HaKol Baseder’s title starts you off on a journey. It’s a clever play on words meaning “everything you need for the seder” but also implying a similar phrase which means “everything is just great.” It sets the tone for a fun, rich, information-filled seder experience sure to enhance the meaning and celebration of the holiday. The kit is chock-full of surprises. The basis, of course is a haggadah, soft-covered but beautifully illustrated as well as clearly and accessibly translated. The haggadah includes a thought-provoking and educational introduction focusing on putting the seder into the context of Jewish history and present times. It ends with the Hatikva, reminding us of the centrality of Israel to our past, present and future. There are a number of bonus surprises in the packet, as well: a set of six small, illustrated birchonim (Grace After Meals booklets) and a wine bottle stopper to use at the seder or for the remainder of the holiday.
But the heart of the kit, the unusual piece that causes it to stand out from the crowd, is a two-part holiday preparation guide which will enable a family, especially if there are children involved, to understand what happens at the seder table on a deeper level than many Passover preparation materials provide. There is a 120 page booklet of activities and games, each of which is designed to enhance understanding of a specific seder-related event in Jewish history or to give a new perspective on the laws and customs of the seder, itself. The booklet is accompanied by a CD which contains the all the material needed to engage in the activities. Included in the booklet and CD: a role-playing and pantomime game for “Humoring and Understanding the Wicked Son”; a “checklist” game for the things one needs to prepare for the seder, helping to make the advance preparations a fun experience in itself; suggestions for creative poems to be written by children and recited at the seder; word games galore; picture puzzle games; a maze which can be traced with a finger to “help” the Jews find and cross the Red Sea; activities related to the traditional seder songs…I could go on but there are seventy activities! No family can possibly use all seventy suggestions in any given year, so there are new sources of learning and enjoyment at your fingertips for years and years to come. Educators agree that advance preparation for a seder is what it’s all about. Preparing ahead of time using this booklet and CD will add a rich and vital dimension to any family’s seder, making the holiday a chag sameach long to be remembered. Recommended for all ages.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.