The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices
by Mishael Zion and Naom Zion
Illustrations by Michel Kichka
Paperback, 156 pages
A full traditional haggadah with a contemporary and Israeli accent. Commentaries from scholars and rabbis, mostly late 20th century, but also from novelists, poets, political leaders, and others. This book is for the family that wants to enhance their seder by bringing in ideas that will make the evening rich, thought-provoking, and fun for all. Many items for younger and older children are sprinkled throughout the book.
Noam Zion and now his children are becoming a cottage industry for do-it-yourself Jewish holidays and rituals. Noam and his son Mishael Zion offer a Haggadah with so many sources, stories, quotes, illustrations, poetry, and commentary. This guarantees a night of lively exchanges and Jewish and contemporary meaning. A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices is yet another example of the Jewish Renaissance and ritual creativity. It shows the power of cultural dialogue between Israel and America. The beauty of this Haggadah is that you can use it as the family Haggadah, or as an incredibly rich resource to enhance the traditional or modern Haggadot of your choice. In any event, serious Seder leaders from all the denominations will sit down with A Night to Remember days before the Seder to pick and choose what to read and what to do this night, as different than last Seder. I warmly recommend this publication. Not only is it a welcome addition to any Jewish table and library, it is an invaluable tool for promoting Jewish meaning and spirit in an age where we need this multi-vocal, richly textured, inspiring Haggadah. --Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Hebrew Union College Jerusalem Campus, Director of Year in Israel program and Educational Initiatives
A Night to Remember is a necessary, fresh, and wonderful addition to the world of haggadot. Beautifully conceived and designed, it enlists contemporary voices in original ways to illuminate Judaism's oldest and most widely observed rituals. --Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author, A Code of Jewish Ethics: You Shall be Holy; and Jewish Literacy.
Pesach is the holiday that most concretely represents and celebrates the essence of Jewish identity. The beautiful Exodus story, the elaborate rituals, the emphasis on family, community, and history -- all these combine on Seder night to provide a powerful, affirmative Jewish experience. Except, of course, when they don't. All too typically, the Seder -- in Israel and America both -- is more or less a Jewish Thanksgiving, a warm get-together with little spiritual or intellectual content. The Haggadah is recited quickly and by rote, with the smells of home cooking acting as an added incentive to speed-read the ancient text, or (forgive the pun) pass over it entirely. In my view, the publication of Zion family s new "A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices" will go a long way to remedy all that. Its contents are so rich, wide-ranging, and pluralistic -- songs and poems, games and quizzes, historical asides and rabbinic interpretations -- that any Jew who is curious about Jewish life cannot fail to be fascinated. Its practical commentary on the Seder service clarifies the evening's rituals. At the same time, passages that elaborate upon the spiritual or mystical significance of such familiar Jewish practices as lighting holiday candles or eating matzah will speak to young globe-trotting Jews who have found other traditions more intriguing than their own. I was especially impressed by the treatment of the Four Sons and Four Daughters, which uses both text and illustration to explore multiple interpretations of this famous parable. Overall, the editors have succeeded admirably in linking the biblical images and philosophical concerns of the Haggadah to modern culture and the exigencies of Jewish life. I've learned something new from every page of A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices. In fact, I plan to use it myself when leading this year's Seder. --Stuart Schoffman, Associate Editor, Jerusalem Report, Senior Fellow Shalom Hartman Institute
About the Author
The authors are a father and son team who have shared 26 seders. Noam, an American Jew, and Mishael, an Israeli, both study and teach at the Shalom Hartman Institute. This haggadah combines the experience of Mishael's bestselling Israeli haggadah, Halaila Hazeh (2004) and Noam's classic A Different Night (1997) that have made seders more participatory for hundreds of thousands.