Nathan Englander’s Haggadah (and the Facebook one)


Writing in The New York Times, Nathan Englender reflects on the experience of translating the Haggadah:

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.

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.

With me, this obsessive bent has turned what was supposed to be a short, quick, fun project, into a house piled high with religious texts, a study partner to argue every word choice with Babylonian-style, and countless hours of compulsive work — another year gone by.

Beyond the famed medieval manuscripts — the illuminated Sarajevo Haggadah, and the German Bird’s Head Haggadah — there are versions geared toward seders of every stripe. There are feminist editions, a vegetarian take for “the Liberated Lamb,” “The Anonymous Haggadah” for 12-steppers, one for the United States Armed Forces, the Santa Cruz liturgy, which is both “gender-neutral and God-name-Free,” and a Facebook Haggadah that ends by threatening a twitter version for next year (Google it yourself).

Read the full story.

And click here to check out that Facebook Haggadah.

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