(JTA) — What makes this year’s batch of new haggadahs different from all other years’? For one thing, there are entries written by machines — with not just one but two different versions written by artificial intelligence.
The haggadah market is continually booming, as Jewish writers and creatives take inspiration from news, pop culture and other trends to create seder texts and supplements that break out of the Maxwell House box. This year’s crop tackles Kanye West, the AI app craze, turmoil in Israel and more.
Here are 10 haggadahs to freshen up your seder this year or in the future. (For more options, check out last year’s list, including an Israeli Black Panthers haggadah now in its second printing and another written in Shakespearean verse.)
For the Kanye hater
Serial haggadah humorist Dave Cowen is back with his latest pop culture-themed Passover text: “The Meshugah Kanye Haggadah: A Passover Parody Musical,” which takes songs by the rapper Kanye West, now known as Ye, and loosely changes the lyrics to tell the holiday story. For those who missed the news in the fall, West declared himself an antisemite through a series of interviews and social media rants — though he recently recanted. West has said he struggles with bipolar disorder, and Cowen is donating part of the profits of his haggadah to Mad in America, which publishes research and content aimed at rethinking mental health care in the United States.
For the psychedelics-curious
Interested in “tripping toward freedom”? Or “ingesting transformation” through karpas? How about reciting kadesh with “spiritual intention”? Then you might be drawn to “Taste & See: A Psychedelic Pesach Companion” from the Jewish artist-run Ayin Press. It pairs prayers with specific psychoactive substances and then offers Jewishly-inspired passages to guide one through a seder trip, in a foundational text for the growing Jewish psychedelics movement.
For the visual artist
An Israeli artist collective known as Asufa has put out a haggadah featuring colorful and sometimes edgy illustrations by a slew of up-and-coming artists, for the last decade. Only once before has the collective put out a version with English text — until now. A 10th anniversary edition culls artworks from previous editions in one place with a gold-foil cover and a bilingual text. The group put out a new Hebrew version with fresh art as well.
For those concerned about Israel
As the founder of the first Orthodox yeshiva that ordains women clergy, Avi Weiss is no stranger to commenting on fractures in the Jewish community. The liberal Orthodox rabbi and outspoken pro-Israel activist is doing so again in haggadah-supplement form this year, writing in prayers and points of discussion for a seder on the political crisis in Israel that has exploded since the country’s right-wing government took office earlier this year. “It is a template meant to inspire thoughts wherein seder participants can join in, sharing their own reflections and interpretations,” he writes.
For the visually impaired
The Jewish Braille Institute has teamed up with the Kehot Publication Society, the publishing arm of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, to revamp and re-promote its free haggadah for the visually impaired. “Whether these haggadahs help a grandfather hoping to lead a seder as they have for decades or a child who hopes to read the four questions for the first time, JBI’s mission is to make sure that every person who chooses to can participate in our beloved traditions and know that they belong at the table,” JBI’s president, Livia Thompson, told Chabad.org.
For fans of Chat GPT
The Chat GPT bot can do everything from compose music to hold conversations. It was only a matter of time before someone instructed it to produce a haggadah. Israelis Royi Shamir, an architect, and Yitzchak Woolf, a photographer, produced a version of the seder text through the app — a co-author they’ve called Rabb.AI. The original art in “Haggad.AI” — billed as the first of its kind — were produced by Midjourney, another artificial intelligence program that creates images from prompts. Julie Shain, an editor of the popular Daily Skimm newsletter, has done the same with “The AI Haggadah“; both start with text from Sefaria, the free online Jewish resource. (Both haggadahs are invigorating debates about the necessity of humans in Jewish practice.)
For the impatient
One of the best-selling haggadahs on Amazon this year has a pretty self-explanatory name: “The Swift Seder: The Concise Passover Haggadah for a Reverent Yet Efficient Seder in Under 30 Minutes.” No elaborate illustrations or long commentaries — just the instructions, story and explanations needed to run a tight seder (and a chapter full of songs to add in at one’s leisure).
For Ukrainian speakers
This year, for the first time ever, a haggadah is available in the Ukrainian language — a response to Ukraine’s war and the impulse of Jews there to shed their Russophone roots. This year the haggadah is available online only, but its creators — a Jewish feminist nonprofit and a musicologist who translated the whole text from its original languages — plan to make a print version available next year.
For trans Jews and their allies
The folks at Pink Peacock, the queer, Yiddish, anarchist cafe and Jewish movement in Glasgow, Scotland, have put out a “Trans Liberation Haggadah” perfectly timed for an era when trans rights are under attack in many states. The haggadah expands upon the haggadah supplement released a decade ago by Keshet, the LGBTQ Jewish advocacy group, in the brash spirit with which Pink Peacock has made itself felt far beyond its Scottish city.
Honorable mention: For curious kids (and their grownups)
Our sister site Kveller’s haggadah isn’t new — it was first published in March 2020 — but it still deserves a spot on any haggadah list, especially for families with young children. It makes the seder more digestible for kids, and it also features insights from renowned researchers who explain the connections between memory and food.