A Festival of Freedom and Springtime in 15 Innings
Written by Rabbi Sharon G. Forman
Illustrated by Lisa Teitelbaum
Paperback, 56 pages
Why is this night different from all other nights of the year; and what does the game of baseball have to do with the Festival of Passover and the seder? Incorporating images and language from another springtime ritual, this baseball themed Passover Haggadah retells the story of the Israelites' Exodus from slavery in Egypt with faithfulness to the contours of a traditional seder.
By holding up the Exodus next to the concept of a beloved national pastime, connections are made that cast light on the Passover story in new and unexpected patterns. This enchanting Haggadah with its vivid illustrations will capture the imagination of seder participants of all ages (from little leaguers to adults). By infusing an old ritual with thought provoking readings and new insights, this Haggadah may stand alone as the sole text at a religious school model seder or can be used as a supplementary Haggadah in traditional or liberal homes. Values taught at the seder, such as love of freedom, kindness to strangers, and concern for others, are celebrated in this user friendly text with particular sensitivity to gender equality and transliteration for non-Hebrew readers.
With Moses as the team captain for the Israelites and Pharaoh heading up the Taskmasters, the lineups struggle for dominance. God throws the ultimate "splitter," making way for the Israelites to cross the Sea of Reeds. Each participant takes a turn up at bat as a reader. There is a 7th Inning Stretch, during which the children can go to the door to search for and welcome the presence of Elijah. Ultimately, there is praise and joy and celebration. Freedom has been won. The Israelites, have made it safely home, and springtime is renewed on a field of green.
Sharon G. Forman was raised in Norfolk, Virginia, and was ordained as a Reform rabbi by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1994 in New York. A Yale University graduate, she also holds a master's degree from Columbia Teachers College. In her first official position as a rabbi, she worked in the national office of the Reform Movement in the Education Department. For nine years, she served as an associate rabbi in Manhattan's Temple Shaaray Tefila directing their religious school and expanding informal educational programs. She has specialized in teaching Bar and Bat Mitzvah students for the past decade at Westchester Reform Temple. The author of Honest Answers to Your Child's Jewish Questions (URJ Press, 2006), she contributed to The Sacred Encounter, edited by Rabbi Lisa J. Grushcow (CCAR Press, 2014). She and her family reside in Westchester, New York. Due to her mother's influence, the Cincinnati Reds are her second favorite baseball team. If any players on the New York Mets would like to come over her house for seder, there is always an extra seat at the table.