Passover References, Haggadot

Some haggadah and other Passover references:


UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Shema Bekolah: Hear Her Voice presents holiday-related teachings from female Torah scholars. Scroll down for Passover. Contact JOFA (Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance) to ask for for the newest teaching, “The Geulah of Gerut: Pesah as Transformation,” Erin Leib Smokler (not yet posted, last I checked).


Baskin (Reform)Elwell/Open Door (Reform)Gefen/American HeritageHoffman/My People’s HaggadahHolistic Haggadah (Renewal)LeibowitzMa’yan/Journey ContinuesMe’am Lo’ezZion: Contemporary Voices

BaskinA Passover Haggadah. Herbert Bronstein, ed. Leonard Baskin, illus. NY: Central Conference of American Rabbis, (revised) 1994. First published in 1974, this volume returned the plagues and other texts, omitted in earlier Reform haggadot.

…we have striven for the archetypal rather than the current reference, for the allusive and suggestive rather than the didactic and explicit…

The [Hallel] psalms themselves do not appear in their original form. The attempt has been made, rather in our reordering of those texts, to reveal to ordinary gze the overarching theme of those religious poems: the affirmation and triumph of life over death.– from preface, pp.6-7

(The Reform movement has since, in 2002, published The Open Door, which re-orders Hallel and returns additional passages, such as “Pour Out Your Wrath” not included here.) Includes historical introduction, notes on preparing for the seder and songs with musical notation.


Elwell/Open Door (Reform). The Open Door: A Passover Haggadah. NY: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2002. Illustrations by Ruth Weisberg. Music edited by Josee Wolff. Text is keyed to extensive musical notation in the back.

On this night, we face the enemy within and without, and are not afraid. Tonight, we name the challenge that is ours: to teach our children that freedom is God’s gift and our obligation. Tonight, we give thanks to the Holy One for enabling us to tell this story again and again, bringing us back to the table with others who share our questions and our journey.

Come let us open the door.

Text appears in English, Hebrew and transliteration. Blessings are presented in both traditional and feminized versions (addressing God as a feminine “You”).

Full haggadah is available in PDF; although not printable, it’s very handy (especially because I can’t find my copy at the moment)!


Geffen/American Heritage–Geffen, David, ed. Introduction by Stuart E. Eizenstat. Americah Heritage Haggadah: The Passover Freedom Experience. NY/Jerusalem: Gefen, 1992. Text is from one of the earliest haggadot published in the U.S. in 1857.

Oversize volume is illustrated with cartoons, photos and other historical items, such as: an 1859 rendering of the “first American seder,” in Charleston, SC; 1907 photo of a family seder “one year after the great disaster in San Francisco, Cal. USA”; notice of 1972 Congressional “Matzah hearing” proceedings.


Hoffman/My People’s My People’s Passover Haggadah. Part of the “My People’s Prayer Book: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries” series. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights, 2008. Opens with ten separate introductions focusing on topics including history, women, and the Maxwell House Haggadah.

Don’t skip the essay entitled “This Bread: Christianity and the Seder” — available through Google Books preview; this may sound esoteric or beside the point, but it is very helpful in understanding some basic issues, such as how matzah came to serve in place of the sacrificial lamb.


Kagan/Holistic–Kagan, Michael L. The Holistic Haggadah: How Will You Be Different This Passover Night? Traditional Haggadah with Original Commentary by Michael L. Kagan. NY: Urim, 2004. Title is self-explanatory; traditional text is accompanied by “Being” and “Deepening” notes, emphasizing kabbalistic meanings.


Leibowitz Leibowtiz, Nehama. Studies on the Haggadah from the teachings of Nechama Leibowitz. Reiner and Peerless, eds. NY: Lambda (Urim), 2002. Can be used at the seder, although probably intended for study at other times. Includes questions and “suggested answers,” as in Leibowitz’s other text studies, along with lessons from a taxi driver and memorial notes.


Ma’yanThe Journey Continues: The Ma’yan Passover Haggadah. Ma’yan: The Jewish Women’s Project, JCC Manhattan, 2000. Third edition, 2006. Includes feminized versions of songs like “Adir Hu” as well as women’s biographies to add to knowledge at the seder table.

2002 version quotes Dr. Susannah Heschel regarding “The Definitive Orange on the Seder Plate Story” (from a widely shared email of April 5, 2001):

Somehow, though, the typical patriarchal maneuver occurred: My idea of an orange and my intention of affirming lesbians and gay men were transformed. Now the story circulates that a MAN said to me that a woman belongs on the bimah as an orange on the seder plate. A woman’s words are attributed to a man, and the affirmation of lesbians and gay men is simply erased. Isn’t that precisely what’s happened over the centuries to women’s ideas?



Me’am Lo’ez — The Torah Anthology: The Passover Haggadah. MeAm Lo’ez (Rabbi Yaakov Culi, 1689-1732), trans. by Aryeh Kaplan. NY/Jerusalem: Moznaim, 1989. Interspersed with translation is commentary, rendering the text into more straightforward language. It’s not exactly “chatty,” but a very particular voice emerges.

Although we have been in exile for so many years, we are not giving up. We still have strong faith. Tonight we are sitting at the Seder and speaking of the bitterness and slavery that we experienced in Egypt. We are sure that someday, when the Messiah comes, we will similarly speak about our present exile….On this night, I can speak of the future deliverance as if it has already happened. (p.143, elaborating on Psalm 116)

Closes with a section on preparing for the seder, including a number of references to mice and their interaction with possible chametz. (18th Century Constantinople obviously had a lot in common with 21st Century Washington, DC.) Text is Sephardic, with notes where the Ashkenazi tradition differs. Full bibliography and index.


Zion — Zion, Michael and Noam Zion. Illustrations by Michel Kichka. A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices. “A new sequel from the home that brought you the best-selling A Different Night: The Family Participation Haggadah.” Very different format from the latter, with a range of full-color illustrations. Includes material from Yehuda Amichai, David Ben-Gurion, the Cat in the Hat, and a host of journalists, novelists, poets and others. Free seder-planning guide available.

One thought on “Passover References, Haggadot

  1. Pingback: Toward Harvest, part 2 (Beyond 42) | A Song Every Day

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