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Many of our readers are already considering whether to keep the same old Haggadah for next Passover or try something new. Well we have something for you to consider, something that surprisingly proves it’s possible for a Reform, Progressive, Liberal, Reconstructionist, Conservative and Orthodox Rabbi to agree on something: The soon-to-be released Sixty-Minute Seder: Preserving the Essence of the Passover Haggadah by the husband and wife team, Cass and Nellie Foster, of Kauai.

Not only are Rabbis from every denomination turning in favorable reviews, they’re coming from all over the world. So what is it they’re praising? We’ll let them speak for themselves as we start with a Conservative Rabbi in the U.S. and a Reform Rabbi in Spain: Rabbi Jerome Epstein, the Chief Israel Affairs Officer of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism says: “For those who seek a modified Seder that will stimulate discussion, inspire interest and educate Jews with a range of backgrounds will find the Sixty-Minute Seder a perfect script for the Pesach drama.” And then Rabbi Bonnie Cohen in Spain says: “(This) is a wonderful resource that will enable people to create their own Passover Seder in a personal and meaningful way…I highly recommend it.”

A Reform Rabbi in Israel, Rabbi Michael Boyden tells us: “Creating such a Haggadah is no simple undertaking and you are to be congratulated for making the traditional Haggadah more accessible.” And a similar review from the U.K., Rabbi Dr. Andrew Goldstein, President, Liberal Judaism: "You have done a great job in highlighting the main points of the Haggadah and arranging them in an order that allows the Seder to flow and the story it tells to be easily absorbed...I hope the book is a success and helps many to have a meaningful Seder."

Rabbi Judith HaLevy, a Reconstructionist Rabbi at the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue in the U.S. gives us a good sense of the contents: “Cass and Nellie Foster have done an amazing job of sifting the essence of the Passover ritual from the embellishments of time. Each section is explained clearly, with the appropriate blessings in Hebrew and transliteration. The outstanding glossary of terms make it possible for a newcomer to understand the background of the symbols and rituals without adding long readings to the text.”

While Rabbi David Stern, a Conservative Rabbi in Victoria, Australia adds, “Sure to inspire and aid in Seders for years to come!" And an Orthodox Rabbi, Rabbi Leo Fettman, co-author of SHOAH: Journey from the Ashes, gives us a unique perspective with "You have created a Sixty-Minute Seder for seniors! We love your book. It is great and written so warmly and clearly, it’s perfect for our seniors here at the care facility.”

And then we hear from the Liberal Rabbi Dr. Walter Rothschild of Vienna, Austria who is also the State Rabbi of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany with: " 'Dayenu' - yes, one CAN have enough, one can have much more than enough, and it is important to concentrate on the basics so that all present can experience, learn and enjoy the Seder. This is what the Sixty-Minute Haggadah sets out to do and it succeeds!"

And we conclude our worldwide praise by returning to the U.S. with Conservative Rabbi Jack Moline of Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia: “…you now hold an opportunity to discover a truth about this long-standing ritual that is often obscured by the focus on form over substance. The order of the Seder is a framework for building your own story of liberation. Cass and Nellie Foster have distilled it to its essence.”

When we asked the Fosters how they went about reducing a typically two-to-five hour long Seder to sixty minutes Cass tells us he did do some reduction with a few of the
steps but “Primarily eliminated commentary. We’re hoping our readers will be satisfied with going through the steps in the proper order as we provide an opportunity to explore their own point of view.” And Nellie adds, “We spend a fair amount of time explaining how to prepare the home and conduct the Seder and I provide plenty of meal suggestions but the bottom line is our readers will be able to host a Seder regardless of how familiar they are with Passover or Judaism in general. We kept the unaffiliated and Interfaith families very much in mind when we put this together.”

According to Linda F. Radke, the president of Five Star Publications, Inc., the publisher of the Sixty-Minute Seder: Preserving the Essence of the Passover Haggadah, “With more than 3,500 Haggadahs in print and no two having the same content, revisiting the Haggadah is not unheard of. Though pared down to only sixty minutes, this Haggadah still has it all, from planning to preparation to the actual presentation of the Seder.”

And what makes their Haggadah even more different is the opportunity for readers to provide input on their experience with the Haggadah. Cass and Nellie have already implemented improvements for their next edition thanks to reader feedback.

For information about ordering please contact Five Star Publications, Inc. by
phoning (480) 940-8182, emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by visiting their website at www.SixtyMinuteSeder.com - where you can also learn more about the Rabbis mentioned in this article in their REVIEW section. Just tell them you learned about them from the New York Jewish Guide.

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