Spotlight on the Four Children

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One of the most discussed and interesting parts of the traditional haggadah text is the section on the four sons: the wise son, the wicked son, the simple son, and the son who does now know how to ask. Over time, hundreds of thinkers and artists have expounded on the meaning of this fascinating text, and we have nearly 60 different interpretations of this classic part of the Haggadah. Here are some of our favorites:


We love these oil paintings from contributor Shoshannah Brombacher. They're reminiscent of Chagall, and have lots to look at and discuss. There's also these long narrow artistic renderings of the four sons, from G-dcast brings us a wonderful and fun video, and there's also an excellent drawing activity with Made it Myself Books.

Marginalized Communities

From feminists, to the LGBT community and beyond, we have some great non-traditional readings. The Jewish Woman's Archive brings us a lovely rendering of the Four Daughters, and a contributor named Heather wrote the Four Girls, which explores issues around body image and health. JQ International has a GLBTQ reading of the text, that addresses issues of shame and inclusivity. Finally, we love this reading from the Love and Justice Haggadah, that turns the four children upside down, and uses texts written by children to remind us adults that we have a lot to learn from youth.


The Congress Of Secular Jewish Organization brings us a fascinating version of the four sons addresses Israel, safety, and compromise. Four More Sons from the Foundation for Family Education looks at Israeli POWs and their fate.

Social Justice/Slavery

he Religious Action Center has some great questions to get a social justice conversation going around the four sons, and Rabbi Gilah Langner from Rabbis for Human Rights brings us four sons' take on slavery. Uri L'Tzedek brings four sons who ask questions about food justice, and American Jewish World Service has four children asking about how and why to pursue justice.

We also have a ballad, a tongue in cheek graduate student version, and many many more. Head over to the clip library and check them out!

Win an iTunes gift card!

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Win an iTunes gift card!

What would YOU like to see on Click here to answer our quick survey (only 10 questions!).  Once you complete the survey you’ll be entered to win an iTunes gift card. Thanks for sharing your valuable feedback with us!

Help us reach our goal of $5,000 – to provide future updates for an improved user experience and a new site for all different types of other Jewish holiday content. With your help, we can!

If you have enjoyed using the site, please consider donating. Click here to make a donation of any amount.  Every donation helps both maintain and expand

Time to finish counting and celebrate Shavuot!

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One of the most significant holidays of the Jewish calendar is this weekend….and it’s not Memorial Day. There aren’t any special gifts to buy or obvious symbols on display at Target. In fact, there really isn’t anything out of the usual in observance commandments for this holiday, which is probably why it is often missed. It’s Shavuot!

The counting of the Omer that began at Passover ends now at the holiday of Shavuot and we celebrate the giving of  the Torah at Mount Sinai.  A pretty big deal…after all, where would Judaism be without the Torah? As a result, the holiday is focused on the Torah and studying is encouraged.  If you are looking for some book ideas to get started, click here.

It is a pretty widely held tradition to eat dairy foods in celebration of Shavuot. Here are some dairy recipes you might want to check out.


Thank You!

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Thanks again to all of our wonderful contributors! We had an outpouring of participation this year and we now have a wide range of wonderful work on the site.  In case you missed these, here are some highlights, but only a very small piece of the growing library:

Mi Chamocha by Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik

Exodus/Eclipse by Anna Fine Foer

let my people go by Ken Goldman

Chocolate Seder How-To by

Exodus Story Drawing Activity - Made It Myself Books

Pass The Cup by House of Lions

Contributions are made to the site all year long, so be sure to check back for new material and/or clips you might have missed. You can build your Haggadah any time during the year, so avoid the pre-Passover stressful panic and start working on it now! We hope that your Haggadah will continue to evolve and become a unique part of your Passover tradition.


Happy 64!

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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!

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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!

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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 in the LA Jewish Journal

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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 today! Be sure to pick up a copy if you live in the area. The cover is a seder plate designed by'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 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
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