Sunday, March 15, 2020

Book Review: “The Koren Magerman Youth Haggada”

While slowly adjusting to our new coronavirus-induced reality, and with nothing else to do and nowhere to go, many Israeli households are turning their attention to Pesach and its attendant preparations.

TRLEOOB (=The Real Life Equivalent of Our Blog), which way back in less unsettled times – i.e. two days ago! – was very much on its way to becoming an empty nest, but which, thanks to the latest batch of restrictions, is now once again the home base for a significant portion of the Shiputzim family, is certainly no exception.

But Pesach preparations aren’t limited to cleaning. They can also involve getting a new haggadah.

When I first received a review copy of “The Koren Magerman Youth Haggada,” my initial reaction was: THIS is exactly the haggadah that YZG and I had looked for over the years but had never managed to find!

Because while there are literally countless haggadot out there for adults, and plenty haggadot designed for younger kids, we always had trouble finding an appropriate haggadah for older tweens and teens.

We wanted a haggadah that was interesting and entertaining without being childish, simplistic, or condescending to the reader.

We weren’t looking for a “babysitter” that would distract the reader from the Seder itself but rather for a haggadah that would encourage the reader to engage with the text and also with the proceedings.

In short, we hoped to find a haggadah that would enhance the Seder experience for older kids, but unfortunately, as noted, such a haggadah didn’t seem to be readily available – until now.

Like other Koren releases, “The Koren Magerman Youth Haggada” is beautifully designed; includes an excellent, accessible translation; and is filled with wonderful, appropriate, and colorful illustrations.

The haggadah is obviously written with today’s kids in mind and is unapologetically Zionistic. In addition, every page contains questions for discussion, suggestions for experiential activities, and intriguing thoughts and stories.

Together, all of these features allow the reader to be an active participant at the Seder.

In conclusion, I highly recommend “The Koren Magerman Youth Haggada” and only wish that it was available several years ago!

May the coming days bring besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation) for Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and Torat Yisrael.

Note: I was not paid to review this book, but I did receive a review copy from Koren Publishers.

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