Seder Shopping On the Upper East Side


It’s easy to predict which seder items — from tables full of toys, crafts and books — will attract children.

“Kids love the frogs best,” says Marga Hirsch, coordinator of the annual Haggadah Fair at Park Avenue Synagogue that runs until the Friday before Passover. “Little kids love the inflatable frogs.”

On tables set up in the Upper East Side congregation’s gallery, beneath framed artworks that depict the deportation of Hungarian Jewry during World War II, all sorts of things for use at seders are on sale. Haggadahs and storybooks, plastic Kiddush cups and a dozen types of frogs. There are rubber and plastic and plush stuffed amphibians, frogs that jump and frogs that go around your wrist, all for acting out the Ten Plagues.

During breaks from religious school, students browse at the Fair. Two students — from left, Will Nunberg and Jacob Rizzi — compare illustrated Haggadahs.

What’s popular among adult customers this year?

Versions of the “A Different Night” Haggadah, because co-author Noam Zion spoke at the synagogue a few weeks ago, and “The Washington Haggadah,” because the medieval manuscript is on exhibit this spring at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, says Hirsch, a veteran family educator.

The Fair is not a moneymaker for the Conservative Park Avenue Synagogue, she says; many items are sold at cost, to help members of the shul and of the wider community to celebrate Passover. “The purpose is to put Haggadahs in the hands of congregants.”