Whether you are hosting your very first seder, or your first seder in a long time, or you want to shake things up, or you lost your old haggadot in a move, there is a Haggadah for everyone.
While traditional publishers are still in the game, in recent years specialty haggadot, and Haggadah supplements, have proliferated online, and are often free
Hosting an interfaith seder? There’s a Haggadah for that. Want to include the history of Jewish women, or the struggles that modern-day women face, in your seder? Yes, there’s a supplement for that. How about a short and sweet Haggadah to engage little kids? Yes, those exist too.
Published by the Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness, “Oranges and Olives: A Modern, Interfaith Family Passover Haggadah,” by Nancy Cronk, is an older entry on this list but, with the rise in interfaith marriages and relationships, it is increasingly useful. This Haggadah “is respectful of non-traditional family structures and adoption issues” and assumes no previous knowledge of Judaism or Passover. There are also helpful tips for menu planning, how to make a seder child-friendly, setting the seder table, pronunciations and a shopping list.
The illustrations in this Haggadah are mostly simple clip-art, but if you have guests from multiple faith backgrounds, need a refresher course, want an hour-long seder, or want to host a seder that is accepting of vegetarianism and feminism, this might be the one for you.
Choose this if: you’re hosting a seder for friends from a range of religious and spiritual backgrounds, you are feeling a little rusty, or it’s your first time leading a seder.
Feminist Supplement to the Haggadah
Published by the National Council of Jewish Women, “The Five Women of the Exodus: A Feminist Supplement to the Haggadah” is a three-page addition to whichever Haggadah you use.
Inspired by the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the increasing attacks on LGBTQIA+ children and families, this supplement seeks to draw inspiration and strength from our foremothers. It begins, “In our struggles for a more just world, these ancient heroines can illuminate the way, offer inspiration and perspectives on the work ahead of us. And as we mark moments of triumph, it is all the sweeter to harken back to our foremothers’ stories of persistence and resilience.”
In this Haggadah, each of the four cups of wine is rededicated to one or more women: Shifra and Puah, the midwives who refused to kill the firstborn sons; Yocheved, the mother of Moses, Miriam and Aaron; Batya, the pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted Moses; and Miriam, the prophet, who kept her family together and led the women and children across the Red Sea, singing and dancing.
Choose this if: the past year has you looking for ways to spotlight the struggles and triumphs of women, your family already uses a specific Haggadah and you want to add and lead this section, or you are a big fan of Miriam.
Published by PJ Library, “In Every Generation: A PJ Library 15-Minute Haggadah” is a brief, colorful and adorably illustrated option for families with young children. The interactive PDF contains embedded links that lead to video explainers, pronunciation guides and songs. The Haggadah encourages interaction and storytelling help from the kids. The songs are written in Hebrew, transliteration and English, so there are options for the whole family.
Choose this if: you have young children, you are OK with having a computer tablet at the seder table, or you are looking for a very cute Haggadah with illustrations that will charm both kids and parents.
If literature is near and dear to your heart, “The Shakespeare Haggadah: Elevate Thy Seder with the Bard of Avon,” by Martin Bodek (Post Hill Press 2023), might be for you. Written entirely in Shakespearean-esque English, this Haggadah is perfect for a gathering of English professors or actors. Broken into five acts, the Haggadah has a seder-plate diagram that includes “The bare-picked bone of majesty,” “The enchanted herbs,” and “Lump of clay” – all references to various Shakespeare plays.
Illustrated with black-and-white woodcuts, the Shakespeare Haggadah also includes stage directions and asides. The text is written in Hebrew and Shakespearean English, complete with footnotes that tell you which Shakespeare play a line came from.
Choose this if: you have a lot of actors coming to your seder, you want something different this year, or you have lots of time.
Social Justice Haggadah
If you are feeling like your world became very small during the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Jewish World Service Haggadah, “Until We Are All Free: A Global Justice Haggadah,” might help you connect to the larger world.
This Haggadah takes the story of Passover and ties it to injustices happening in the world today as a reminder that the past repeats. It states, “Our legacy as the descendants of slaves charges us with great responsibility: We must stand up for the stranger because we were strangers in the land of Egypt. And because we were freed, we must pursue freedom for others.”
This Haggadah includes additional questions – “With whom would you like to grow in solidarity this year? How can you deepen those relationships?” – that guide participants to discuss both philosophical and practical issues relating to social change.
Throughout the text, people are invited to consider their place in the world, and the skills and power they have to create a new and better world.
Choose this if: you are feeling like change isn’t possible, you want to have a deep and meaningful seder with your guests, you want to be reminded that you have the power to make a positive difference.
SARAH GREENLEAF (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the digital marketing specialist for the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island and writes for Jewish Rhode Island.ap