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March 29 • 2012
he words of Simply Seder: A
Passover Haggadah tell the
holiday story clearly and
briefly. But readers' eyes will be drawn
to the art from a homegrown talent.
The colorful mixed media artwork
was created by former Detroiter Julie
Schwartz Wohl, a Jewish educator, art-
ist, author and illustrator now living in
The 48-page Haggadah (Behrman
House, 2012) was produced as a way
to host a meaningful, easy-to-follow
seder that could be completed in 30
minutes. It also includes optional dis-
cussion starters and more readings.
"We were looking to make a
Haggadah that was accessible, friendly
and easy to use for everyone, even the
first-time seder leader," said author
Dena Neusner, a Behrman House
senior editor. "It is meant to be a mul-
The Haggadah's companion piece,
Planning Your Passover Seder (acces-
sible by flipping
over the book)
offers a guide and
online links that
checklists for every-
thing needed to pull
a seder together plus
activities for children,
songs, online games,
skits, e-cards, videos
and even a lesson on
how to chant the Four
Questions in Hebrew. A
scannable QR code links
the guide on a Smartphone.
"The artwork helps the reader fol-
low the seder," Neusner said. "There
are illustrations on most every page to
go along with the written word and to
give brightness, color and visual cues."
Wohl and Neusner met in South
Orange, N.J., at Oheb Shalom
Congregation, where Wohl was the
education director and Neusner's
children attended the religious school.
"She was on the school board and was
my original contact for getting my
first book published;' Wohl said.
Through the years, the women
became friends. "When she was work-
ing on the Haggadah, she called me to
do a small translation job and, by the
end, I was sending her samples to be
the illustrator," Wohl said.
Wohl is a graduate of West Bloom-
Wohl at her New York-area show.
field High School and Michigan State
University, and earned a master's
degree in Jewish education from
Jewish Theological Seminary in New
York. Her studies include those at Arts
Student League of New York City and
with an Israeli artist while living in
Israel in the mid-2000s.
In 2010, she illustrated her first
book, Siddur Mah Toy: A Family
Shabbat Prayer Book (Behrman
House), a children's siddur co-written
with Rabbi Lauren Kurland.
The siddur, with illus-
trations taken from her
acrylic paintings, is now
used at Congregation Shir
Tikvah in Troy.
Twenty of Wohl's origi-
nal paintings from both
books are showing in a
New York-area gallery
through mid-April, and
then will travel around
Wohl has been
a Jewish educa-
tor since college,
including working as a teacher
at Congregation Kehillat Israel in
Lansing and in the special needs
inclusion summer program at the
Jewish Community Center in West
She has worked at the Children's
Gallery for Jewish Culture in New York
and built a synagogue school from
the ground up, running it for four
years before moving to Pennsylvania
where her husband, Rabbi Josh Wohl,
is pulpit rabbi at Agudath Achim
Currently the education director
at Congregation Brit Shalom in State
College, Pa., Wohl also is the creator,
owner and lead educator of Jewish
Learning Thru Art.
"I travel to communities in sur-
rounding states either doing teacher
training for using the arts in Jewish
Haggadah on page 20