Dear Friends,

As we prepare for Pesach, we are incredibly excited. Not only for our congregational seder, where we will gather and celebrate together. Not only for all of the traditions and foods that make Passover unique. We are excited because this year we will be using our new congregational Haggadah for the first time.

As long as there have been Haggadot, there have been changes and additions. It seems that in every generation, there have been unique adaptations and renderings of this text. The story of Passover is one that speaks in every generation. Once we were enslaved, now we are free, is a message that continues to resonate. It is for this reason that so many groups have written their own Haggadot, tailoring them to their experiences and views. Each of the movements has their own, as do social movements, political groups, and even fans of various TV shows and movies.

The Jewish Practice Committee took on the project of finding a new Haggadah for the congregation. The task was simple: a version that not only had all of the rituals, prayers, and songs that we love, but was in accessible language, a reasonable size for the table, and was engaging and appealing. Surprisingly, none of the thousands of versions already made was quite right (and we looked through a lot!). So the decision was made to write our own.

The text is not novel. We have done our best to include all of the standard pieces of the Passover Seder. We may not read every page, but it is all there for us to use if we want. At the same time, we limited the number of reflections and meditations. Instead of being locked into a few creative passages for all time, we can supplement as needed. If the history of Haggadot has been to adapt to changing needs and sensibilities, we have the liberty to do that, while still using the same book.

But how could we, such a unique congregation, produce something so…standard? We put out a call to the congregation to provide illustrations. And you delivered! We have paintings, papercuts, collages, and drawings. Some were done by hand, others through computers and technology. There are photographs of handmade crocheted plagues and even an origami Angel of Death! They are as varied as our community and truly incredible. Haggadot are more than just words. They are the story they tell. Our story is being told not only through the text but through the art. Our Haggadah tells the story of our community.

We hope that this Haggadah graces our Seder tables for many years to come. We have even included a page for you to write your name, so we will have a record of who was there and used each book. Please join us for our congregational Seder and help us celebrate not only our new Haggadah but this season of freedom.

Rabbi Benjamin and Rabbi Sara Zober