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My People’s Passover Haggadah
Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries

In two volumes, this empowering resource for the spiritual revival of our times enables us to find deeper meaning in one of Judaism’s most beloved traditions, the Passover Seder. Rich Haggadah commentary adds layer upon layer of new insight to the age-old celebration of the journey from slavery to freedom—and makes its power accessible to ...

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My People's Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries

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Overview

My People’s Passover Haggadah
Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries

In two volumes, this empowering resource for the spiritual revival of our times enables us to find deeper meaning in one of Judaism’s most beloved traditions, the Passover Seder. Rich Haggadah commentary adds layer upon layer of new insight to the age-old celebration of the journey from slavery to freedom—and makes its power accessible to all.

This diverse and exciting Passover resource features the traditional Haggadah Hebrew text with a new translation designed to let you know exactly what the Haggadah says. Introductory essays help you understand the historical roots of Passover, the development of the Haggadah, and how to make sense out of texts and customs that evolved from ancient times.

Framed with beautifully designed Talmud-style pages, My People’s Passover Haggadah features commentaries by scholars from all denominations of Judaism. You are treated to insights by experts in such fields as the Haggadah’s history; its biblical roots; its confrontation with modernity; and its relationship to rabbinic midrash and Jewish law, feminism, Chasidism, theology, and kabbalah.

No other resource provides such a wide-ranging exploration of the Haggadah, a reservoir of inspiration and information for creating meaningful Seders every year.

“The Haggadah is a book not just of the Jewish People, but of ordinary Jewish people. It is a book we all own, handle, store at home, and spill wine upon! Pick up a Siddur, and you have the history of our People writ large; pick up a Haggadah, and you have the same—but also the chronicle of Jewish life writ small: the story of families and friends whose Seders have become their very own local cultural legacy.... My People’s Passover Haggadah is for each and every person looking to enrich their annual experience of Passover in their own unique way.”

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Here's everything you ever wanted to know about the Passover haggadah, from multiple perspectives: biblical, historical, theological, legal, rabbinic, mystical, feminist-and then some. The editors don't take anything for granted, even defining basic terms like haggadah itself and discussing the translation of barukh, the first word of every blessing. But this comprehensive two-volume handbook is not for the cursory reader or even for light use at the seder table. It opens with a collection of scholarly essays reflecting all denominations of Judaism, then segues into the text, presented cleverly in Talmudic format (in Hebrew with a new English translation) and surrounded by commentaries. Contributors include Lawrence Kushner, Arthur Green, Carole Balin and Neil Gillman as well as Hoffman (My People's Prayer Book) and Arnow (Creating Lively Passover Seders). The plurality of voices lends richness to the reader's understanding of the familiar text, but it can be confusing to follow the flow of the commentaries, which continue beyond the text and even overshadow it. Still, this illuminating resource provides a myriad of in-depth answers to the "why?" in "why is this night different from all others?" (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

The Haggadah is the printed guide to the Passover seder, the Jewish ritual feast held on the first night of Passover. Hundreds of editions of the Haggadah have been published, and dozens of them are available in English. What makes this Haggadah (the text of which is by E.D. Goldschmidt, newly translated by Hoffman) unique is its wealth and diversity of commentaries by some dozen scholars and practicing rabbis on pertinent aspects of Jewish law and history, problems of translation, biblical references, theological aspects, and traditional, medieval, Hasidic, contemporary, and feminist interpretations. Most of these contributors also write introductory essays on such topics as the history and meaning of the Passover celebration, the relation of the American seder to the changing Jewish identity, and Christianity and the seder. Many other books offer songs, games, stories, and recipes to enrich the Passover experience, but this two-volume work will provide Jewish families and groups with a richer understanding of this major holiday, its observance, and its meaning for their lives. Highly recommended for public, academic, and synagog libraries. (Finalized illustrations not seen.)
—Marcia Welsh

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580236188
  • Publisher: Longhill Partners, Inc
  • Publication date: 3/5/2012
  • Series: My People's Passover Haggadah
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

David Arnow, PhD, a psychologist by training, is widely recognized for his innovative work to make the Passover Seder a truly exciting encounter each year with Judaism's most central ideas. He has been deeply involved with many organizations in the American Jewish community and Israel and is a respected lecturer, writer, and scholar of the Passover Haggadah. He is author of Creating Lively Passover Seders: A Sourcebook of Engaging Tales, Texts & Activities and coeditor of the two-volume My People's Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries, with Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD (Jewish Lights).

