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Special 30th Anniversary Haggadah

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Rabbi Shlomo Goren, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel, has written a new prayerbook, “The Haggadah for Israel’s Independence Day,” to help institutionalize as a Jewish holiday the historic event of the birth of the State of Israel 30 years ago. The idea of such a Haggadah was conceived by the national United Jewish Appeal as “a meaningful instrument for the expression of Jewish unity and as a molder of Jewish community life,” according to Irving Bernstein, UJA executive vice-president.

The Haggadah was adopted to a two-part radio program by Paul Kwartin, the host of “On Wings of Song,” which will be presented on radio station WQXR April 30 and May 7. According to an advance text of the program, Bernstein, in opening remarks, says:

“In this life-improving and often life-saving framework of UJA-Federation humanitarian services, we are proud to initiate this unique Haggadah. In the tradition of the Jewish past, the Haggadah retells the story of the struggle of the Jewish people through a period of destruction to redemption, from Holocaust to the State of Israel, from 1948 to 1978.”

The Haggadah is subdivided into six basic chapters and offers, in the fashion of the holiday of freedom–Passover–five cups: the cup of freedom, the cup of deliverance, the cup of renewal, the cup of acceptance, the cup of hope.

Included in the Haggadah is an ancient custom of affixing a Mizrach on the Eastern wall of Jewish homes, facing Jerusalem. The Mizrach, which is an ornamented scroll, was commissioned from the noted Israeli artist, Pinchas Shaar. It depicts the two lions of judah, with a laminated inscription of Isaiah’s pledge: “For Jerusalem’s sake I will not be still, and for Zion’s sake I will not be silent, till her victory emerges resplendent and her triumph like a flaming sword.”

To lend distinctiveness to the celebration of Israel Independence Day, the Haggadah recommends that this might be a dairy meal, displaying pitchers of milk and honey, symbolizing Eretz Israel, Biblically described as “a land flowing with milk and honey.”

The WQXR program will include a prayer from the “Gates of Repentance, ” the new Union of American Hebrew Congregations prayer book for the High Holy Days, which will be intoned by Rabbi Melvin Libman, director of the UJA Rabbinical Advisory Council. The music and arrangements for the program are by the well-known Israeli composer Issachar Miron, who also pioneered a similar program two years ago. Dick O’Connor of WQXR, the producer of the program, said the Haggadah will also be broadcast on WCRB (Boston) WFLN(Philadelphia) and WTMI (Miami). Copies of the Haggadah are available at the United Jewish Appeal, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10019.

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