A Tale of Two Seders

(Author) (Illustrator)
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Product Details

$7.95  $7.39
Kar-Ben Publishing (R)
Publish Date
7.3 X 9.9 X 0.3 inches | 0.25 pounds

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About the Author

Mindy Avra Portnoy is the author of several books, including Where Do People Go When They Die? and Matzah Ball: A Passover Story. She is a graduate of Yale University and was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is the Rabbi of Temple Sinai in Washington, D.C.
Valeria Cis was born and raised in Argentina, where she still lives with her son, Facundo, daughter, Olivia and husband, Sebastian. Valeria studied fine art at the University of Humanities and Arts in Rosario, Argentina.


A young girl with divorced parents describes how she celebrates Passover in two separate households. She notes differences in foods, activities, and participants: Dad's matzo balls are sticky, and his celebrations eventually include his new fiancée; Mom can cook, but her seders are too long. Although she wishes her parents would reconcile, she accepts her new reality, making the culminating celebration (held at the temple with her entire family in attendance) very satisfying for this child. Portnoy, a rabbi and the author of Where Do People Go When They Die? (2004), writes with empathy and humor of this common situation. In comparing families and charoset (a traditional Passover food made with apples, nuts, and wine), Mom makes the point that each one is different but tasty in its own way. Cis' brightly colored artwork is filled with holiday details, particularly the items required for a seder. The text is appended with recipes for four different types of charoset and a glossary of terms.

-- "Journal"

Mindy Avra Portnoy's A Tale of Two Seders, also offers a different take on the classic family themes of the holiday. The story follows a little girl who after her parents divorce spends one Seder at her mother's and one at her fathers. Over the years the Seders vary and as Valeria Cis's illustrations highlight how the people attending the two Seders are themselves varied. Adding to our sense of possibilities are the four recipes for charoset that are included. This book acknowledges the difficulties that the young protagonist faces, without presenting her situation as a tragedy. --Forward.com

-- "Other Print"

'The year after my mom and dad stopped being married to each other, I went to two seders in two places--one at Dad's apartment, and one at Mom's house, ' explains a young girl. She describes the six Passover meals that she has shared with her divorced parents over the last three years. Each celebration is unique, with memorable moments such as singing the Four Questions, using a new Haggadah, trying different recipes, meeting Dad's new girlfriend, and enjoying treats like chocolate lollipops and fried matzah. However, the charoset, the traditional dish of apples, nuts, cinnamon, and wine, never tastes quite right, and the girl dreams of her whole family celebrating the holiday together again. When her parents surprise her by joining together at the synagogue's community seder, the girl realizes that her dream has come true. And, as her mother explains to her: 'families are like charoset. Some have more ingredients than others, some stick together better...some are sweeter.... But each one is tasty in its own way.' Cis's delightful acrylic paintings beautifully complement the text, and four recipes for charoset are appended along with a glossary. After being one of the first to introduce young readers to women rabbis in Ima on the Bimah (1986) and to tackle conversion in Mommy Never Went to Hebrew School (1989, both Lerner), it is no surprise that Rabbi Portnoy has written this realistic, contemporary story.
--School Library Journal

-- "Journal"