From Publishers Weekly
Here's everything you ever wanted to know about the Passover haggadah, from multiple perspectives: biblical, historical, theological, legal, rabbinic, mystical, feminist—and then some. The editors don't take anything for granted, even defining basic terms like haggadah itself and discussing the translation of barukh
, the first word of every blessing. But this comprehensive two-volume handbook is not for the cursory reader or even for light use at the seder table. It opens with a collection of scholarly essays reflecting all denominations of Judaism, then segues into the text, presented cleverly in Talmudic format (in Hebrew with a new English translation) and surrounded by commentaries. Contributors include Lawrence Kushner, Arthur Green, Carole Balin and Neil Gillman as well as Hoffman (My People's Prayer Book
) and Arnow (Creating Lively Passover Seders
). The plurality of voices lends richness to the reader's understanding of the familiar text, but it can be confusing to follow the flow of the commentaries, which continue beyond the text and even overshadow it. Still, this illuminating resource provides a myriad of in-depth answers to the why? in why is this night different from all others? (Apr.)
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About the Author
Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD,
co-editor of My People's Passover Haggadah,
editor of the acclaimed My People's Prayer Book
series, winner of the National Jewish Book Award. He has served for more than three decades as professor of liturgy at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and is the first holder of the Stephen and Barbara Friedman Chair in Liturgy Worship and Ritual. A world-renowned scholar and liturgist, he has combined research in Jewish ritual, worship and spirituality with a passion for the spiritual renewal of contemporary Judaism.
Rabbi Hoffman has written and edited numerous books, including Rethinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life (Jewish Lights), a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award; The Way Into Jewish Prayer (Jewish Lights); The Art of Public Prayer, 2nd Edition: Not for Clergy Only (SkyLight Paths), now used nationally by Jews and Christians as a handbook for liturgical planners in church and synagogue; as well as a revision of What Is a Jew?, the best-selling classic that remains the most widely read introduction to Judaism ever written in any language. He is also the author of Israel--A Spiritual Travel Guide: A Companion for the Modern Jewish Pilgrim (Jewish Lights).
He is a developer of Synagogue 3000, a transdenominational project designed to envision and implement the ideal synagogue of the spirit for the twenty-first century.
David Arnow, PhD, co-editor of My People's Passover Haggadah, is a psychologist by training and author of Creating Lively Passover Seders: A Sourcebook of Engaging Tales, Texts and Activities (Jewish Lights). He is widely recognized for his innovative work to make the Passover Seder a truly exciting encounter each year with Judaism's most central ideas. He has been deeply involved with many organizations in the American Jewish community and Israel and is a respected lecturer, writer and community leader. In addition to many publications on Jewish identity, religion and psychology, and the history of Israel, he has written about the Passover Seder for two decades.