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New American Haggadah Hardcover – March 5, 2012
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―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
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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".Read more ›
Again without study we decided to use it at our Seder. What a disappointment.
The Haggadah looks great, and might be good as a supplement, but I would not recommend it at all as the family Haggadah. The translations are wordy, old fashioned and bring nothing new to the seder (and I reserve judgement on the gender based translation). The main text has virtually no explanations, background, etc. All the new Jewish prayerbooks coming out for the rest of the year are so strong because in addition to the traditional prayers they offer explanations, commentaries, supplemental readings, transliterations, etc. This "new" American Haggadah had nothing in that spirit. It would more appropriately be titled the "old" American Haggadah.
The Lemmony Snicket writings may be more interesting and could be good supplements to use with a better more functional Haggadah...but even those are provided in such a heavy handed way (not really integrated but jammed on to a spread every so often) to make their use and selection really difficult.
I'm not sure what Safran Foer was after here.....but I wish I had known before I had purchased these. I wouldn't have gotten so excited, nor so disappointed. Stick to fiction!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The New American Haggadah provided good food for thought and a number of laughs along the way. One can easily pick and choose among some thought provoking passages. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Catherine Cotton
As everyone has said, the English translation in this Haggadah is wonderful. The change to "God of Us" intead of Our God, is an example of the small changes that can make... Read morePublished 1 month ago by RBM
Such a beautiful haggadah. Very well designed, good commentary and a lot of information to dig into. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Maybe I'm a little old school and new school mixed, but this Haggadah didn't do it for me. It had great English and great Hebrew - but for those of us who invite non-Jewish friends... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Love Being a Mom
Brilliant reinterpretation of the traditional text, great value.Published 6 months ago by Margaret G.
I would buy this book to pick out inspiring, appropriate readings for a Seder. The book is less appropriate to use at the Seder table, because of its cost and layout, as well as... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Andrew D. Oram
Beautiful, inspiring Haggadah. This Haggadah by Jonathan Safran Foer is a wonderful addition to anyone's collection of Haggadahs. Can't wait to use it for next Passover holiday.Published 10 months ago by Linda S. Shapiro