After attending a family Seder years ago, Tucsonan, Nanci J. Freedberg decided to create a Haggadah bringing Passover rituals to life without putting children to sleep. Freedberg says that she was struck by all the skipping around during the Seder, which happens with many families who use a traditional Haggadah. But, she contends, as hungry family members rush through Chad Gadya, it becomes difficult to establish a full repertoire of Passover traditions.
I felt for my children, that they would never get the full meaning of Passover, which is so rich, she says. Freedberg was development director at the Tucson Jewish Community Center and the local Girls and Boys Clubs during the 1990s.
Now in its twelfth year of publication, the Promise Haggadah has over 100,000 copies in print.
To personalize the Haggadah, Freedberg says she initially wanted children across the country to provide the illustrations. After considering how complicated the logistics would be, she came up with the idea of printing a family or first name on the cover instead.
For the mainstream Jewish community, its right on target, she says. The Promise Haggadah is written as a complete yet concise, under 1 hour Seder, which encourages families who may not have hosted a Seder in the past to gather at the Passover table, says Freedberg.
In addition, the Promise Haggadah is written in English and all of the Hebrew is transliterated, making it less intimidating for interfaith families. And the role of women in the Passover tradition is included with the story of Miriams cup.
About 7,000 new families a year are using the Promise Haggadah and the feedback received is always positve.
The Promise Haggadah has been used as a school fundraising project by over 1,000 Jewish organizations from all over the United States, with 18% of all sales going directly to the participating organization.
Her business has expanded to the internet. Individuals can order personalized Haggadahs for $11/ea directly on a seasonal basis by visiting www.PersonalizedHaggadahs.com.
What started out as a business has given me so much satisfaction, says Freedberg, who adds that Passover is her favorite Jewish holiday partly because it involves all the senses. Its one of those tactile holidays, she says.
The idea for her business revolved around her childrens Jewish education, and by working at home Freedberg can also be more involved in their secular school activities. I still can be a stay-at-home mom, she says.
For more information about the personalized Haggadah fundraiser, go online to www.PersonalizedHaggadah.com.