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Rabbinical Alliance Terms Haggadah Offensive and Without Rabbinical Authority

March 31, 1970
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Rabbinical Alliance of America, an Orthodox agency, denounced today as “offensive” the “Freedom Seder: A New Haggadah for Passover,” written by Arthur Waskow, a Washington Jewish activist. The new Haggadah was published this week. Rabbi Abraham Gross, president of the group, declared that the Haggadah was a religious work and that Mr. Waskow did not meet the requirements for changes in such a work for which “one must be an authority in Jewish Law and base his desires on firmly-rooted tradition.” Rabbi Gross said Mr. Waskow had the right to issue a book drawing a parallel between the Jewish liberation from Egyptian slavery and the modern civil rights struggle. However, he added, “it is most offensive” for Mr. Waskow to call his book a Haggadah and to make “radical changes” without rabbinic authority. The rabbi added that the author had added “insult to injury” by incorporating in his Haggadah statements from Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver and writer Hannah Arendt among others who have a record of “anti-Semitic public remarks.”

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