Each year, we sit down at our Passover Seder to retell the story of our Exodus from Egypt.
To make sure that we get the story right and include any of the holiday customs and mitzvot, we use a Haggadah as our script and our guide.
Like many, I grew up using the Maxwell House Hagaddah. As I grew up, new Haggadot were introduced to our Seder and for several years, the Seder we attended had a custom-made Haggadah.
As an adult, when we began conducting our own Seder in our house, I thought it would be fun for everyone to use a different Haggadah. Each had variations in their translation (note that the Hebrew is always the same) and different commentaries on sections in the Haggadah. Each participant was tasked to share new insights that they would read in their Haggadah.
We spend many hours in our school preparing our students to help lead their family’s Seder. We teach them new melodies and insights into our text. We help our students formulate their commentaries to share with their families. Each year, we have used a traditional Haggadah with our students. This year, we decided to do something different.
When we came up with our theme for the year, storytelling, we did so intending to create our school Haggadah.
But this isn’t your ordinary Haggadah. Led by Jewish Studies Principal, Michal Almalem and Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Jill Cross, themes were explored to integrate into our already rich curriculum. This Haggadah is the culmination of a year-long collaboration between our General and Jewish Studies classes. These talented teachers guided our students as they found unique and creative ways to connect with and retell one of our oldest stories! They interwove values, ethics, history, science, literature, art, music, and text study.
In math, students did surveys and collected data related to Matzah and flour. They even baked their own Matzah. Students graphed and tallied results from a school-wide survey on the toughest plague, the smelliest plague, and more. In Social Studies, students learned how the exodus story relates to the founding ideas of America, including an exploration of the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell. Students learned about the role of a leader through a character analysis of Moses (who by the way is not named in the Haggadah).
|Students discovered the character values of a leader and discovered how leaders helped to establish the modern state of Israel. We went on field trips to the Civil Rights Museum and the Slave Haven Museum to explore how enslavement impacted the United States and Memphis through a connection to our history. And learned about the refugee experience, through empathy interviews with representatives of the Refugee Empowerment Program and Ukrainian immigrants who came to Memphis several years ago. Students were hands-on in creating mosaics, games, Yelp reviews, sewing their pillows, and designing the artwork for our Haggadah.|
Inside our school Haggadah, student projects—from recipes, games, essays, math activities, art, and more—are interwoven between the story of Passover and the order of the Passover Seder. Helpful instructions for leading the seder are included throughout.
As we turn the page in our story, we know the words written and the pictures drawn are only a piece of where our story is set to go. As we tell (literally the word Haggadah) our story, our students know that they are writing the next chapter.
Kol Hakavod to our amazing school and the story we tell.
Please note that you must pick up your Haggadah from Bornblum.