How is This Haggadah Different?

There are numerous versions of the Haggadah now in print, each bringing a new perspective to the holiday of Passover.

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The closing words of the Haggadah--"Next year in Jerusalem"--evoke the Jewish People's perpetual longing to return to Zion. With the establishment of the State of Israel, traditional Jewish aspirations blended with modern Zionism. New Haggadot emerged with illustrations depicting the renewed Jewish settlement of the land of Israel as the fulfillment of this dream. One such Haggadah is the Rebirth of Israel Haggadah (1987), with text and illustrations by Chaya and David Harel. The fulfillment of religious and national aspirations is also manifested in the Jerusalem Haggadah, published in Haifa in 1968, reflecting the sense of elation that overwhelmed Israel following its victory in the Six Day War. The Haggadah represents the seder's concluding statement, alluding to the return to Jerusalem as having finally (and fully) been realized.

The State of Israel also represented the ingathering of Diaspora Jews from around the world, a phenomenon represented in the Passover Haggadah as well. The art of ancient Diaspora hand-written Haggadot was revived in Israel by artist and calligrapher David Moss in the Shir Hama'alot LeDavid Haggadah (1987). Written and illustrated on parchment paper, this Haggadah celebrates the ingathering of exiles by bringing together a wide range of artistic and literary Diaspora traditions. The Haggadah of Memories, a traditional Haggadah, is accompanied by a large collection of childhood memories, recounted by kibbutz members, of seders experienced in the various lands of the Diaspora.

Denominational Versions

As Jewish life has changed and evolved, so have denominational renditions of the Haggadah. Reform versions (An Open Door Haggadah, the official Reform movement Haggadah,and A Growing Haggadah, edited by Rabbi Mark Hurvitz of Congregation Etz Chaim, California) offer a contemplation of liberation and redemption in a political as well as spiritual context, emphasizing Jewish renewal. Reconstructionist versions (A Night of Questions, edited by Rabbi Michael Strassfeld and Rabbi Joy Levitt) offer provocative readings and commentaries, as well as suggestions for rituals, using inclusive, gender-neutral language.

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Sharonne Cohen

Sharonne Cohen is an Israeli-Canadian writer, editor, translator, and teacher. She currently lives in Montreal.