Review: An Invitation to Passover
An Invitation to Passover
by Rabbi Kerry Olitzky & Rabbi Deborah Bodin Cohen, illustrated by Mariia Kolker
Kalaniot Books (imprint of Endless Mountains Publishing), 2023
In An Invitation to Passover, Hannah’s family invites a diverse array of friends - and the reader! - to their seder when their relatives cannot, for unspecified reasons, attend. As Hannah and her family teach their guests about Passover, the reader learns along with them. But the teaching and learning are not one-way. Each guest brings a contribution to the seder which responds to a prompt in Hannah’s invitation and which shows how their culture celebrates the different aspects of the seder, like springtime and freedom. Backmatter includes more details about Passover and a glossary, although it would have been helpful if the glossary had included a pronunciation guide. The illustrations convey how warm and welcoming Hannah’s family is. An Invitation to Passover is an age-appropriate introduction to the holiday for both Jewish and non-Jewish children and excellent preparation for anyone who has just been invited to their first seder.
Hannah’s family is presented as moderately observant and knowledgeable about Passover, but clearly live in a diverse neighborhood with all kinds of friends. While most of the guests are not Jewish, one family includes Jews from the former Soviet Union - an underrepresented group in most books about Jews, and a welcome addition.
Ed. Note: This title was included on the Association of Jewish Libraries Spring 2023 Holiday Highlights list.
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