new american haggadah

Lemony Snicket's Commentary in 'The New American Haggadah'

On ‘The Four Sons’:

Some scholars believe there are four kinds of parents as well.

The Wise Parent is an utter bore. “Listen closely, because you are younger than I am,” says the Wise Parent, “and I will go on and on about Jewish history, based on some foggy memories of my own religious upbringing, as well as an article in a Jewish journal I have recently skimmed.” The Wise Parent must be faced with a small smile of dim interest.

The Wicked Parent tries to cram the story of our liberation into a set of narrow opinions about the world. “The Lord let us out of Egypt,” the Wicked Parent says, “which is why I support a bloodthirsty foreign policy and I’m tired of certain types of people causing problems.” The Wicked Parent should be told with a firm voice: “With a strong hand God rescued the Jews from bondage, but it was my own clumsy hand that spilled hot soup in your lap.”

The Simple Parent does not grasp the concept of freedom. “There will be no macaroons until you eat all of your brisket,” says the Simple Parent at a dinner honoring the liberation of oppressed peoples. “Also, stop slouching at the table.” In answer to such statements, the Wise Child will roll his eyes in the direction of the ceiling and declare: “Let my people go.”

The Parent Who Is Unable to Inquire has had too much wine and should be excused from the table.

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OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

The Passover Song

By NATHAN ENGLANDER Published: April 7, 2009

MY life has turned Talmudic. A friend, aware of my religious upbringing, talked me into doing a new translation of the Haggadah — the book from which the story of Exodus is retold in Jewish households, read aloud at the Passover dinners taking place tonight.

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Ward Schumaker

It took a lot of convincing; I’ve been — for a long time — proudly and radically secular. But, as with the rest of my deeply observant family, once I’m committed to an undertaking, it’s zealousness or bust. “Born to Be Ascetic” is the tattoo my mother sports across her back…or the one she would, were she the tattooing kind.

New American Haggadah
NPR
New American Haggadah

April 1, 2012

The Haggadah tells one of the oldest stories of all time: Moses leading the ancient Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.

That tale is retold every year in Jewish homes around the world during Passover, and in particular, over the Passover meal, the Seder.

Novelists Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander have just released a new version of the ancient text, called New American Haggadah. Foer edited the volume, and Englander provided translations from the original Hebrew and Aramaic.

Both men have fond memories of childhood Seders with their families. “It was a real, kind of makeshift, cobbled-together and really happy affair,” Foer tells NPR’s Rachel Martin.

“We used to drink wine,” Englander adds. “I used to slide under the table. That’s a very famous family quote. I was like 4, and I stood up and I said, ‘I be as a drunkard!’ And they still say that to me a lot.”

- NPR