Passover has always been about learning and the handing down of a story. The story of the freedom of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. Now those of any age can be part of telling the story, learning its messages and exploring its mysteries with the publication of the Haggadah companion On this Night We Are All Teachers from Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education.

The companion focuses on the theme of gratitude, eloquently summed up in the central Passover seder prayer of dayenu, a theme that is especially poignant in Jewish history overall and highly relevant for the modern world adjusting to Covid.

“Our goal in offering the Haggadah companion was to help everyone be a teacher and a learner at the Seder table,” said Dr. Rona Novick, Dean of YU’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and creator of the companion series. “There is so much to be learned from these ancient Jewish texts that can benefit everyone. We wanted to spark people’s imagination and this year what better theme to focus on than that of gratitude.”

The companion Haggadah provides practical teaching activities and prompts that can be implemented during the Seder dinner, specifically developed for four age groups, namely preschoolers, elementary school students, teens/tweens and adults. The learning activities expertly curated by trained Jewish educators are a great way to bring the Passover story to life and engage participants at all age levels.

For younger children, the companion offers singing and an exercise that creates a building block tower, emphasizing that Hashem did many wondrous things for the Israelites, similar to the blocks being stacked into a tower. For teens, the companion engages them in thanking a fellow Seder participant for something that person did that was meaningful. Adults are encouraged to debate concepts of unity and the importance of gratitude and Torah in their lives.

These games, exercises and discussion prompts promote greater engagement with the Seder while highlighting important themes of gratitude. The companion was developed by a team of faculty and graduate students at the Azrieli school, which focuses on training the next generation of Jewish teachers and educators. These Azrieli educators are on the front lines of bringing the amazing history of Judaism to life and passing on Jewish practices and traditions to the next generation of students.

This is the third year the Azrieli school has offered a Haggadah companion, each year addressing a different seder component. The goal is for the entire companion series to be published as a book in the near future. Please visit the following link to view the Haggadah companion: