June 21, 2024
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Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg Pens ‘The Superhero Haggadah’

Highlighting: “The Superhero Haggadah” by Moshe Rosenberg. BSD Books. 2021. Hebrew and English. Paperback. 164 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0998815145.

Looking to add a bit more “out of this world” flavor to your second COVID-impacted Seder? Simply click on the Haggadah section on Amazon Prime and you will see that the second best-selling Haggadah this season is none other than Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg’s second foray into other worlds to highlight and illuminate the messages of the Pesach Seder.

Following in the footsteps of his 2017 “(Unofficial) Hogwarts Haggadah,” which was a viral phenomenon, Rabbi Rosenberg has self-published “The Superhero Haggadah: A Story of Signs and Marvels” for this coming Pesach. It rose to the top of the Amazon list shortly after its recent publication.

Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg is the beloved morah d’asra of Congregation Etz Chaim in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens. His congregants can attest to his sermons being not only erudite Torah messages, but framed in creative literary formats. An English major at Yeshiva University, Rosenberg has passed on this literary gene to several of his seven children. One in particular, Sora Meira, has been an active participant and adviser to Rosenberg’s recent literary productions.

The backstory to the “Superhero Haggadah” is bittersweet. Last year, in addition to coping with COVID, the Rosenberg family was challenged by Rabbi Rosenberg’s bout with cancer. While he was undergoing sometimes debilitating treatments, the Rosenberg children decided that to take their father’s mind off his illness, he and they would binge-watch the Infinity Saga Films based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). These 23 interconnected movies begin with “Iron Man,” and end with “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” As he watched, Rosenberg saw numerous connections to the Passover story.

“The Superhero Haggadah reveals uncanny connections to the classic Passover story. From time travel to teaching, internal demons to external enemies, exile to homecoming, and Tamludic sages to cinematic superheroes, you’ll discover commonalities you never considered—and you may even unearth your own superpowers along the way,” said Rabbi Rosenberg.

In addition to his rabbinical position, Rabbi Rosenberg is a Talmud and Judaic studies instructor at SAR Academy in the Bronx. At one point he ran a Harry Potter Club in the school, having his students write essays related to J.K. Rowling’s characters. At a fundraising event at SAR, a parent won a Harry Potter story, custom-written by the rabbi. When it was revealed that the child he was writing for was a Marvel fan, Rabbi Rosenberg found a way to insert Iron Man into a pivotal scene in the final Harry Potter book.

A specific example of the juxtapositions he explores in “The Superhero Haggadah” is the superhero the Incredible Hulk. Rabbi Rosenberg explained: “The Hulk is half-monster and half-person, and he doesn’t know exactly which one he is. How is that different from Moshe Rabbeinu? Moshe was raised as an Egyptian prince, but at the same time as a Jew by his mother. He is not exactly sure of who he is.”

In a reference to a movie scene in which Iron Man and Spider Man are discussing whether they get their super-strength from their suits, Rabbi Rosenberg brings up the topic of the pandemic. “We lost our suits. We lost the support that we had prior to the pandemic: being able to come together physically, being able to go to the synagogue, being able to embrace each other. Hopefully, when we get back into our suits we will know what to do with them.”

“The Superhero Haggadah” includes the entire text of the Seder with highlighted verses which are then expanded and related to the relevant superheroes on the opposite page. In the last section of the Haggadah, Rabbi Rosenberg includes essays expanding upon moral issues addressed by the Haggadah, including how to use power for good rather than evil, and the meaning of true freedom.

Collaborating with Rosenberg on the Superhero Haggadah, as she did on the Hogwarts Haggadah, was talented graphic artist Aviva Schor, a Teaneck native who now resides with her family in Ramat Beit Shemesh. The 164-page Haggadah also showcases original drawings by one of Rabbi Rosenberg’s former students, SAR seventh-grader Moriel Hirsch Hoffman.

“The Superhero Haggadah” is dedicated to essential workers, the medical community and first responders who risked their lives during the epidemic. Thankfully, Rabbi Rosenberg now reported his medical issues are in remission.

“The Superhero Haggadah: A Story of Signs and Marvels” can be ordered from Amazon at

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0998815144. If Amazon lists it as unavailable, sign up at www.bit.ly/SuperheroHaggadahAlert  to be alerted when it becomes available. Check with your local Jewish bookstore for available copies.

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