New Orleans Purim
Purim homily

An artful haggadah

It's been two years since I last released a version of the Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah for Pesach; this year a new edition will arrive on the scene, definitely by the end of the month and hopefully sooner.

I'm really excited about it. Some of the revisions and additions -- readings, prayers, poems, and songs -- were inspired by my experience last spring celebrating Pesach at Elat Chayyim; some have been accumulating in my "add to haggadah" folder over the last couple of years; and some are brand-new, created just for this haggadah.

Perhaps the most exciting change, and the most immediately-visible one, is that this year several wonderful artists donated their time and their work to beautify the haggadah's pages. With their help, the physical artifact of the haggadah is becoming as pleasing to the eye as its words are to the mind and heart. Here's brief introduction to each of the artists who contributed work:

Beth Budwig is a visual artist who works in a variety of media, and also does web design; a few years ago she did a large-scale commissioned painting for Inkberry, the arts nonprofit I co-founded.

Emily Cooper is a science illustrator with a light hand, an eye for detail, and a delightful sense of whimsy. Read about her here.

Howard Cruse is a comix artist and graphic novelist, best known for Stuck Rubber Baby, whose unmistakeable style works equally well for serious subjects and for comic hijinks. Read about him here -- or check out his blog, where he recently made a fascinating post showing how he created the illustration he made for the haggadah.

Allan Hollander and Alison Kent often post their illustrations to their joint blog, Feathers of Hope.

Yaron Livay is an Israeli-born printmaker whose prints exemplify the dialectical tension between solidity and joyfulness that Judaism holds so dear. Read about him here.

I'm at a loss to express my gratitude to these wonderful people for their kind and generous donation of artwork for this haggadah. If you download the haggadah and you like what you see, please tell them so; and please browse their sites, spread the word, and buy their work!

Technorati tags: , , , .