Religion & Beliefs

Ten Haggadahs To Try This Passover

Your haggadah can make or break the seder, so choose wisely. Here are some of our top picks: A Different Night Authors: David Dishon and Noam Zion Recommended for: Families with kids spanning different age brackets. We love: Activities, games, … Read More

By / April 15, 2008

Your haggadah can make or break the seder, so choose wisely. Here are some of our top picks:

A Different Night Authors: David Dishon and Noam Zion Recommended for: Families with kids spanning different age brackets. We love: Activities, games, and commentary that speaks to everyone at the table. But we’re not crazy about: The pictures. Kind of boring.


Haggadah for the Vegetarian Family Author: Roberta Kalechofsky Recommended for: Vegetarian families. Duh. (Vegans will also be pleased). We love: Contemporary social twist on the classic story. Redemption as freedom from life as a carnivore. Plus, it’s just nice to see a seder that doesn’t revolve around brisket. But we’re not crazy about: How preachy it is. If there are any non-vegs around, they probably won’t love it.


The Nechama Leibowitz Haggadah Author: Nechama Leibowitz, Shmuel Peerless Recommended for: Anyone who loves close readings of text, and is willing to run with questions for further study We love: Leibovitz is famous for her surveys of other commentators, and her succinct summaries of various approaches to the story. She’s in rare form in her Haggadah, and finds some obscure but fun sources to look at. But we’re not crazy about: No pictures at all. Plus, probably boring if you’re not a fan of text study.

 


The Feast of Freedom Author: Rachel Rabinowicz Recommended for: Families with teenagers, or groups that like long juicy discussions. We love: The commentary is arranged on the page in a way that makes it very easy to skip the things that don’t interest you, and go straight to the things you love. But we’re not crazy about: The weird ripped paper pictures, and the length (by page 120 I start to wonder if Freedom will ever be attained).

 


The Katz Haggadah Author: Baruch Chait and Gadi Pollack Recommended for: Kids, and adults who love Midrash We love: The pictures are gorgeous—incredibly detailed cartoons that incorporate Midrash into each frame. It comes with a little guide that explains the source behind every detail in every picture. Awesome. But we’re not crazy about: The commentary is uber-frum, and not as appropriate for young kids as the pictures might lead you to assume.


The Animated Haggadah Author: Rony Oren Recommended for: Kids We love: It’s a claymation Haggadah with a corresponding DVD. Totally engrossing, and as an added activity, kids can be given Play-Do and can try to recreate one of the scenes in the book. But we’re not crazy about: How scary it is. There are some pictures that are genuinely creepy or frightening.


The Sarajevo Haggadah (You’ll have to take it out of your local library—it’s not in print anymore) Author: Unknown Recommended for: History Buffs We love: The original Sarajevo Haggadah is centuries old, dating back to at least the Spanish Inquisition. It has been passed down from families, and is now in the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Scholars have scrutinized details to learn about the lives of its creators, and a new book, The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, is a fictionalized account of its history. A recent New Yorker article traced the history of the Haggadah, and the Muslim museum curator who saved it from being looted by the Nazis. But we’re not crazy about: No commentary to speak of—it’s pretty much just the basic Haggadah text. You have to read history essays to really glean much from the book.


 

Ha-Lila Ha-Zeh Author: Mishael Zion,Noam Zion Recommended for: Hebrew speaking families. This Hebrew equivalent of A Different Night has awesome pictures, and great activities and songs. We love: The collection of different interpretations of the Four Sons. But we’re not crazy about: It being in Hebrew. Even for those of us English-speakers with really good Hebrew, it takes an extra level of concentration to read this Haggadah.


Carlebach Haggadah: Seder Night with Reb Shlomo Author: Chaim Stefansky Recommended for: Hippies who love Hashem. Touchy-feely, but grounded in Hasidism, the stories of Reb Shlomo Carlebach carry this haggadah. We love: Carlebach’s interesting takes on the true meaning of freedom. We’re not so crazy about: Just how hippie it really is.


The Jewish World Family Haggad Author: Shoshana Silberman, with photography by Zion Ozeri Recommended for: Photography lovers, big geographically diverse groups, and families We love: Ozeri’s amazing pictures of Jewish communities around the world, from India to Iran to the Upper West Side. The text is simple and pretty pluralistic. It’s short and very sweet. But we’re not crazy about: there could be a little more commentary, and the pictures are so good, you’re left wanting more of those, too.