We’ve come a long way since Maxwell House’s unrivaled seder-table reign, and chances are you’ve collected your fair share of Haggadot. But don’t put the kibosh on Haggadah-acquisition before you see this latest one, written by philanthrophist (and Jewniverse supporter) Edgar M. Bronfman and his wife Jan Aronson.
Like its more traditional counterparts, The Bronfman Haggadah offers detailed explanations of all the familiar elements. But there are some significant departures from tradition. While most Haggadot downplay the role of Moses—perhaps, some scholars say, to focus on the omnipotent hand of God—Bronfman puts Moses center-stage, saying that the leader offers the perfect example of how questioning the status quo is a key step toward liberation. The Haggadah also reorders the traditional timeline, inviting Elijah to the table toward the begining of the seder. Why, it seems to ask, would we invite a guest only after we’ve finished eating?
These subtle alterations—and Aronson’s imaginative and surprising watercolor illustrations—make the old seem quite new again. Not to mention very, very pretty.
March 20, 2013