We Need Some Heroes: The Heroes Haggadah

In The Heroes Haggadah: Lead the Way to Freedom the traditional texts and songs of a 30- to 45- minute Passover Seder are paired with profiles of 46 influential and diverse Jewish people in fields ranging from pop culture to science, art, and political activism whose biographies add to the heroic and enduring story of freedom that began with the ancient Exodus.

More than any other Jewish book, the traditional haggadah is continually renewed and rewritten. In this haggadah, each traditional section is connected to a particular theme, such as sustainability, humility, rejuvenation, or gratitude. In addition, with each of the four cups of wine, participants are prompted to reflect on the qualities it takes to be a hero: commitment, courage, perseverance, and vision. In turn, each theme is explored in the profile of a modern hero as well as in quotes and interpretive English translations of traditional Hebrew blessings, capturing how human heroes partner with God in bettering our world.

Rabbi Kerry Olitzky is the author or co-author of nearly 100 books including Welcome to the Seder: A Passover Haggadah for Everyone, Miryam’s Dance, and Heroes with Chutzpah (with coauthor Rabbi Deborah Bodin Cohen). The former executive director of Big Tent Judaism, he was named one of the fifty leading rabbis in North America by Newsweek. He lives in New Jersey.

Rabbi Deborah Bodin Cohen is the award-winning author of many books for children, including An Invitation to Passover (with coauthor Rabbi Kerry Olitzky), Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim, and the Engineer Ari series. She is an editor at Behrman House and the rabbi of Congregation Beth Chai in Bethesda, Maryland.

Profiles include:Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Israeli activist Anat Hoffman; Polish resistance fighter Tuvia Bielsk; Regina Jonas, first woman to be ordained as a rabbi; Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, first Asian American Cantor and Rabbi: Eliezar Ben-Yehuda, champion of the rebirth of Hebrew as a spoke language; Pnina Tamano-Shata, first Ethiopian-born woman to serve in Israel's Knesset; Rapper and actor Daveed Diggs; KosherSoul author Michael Twitty, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, andmany others.

Short biographies of all those profiled are included in an index at the back of the haggadah. Space among the profiles is reserved for participants to include a hero from their own family or community.

The Heroes Haggadah is welcoming of participants from any background and presents all prayers and blessings in Hebrew, transliteration, and English translation. Songs included are Dayeinu, Eliahu Hanavi, Echad Mi Yodea (Who Knows One), Chad Gadya, and Adir Hu, all presented in English, Hebrew, and transliterated Hebrew.

A seder planning guide is provided, along with seven recipes, including a Ugandan Charoset from the Sizomu family, a West African Brisket and a Caribbean Compote, both from cookbook author Michael W. Twitty, and Groucho Marks' Matzah Balls.

The Heroes Haggadah

Lead the Way to Freedom

By Rabbi Kerry Olitzky and Rabbi Deborah Bodin Cohen

Behrman House

ISBN 9781681150987

96 pp, 7.5 x 9.5, paperback



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