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My Haggadah: Made it Myself

An interactive book engaging both parents and children in the spirit of Passover

by Wendy Dembo in Culture on 23 March 2010

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To help kids understand the story of Passover—one of the more popular holidays for Jews and non-Jews alike because of its humanitarian message of social justice and peace—Francine Hermaline and her husband Adam Levite created "My Haggadah: Made it Myself." The 48-page book speaks in a language that both children and adults can relate to about the meaning behind Passover and its inaugural feast, the Seder.

Haggadah, the special prayer book for Passover and usually a historic text, often seems like a tedious read to children. The Levites, who run motion picture and print design studio Associates in Science, were having trouble finding a book that matched both their aesthetic and spiritual sensibilities, so for the past seven years Francine has been making a Haggadah for her family and friends in Lower Manhattan. With the help of her kids and other kids from the community, it has slowly turned into a full book for kids aged four to 10. This year the family made the book available for free as a downloadable PDF file, or you can purchase a print version online.

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Francine explained to CH, "The goal for 'My Haggadah: Made it Myself' is for the kids to put themselves in the story and wrestle with the topics with their parents. Every year I step it up a bit more, and this year I wanted to make it more widely available." Through her blog kids can download new pages to create and post their work for others to see. Francine plans to create theme days such as "Plague Day" or "Question 5: What's On Your Mind." With traditions that have evolved over the course of numerous years, she has only yet to "scratch the surface" on a Haggadah that the whole family can enjoy together.

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