Dr. Marc Zvi Brettler is the Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University. He contributed to all volumes of the My People's Prayer Book: Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries series, winner of the National Jewish Book Award, and to My People's Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries; Who by Fire, Who by Water—Un'taneh Tokef; All These Vows—Kol Nidre; May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism—Yizkor; and We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism—Ashamnu and Al Chet (all Jewish Lights). He is coeditor of The Jewish Annotated New Testament and The Jewish Study Bible, which won the National Jewish Book Award; co-author of The Bible and the Believer; and author of How to Read the Jewish Bible, among other books and articles. He has also been interviewed on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air by Terry Gross.

Neil Gillman, rabbi and PhD, is professor of Jewish philosophy at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, where he has served as chair of the Department of Jewish Philosophy and dean of the Rabbinical School. He is author of Believing and Its Tensions: A Personal Conversation about God, Torah, Suffering and Death in Jewish Thought; The Death of Death: Resurrection and Immortality in Jewish Thought, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and a Publishers Weekly "Best Book of the Year"; The Way Into Encountering God in Judaism; The Jewish Approach to God: A Brief Introduction for Christians; Traces of God: Seeing God in Torah, History and Everyday Life (all Jewish Lights); and Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew, winner of the National Jewish Book Award.

Arthur Green, PhD, is recognized as one of the world's preeminent authorities on Jewish thought and spirituality. He is the Irving Brudnick professor of philosophy and religion at Hebrew College and rector of the Rabbinical School, which he founded in 2004. Professor emeritus at Brandeis University, he also taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where he served as dean and president.

Dr. Green is author of several books including Ehyeh: A Kabbalah for Tomorrow; Seek My Face: A Jewish Mystical Theology; Your Word Is Fire: The Hasidic Masters on Contemplative Prayer; and Tormented Master: The Life and Spiritual Quest of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav (all Jewish Lights). He is also author of Radical Judaism (Yale University Press) and co-editor of Speaking Torah: Spiritual Teachings from around the Maggid's Table. He is long associated with the Havurah movement and a neo-Hasidic approach to Judaism.

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD, has served for more than three decades as professor of liturgy at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. He is a world-renowned liturgist and holder of the Stephen and Barbara Friedman Chair in Liturgy, Worship and Ritual. His work combines research in Jewish ritual, worship and spirituality with a passion for the spiritual renewal of contemporary Judaism.

He has written and edited many books, including All the World: Universalism, Particularism and the High Holy Days; May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism—Yizkor, We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism—Ashamnu and Al Chet, Who by Fire, Who by Water—Un'taneh Tokef and All These Vows—Kol Nidre, the first five volumes in the Prayers of Awe series; the My People's Prayer Book: Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries series, winner of the National Jewish Book Award; and he is coeditor of My People's Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries (all Jewish Lights), a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.

Rabbi Hoffman is a developer of Synagogue 3000, a transdenominational project designed to envision and implement the ideal synagogue of the spirit for the twenty-first century.

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD, is available to speak on the following topics:

  • A Day of Wine and Moses: The Passover Haggadah and the Seder You Have Always Wanted
  • Preparing for the High Holy Days: How to Appreciate the Liturgy of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
  • The Essence of Jewish Prayer: The Prayer Book in Context and Worship in Our Time
  • Beyond Ethnicity: The Coming Project for North American Jewish Identity
  • Synagogue Change: Transforming Synagogues as Spiritual and Moral Centers for the Twenty-First Century

Click here to contact the author.

