Happy 64!

Posted by Haggadot

Smiley face

Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, falls on Thursday of this week (April 26th). Many of us will celebrate this holiday, even though we are not Israeli. This brings up an interesting question: What does Israel mean to Jews living in the Diaspora (regions outside of Israel)?

This question sparks a wide range of responses – some very passionate. One thing that is easy to agree on, however, is that Israel is a remarkable nation. In 1948, Israel was a Zionist state of 600,000 Jews looking for a political refuge. Today, Israel’s Jewish population is close to 5,500,000 and has had an impressive number of accomplishments – from the endless list of technology innovations to its vast number of democratic humanitarian efforts. We may not agree with every aspect of its government or policies, but there is a feeling of pride and joy that Israel exists. So this weekend hundreds of thousands of Jews will join together in wishing a Happy Birthday to Israel!

Hatikva - The Hope [Israel’s National Anthem]

Kol ode balevav P'nimah
Nefesh Yehudi homiyah

Ulfa'atey mizrach kadimah
Ayin l'tzion tzofiyah.

Ode lo avdah tikvatenu
Hatikvah bat shnot alpayim,

L'hiyot am chofshi b'artzenu

Eretz Tzion Yerushalayim

In the Jewish heart
A Jewish spirit still sings,

And the eyes look east
Toward Zion

Our hope is not lost,
Our hope of two thousand years,

To be a free nation in our land,
In the land of Zion and Jerusalem

The Omer Count-Up Begins!

Posted by Haggadot

Smiley face

Passover 2012 is done, but the counting has just begun…

The second night of Passover starts the counting of the Omer. This period, which lasts 49 days, ends on the holiday of Shavuot. Traditionally, every evening for seven weeks, one stands and says a blessing followed by the Omer counting (the number changes as each day passes).

Omer refers to the recently harvested grains, which in the days of the Temple were brought as an offering. There is a somber tone to the Omer so you may see traditionalists forgoing weddings and joyous events – even passing on haircuts and shaving – during this period.

An interesting aspect of the counting is that it starts with one and goes UP! One way to look at this time is as a chance to ponder and appreciate what we have – counting our blessings, as it were. There can be many meaningful practices that one might incorporate in to counting the Omer, but it is for sure a time for reflection…another good opportunity!

If you are looking for a friendly guide to counting…this one is from Moses.  


No leaven, but lots of flavor!

Posted by Haggadot

Smiley face

No leaven doesn’t have to mean no taste. Passover is the perfect time to get creative in the kitchen…and who knows, maybe even start a new holiday tradition! Embrace the spirit of Passover and try baking, cooking or mixing one of these great recipes:

Crunchy Matzah-Coated Chicken

Matzagna (matzah lasagna)

Brisket tacos with matzah tortillas 

Sweet and crunchy quinoa salad

Flourless chocolate lava cake 

Coconut macaroons with lemon curd

Chocolate toffee matzah brittle


Haggadot.com in the LA Jewish Journal

Posted by Haggadot

Smiley face
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?

Posted by Haggadot

Smiley face

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

Smiley face
"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

Smiley face

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

Smiley face

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

Posted by Haggadot

Smiley face

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

Smiley face

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: