Catalog of Books

Judaism In A Nutshell Series
A complete guide to the themes, practices, and traditions of Passover.
The reality of God as examined through philosophy, history, and the  Kabbalah.
Learn how the State of Israel arose, its history and why it is so central to Judaism.
A broad exploration of the major holidays deeper spiritual meaning.
The Survival Kit Series
Rediscover the seder's lively inner life as a source for personal growth.
  Rosh Hashanah Yom Kippur
An easy-to-use guide for the High Holiday Services
  Family Haggadah
Clear explanations woven into the standard text along with Q & A style commentary.
Survival Kit Companions
  Chanukah - 8 Nights of Light, 8 Gifts for the Soul
Examine the history, themes, traditions, and prayers of Chanukah.
  One Hour Purim Primer
A step-by-step guide to celebrating Purim with insights that reveal how the holiday speaks to the heart
Clueless but Curious Series
  The Bible For The Clueless But Curious
The Bible's wisdom presented  in a fun and unique format.
  Kosher For The Clueless But Curious
A fun, fact-filled and spiritual guide to all things kosher.
Cheat Sheets
  High Holiday Cheat Sheets
A pamphlet that's jam-packed with fun and practical information to help you have the most meaninful High Holidays ever!  
  My Hanukkah Cheat Sheets
This Hanukkah, give the gift of Jewish knowledge and humor.
  My Purim Cheat Sheets
This pamphlet is jam-packed (and not just because it includes a recipe for jam-filled hamentashen!) with useful, fun, and practical information about the holiday of Purim.
Other Available Books
  Remember My Soul
Provides a comforting voice for those who have suffered a loss.
  Death Of Cupid
Speaks equally to singles searching for love and couples searching to deepen theirs.
  Missiles, Masks And Miracles
Chilling accounts of the attacks on Israel during the Gulf War and the miracles that ensued.  
  The Jewish Hero Corps
This comic book tells the story of the world's only Jewish Super-Hero team as they go on a worldwide race against ti$  

by Shimon Apisdorf

List price: $12.95
Our price: $11.65





The Survival Kit Family Haggadah contains two texts of the
Haggadah. One text is the traditional he brew text. If you can
read and understand Hebrew, that's great, by all means use the Hebrew. Tonight however, since most people are far more comfortable with English than Hebrew, The Survival Kit Family Haggadah will use the Talking Haggadah translation as its primary text.

The Talking Haggadah translation is not a literal translation
of the Haggadah. The Talking Haggadah is a unique translation that adheres very closely to the meaning of the original text, but at the same time, incorporates background information, clarifications and explanations into the text itself. It also uses words and language that are more like the way most people talk today. You won't find any "Thees" or "Thous" in this Haggadah.

The goal of the Talking Haggadah translation is to make an
often cumbersome text easy to read and understand. In addition to the translation, Ira Matzahbrei will provide further clarification of the Haggadah where he feels it is necessary.

The Survival Kit Family Haggadah has a companion volume
called, The Passover Survival Kit. Throughout The Survival Kit
Family Haggadah, you will find a symbol. This is used to
indicate that if you want to find out more about what is taking place at that particular point in the seder, then all you have to do is look in the Passover Survival Kit on the page that appears in the box.


Passover is for kids!

There is an ancient custom to spread nuts on the seder table
before the seder begins. And what is the deep, hidden meaning behind this custom? Simply, to arouse the curiosity of the children at the seder.

There is also the well known, time honored custom of hiding
the afikomen and letting the children hunt for it. Again, another custom designed to keep children involved in the seder.

The following list contains a number of ideas that will help
to stimulate the involvement of children at the seder.

1) For a couple of weeks before Passover, try reading
Passover stories with your kids at night. It is also a good idea to find a book about Passover which can be read at the dinner table every night as Passover approaches.

1a) Based on what you have read with your children, you
can now ask questions at the seder that they will be able to
answer. This excites them, makes them feel good about themselves, and is a wonderful source of nachas for the grandparents. You can have little prizes to give out for correct answers. After a while, you will see that the adults will want prizes too. Go ahead, it's part of the fun. Caution: Be sensitive to the children of guests. Find ways to include them too.

1b) In case you didn't have a chance to do this before
Passover, we have included a section that appears intermittently throughout the Haggadah called, Fun Facts. This section contains questions about Passover, the story of the Jews in Egypt, and about some of the basics of Judaism. This section provides a great way for everyone, adults included, to learn a lot of important information that is relevant to Passover.

The leader of the seder can ask the questions as they appear in the Haggadah and give prizes, candy or other treats for every correct answer. Also, every time someone gets a correct answer they can be given a nut or a toothpick. Whoever has the most nuts at the end of the seder wins a grand prize.

 1c) Good questions deserve just as much recognition as good answers. Anytime someone asks a good question about the Haggadah or the seder, they should be rewarded and encouraged to keep up the good work.

2) A short skit. Write a short skit about the exodus from Egypt. Characters can include Moses, Pharaoh, God, a firstborn Egyptian, a Jewish slave, an Egyptian taskmaster, a frog, etc. Short written scripts can be given to each child (adults too if they want). Give the kids your full attention-remember; tonight they are the stars of the show.

3) Find the patterns. The number four is significant on Passover and there are numerous instances of things appearing in groupings and patterns of four throughout the Haggadah. Every time someone notices a pattern of four, give them a toothpick. The one with the most toothpicks at the end of the seder gets a prize. Try to find a way to make everyone a winner-we certainly don't want anyone to feel like a loser on Passover.

4) Prizes galore. Jewish bookstores carry a variety of colorful Passover items for kids. These can be a lot of fun when incorporated into the seder as prizes for asking or answering a question, noticing a pattern, or reading a paragraph in the Haggadah. They can also be used to keep the children excited about fulfilling the mitzvot at the seder. When they eat matzah, they get a stuffed matzah ball, for maror they get a Passover story book, and so on. (Sammy loves getting prizes at the seder.)

5) The ten plagues. The ten plagues provide a great opportunity to do all sorts of great stuff at the seder. Long before Passover, you can start a collection of visual aids for the ten plagues. Some examples:

Blood - Wrap red cellophane paper around a glass. When you pour water into the glass, you suddenly have a glass of Blood. Pour water from the glass into a clear cup, and the water is now crystal clear. This is exactly what happened in Egypt; the same water that was bloody in the glass of an Egyptian, was clear and drinkable for a Jew.

Frogs & Locusts - There are a wide variety of frogs and locusts available at the nature store in your local shopping mall.

 Hail - Ping pong balls make for great hail.

Wild animals- You can buy all sorts of plastic animals and toss them out on the table. You can also buy masks and become an animal, or you can have different kids (and adults too) play the part of a particular animal.

Pestilence - Just turn your plastic animals on their backs and
presto-dead animals.

Darkness - Pass out dark sunglasses to everyone at the seder.

There are only two rules when it comes to the ten plagues: Be creative, and have lots of fun!

The goal of The Survival Kit Family Haggadah commentary
is to enable people to discover, within the text of the Haggadah, ideas, inspirations and insights that relate to life as it is lived every day. The Haggadah not only chronicles the historical birth of the Jewish nation, but it also contains seminal ideas that are basic to a Jewish understanding of life in general, Jewish life in particular and most particularly, the issue of freedom in our lives.

Passover is known as Z'man Cheyrutaynu, The Season of
Freedom. The themes of national, personal, spiritual and
emotional freedom are all woven together in the text of the
Haggadah. The commentary in this Haggadah is an attempt to reveal some of those themes.

The commentary is divided into two parts: Questions & Answers, and Mini-Essays. The Question & Answer portion of the commentary tries to anticipate questions about the Haggadah text, and then present insightful answers. The children of the Haggadah; the wise child, the rebellious child and the simple child, each pose questions from their particular perspective. The Mini-Essays come in two forms: Those that are written especially for children (Rebecca is usually in charge of these), and others that are on a more adult level (Miriam Matzahbrei will often present these).

It is important to keep in mind that one need not read the entire commentary during the seder. As a matter of fact, you can skip the whole thing if you want and just stick to the basic text of the Haggadah. The commentary is intended to enhance your experience of the seder. It can be read at the seder, in full or in part, or it can be read either before Passover in preparation for the seder, or sometime after the seder as a way to reflect more deeply on what you have experienced.

Relax and Enjoy
The Passover Seder is not supposed to be a race, a test of endurance or a Jewish tribal right of passage. The seder is meant to be an enjoyable and enlightening experience where families and friends celebrate their Jewish identity; attempt to understand that identity a little better, and try to communicate the richness of Jewish life to the next generation.


The ideal environment for a seder is one where people are comfortable and relaxed, where people feel free to participate or not, where no question is too simple and where everyone feels that they can learn, share and grow together.

So remember: Relax, take your time, learn, enjoy, grow and enjoy your seder; your celebration of being a part of the Jewish people.

And if things don't go exactly the way you hoped they would, hey, that's okay; because there is always next year in Jerusalem!


ŠJewish Literacy Foundation. Content protected by law, users must obtain written permission for reproduction.