Published in The Oklahoman, April 7, 2017
by Carla Hinton
With Passover soon approaching, a group of men and women from the Oklahoma City metro Jewish faith community recently gathered to explore a new Haggadah whose author has Oklahoma ties.
The Haggadah is a compilation of prayers, hymns and rabbinical literature that is read during the Passover Seder, a sacred meal held during the eight-day Jewish holiday of Passover. The holiday begins at sundown Monday and it commemorates the Israelites redemption from Egypt as chronicled in the Book of Exodus.
Helene Harpman leads a regular Torah Study class at the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City and she wanted her group to read through a portion of the “The Ayeka Haggadah: Hearing Your Own Voice,” because of uniqueness but also because it was written by Aryeh Ben David, who is married to the daughter of a member of the metro Jewish faith community, Shirley Shanker.
Harpman said Shanker’s daughter Sandra was one of her former students in her Sunday School class at Emanuel Temple.
Harpman said there are many Haggadahs so Jewish families, synagogues and temples often use one for a time and then move on to try another one as they gather for the Passover Seder.
She said her own delight in the Ayeka Haggadah was the way it encourages readers to examine how the themes of Passover relate to their own lives. Harpman said she also liked the fact that the Haggadah incorporated lots of fun and interesting ways to involve children and youths into the Seder.
“It makes it an inclusive Seder,” she said. “It’s the best guide I’ve ever seen for having a memorable Passover.”