The Passover Haggadah

The holiday of Passover falls this Saturday night. Aside from the massive amount of cleaning in preparation for the holiday, the unique feature of the holiday is the Passover seder at which the hagaddah is read. The hagaddah is one of the most enduring texts of Judaism – although it deals with ancient history, diverse communities in different time periods have found relevance in the hagaddah for their lives.

Jewish artist Arhur Szyk illustrated a hagaddah in 1935 in which the Egyptians oppressing the Jews were drawn to look like Nazis. The hagaddah also included Zionist themes.

In 1946, a seder celebrated in a DP camp used a hagaddah put together by Yosef Dov Sheinson, a Lithuanian Jewish Holocaust survivor. Sheinson drew parallels between Pharaoh and Hitler, Exodus and the liberation of the camps, and the ancient Promised Land and the modern-day Land of Israel.

Between the 1930s and the 1960s, Kibbutzim in Israel wrote their own hagaddahs. These hagaddahs focused on the establishment of the State of Israel, the Holocaust, immigration and national and social freedom. These hagaddahs were read either accompanied by the traditional hagaddah or by themselves.

Modern hagaddahs often discuss issues such as feminism, modern-day slavery, the plight of Jews in the former USSR and the generation gap.

How is the hagaddah relevant to YOUR life?

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