JBuzz Features April 14, 2014: Who wrote the Passover Haggadah?

JBUZZ FEATURES: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Who wrote the Passover Haggadah?

Source: Haaretz, 4-14-14

Contemporary Jews read the Haggadah every Passover, during the Seder feast. But the book they ritualistically read now would be unrecognizable to ancient Jews….READ MORE

 

JBuzz Features April 9, 2014: 7 Coolest Haggadahs for Your Passover Seder

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

7 Coolest Haggadahs for Your Passover Seder

Source: Jewish Daily Forward, 4-9-14

This 14th century Haggadah is the earliest known Ashkenazi attempt to artistically depict the story of Passover. It’s a pretty creative retelling of the story, mainly because the people depicted in the story have the heads of animals….READ MORE

 

 

JBuzz Features April 4, 2014: All The 2014 Haggadah Info You’ll Ever Need

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

All The 2014 Haggadah Info You’ll Ever Need

Source: Jewish Daily Forward, 4-4-14

Likewise, the “Ultimate Digital Haggadah,” released too late for our Haggadah roundup last year, is an exquisite visual presentation (with accompanying narration)…READ MORE

JBuzz News April 14, 2012: Tougaloo College: Freedom Seder combines traditions Overlap of Jewish, black histories is remembered

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Seder combines traditions Overlap of Jewish, black histories is remembered.

Source: The Columbia Daily Tribune, AP, 4-14-12

Jewish Professor Ernst Borinski fled Nazi Germany in 1938, when discriminatory laws foreshadowed darker times to come. Borinski came to the American South of the Jim Crow era to work at historically black Tougaloo College in 1947, at a time when few universities would offer Jewish refugees employment. Soon, the school became his home and civil rights his cause.

On Thursday, Tougaloo College held a Passover Seder inspired by Borinski’s efforts to build bridges between Mississippi’s black and Jewish communities. Borinski is prominently featured in the exhibit “From Swastika to Jim Crow,” which is currently on display at the college. The film is based on a PBS documentary of the same title that profiled Jewish refugees who taught at black colleges during the Holocaust.

The seder traditionally celebrates the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt. Tougaloo’s “freedom seder” emphasized common themes in the histories of both communities and featured Southern black cuisine prepared according to kosher rules.

The first freedom seder was held in 1969 in the basement of a black church on the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

“Our focus was intertwining the stories of liberation from pharaoh and liberation from racism in America,” said Rabbi Arthur Waskow, who wrote the Haggadah, a text that guides Passover rituals, for the first freedom seder and directs the Shalom Center in Philadelphia, Pa….READ MORE

JBuzz Features April 5, 2012: Passover Seders: 18 Haggadahs To Retell The Exodus Story

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Passover Seders: 18 Haggadahs To Retell The Exodus Story

Source: Huff Post, 4-5-12

Haggadah Passover

Why is this book different from all other books?

The Haggadah — a Jewish ritual book used on the holiday of Passover to tell the story of the biblical Exodus from Egypt — has some 7,000 iterations, reprinted and retranslated perhaps more than any other Jewish book.

This year, Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander published their “New American Haggadah” (as editor and translator, respectively) hoping to set the new standard for “intellectually and aesthetically satisfying” Haggadahs. The art, commentaries and new translation are remarkable, but perhaps the most interesting aspect of the New American Haggadah is the timeline that runs across the top of each page, telling the history of the Jewish affair with this text.

The timeline — just like the Exodus from slavery — doesn’t end. Someday, there will be a New New American Haggadah. For now, though, there are thousands of versions to choose from. Here is a round up of some of the most interesting.

Birds’ Head Haggadah (1200s)

The earliest known illustrated Ashkenazi Haggadah, the Birds’ Head Haggadah gets its name from the fascinating depictions of humans with birds heads, thought to be a result of strict compliance to the Jewish prohibition against graven images.
The earliest known illustrated Ashkenazi Haggadah, the Birds’ Head Haggadah gets its name from the fascinating depictions of humans with birds heads, thought to be a result of strict compliance to the Jewish prohibition against graven images.

Diane Cole: Is Passover the New Christmas?

Americans of all religions now embrace the holiday celebrating the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt.

Source: WSJ, 4-15-11

Of all Jewish holiday traditions, the most popular remains the Passover seder—the festive ritual meal, celebrated next week, at which family and friends gather to recount the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt and deliverance from bondage to freedom. It’s so popular, in fact, that these days more and more of those seated at seder tables are non-Jews. Not only that: An increasing number of churches now offer their own versions of the Passover seder.

The Passover seder’s embrace by Christians seems an unlikely phenomenon. The Passover haggadah—the book that guides the seder service as prescribed by Jewish tradition—is designed to fulfill the Torah’s commandment that Jews remember and retell the journey from slavery to freedom every year. The haggadah’s reminder is explicit: “If the most holy, blessed be He, had not brought forth our ancestors from Egypt, we, and our children, and children’s children, had still continued in bondage to the Pharaohs in Egypt.” Jews are taught to celebrate each Passover as if they themselves were embarking on that journey from Egypt.

What makes Christians’ embrace of Passover all the more unusual is that for centuries—even into the 20th—the holiday’s proximity to Good Friday and Easter routinely sparked violent anti-Jewish riots and pogroms, especially in Europe.

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, however, churches world-wide began to reconsider their relationship to Judaism. In the U.S., another major factor was the cooperation of blacks and Jews in the struggle for civil rights. The Passover seder’s core theme of liberation began to inspire interfaith “Freedom seders.” Those, in turn, opened the door to other liberation-themed seders and haggadahs, thus further broadening the appeal of the holiday.

The changing demographics of American Jewry have played a role, too. Before 1970, only 13% of married American Jews were married to non-Jews. By the turn of the 21st century, that figure was 47%, according to the National Jewish Population Survey. As a result, interfaith couples and families have had a growing presence at Passover seder tables, both as guests and as hosts.

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People of various faiths and nationalities attend an interfaith Passover celebration in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

For some of these families, the seder—which has a recognizable theme and generally takes place at someone’s home, rather than at a synagogue—provides a comfortable introduction to Jewish ritual. That’s one message of the recently published book by journalists Cokie and Steve Roberts, “Our Haggadah: Uniting Traditions for Interfaith Families.” Themselves an intermarried couple (he’s Jewish, she’s Catholic), the Robertses have for decades hosted a Passover seder, mostly for other interfaith families.

While such Passover seders are often multicultural, the observance remains grounded in Jewish religious ritual, tradition and meaning. That has been the case with the seders held by President Obama in the White House. But that is not necessarily the case with seders aimed at Christian audiences….READ MORE