Faith and Freedom

April 16, 2019

Dr. Ari Kinsberg ● Jewish Press

Eliezer Berkovits (1908-1992) remains one of the most important Jewish theologians of the twentieth century.

Born in what is today Romania, he received semicha at the Rabbinical Seminary of Berlin (where he was the talmid muvhak of the Seridei Eish) and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Berlin. While ministering as a respected rav in locales across the globe and later serving as the beloved chairperson of Jewish philosophy at Skokie’s Hebrew Theological College, Rabbi Berkovits also published an array of essays and books on halacha, philosophy and other topics of contemporary Jewish relevance. It is unfortunate that Rabbi Berkovits’ writings are today largely unknown to the larger Jewish public, even though the wisdom contained therein remains as relevant as ever.

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Insight Into Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Berkovits

April 16, 2019

Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot ● Jewish Standard

On the bookshelves of the contemporary young and not-so-young college-educated modern Orthodox Jew, one most often will find the theological works of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and his esteemed son-in-law, my revered teacher, Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, both of blessed memory.

On another shelf one will probably find works of Rabbi Norman Lamm, the former president of Yeshiva University, as well as the increasingly popular (in both senses of the word) writings of Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. On another shelf one also may find some writings of Rav Kook and in some instances the newly translated works of Rav Shagar. These thinkers rightly occupy a pride of place in the pantheon of modern Orthodox thought leaders. The dominance of these voices, however, sometimes has come at the price of relegating other significant voices from the 1950s to the 1970s that contributed significant ideas to our thinking about the engagement of halachic Judaism and the modern world.

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The Haggadah, Symbolically Speaking

April 15, 2019

Steve Lipman ● The New York Jewish Week

On the cover of Martin Bodek’s new book about Passover, three small pictograms set against a stark white background catch the reader’s attention: a man speaking, a sea shell and a ram.

Welcome to “The Emoji Haggadah.”

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Faith and Freedom

April 14, 2019

Dov Peretz Elkins ● Jewish Media Review

Faith and Freedom Passover Haggadah presents selections of the writings of Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits, one of the major Jewish philosophers of the twentieth century, as a new and meaningful commentary for the Passover Haggadah. The Seder night experience will be enriched with the reading of the traditional telling of the Exodus along with Rabbi Berkovits’ insightful and refreshing ideas that address crucial topics for the modern era.

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Pesach Haggadah – A Creative Approach

April 14, 2019

Jonathan Kirsch ● Jewish Journal

An emoji can be seen as a contemporary revival of the hieroglyphics that were so prominent in ancient Egypt. And so, as we recall the flight from Mitzrayim during our third-millennium seders, what could be more appropriate than “The Emoji Haggadah” (KTAV), which tells the tale entirely in playful and inventive images? It’s the handiwork of Martin Bodek, a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and co-founder of TheKnish.com, which has been described as “a Jewish version of The Onion.” 

To be sure, “The Emoji Haggadah” is more of a game than a haggadah, but it will surely engage the lively interest of younger participants and enliven the seder for everyone even if, on the other hand, the challenge of decipherment isn’t going to make your seder any shorter. But, just as the Rosetta Stone was the key to decoding Egyptian hieroglyphics, the author provides some helpful tips for translation as well as the complete text of a traditional haggadah in both Hebrew and English.


Add some fun to your Pesach seder this year with the Emoji Haggadah!

April 11, 2019

Mackenzie Haun ISJL Education Newsletter

“If you (and maybe your Gen Z kids) are looking for a challenge, this haggadah is written entirely in Emojis, down to the page number. If you’d rather decode Emojis than Hebrew, this could be fun for you. Or, it could just be a fun coffee table book.”


New Review – Emoji Haggadah

April 9, 2019

Ben Rothke The Times of Israel

If there was an award for most unique haggadah, that would certainly go to The Emoji Haggadah by Martin Bodek. An emoji is a graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept. From smiley faces to coats, animal and more, there are thousands of emojis in use.

In his haggadah, Bodek uses emojis to replace the words. The job of the reader is to translate those emojis back into their native language. It’s a cute concept and an interesting approach to pique the interest of someone who may not be so attracted to a traditional haggadah. While this haggadah is likely best for the under-35 crowd, it could also be a great way for grandchildren to interact with their older, and often emoji-oblivious grandparents. For those involved in Jewish outreach, The Emoji Haggadahcould be quite effective in creating a non-threatening approach to the Passover experience.

One of the children mentioned in the Haggadah is the one who does not know how to ask a question. At the seder, try using The Emoji Haggadah and you may find out they do indeed know who to ask. It’s just a matter of finding the right approach to use, and for some, The Emoji Haggadah could be that approach.