Was it Shalom Hanoch who sang that his friend Moshiach isn’t coming. He isn’t even Going to Telefon?

I fear that Eliyahu Ha Navi is not coming either. He is quarantined like the rest of us.

Nevertheless, here are some new haggadot recently published to enliven your online seder.

The Promise of the Land:
A Passover Haggadah
by Ellen Bernstein
Illustrated by Galia Goodman

Published: February 2020
By: Berman House

Ellen Bernstein is the founder of Shomrei Adamah, the first national Jewish environmental organization. She is also the author of Ecology and the Jewish Spirit and The Splendor of Creation, and coauthor of Let the Earth Teach You Torah. She lives in Holyoke, MA.

Ruth Messinger of the American Jewish World Service said it is “Magnificent.”

It highlights the role of nature. It restores earlier words from the haggadah that highlighted nature. From the plain, dry matzah, the bread of slavery, poverty and affliction, it is symbolic of the simplicity of earth, wheat, and water, to the first fruits of the soil that the Israelites offered in gratitude, the earth has always been at the center of who we are as a people.

Passover marks the Jewish people’s liberation from slavery in Egypt and the coming of spring. Yet it is also a story about land and the natural world. All our biblical holidays – Passover included – originally commemorated the agrarian and pastoral soil out of which Judaism grew. Our well-being and our freedom ultimately depend on the earth’s well-being. This haggadah seeks to reveal the seder’s ecological dimensions and awaken its environmental meaning. Rabbi Jill Hammer said it is “Original and fascinating. …A knowledgeable and heartfelt piece of work.”

What does the “promise of the land” refer to? In Hebrew the word for land, eretz, also means earth. Ecologically speaking, the promise of the land is everything the land or the earth promises: soil, trees, water, wood, food, minerals, oxygen, freedom and life. We are utterly dependent on the land, the earth, and all its gifts. Our sages taught that the land does not belong to us; we belong to it. We cannot be free; we cannot live without the land, our habitat.

This year, honor the earth and all its creatures with a Passover seder that honors our tradition and the earth. Ruth Messinger calls this seder, “Magnificent; an extraordinary contribution to Jewish life,” and Bill McKibben states, “The Promise of the Land will reopen the wonder of Passover, adding a deep layer of connection to the planet, making old rituals new for the 21st century.”

Here is a SAMPLE PAGE or two.

The Passover Haggadah:
An Ancient Story for Modern Times
by Alana Newhouse
Tablet magazine, Editor

Published: February 2020
BY: Artisan/Workman

Each generation is called to perform a Passover Seder, a ritual designed to help us imagine personally experiencing the exodus from Egypt. But how can we do this together, when today our tables include people of different backgrounds, knowledge, and beliefs? Let this Passover Haggadah be your guide.

Both proudly traditional and blazingly modern, it is a perfect blueprint for remembering the past, living in our present, and imagining the future. Here you’ll find the entirety of the Seder text for those who don’t want to miss a thing—including Hebrew, English, and a newly developed transliteration that makes the Hebrew surprisingly accessible. And, alongside, contemporary questions, illustrations, and meditations on freedom, community, destiny, and other topics that will engage the whole group in a lively and memorable discussion, especially once you’ve started in on those obligatory four cups of wine.

Hebrew, English transliteration and English translation.

Don’t freak when you see two pages on the FOUR SONS. This is followed by two pages of the FOUR DAUGHTERS, in which four famous women write their replies to the SONS.

See sample pages HERE

The Passover Haggadah:
A Biography
(Lives of Great Religious Books)
by Vanessa L. Ochs

Publication Date: March 3, 2020
BY: Princeton University

The life and times of a treasured book read by generations of Jewish families at the seder table

Every year at Passover, Jews around the world gather for the seder, a festive meal where family and friends come together to sing, pray, and enjoy traditional food while retelling the biblical story of the Exodus. The Passover Haggadah provides the script for the meal and is a religious text unlike any other. It is the only sacred book available in so many varieties-from the Maxwell House edition of the 1930s to the countercultural Freedom Seder-and it is the rare liturgical work that allows people with limited knowledge to conduct a complex religious service. The Haggadah is also the only religious book given away for free at grocery stores as a promotion. Vanessa Ochs tells the story of this beloved book, from its emergence in antiquity as an oral practice to its vibrant proliferation today.