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner is one of the most widely read authors by people of all faiths on Jewish spiritual life. He is the best-selling author of such books as Invisible Lines of Connection: Sacred Stories of the Ordinary; God Was in This Place & I, i Did Not Know: Finding Self, Spirituality and Ultimate Meaning; Honey from the Rock: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism; The Book of Letters: A Mystical Hebrew Alphabet; The Book of Miracles: A Young Person's Guide to Jewish Spiritual Awareness; The Book of Words: Talking Spiritual Life, Living Spiritual Talk; Eyes Remade for Wonder: A Lawrence Kushner Reader; I'm God, You're Not: Observations on Organized Religion and other Disguises of the Ego; Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians; The River of Light: Jewish Mystical Awareness; The Way Into Jewish Mystical Tradition; and co-author of Because Nothing Looks Like God; How Does God Make Things Happen?; Where Is God?; What Does God Look Like?; and In God's Hands. He is the Emanu-El Scholar at San Francisco's Congregation Emanu-El and an adjunct professor of Jewish mysticism and spirituality at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion.

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner is available to speak on the following topics:

• Jewish Mystical Imagination

• Rymanover's Silent Aleph: What Really Happened on Sinai

• Zohar on Romance and Revelation

• What Makes Kabbalah Kabbalah

• Sacred Stories of the Ordinary: When God Makes a Surprise Appearance in Everyday Life

Click here to contact the author.

Rabbi Nehemia Polen is professor of Jewish thought at Hebrew College. He is the author of The Holy Fire: The Teachings of Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, the
Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto and The Rebbe's Daughter, recipient of a National
Jewish Book Award. He is also a contributor to the award-winning My People's
Prayer Book: Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries
(Jewish Lights).

Rabbi Daniel Landes is the director and rosh hayeshivah of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Pardes brings together men and women of all backgrounds to study classical Jewish texts and contemporary Jewish issues in a rigorous, challenging and open-minded environment.Rabbi Landes is also a contributor to the My People's Prayer Book: Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries series, winner of the National Jewish Book Award and My People's Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award; Who by Fire, Who by Water—Un’taneh Tokef; We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism—Ashamnu and Al Chet and All These Vows—Kol Nidre (all Jewish Lights).

Dr. Wendy Zierler is professor of modern Jewish literature and feminist studies at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, New York. She is translator and coeditor with Rabbi Carole Balin of To Tread on New Ground: The Selected Writings of Hava Shapiro (forthcoming) and a Behikansi atah (Shapiro's collected writings, in the original/Hebrew). She is also author of And Rachel Stole the Idols and the feminist Haggadah commentary featured in My People's Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries (Jewish Lights), a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. She contributed to May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism—Yizkor, Who by Fire, Who by Water—Un’taneh Tokef, All These Vows—Kol Nidre, and We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism—Ashamnu and Al Chet (all Jewish Lights).

David Arnow, PhD, a psychologist by training, is widely recognized for his innovative work to make the Passover Seder a truly exciting encounter each year with Judaism's most central ideas. He has been deeply involved with many organizations in the American Jewish community and Israel and is a respected lecturer, writer, and scholar of the Passover Haggadah. He is author of Creating Lively Passover Seders: A Sourcebook of Engaging Tales, Texts & Activities and coeditor of the two-volume My People's Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries, with Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD (Jewish Lights).

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD, has served for more than three decades as professor of liturgy at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. He is a world-renowned liturgist and holder of the Stephen and Barbara Friedman Chair in Liturgy, Worship and Ritual. His work combines research in Jewish ritual, worship and spirituality with a passion for the spiritual renewal of contemporary Judaism.

He has written and edited many books, including All the World: Universalism, Particularism and the High Holy Days; May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism—Yizkor, We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism—Ashamnu and Al Chet, Who by Fire, Who by Water—Un'taneh Tokef and All These Vows—Kol Nidre, the first five volumes in the Prayers of Awe series; the My People's Prayer Book: Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries series, winner of the National Jewish Book Award; and he is coeditor of My People's Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries (all Jewish Lights), a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.

Rabbi Hoffman is a developer of Synagogue 3000, a transdenominational project designed to envision and implement the ideal synagogue of the spirit for the twenty-first century.

