How is This Haggadah Different?

There are numerous versions of the Haggadah now in print, each bringing a new perspective to the holiday of Passover.

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Several feminist Haggadot have also come into existence. Towards Freedom: A Feminist Haggadah for Men and Women (1995) is defined as "a mystical interpretation of an ancient ritual," using feminine imagery, drawings, and calligraphy, and mythic symbols belonging to the Jewish tradition. Believing that exodus is a recurring theme in life's spiritual journey, author Heather Mendel strives for a future of freedom for all. The Dancing with Miriam Haggadah: A Jewish Women's Celebration of Passover (1997) contains original prayers, commentary, poetry, music, and art. Traditional Passover symbols are interpreted and presented through a feminist sensibility, validating women's life experiences.

Other Haggadot focusing on social and political concerns are (among many): The Anonymous Haggadah: A Synthesis of the Passover Ritual and Liturgy with the Twelve Steps of Recovery (1996), aimed at audiences recovering from alcohol and drug abuse; Haggadah for the Liberated Lamb (1988), issued by Vegetarian Books and linking the traditional Passover story with the liberation of all God's creatures; and The Santa Cruz Haggadah (1992), an "Evolving Consciousness" Haggadah emphasizing self-liberation from that which enslaves us in our lives, and the significance of connecting with other groups lacking freedom or protection.

Children's Haggadah

Yet another genre of Haggadot is the children's Haggadah. In an attempt to make the story of Passover accessible and comprehensible, enabling children to participate in the seder, several Haggadot have been published with young readership in mind. Such is My Favorite Family Haggadah: A Fun, Interactive Passover Service for Children & Their Families (Shari Faden Donahue, 1995).

Taking into account the difficulty a long service presents for young children, this interactive Haggadah offers a 20 to 30 minute service designed especially for children and their families, featuring pictures, activities, and song. Another is Uncle Eli's special-for-Kids Most Fun Ever Under-the-Table Passover Haggadah (Eliezer Lorne Segal, 1999). This humorous rendition presents the events and rituals of the seder in rhyming verse ("On all other nights / you would probably flip / if anyone asked you / how often you dip"), and offers whimsical color illustrations.

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Sharonne Cohen

Sharonne Cohen is an Israeli-Canadian writer, editor, translator, and teacher. She currently lives in Montreal.