Ochs provides a lively and incisive account of how the foundational Jewish narrative of liberation is remembered in the Haggadah. She discusses the book’s origins in biblical and rabbinical literature, its flourishing in illuminated manuscripts in the medieval period, and its mass production with the advent of the printing press. She looks at Haggadot created on the kibbutz, those reflecting the Holocaust, feminist and LGBTQ-themed Haggadot, and even one featuring a popular television show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Ochs shows how this enduring work of liturgy that once served to transmit Jewish identity in Jewish settings continues to be reinterpreted and reimagined to share the message of freedom for all.

At The Maggid’s Seder
Stories and Insights of
Grandeur and Redemption
by Rabbi Paysach Krohn
Published Date: Artscroll Mesorah

Publication Date: March 2020

The commandment of “Sipur Yetziyas Mitzrayim,”” to recount the miracles of our Exodus from Egypt, is one of the most beloved of mitzvos. What better way can we find to fulfill this command than by telling over stories of courage, emunah, compassion and spiritual heroism? And what better person can we find to tell us those stories than Rabbi Paysach Krohn, the famed “American Maggid”? In At the Maggid’s Seder, we are treated to Rabbi Krohn’s incisive and absorbing comments on the Haggadah.

This unique commentary also includes close to 100 stories, told in a way that only Rabbi Paysach Krohn can tell them.

Why did the lovely silver dish become a symbol of maror, of the bitterness of exile?
How did Rav Hutner react at the Seder when a student spilled wine all over the Rosh Yeshivah’s kittel?
How did a young man’s search for truth end up in a beautiful shidduch? OY!

In story after story, we see how many of the themes of the Seder play out in our own lives. We gain a better, deeper understanding of slavery and liberation, of faith and devotion. In this unique commentary, Rabbi Krohn invites us to enjoy a “virtual Seder” with him. In his own words: “..It is my hope and prayer that the stories and insights in this Haggadah will elevate and enhance your Seder, so that all at your table will take with them an exhilarating feeling of awe, joy, and gratitude ” So come and join Rabbi Krohn At the Maggid’s Seder, and see how much this Haggadah will enhance and enrich your own Seder as well.

See pages HERE

Koren Youth Haggada,
Magerman Edition
(Hebrew and English Edition)
by Dr. Daniel Rose

Publication Date: March 1, 2020
BY: Koren Publishers, Jerusalem

The Koren Magerman Youth Haggada fills a unique space in this vibrant and populous market, being designed and written to speak directly to the child in appropriate and engaging language. Part of the Koren Magerman Educational Series, it’s design is based on the widely used Koren Magerman Youth Siddur. It too is beautifully illustrated with educational illustrations that form their own commentary, as well as stories, quotes, questions, and reflections to engage the child and encourage connection to the haggada text.

Educational features of the Koren Magerman Youth Haggadah: The full haggada text in easy-to-read educationally typeset design. An age-appropriate adapted translation of the Hebrew text. Clear instructions for the ritual contained in the Seder night, written in age-appropriate language.
Educational illustrations using powerful imagery to explore the themes from the haggada text. An icon navigation bar to orientate the user within the structure of the Seder service. An ‘experience’ to have on every page to keep the child active and engaged and deepen the experiential theme of the Seder night. Reflection text: Quotes and stories that explore a theme from the haggada text. A question on every page, replicating the educational style of asking questions found in the haggada. Educator’s Guide available on publishers website.

Daniel has a BA from the London School of Jewish Studies in Jewish Studies, a Master’s in Religious Education from University College London’s Institute of Education, and received a Ph.D. from the Melton Center, Hebrew University, in Education. He also studied for two years in Yeshivat HaMivtar in Israel.

About the author