April 15, 2024
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Rinat to Host Creator of ‘Passover Haggadah Graphic Novel’

An exciting 21st century addition to the thousands of illustrated Pesach Haggadahs available to users and collectors is the “Passover Haggadah Graphic Novel” published by Koren Publishers. The newly released Haggadah is the culmination of a dream by acclaimed Batman comics creator and Jewish cartoonist Jordan B. “Gorf” Gorfinkel of Cleveland, Ohio. The culmination of Gorfinkel’s extensive historical and linguistic research, the graphic Haggadah imbues every panel with relevance and excitement alongside the original, traditional narrative.

Congregation Rinat Yisrael’s adult education committee, which has featured many hands-on workshops in the past through its experiential learning committee, is eagerly anticipating a large turnout for its upcoming workshop featuring Gorfinkel, which will take place on Sunday, March 10, at 10:30 a.m.. According to committee coordinator Aryeh Haselkorn, “We are hoping to attract a large, young and adult audience of participants from the entire community for this unique workshop.”

The program will be divided into two components. During the initial half, participants will be addressed by Gorfinkel with an overview of the fundamentals of graphic illustrating. They will then have an opportunity to experiment with graphics at tables set out with supplies throughout the social hall. The second part of the program will feature acclaimed presentation and production professional David Olivestone, now residing in Jerusalem, who is responsible for the cogent English translation of the “Passover Haggadah Graphic Novel.” Olivestone and Gorfinkel will engage in a Q&A session exploring the raison d’etre behind the graphic Haggadah project.

The “Passover Haggadah Graphic Novel” appeals to multigenerational family members as well as to seder guests of diverse backgrounds through its dynamism and accessibility. It provides the unabridged Hebrew text and accompanying transliteration on the right-hand pages. On the left hand pages, a modern, colloquial English translation accompanies the highly creative and colorful illustrations by Israeli comic book artist, illustrator and caricaturist Erez Zadok. The traditional rituals and customs accompanying the recitation of the text throughout the Haggadah are provided by clear and creative “How To” instructional graphics.

Gorfinkel came to this innovative project from a colorful background in the world of creative arts. He is a talented cartoonist, musician, writer and producer, in addition to being the proud father of four. Gorfinkel managed a Batman franchise at DC Comics for nearly a decade, during which his creations served as inspiration for TV, film and numerous games. His creative studio, Avalanche Comics Entertainment, produces custom content for corporations, nonprofits and entertainment companies. In addition, JewishCartoon.com, his weekly comic strip, is featured in newspapers around the country as well as online. The Jewish Cartoon Workshop, with which he travels to schools and camps, inspires groups of all ages and backgrounds to draw comic strips about the Torah portion of the week and other Jewish themes which he then collects into comic books for all to enjoy. Gorfinkel has served as a speaker and scholar-in-residence for many synagogues, Passover programs and fundraising events nationally.

Zadok was hand-picked by Gorfinkel for the project. Residing in Israel, Erez received his degree in Visual Communications from the world-renowned Bezalel Academy of Arts in Jerusalem. In addition to to his collaboration with Gorfinkel on “3 O’Clock Club,” an original comic series, Erez produces “Bundle of Joya,” his autobiographical comic strip released weekly on Instagram.

Olivestone was a long-time resident of Teaneck before making aliyah. He served as the director of communications at the Orthodox Union (OU) from 1999-2013. Known as a talented book design and production professional, he is the force behind the universally popular NCSY Bencher in regular and miniature forms.

By Pearl Markovitz

The Jewish Cartoon Haggadah Workshop will take place in the downstairs social hall of Congregation Rinat Yisrael, 389 West Englewood Avenue, on Sunday morning, March 10, at 10:30 a.m.. The event is free of charge. Children in grades 5 and below are encouraged to be accompanied by an adult. For more information and to RSVP, contact Aryeh Haselkorn at [email protected].

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