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Martin Bodek has been freelance writing for years, composing various versions of our timeless Haggadah with fresh, modern, and literary takes. Growing up, young Bodek would spend his time reading encyclopedias, Stephen King novels, and enjoying Seinfeld and all things pop culture. His new takes on a timeless story, told from a fun and whimsical perspective, are written for a young audience to help them see the Haggadah in a whole new way.

His first take on the classic Haggadah was The Emoji Haggadah, inspired by his family’s own emoji Purim costumes, paving the way for the release of The Festivus Haggadah (a riff on Seinfeld). Then the coronavirus made its way across the world and led to the creation of The Coronavirus Haggadah, which received much praise and attention from readers. It was even translated for Germany’s only weekly Jewish newspaper. Then, after he engaged in extensive research and review of old English, came The Shakespeare Haggadah.


Now, Bodek is happy to share his latest creation, This Haggadah Is the Way: A Star Wars Unofficial Passover Parody. After watching the original trilogy “exactly 137 times,” Bodek became well-versed in the entire mythos. Then came time to write every quote, scene, legend, storyline, character, meme, and plot into the Haggadah text, and voilà! Now, we have a legendary combination of adventure and Jewish history, perfect for that lovable nerd in your life.

That feeling of freedom after years of emotional and physical torture can be felt even more fully when reading Bodek’s Zaidy’s War: Four Armies, Three Continents, Two Brothers. One Man’s Impossible Story of Endurance. He tells the shocking true story of his grandfather’s fight for survival during World War II. His grandfather, Benzion Malik, was a young 21-year-old Romanian Jew when he got drafted into the Romanian army in 1939. Little did he know the next six years of his life would be spent at war against himself. After Hungary annexed a portion of Romania, his citizenship quickly changed to that of a Hungarian soldier. Young Benzion was outcast and taunted by the Hungarian army for his Jewish faith, forced into labor camps to build infrastructure for a war against himself.

The German army partnered with Hungary and invaded Russia in the largest military ground invasion in history, with a death toll of 1.5 million soldiers. Shortly after, Benzion became a private in the Russian army, serving as a marksman. As the battle of Berlin approached and Russian troops crossed over the German border, they were notified that Germany had surrendered and Russia was receding. Finally free… to walk 1,600 miles home. Upon his miraculous arrival home, he faced the harsh reality that his family had been taken by Nazis to concentration camps.

Benzion had his sights set on rebuilding a community and bringing peace and healing to the world. Years at war did not stop him from believing in cosmic justice and leaving a positive impact on his family, friends, and strangers for generations to come. This tale of perseverance makes you think about the resilience of a man who held onto his faith. His Herculean efforts, during yet another monumentally hard time in our people’s history, were not in vain, as his story is shared with the world through his grandson’s writing. As we sit down for the Seder this year, let’s be grateful for our freedom, loved ones, and resilience as a Jewish nation.


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