Haggadah and Liberation

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"A Growing Haggadah" by Rabbi Mark Hurvitz, Poway (San Diego cty)
Presently over three thousand known editions of the Haggadah exist and in recent years a new effort has begun to express the story of the Passover in contemporary terms and with allusions to current struggles. One of the many unreciprocated gifts of the Kibbutz Movement to the Jewish people is the renewed awareness of the origin of much of our ritual life in the natural world. The choice of the Partizans of the Warsaw Ghetto to begin their revolt on the first night of Passover was based, not only on the tactical need of the moment, but their understanding of the meaning of the Passover story. Among those haggadot prepared for the English reading world, perhaps first of these was The New Haggadah (Behrman House Inc., New York, NY, revised edition 1942), edited by Mordecai Kaplan, which attempted a minor reconstruction of the text. Since the late 1960's the numbers of new Haggadot have expanded greatly and they touch on all aspects of "liberation" (though primarily as it is expressed in political terms). Many exist only in typescript or xerox editions. Among the more unusual and lesser known express the meaning of liberation from a variety of specific perspectives. These include
* humanism: "Hurvitz' Humanist Haggadah" (Hurvitz, Nathan, Los Angeles, 1968, typescript)

* women's liberation: "Women's Seder of Liberation" (no author, Los Angeles, 1976, xerox edition)

* radical politics: "A Radical Haggadah for Passover" (Waskow, Arthur, Ramparts, April 1969, p. 25-33), "4th World Haggadah" (Harris, Joel and Jack Schuldenfrei, World Union of Jewish Students, London, 1970)

* those that strive for non-gender-linked terminology: "The Telling; A Loving Haggadah for Passover" (ben Khayyim, Dov, ed., Rakhamim Publications, Oakland, CA, 1983), "Gates of Freedom: A Passover Haggadah" (Stern, Chaim, New Star Press, Bedford, NY, 1981)

* one that includes the liberation of the Palestinian people: "The Seder of the Children of Abraham" (Bartnoff, Devorah, et. al. pp 38-72, in New Jewish Agenda, comp. The Shalom Seders, Three Haggadahs, Adama Books, 1984)

* expressing opposition to apartheid: "Seder for Freedom in Southern Africa" (Jews Against Apartheid, London, 1987)

* and, not least, vegetarian: "Haggadah for the Liberated Lamb" (Kalechofsky, Roberta, Micha Publications, Marbelhead, MA, 1985)
The process is likely to continue. New Haggadot recently published make children greater participants in the Seder.
I also participate in this development. This Haggadah, which has now gone through numerous editions, struggles with the concept of liberation itself and suggests we may never actually complete the process.
From "Afterword":

anding my awareness of how to realize the values of Pesach through the experience of the Seder. To give credit where it is due (in chronological order of publication though not necessarily how I came to know them):

* Pesach Haggadah, Hakibutz Haartzi Hashomer Hatzair Israel, 1966

* Let Our People Go, The Jewish Radical Community of Los Angeles, 1970

* The Fourth World Haggadah, Joel Harris, World Union of Jewish Students, 1970

* Jewish Liberation Hagada, Aviva Cantor Zuckoff, Jewish Liberation Project, 1971

* Haggadah Shel Pesach, Libbe Madsen, @1974

* A Passover Haggadah, The New Union Haggadah, Herbert Bronstein, Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1975

* The New Song, A Passover Haggadah, Jewish Socialist Community, Oberlin College, Ohio, 1978

* The Humanist Haggadah, Society for Humanistic Judaism, 1979

* Gates of Freedom, A Passover Haggadah, Chaim Stern, New Star Press, 1982

* Passover Haggadah, The Feast of Freedom, Rachel Anne Rabinowicz, The Rabbinical Assembly, 1982

* The Rainbow Seder, Arthur Waskow, Adama Books, 1984

* The Haggadah for Pesah, Reuven P. Bulka, Machon Pri Ha'aretz, Jerusalem, 1985

* A Family Haggadah, Shoshana Silberman, Kar-Ben Copies, Inc., 1987

* The New Morning Community Haggadah (as quoted in Pesah a "how to" handbook, Joy Levitt and Lee Friedlander, no date)

* The Passover Haggadah Legends and Customs, Menachem Hacohen, Adama Books, NY, 1987 (which, along with Yerushalmi's Haggadah and History, supplied some of the graphics at one time)

* Haggadah, The "telling" of the Passover story, Tilda and Barry Mann, Los Angeles, 1988

* A Sephardic Passover Haggadah, Marc D. Angel, KTAV Publishing House, Hoboken, NJ, 1988
* On Wings of Freedom, The Hillel Haggadah for the Nights of Passover, Richard N. Levy, KTAV Publishing House, Hoboken, NJ, 1989 (http://www.ktav.com/)

KTAV Publishing Inc., 930 Newark Ave., Jerseyu City NJ 07306, 201-963-9524



(To be sung to the the tune of "These are a few of my favorite things" from Mary Poppins)
Cleaning and cooking and so many dishes

Out with the hametz, no pasta, no knishes

Fish that's gefillted, horseradish that stings

These are a few of our Passover things.

Matzah and karpas and chopped up haroset

Shankbones and kiddish and yiddish neuroses

Tante who kvetches and uncle who sings

These are a few of our Passover things.

Motzi and maror and trouble with Pharoahs

Famines and locusts and slaves with wheelbarrows

Matzah balls floating and eggshell that clings

These are a few of our Passover things.

When the plagues strike

When the lice bite

When we're feeling sad

We simply remember our Passover things

And then we don't feel so bad.

I've been cooking for this seder

Erev Pesach day

Making matzah balls and kugel

So we'll feast as well as pray

Can't you smell the pareve sponge cake

It rises up so little without yeast

Can't you hear our voices singing

At this joyous Pesach feast

Mama, you can cook

Mama, you can cook

Milchidik and fleishidik and pareve, too

Mama, you can stew

Mama, you can stew

Your seder food's delicious and we thank you.

Q. What did the blind man say when handed a matzah?

A. "Who wrote this nonsense?"

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