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Rethinking the Exodus Story

A Curmudgeonly, Skeptical Look by Bennett Muraskin   THE PASSOVER HAGODE celebrates the liberation of the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt, but provides few details. Its source document is the Book of Exodus — which on this holiday deserves a closer look. Because Pharaoh fears that the burgeoning Israelite population will become a threat to his rule, he […]

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Next Year in New Jersey

by Rebecca Boroson   “THIS IS A NIGHT for Elijah,” says 7-year-old Bram. The wind is battering the trees and sending the clouds running for cover. And it does, indeed, seem like a night for the biblical prophet, for whom Bram will open the door during the seder — and who may invisibly, if he deigns, […]

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Arthur Szyk, a “Soldier in Art”

by Bennett Muraskin   ALTHOUGH ARTHUR SZYK (1894-1951) is best known today for his Illuminated Hagaddah (1940), still widely used at Passover seders, he was in many ways a political artist, a self-described “soldier in art,” who used his talents to attack fascism, call for the rescue to European Jewry from Nazi-occupied Europe, promote the American war effort and make […]

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A Simple, Highly Participatory Seder

by Lawrence Bush MY FAMILY and Passover intimates have consistently observed the Festival of Matse by turning the hagode text into a participatory event. We assign the holiday themes to individuals at least a couple of weeks in advance. These might include: Springtime  •  Four Questions • Slavery  •  Afikomen (hidden matse) • Burning Bush  […]

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The Hungry Hagode

The Whole Megile, in Verse by Lawrence Bush A FAMILY DINNER? What’s the big deal? Let’s skip all the talking and get to the meal! It’s Passover — why not pass over the chatter? And pass out the matzo balls! Hey! What’s the matter? Sorry! Okay, I’ll be quiet, I promise. I’m listening. Yes, I […]

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A Lock and Key on the Seder Plate

Jewish Currents has helped to organize a Jewish Working Group to End the New Jim Crow, which includes a task force within the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, T’ruah (formerly Rabbis for Human Rights—North America), and JFREJ (Jews for Racial and Economic Justice). This Working Group has promised three products: a Passover Haggadah supplement, a Jewish study […]

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March 26: The Maxwell House Haggadah

The creator of the Maxwell House Passover Haggadah, Joseph Jacobs, a former advertising manager with the Jewish Daily Forward who founded his own advertising firm in 1919, died at 75 on this date in 1967. Jacobs created the Maxwell House Haggadah as a publicity tool for the coffee company in the 1930s. More than 50 […]

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