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"H" is for "Hagaddah" (April 2017)

It seems that every Pesach (Passover) season brings new Haggadot.  Many of them link the themes of Passover—slavery, freedom, oppression, liberation—with a contemporary issue.  Sadly, given the human condition, there is no end to the causes or issues that these themes can be attached to. During the Pesach that has just passed, I became aware of two new Haggadot that I want to share with you.  File this away for future Passover use if they appeal to you.


The Hamilton Haggadah is the brainchild of two students at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Emily Cohen and Jake Adler.  Last year the two started playing around with some lyrics and made a few DIY recordings, posted them in a Google Doc, and shared it on Facebook.  To their surprise it went viral, and this year they used an independent study to assemble a full 95-page Haggadah and record 19 songs based on the songs from the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical.


The Hamilton Haggadah focuses, among other things, on immigration.  Alexander Hamilton, according to its creators, “was an immigrant, viewed with suspicion and never fully accepted because of his upbringing” (from a Philadelphia Inquirer interview earlier this month). Sound familiar? Adds Cohen, “This nation is a nation of immigrants. For Jews during Passover to not be thinking about modern-day immigrants and refugees, and our connection to them, is to ignore the very essence of what we’re celebrating. We were ourselves slaves and now we’re free.” To which I add, “Amen!”


The Haggadah and the songs are available to download via the hyperlink provided here.  While it is free, they ask that you make a contribution to HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which works with refugees.


The (unofficial) Hogwarts Haggadah by Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg has some tips on how to make your Seder magical. Prior to Passover it was the number one best seller on Amazon in the categories of Haggadot and Jewish life. Rosenberg is a big fan of the Harry Potter series.  He thinks that J.K. Rowling gets the human condition and humor and adolescence, addresses many core issues of life, and has parallels in many Jewish teachings.  In the Haggadah Rosenberg draws a parallel between the four houses of Hogwarts and the four children of the Seder.  “While they are not and need not be exactly correlated,” he suggests, “these categories of students agree on a major principle of education—each student is an individual, endowed with unique character traits, aptitudes, and passions.”

There you have it—two new alliterative Haggadot beginning with the letter “H.”  One more “H” for your consideration—Haroset.  That was the most popular flavor of this year’s Ben and Jerry’s kosher for Passover ice cream.  In Israel, anyway.  For the past several years Ben and Jerry’s has been making several flavors of kosher for Passover ice cream in Israel.  To the best of my knowledge, not here—why, I have no idea.  After all, the company is based in Vermont!  Please call the company headquarters, write your Senator and Congressman.  We want Ben and Jerry’s on Passover! Next year in Westborough!

Fri, July 12 2024 6 Tammuz 5784