As someone who collects Haggadahs...I recommend this, March 4, 2006
Tired of using the same Haggadah over and over and over again? Ready to shake things up a little and get a fresh perspective and, hopefully, some heightened spiritual insight?
Then this is a Haggadah worth considering. Written with all the traditional Hebrew prayers, this is perfect for mixed families, as both Jewish culture and Buddhist philosopy are represented.
This was written primarily for Jews so don't assume it is a thorough representation of Buddhism. However, it does use Buddhism to add an extra bit of peace, stillness and, yes, even meditation to the Passover ritual.
As you might expect, the more violent aspects of the Passover story are balanced by the emphasis on peace of Buddhism (at least, the Buddhism represented here).
Each year, we try to bring something new to our holiday. Perhaps you'll find value in doing the same. If so, this book could be one great way to do so. --K. Corn "Reviewer" of the first edition
The Four Questions Meet the Four Noble Truths
Even though I grew up in an agnostic Jewish family, the Passover seder was an important event every year. Passover was the only Jewish holiday we ever celebrated.
So it was with some trepidation that I approached the Haggadah for Jews & Buddhists. While Buddhist meditation practice is very important to me, I am not all that adventurous when it comes to Passover.
But as I read through the Jewish/Buddhist hagaddah, an attempt to express the universal theme of Passover to traditional Jews, Buddhists and people of diverse spiritual leanings, my trepidation melted away and I found myself intrigued by the idea of trying something new.
Right from start, this hagaddah, written by Elizabeth Pearce-Glassheim, speaks to the symbolic power of the holiday as it describes the enslavement of the Jews and their journey to freedom as a metaphor for consciousness and our own striving for release from attachment and toward spiritual growth.
While this hagaddah is structurally the same as Reform-style seders and includes all the familiar sections, it's the language and interpretation that makes all the difference.
I jumped ahead to the Four Questions, probably the most important part of the seder for the way that it perpetuates the Jewish tradition of questions and dialogue.
In this section, the authors speaks directly to the traditionalist, the humanist or secular Jew, the Buddhist, and non-Jewish friends, a thought-provoking attempt to explain the universal meanings of Passover to a diverse group of people.
As I read it, I recognized that my Buddhist self has everything to do with my secular Judaism.
Now the really big question: Do I want to integrate these two traditions and conduct a Jewish/Buddhist seder?
I think it's worth a try. If I can communicate Passover's message of freedom while conveying my interest in self-discovery and spiritual growth to my children, I say why not?
Whatever happens, it should, at the very least, provoke a great conversation over our gefilte fish. --Louise Crawford, InterfaithFamily.com
About the Author
Elizabeth Pearce-Glassheim, born and raised Catholic by parents who instilled their life-long fascination with Buddhism into her family life, married into Judaism some 20 years ago.
In the past two decades she attended and co-hosted more than two dozen Seders attended by friends of all religious and spiritual beliefs. To make Passover meaningful to Seder guests at her home, she began creating version of the traditional Seder story to emphasize its universal themes meaningful to Traditional Jews, Buddhists and others.