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

Manufacturing Falsehoods

Manufacturing Falsehoods

Jeffrey Herf

An immense echo-chamber has been built, and the line is always the same: Israel is not allowed to be a country like any other.

A Golem in Argentina

A Golem in Argentina

Henry Gonshak

When an indigenous Argentine woman falls in love with a golem, her grandmother creates a love potion to win the golem’s (perhaps non-existent?) heart. What could possibly go wrong?

In Memory of Judah Maccabee

In Memory of Judah Maccabee

Allan Arkush

That Judah, the great victor of the Hanukkah story, ultimately died fighting the Seleucids is something that surprisingly few Jews know. And were the Maccabees actually underdogs?