Gayla Bassham's Reviews > New American Haggadah

New American Haggadah by Jonathan Safran Foer
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's review
Jan 03, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 2012-reads, src-spring-2012
Recommended to Gayla by: The Millions 2012 round-up

This is a beautiful book, and since Nathan Englander translated it, you know that it must be beautifully written. When I opened it for the first time, I wished I had ordered more than one copy, so I could use it at our seder this year.

But after I read it, I decided that I am just as happy with the current Haggadah, one I assembled by taking the parts I liked best from half-a-dozen sources. Yes, probably violating all sorts of copyright laws, but I'm not trying to sell it or pass it off as my work, so I think I'm okay. (I would argue it falls under Fair Use.)

Here's what I like about it: did I mention that it's beautiful? It's really, really beautiful. But here's what I don't like about it: no gender-neutral language, and no mention of alternative traditions such as the Miriam's Cup (which has been a part of our seder for many years). These omissions make the Haggadah feel dated. I like to strike a balance between tradition and modernity, and I don't think this haggadah does that quite. There are also no transliterations, which would really be a deal-breaker for us since we often invite non-Jewish friends to our seder and we want them to be comfortable and feel included.

Having said that, there are many passages I like and I think I will incorporate parts of it into my crazy quilt of a Haggadah.
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message 1: by Anna (new)

Anna Elliott Gayla, your Haggadah sounds wonderful.

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