New: The Discovery Haggadah

Two innovative rabbis bring together fun, games and traditional texts in a new family hagaddah

by Dorrie Berkowitz

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Storytelling is a treasured art in so many cultures. Japanese kamishibai, African griots, and Navajo storytellers, among others, all carry on their respective heritages through storytelling. And each year, Jews around the world do the same by telling the story of Passover.

Yes, we tell the same story every year. Over and over again. Because that is our commandment and our tradition. Yet every year, many families try to make the experience different from the year before. Why? Often the youngest among us (and some of the older ones, too) get nudgy or bored. Which only makes things seem longer. While there are numerous family haggadot in print, some are heavy on fun and games but not strong enough on the basics, while others are just the opposite. Can we hope for the best of both worlds?

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We can. This year, USCJ is pleased to present The Discovery Haggadah, by Rabbi Ron Isaacs and Rabbi Kerry Olitzky. This haggadah has the perfect balance of Pesach basics, holiday-appropriate games and activities and intriguing facts.

As executive director of the Jewish Outreach Institute, Rabbi Olitzky is a leader in the development of innovative Jewish education, and recently was named by Newsweek as one of the 50 leading rabbis in North America. Rabbi Isaacs, spiritual leader since 1975 of Temple Beth Sholom (Bridgewater, NJ), is known as “the teaching rabbi,” and is the author of more than 100 books designed to provide easily accessible educational material on all aspects of Judaism. Together, Rabbis Olitzky and Isaacs have combined innovation and accessibility to create The Discovery Haggadah.

From Kadesh to Nirtzah, the WHY and HOW TO of every part of the seder is explained in a friendly and familiar way. It’s designed to include everyone in the story circle. Colorful icons are the guides to table games, discussion starters, and facts about Jewish history, folklore and culture. Prayers, blessings and traditional text are offered in Hebrew, accompanied by transliterations and modern translations. Songs old and new are included, too.

With lovely and engaging full-color art, this 80-page haggadah can be used year after year and feel new each time. The authors know what they’re talking about when they say not to try everything all at once. “Leave some for your sedarim in years to come,” they say. Pesach storytellers take note: The Discovery Haggadah will turn your seder table into the best story circle ever.