A day on the ice
April 8: Here comes the sun

A pre-Pesach miscellany

Jewish Woman on DIY haggadot:

The Spring 2009 issue of Jewish Woman Magazine features a lovely article called D.I.Y Seder. The writer, Rahel Musleah, included a fair amount of material from the interview she did with me several months ago on this subject. The article begins, in fact, with an anecdote I think I've shared here before:

When Rachel Barenblat's parents visited her from Texas five Passovers ago, several years had passed since the family had been together for the Seders. She and her sister—who both live in Massachusetts—had been using the "homegrown" haggadah Barenblat had written, a revealingly personal amalgam of the traditional text with feminist, creative and contemporary readings and poems. But she worried that her parents would miss the haggadah they were used to. "No one had ever questioned it, so I thought my haggadah would be strange and uncomfortable for them. It would be like...eating pasta on Thanksgiving instead of turkey." But her mother's face fell when she saw the stack of 20 old-fashioned haggadot Barenblat had bought and borrowed. "Oh," she said, "I thought we were going to do something different!" Barenblat had one copy of her haggadah. She adapted it for the children who were going to be present, and had it reproduced and bound for everyone by the evening...

The article does a lovely job of describing the joys and challenges of the roll-your-own haggadah phenomenon. And I'm delighted to share the page with Tamar Fox from MyJewishLearning.com and poet Marge Piercy, among others. The full text of the article is online, which is grand (though naturally I encourage those who are able to pick up a copy of the magazine.) Read it here.

A miscellany of Pesach-related links:

Reb Zalman has recently posted a couple of excellent resources for Pesach. Here's a link to his post on the Afikoman, and here's a teaching called Of four children revised.

If you want to create your own haggadah from scratch, you can buy the texts of the classical haggadah (for DavkaWriter, Word for Windows, or Mellel II) for under $20. I've also just learned about JewishFreeware.org, which seems like the latest variation on the Open Source Judaism theme. (Hat tip to the Jewish Woman article; I hadn't known about Jewish Freeware before I read that piece.)

If your sensibilities lean toward earth-based Judaism, Ketzirah puts out a beautiful haggadah called the Peelapom Haggadah. She writes, "This haggadah is the result of several years of work to incorporate a Earth-based Magickal Judaism sensibility to a haggadah that will also be enjoyed by friends and family." Usually $18, this year she's selling copies for $5 in celebration of its fifth anniversary.

And of course there is always my own Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah for Pesach, which aims to marry traditional texts with contemporary poetry and creative, joy-filled interpretations. (The most recent version is 6.0, so if you have an earlier version -- perhaps one with 2004 or 2006 on the cover -- I recommend downloading the newest version. It is free.)

In the realm of truly gorgeous haggadot, I can't resist linking again to The David Moss Haggadah (here's my post about meeting him & buying the version I could afford.) David's haggadah is one of the most thoughtful, artful, gorgeous Pesach resources I know.

On a more humorous note -- you've probably all seen this already, but in case you haven't: Moses is departing Egypt, a Facebook haggadah. Ahahaha. It's probably the kind of thing that won't be funny anymore in five years, and in ten years it will be utterly baffling, but right now it's hilarious.

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