably put together several of these plates to use on a long table if you are having a lot of guests.

You can’t go wrong with classic white! Not only does white go with everything but the simple clean look gives a fresh feel to the Seder table.

Here's another look...
I used small green Capiz bowls which have a beautiful, shimmery finish like the inside of a sea shell and makes for an elegant Seder plate. These bowls are from Crate and Barrel and they were $2.95 each. They are sitting on a white square Capiz Shell place mat ($16.95). For a total of $34.65 it’s still an affordable Seder plate.

There are so many other dishes that could also work for a Seder plate—small plates shaped like leaves would be lovely, or maybe little square tapas plates. If you live near a Chinatown or an Oriental kitchen supply store, pretty small dishes used for soy and dipping sauces would be ideal.

Remember, any shape can be used…as the key to a kosher Seder plate is the placement of each dish.

More from the Design Megillah here: www.designmegillah.com

How To Create a Group Haggadah

Posted by Haggadot

Want everyone in your family or friend circle to collaborate on a haggadah? Check out our instructional video for creating a group haggadah.
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