A Passover Companion

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

 

Why Is This Haggadah Different?

The Haggadah of China’s Kaifeng Jews is not all that dissimilar from your Maxwell House version—but it speaks volumes about the community that produced it.

Comes the Comer

The New American Haggadah boasts a high-profile cast of contributors—Jonathan Safran Foer, Nathan Englander, Nathaniel Deutsch, Jeffrey Goldberg, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, and Lemony Snicket. But it also features a series of unfortunate translations and commentaries.

Passover on the Potomac

As the holiday of freedom approaches, we explore two haggadahs—one old and one new—from our nation’s capital, and think about the “audacious hope” of redemption.

Pour Out Your Fury

When the Bavarian government confiscated thousands of books from monasteries in 1803, among them was an utterly unique haggadah.

The Fifth Question

Whatever kind of Passover Seder one attends, there is a fifth question, usually whispered, that arises some time after the first four are asked . . .

Frogs, Griffins, and Jews Without Hats: How My Children
Illuminated the Haggadah

The illustrated haggadahs of medieval Europe contain more than just rich, colorful depictions of the Exodus story. The closer you look, and with innocent eyes, the more sophisticated the artistic commentary becomes. There are drawings of rabbinic midrash and not a small amount of political satire and polemic.

Chopped Herring and the Making of the American Kosher
Certification System

In 1986, the discovery of non-kosher vinegar in a classic Jewish delicacy led to a revolution in kosher supervision.

Law in the Desert

Studying the weekly portion with Jerome, Nachmanides, and others, the seemingly tedious parts of Exodus become compelling.

Desert Wild

Zornberg’s sessions are deeply informed by traditional Jewish sources, especially the interpretations of classic rabbinic midrash and the homilies of Hasidic masters.

Let My People Go

Many of the heroes of the Soviet Jewry movement have been unsung, until now.

The Kid from the Haggadah

A 1944 poem, translated by Dan Ben-Amos.

It’s Spring Again

A startling painting on the walls of the ancient synagogue at Dura Europos depicts some 2nd-century Jews who have, until recently, been dead and who look very surprised to have been reconstituted and revived.

Suggested Reading

On a Story by Delmore Schwartz

On a Story by Delmore Schwartz

Ruth R. Wisse

In 1937, the editors at Partisan Review placed “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities,” by a 24-year old unknown improbably named Delmore Schwartz before pieces by Wallace Stevens, Lionel Trilling, Edmund Wilson, and Pablo Picasso, to relaunch their magazine. They knew what they were doing.

Shas: The Movie

Shas: The Movie

Sarah Rindner

If you think this Israeli election is raucous, travel back to 1984 and Shas's arrival on the political scene in the film The Unorthodox.

Fathers & Sons

Fathers & Sons

Yehudah Mirsky

This summer, as the current Askhenazi chief rabbi was being investigated for corruption, and issues of religion and state dominated public debate, new Ashkenazi and Sephardi chief rabbis were elected. The process was messy, complicated, and ugly. The result? Sixty-eight votes apiece for the sons of two previous chief rabbis. What does a broken rabbinate mean for Israel?