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD, is available to speak on the following topics:

  • A Day of Wine and Moses: The Passover Haggadah and the Seder You Have Always Wanted
  • Preparing for the High Holy Days: How to Appreciate the Liturgy of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
  • The Essence of Jewish Prayer: The Prayer Book in Context and Worship in Our Time
  • Beyond Ethnicity: The Coming Project for North American Jewish Identity
  • Synagogue Change: Transforming Synagogues as Spiritual and Moral Centers for the Twenty-First Century

Click here to contact the author.

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Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS INTRODUCTION: HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THIS BOOK Lawrence A. Hoffman and David Arnow PART I CELEBRATING PASSOVER: CONTEXTUAL REFLECTIONS 1. WHAT IS THE HAGGADAH ANYWAY? Lawrence A. Hoffman 2. PASSOVER IN THE BIBLE AND BEFORE David Arnow 3. PASSOVER FOR THE EARLY RABBIS: FIXED AND FREE David Arnow 4. THIS BREAD: CHRISTIANITY AND THE SEDER Lawrence A. Hoffman 5. THE SEDER PLATE: THE WORLD ON A DISH David Arnow 6. PEOPLEHOOD WITH PURPOSE: THE AMERICAN SEDER AND CHANGING JEWISH IDENTITY Lawrence A. Hoffman 7. WHERE HAVE ALL THE WOMEN GONE? FEMINIST QUESTIONS ABOUT THE HAGGADAH Wendy I. Zierler 8. MOVING THROUGH THE MOVEMENTS: AMERICAN DENOMINATIONS AND THEIR HAGGADOT Carole B. Balin 9. "GOOD TO THE LAST DROP": THE PROLIFERATION OF THE MAXWELL HOUSE HAGGADAH Carole B. Balin PART II THE PASSOVER HAGGADAH A. SETTING THE STAGE 1. PREPARING THE HOME A. “THE CHECKING OF LEAVEN” (B'DIKAT CHAMETS) B. PERMISSION TO COOK FOR SHABBAT: “THE MIXING OF FOODS” (ERUV TAVSHILIN) C. ARRANGING THE SEDER PLATE 2. THE ORDER OF THE SEDER: KADESH URCHATS … 3. BEGINNING THE SEDER A. LIGHTING CANDLES B. DEFINING SACRED TIME (KIDDUSH AND THE FIRST CUP) C. DISTINGUISHING TIMES OF HOLINESS (HAVDALAH) D. GRATITUDE FOR BEING HERE (SHEHECHEYANU) E. THE FIRST WASHING (URCHATS) AND DIPPING KARPAS F. “BREAKING THE MATZAH” (YACHATS) AND RESERVING THE AFIKOMAN G. “BREAD OF AFFLICTION,” HA LACHMA ANYA: BEGIN MAGGID (“TELLING”) 4. QUESTIONS OF THE NIGHT: MAH NISHTANAH, “WHY IS THIS NIGHT DIFFERENT?” B. FROM ENSLAVEMENT … 5. A SHORT ANSWER: ENSLAVEMENT IS PHYSICAL— AVADIM HAYYINU, “WE WERE SLAVES” 6. HOW WE TELL THE TALE A. EVERYONE TELLS THE STORY: “EVEN IF ALL OF US WERE SMART …” B. TELLING AT LENGTH: THE FIVE SAGES’ SEDER C. TELLING AT NIGHT? “ALL THE DAYS OF YOUR LIFE …” D. TELLING THE NEXT GENERATION: THE FOUR CHILDREN E. TELLING AT THE PROPER TIME: AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MONTH? 7. A SHORT ANSWER: ENSLAVEMENT IS SPIRITUAL— WE WORSHIPED IDOLS 8. PROMISES—PAST AND PRESENT A. THE PROMISE TO ABRAHAM: “BLESSED IS THE ONE WHO KEEPS HIS PROMISE …” B. THE PROMISE TO US: “THIS KEPT OUR ANCESTORS AND US GOING …” Notes List of Abbreviations Glossary About the Contributors

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