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New American Haggadah Hardcover – March 5, 2012


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New American Haggadah + A Passover Haggadah: As Commented Upon by Elie Wiesel and Illustrated by Mark Podwal + 30 Minute Seder: The Haggadah That Blends Brevity With Tradition
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Bilingual edition (March 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316069868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316069861
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A touching and scholarly Haggadah that offers fresh insights....what makes this Haggadah shine is the combination of commentary, design, and illustration....[it makes] us think, laugh, cry, and ask questions."
Julia Neuberger, Financial Times


"This Haggadah sings to more than one generation; it is glorious and rich, funny and affirming. And it reminds us of why we do Passover in the first place. This is what we've been waiting for."—Andrea Grossman, Writer's Bloc Presents

"New American Haggadah is as finely-designed as any book you are likely to come across, religious affiliation notwithstanding...unlike Haggadahs that take an anodyne approach to history, this one respects its audience enough to engage in some of the most pressing questions facing Jews today, trusting that they are smart enough to come to their own conclusion."—Alexander Nazaryan, New York Daily News

"What makes this volume such a pleasure to read, and what makes it the best book of modern religious thought in recent memory, is its demand that dialogue be a central part of worship....The New American Haggadah makes worship a radical act of intellectual inquiry."—The Millions

"Clearly worth the wait. A gorgeous production, it is distinctive in every way....The translations are elegant, and the accompanying remarks thoroughly fitting for a contemporary, questioning, open-minded member of American Jewry."—The Jewish Week

"Buy a copy of New American Haggadah. While the compilers demurely observe in their brief introduction that 'Like all Haggadahs before it, this one hopes to be replaced,' I am confident that it will have an uncommonly long run; it is a labor of great love and of much work and, above all, of brilliant artistry - verbal, graphic and intellectual."—Sun-Sentinel (South Florida)

"This Haggadah is simply magnificent. The translation turns the English 'side' of the service, which has always felt clunky and awkward to me...into poetry. It's a translation finally worthy of sharing the page with the Hebrew. Which is so, so important for those of us who can't engage meaningfully with the text in the original."—Beliefnet

"Englander's translations are crisp and clear, and the themed commentaries...are excellent, multi-vocal and concise. It is, indeed, excellent work: literate, inventive and sure to win prizes."—The Jewish Daily Forward

About the Author

Jonathan Safran Foer is one of the most acclaimed young writers of his generation. His books have received numerous awards including a National Jewish Book Award and a Guardian First Book Award, and have been translated into thirty-six languages. He garnered remarkable praise for his first two novels, Everything Is Illuminated (adapted for film in 2005) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (adapted for film in December 2011), and for his New York Times bestselling work of nonfiction, Eating Animals.

Nathan Englander is the author of the novel, The Ministry of Special Cases, the play, The Twenty-Seventh Man, and the story collections For the Relief of Unbearable Urges and What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, which won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife Rachel Silver.

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Customer Reviews

Just got my copy today, and I can't wait to use it at my Seder.
W Sobchak
I read this before Passover and found it very well written, with some interesting information and food for thought as well as amusing sidebars.
Deb Oestreicher
I like a seder that is good, hard work, but I'm not sure this is it.
Limeslate

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

209 of 215 people found the following review helpful By Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom on March 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I will forego making a joke on the "Foer Questions."

Several years ago, Jonathan Safran Foer said that most translated Haggadot lack the imaginative punch to inspire people toward a greater commitment for social change. He said, "We talk about slavery every year, we talk about the movement toward freedom every year. But when was the last time a Seder made you really feel those things in a deep way" about Darfur or Energy Independence (because we are slaves to energy right now.)

And so began Foer's quest to create a new American Haggadah, "American" because Haggadot, such as the Sarajevo Haggadah, are usually named for the place they were published. (This one is published in America, but printed in Singapore.) Seders have been celebrated for over 100 generations, and perhaps there have been over 7000 known versions of the haggadah, whether it is from a religious movement, a kibbutz, Maxwell House, Mesorah, a commune, Cokey Roberts, or your own family. Foer writes that a new haggadah does not imply that earlier ones are failed, he just saw a need for one that looks at current issues in today's idiom

This haggadah is an exciting new one and will prompt many seder-table discussions for years to come; the "hyper-literal" translations into English will fascinate.

But first, some information on the style: The Haggadah flows from right to left. On each page are illustrations, or Hebrew with English translations. There are NO transliterations, not even for a Kiddush or Had Gadya. The Hebrew has vowels. The Haggadah is a hardcover and delivered with a removable red paper wrapper (bellyband); when removed, you are left with a cover with Hebrew printing on a white background. The spine has the Haggadah's title and editors' names.
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Elise Ronan on February 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I did not know what to expect when I bought this haggadah. I was looking for something new to be able to reach my children and help explain to them the relevance of Jewish traditions and a Jewish life to the world in which they lived. Little did I know that the one who would learn the most would be me. There is a uniqueness in each commentators voice that finds a way to attach itself to your heart. Be prepared for a wonderful journey full of questions, contemplations and answers that of course simply find their way to asking more questions. This Haggadah is an expression of an understanding, and an acknowledgement of that unabiding love for all that we hold dear.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Sam on March 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This Haggadah makes the ancient text feel contemporary without diminishing its sanctity, which is what I'd always hoped for in a Haggadah. I want to be able to learn from it, but also relate to it. New American Haggadah is at once challenging and reverent, fresh and traditional, humanistic and religious. My seder table includes Conservative, Reform and non-identifying Jews---not to mention lots of kids---and this is sure to appeal to everyone.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"Our translation must know our idiom, our commentaries must wrestle with our conflicts, our design must respond to how our world looks and feels." So Jonathan Safran Foer as editor and Nathan Englander as translator preface their ambitious version of "the oldest continually practiced ritual in the Western world." Certainly their choices of phrasing will spark a lively discussion at this virtual seder table. Concentrating upon Englander's choice to follow male-gender "faithful" translations ("Lord God-of-Us, King of the Cosmos") forces readers and users of this handbook to rethink their relationship with thousands of years of this venerable account. Many readers will be surprised at this linguistic fidelity from a hipster-era tale teller who writes from the complicated position of a former Orthodox student turned critic of the culture he once participated in.

It starts off with verve. The opening call to all participants previews the seder table as it is made holy, Kadesh. This is rendered: "Sanctify/ And Wash/ Dip/ Split/ And Tell/ Be Washed/ And Bless/ The Poor Man's Bread/ Bitter/ Bundle/ And Set Down to Eat/ Hide It/ And Bless/ Praise It/ Be Pleased." One problem looms large for many who will follow along at a possibly more hipster seder: no transliteration. While juxtaposing Hebrew with English alone makes, as in the example quoted, a dramatic presentation enhanced by Oded Ezer's graphics (of only the letters, no images, as if faithful to traditional commands not to venerate images), the power of the page layout all the more prominent. This lack of phonetic equivalents, training wheels for the uneasy, makes this a challenging seder guide to the "order" of Passover that must be recited in each generation anew "as if it happened".
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By H. Danow on March 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The New American Haggadah is a contemporary translation of the original Hebrew. It is not a reinterpretation or revision. As the original Hebrew text is unambiguous with respect to God and gender, so is this translation. Questioning and criticizing the text (e.g., why do we speak of the four sons, and not the four sons and daughters?) has always been an important part of the Seder conversation, and this translation continues in that tradition.
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