The Fam­i­ly (and Frog) Haggadah

Rab­bi Ron Isaacs and Karen Ros­tok­er-Gru­ber; Jack­ie Urbanovic, illus.
  • Review
By – March 23, 2017

The Fam­i­ly (and Frog!) Hag­gadah is a fun take on the tra­di­tion­al telling of the Passover sto­ry. With lists to help par­tic­i­pants pre­pare for the seder and activ­i­ties to engage all ages, not to men­tion a cute illus­trat­ed frog, chil­dren, young and old, and their fam­i­lies will enjoy this Hag­gadah. Thought­ful­ly, the authors chose to use a frog as a sym­bol of trans­for­ma­tion. Just as a frog changes from a tad­pole to an amphib­ian, dur­ing Passover we share the sto­ry of how the Israelite slaves were trans­formed into a nation.

Through­out the book, Frog,” pops up on the pages with sil­ly puns, inter­est­ing activ­i­ties and cute games. For exam­ple, while search­ing for chameitz, the unleav­ened prod­ucts Jews are sup­posed to dis­pose of before the start of the hol­i­day, the illus­trat­ed Frog pro­claims, I found some toad­st.” He also intro­duces Game Time,” includ­ing puz­zles and word scram­bles (with answers in the back). Addi­tion­al­ly, there are box­es encour­ag­ing par­tic­i­pants to Think About” or Try This” and Did You Know?” The exten­sion activ­i­ties are thought pro­vok­ing on many levels.

In addi­tion to the spunky Frog illus­tra­tions, this Hag­gadah includes all sorts of images relat­ing to Passover, from his­tor­i­cal repro­duc­tions to cute con­tem­po­rary pup­pets rep­re­sent­ing Passover symbols.

The only con­cern about this Hag­gadah is the use­ful­ness of one exten­sion activ­i­ty, a Try This!” activ­i­ty. Take turns pass­ing around a mir­ror, and have par­tic­i­pants look into it and visu­al­ize them­selves as a slave.” Despite the con­nec­tion to the tra­di­tion of using a mir­ror as an edu­ca­tion­al device for chil­dren to empha­size the con­cept that we are sup­posed to see our­selves as par­tic­i­pants in the Jew­ish peo­ple’s lib­er­a­tion from slav­ery, this activ­i­ty seems to min­i­mize the slave expe­ri­ence and may seem dis­re­spect­ful. How­ev­er, it would be easy enough to skip it. Over­all, The Fam­i­ly (and Frog!) Hag­gadah would be a fun and engag­ing book to use at a fam­i­ly seder. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed for fam­i­ly use.

Paula Chaiken has worked in a vari­ety of capac­i­ties in the Jew­ish world — teach­ing in reli­gious school, curat­ing at the Sper­tus Muse­um and fundrais­ing for the Fed­er­a­tion — for more than twen­ty years. She also runs a bou­tique pub­lic rela­tions con­sult­ing firm and enjoys read­ing all sorts of books with her three sons.

Discussion Questions