A haggadah is a tool for storytelling and recounting the history of the Jewish people. It’s a source for prayer and song. It can include discussion questions and invite many levels of participation in the seder. The experience of storytelling is the most powerful when everybody is actively engaged. Do you want one individual to lead the seder, reading the story to those around the table? Do you want seder participants to take turns reading parts of the service? Selecting the best haggadah for your seder can be a lot of fun! You may even decide to use more than one! Here’s how to determine which haggadah(s) will work best for your group.
Who is the audience?
Diversity of age, level of observance and whether or not everybody at the table is Jewish are all factors to consider in choosing your haggadah. Some haggadahs are aimed at children, some at adults, some at both. Kar-Ben’s A Family Haggadah I is for families with younger children. A Family Haggadah II is designed to be used by for all ages.
A Family Haggadah I: For Families with Young Children is a traditional haggadah aimed at families with young children. This service takes a half-hour to an hour or longer based on which elements you choose and whether or not you choose to incorporate some or all of the discussion questions into your seder. The traditional seder appears on the right hand pages of the book, with the discussion questions and supplemental songs appearing on the left hand page. The level of and type of discussion questions and seder enhancements in A Family Haggadah I are geared to a younger age group than those in “A Family Haggadah II.” This haggadah includes all the blessings as well all the major parts of the seder in both Hebrew and English, with the telling of the Passover story in English only. This haggadah includes a seder checklist, as well as songs appropriate to young children such as the spiritual “Let My People Go,” and “The Frog Song.” It includes a short version of the Birkat Hamazon.
A Family Haggadah I was selected by the U.S. Army for use at seders by our troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world.
A Family Haggadah II: For All Ages is a traditional haggadah for guests of all ages. This service can last an hour or longer based on which elements you choose and whether or not you choose to incorporate some or all of the discussion questions into your seder. The traditional seder appears on the right hand pages of the book, with the discussion questions and supplemental songs appearing on the left hand page. The level of and type of discussion questions and seder enhancements in A Family Haggadah II are geared to a more sophisticated audience than those in “A Family Haggadah I.” This haggadah includes all the blessings as well all the major parts of the seder in both Hebrew and English, with a longer more detailed telling of the Passover story than “A Family Haggadah I.”. This haggadah includes a seder checklist, as well as songs appropriate for all ages. It includes the complete version of the Birkat Hamazon. Both haggadahs include the ritual for Miriam’s cup.
What level of observance and traditions are important to you?How observant is your group? Does your seder include both Jewish and non-Jewish guests? How much Hebrew do you wish to incorporate into your seder? Does your family value new traditions like the ritual for Miriam’s Cup? Do you want to include a reading in commemoration of the Holocaust (below) and as an example of the meaning of going from slavery to freedom in our own time?
How does creativity fit into your family seder?
Some families incorporate songs, skits, finger puppets, costumes and even new media, like YouTube clips and mp3s. “Sammy Spider’s First Haggadah,” with artwork featuring our iconic Sammy Spider as well as the entire Passover seder in a very short version, also includes Passover lyrics set to the tunes of well-known songs like “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain.” This haggadah works well as either a haggadah for everybody to use for a quickie kid-cenetred seder, or as a supplemental haggadah for the little ones at the table. “My Very Own Haggadah” is a coloring book style haggadah that not only leads children through the basic elements of the seder, but also provides them with activities to keep them occupied if the adults wish to have a more robust seder. The hilarious rhyming “Let My People Go!” makes a fun supplement to the traditional haggadah, telling the Passover story in rhyming color-coded text in a “reader’s theater” format so everybody from oldest to youngest can literally play a role in the seder.
“My Very Own Haggadah”is a great supplement for children in addition to whatever haggadah your family uses. It tells the story of Passover in a very simple way and includes pictures to help young children understand. But, what is wonderful about this haggadah is that it’s also a coloring book, a terrific way to occupy little people during a seder.
“Sammy Spider's First Haggadah” tells the story of Passover, and includes lots of Passover songs sung to popular tunes such as “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” that everybody at the table – Jews and non-Jews, observant or not --will know so everybody can sing along. Sammy Spider’s haggadah, with its iconic artwork, is perfect for seders with young children - or with those young-at-heart!
“Let My People Go” presents the story of the Exodus in a rhyming Readers’ Theater format. Divvy up the color-coded parts and jazz up your seder to make it one for the memory books.
The fun of the seder is making it your own! Have questions about Kar-Ben haggadahs? Call us at 1-800-4KARBEN.