The recitation of the Four Questions at the beginning of the Passover seder by the youngest participant is one of the highlights of the evening and captures its very essence: to keep the memory of the Exodus of the Jews from Egyptian slavery alive in our minds, and to teach our children about their heritage and history. Read more...
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The recitation of the Four Questions at the beginning of the Passover seder by the youngest participant is one of the highlights of the evening and captures its very essence: to keep the memory of the Exodus of the Jews from Egyptian slavery alive in our minds, and to teach our children about their heritage and history. This unique volume covers a variety of languages of the Jewish Diaspora--from French to Farsi, from Latin to Ladino, from Amharic to Afrikaans, from Yiddish to Swedish to Chinese. For each language a translation (and, where necessary, a transliteration) of the Four Questions is provided, accompanied by a brief overview of Jewish life and culture among the speakers of the language, and an illustrations of either historical or contemporary interest.
The perfect seder gift, Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?""is also an excellent introduction to Jewish history in the Diaspora for young and old alike.
Exploring the traditions of Passover
At the customary Seder dinner celebrating the Jewish festival of Passover, the evening's youngest participant, usually a child, recites the Ma Nishtana, the Four Questions, which begin with, "Why is this night different from all other nights?" In her lovely and thoughtful new gift book, Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights? The Four Questions Around the World, Ilana Kurshan uses these traditional Four Questions to explore the astonishing variety and diversity of Jewish settlements throughout the world and throughout history.
This slim but informative volume focuses, in turn, on nearly two dozen languages used by Jews throughout history, from Afrikaans to Yiddish. Each section poses the Four Questions of Passover in a different language (with transliterations as necessary), and follows these translations with a two- to three-page history of the Jewish people who use (or used) this language. Accompanying photographs, prints and other artwork provide either contemporary or historical glimpses into Jewish life around the world.
Given the worldwide history of Jews' suppression and persecution, it's not surprising that many of the included anecdotes are somber ones, particularly as the text outlines the numbers of European Jews before and after the Holocaust. Kurshan balances these sobering accounts, however, with discussions of how Jewish peopleboth singly and collectivelyhave affected culture, economy and civilization in virtually every corner of the world. Many stories also find comfort and hope in Zionism, as many historically persecuted Jewish minorities have found safety by immigrating to Israel.
Anyone interested in the rich and fascinating history of Jewish culture will find something to treasure here. Perhaps the best audience for Kurshan's book, though, are those young people who are ready to ask more than just the traditional Four Questions of Passover, ready to explore their people's abundant and diverse, troubling and rewarding history.