Welcome Rebecca Missel, Interim Director of Partnerships & Operations!

Posted by Haggadot

Rebecca Missel Haggadot.com Director of Partnerships

Hi! My name is Rebecca Missel and I’m delighted to join the Haggadot.com team as the Interim Director of Partnerships and Operations. Back in the dark ages of the 90s, my family would make our own haggadah using the computer I bought with my bat mitzvah money. We’d literally cut and paste clips (like with scissors!) from printed haggadot we loved, mix those with retyped readings and put together something eclectic and wonderful. 

 

Throughout college and into my young adulthood, Passover became a chance for me to show off my matzah ball skills (I like them dense on the inside and fluffy on the outside) and attend seder at friends’ homes. Then in 2018, I found myself hosting a seder for the first time in several years. With my brother and my now sister in-law living nearby, we found Haggadot.com and started blending traditional blessings with classic songs, emojis of the four children and feminist interpretations. Our seder felt personal, inclusive and joyful. 

 

A close friend once described me as a “people collector,” and having spent my entire professional career in Jewish organizations, I have collected friends around my Passover table and colleagues from across our diverse community. My path has taken me from nationwide nonprofits to Israeli start-ups, from running my own organization to synagogues and to grassroots organizing. I feel lucky to weave and reweave these connections with the incredible contributors to Haggadot.com. Together, we’re partnering to imagine new rituals and to unlock the curiosity and creativity of our users.


I can’t wait to see what we make together! Please feel free to email me at rebecca@haggadot.com to brainstorm a boot camp or workshop, to discuss becoming a partner or to update your organization’s information.

Welcome Haggadot.com's new Content & Community Manager: Dave Cowen!

Posted by Haggadot

Author of The Trump Passover Haggadah and The Yada Yada Haggadah is Haggadot.com's new Content and Community Manager

Hi, my name is Dave Cowen and I am absolutely thrilled to be the new Content & Community Manager for Haggadot.com. I’ve loved Passover since I was a child. My family would host the first night at our house in a casual and reform way and then the second night we would go to an orthodox family for a more traditional celebration, which was still really fun. 

 

Later in life, as I started to write humor professionally, I also started to write my own parody Haggadot for my family’s seders. These Haggadot turned into The Trump Passover Haggadah (don’t worry it also made fun of Bernie) and The Yada Yada Haggadah (about the greatest Jewish-American sitcom about nothing of all time for you Gen Zers). These haggadot were best sellers on Amazon the last two years, many Jews enjoyed them at their seders, and I made a bit of profit. However, I often found much of the Hebrew and background information for the Haggadahs on Haggadot.com, the free non-profit site started by Eileen Levinson, which I credit in the back of the books and donated to, but still wished I could do more for. 

 

This last year has been a transformational one as I lost my father suddenly and so part of my mourning process this year has been reconnecting with spirituality. I went from a smart-alecky pretty agnostic guy to a very spiritual still somewhat smart-alecky man. I plan to talk more about this transition in a future blog post as it involves Judaism's Kabbalah and the year of mourning for a parent or Yud Bet Chodesh as well as other religions’ spiritual traditions. But suffice to say, for now, I’ve since made it a goal to try to reorient myself toward not just creativity but also toward selfless service or what many Jews would call Tikkun or world repair.

 

When Eileen put out a job posting for someone to help her non-profit that had helped me so much, I truly felt that God wanted us to work together. Sorry if that sounds dramatic, but I now see God everywhere. Do you, too? Either way, here we are. All of us are using this fantastic resource. I am so excited to contribute my creativity to this community and help others contribute their own creativity to it, too. I’m still interested in humorous or entertaining content, like Beyonceder and Monty Python Haggadah clips, but I’m now also interested in combining Judaism with other spiritual traditions. For instance, what does a New Age Haggadah look like? Please feel free to email me at dave@haggadot.com, if you’d like to submit an idea for me to write for you. Also feel free to email me to help brainstorm, co-write, or edit your own clips with you.

 

Here are three clips I've just contributed to Haggadot.com and three of my favorite entertainment clips!

 

https://www.haggadot.com/clip/pharaoh-and-moses-go-to-a-conflict-counselor

https://www.haggadot.com/clip/jerry-seinfeld-s-passover-stand-up-routine

https://www.haggadot.com/clip/stephen-miller-removes-deports-the-hametz

 

https://www.haggadot.com/clip/four-questions-passover

https://www.haggadot.com/clip/dr-seuss-four-questions

https://www.haggadot.com/clip/monty-python-haggadah

 

Let's all have fun creating our own Haggadot, however we choose to, whether we want to sell them on Amazon for $6.99 or not ;)

 

Much love,

Dave 

 
Did America's Founding Fathers Have A Moses Complex?

Posted by Haggadot

Was Thomas Jefferson like Moses?

It’s Presidents’ Day in America! Fun fact: The proposed first seal of The United States showed Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt with the text: “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” 

 

Were our founding fathers really like Moses when they declared independence from British rule? Our experience as Haggadah-fanatics has shown us that making historical comparisons between Moses and other leaders can sometimes be either too simplistic or too complicated. But we’re going to keep trying anyway!  

 

Thomas Jefferson wrote The Declaration of Independence announcing the American people’s freedom from British oppression. How can we compare him to Moses, when Jefferson, even though he was theoretically opposed to slavery, still owned hundreds of slaves?  Well, in the Passover story we are told that the generation that escaped Egypt couldn’t be the generation that entered the Holy Land. So Moses and his generation had to wander in the desert for 40 years and die out before the Jewish people could enter Israel. Similarly, Jefferson’s generation wasn’t the one to free the slaves, it would have to take a later generation and another President, Abraham Lincoln, to take the next step in the evolution of the country. 

 

Even today, we may look back at Lincoln’s generation’s treatment of female voters as failing to be heroic enough. But we may also remember that Moses impulsively broke the Ten Commandment tablets that God gave him. What does the Torah teach us that our ancestors weren’t perfect people? Are we asking too much of our leaders now with progressive purity tests? Or are we making heroes out of people who don’t deserve to be memorialized, when there are so many other stories of heroic leadership to celebrate? Who else should we have holidays to celebrate besides Presidents? 

 

Haggadot.com has many clips that analogize the Jews’ struggle for freedom from Egypt to other peoples’. Now is the time to check out “A Haggadah for Justice”, our library of Social Justice themed clips, or create YOUR own! That’s what Jewish President Moses would want too ;)

 

First Proposed Seal of the United States
Yiddish Valentine Cards for Download

Posted by Haggadot

We know it's not a Jewish holiday, but we made some Jew-y cards anyway ;)

Download our YIDDISH VALENTINES CARDS. Ready to print, fold & share with your special someone.

Yiddish Valentine Card Download

 

Yiddish Valentines

 

 

Our Seder-Planning Tip of The Week: Start With Why

Posted by Haggadot

What's the secret to hosting a great gathering? Sticking with a PURPOSE. We all celebrate for different reasons, whether it's connecting with our history, raising awareness about modern day inequalities, or simply bonding with our family over a marathon of silly songs. Why are you hosting? What does the holiday mean to you? Who are you inviting? And what do you hope your guests will get out of the evening?

Watch: Simon Sinek's TED Talk "How Great Leaders Inspire Action"

His "Start With Why" theory will help you uncover your real seder goals.

Consider a theme.

Check out our favorite Haggadah clips on Hunger, Climate Change, Feminism, Wellness, Jewish Diversity, LGBTQ Identity, Humor, and more. 

Start writing your introduction.

It's never too early to start writing your Haggadah, you can always revise it later.
Check out some of our favorite introductions to get started. 


Let's brainstorm together.
Priya Parker's book, The Art of Gathering is a great resource for anyone hosting a gathering, and is especially useful for creating a memorable seder. Read Priya's book then join us on Fri March 6 at 12pm EST on Zoom to discuss.

Passover Pre-Planning! Join Our Virtual Book Club!

Posted by Haggadot

Nine weeks until Passover! Have you thought about your seder yet? No pressure! We want to help you have the most creative, stress-free seder ever and that's easier with some early planning. Starting next week, we'll provide weekly tips for hosting the seder of your dreams with a dreamy Haggadah to match. Need some inspiration? Click here for some our favorites

 

Passover Planning Tip of the Week: Start Reading The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters

Priya Parker's book is a great primer for anyone hosting a gathering, and is especially useful for creating a memorable seder. Read her delightful collection of tips, personal anecdotes and case studies for a new perspective on hosting, then join us on Friday, March 6 at 12pm EST on Zoom for a virtual "book club" conversation. We recommend saving paper and $$ by borrowing the ebook from your local library.

 

PS - We want to here from you!
Do you have a great seder tip that you'd like to share with us? Or a favorite reading that you think we should feature? Email admin@haggadot.com with your ideas.

Hosting A Tu Bisvhat Seder

Posted by Haggadot

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Did you know that there is a long tradition of holding a Tu BiShvat Seder that harks all the way back to the 16th century? Unlike the Passover Seder, however, the focus is the mystical aspects of the natural world and humankind’s connection to the Earth, particularly the Land of Israel. Here are some ideas you can use to make your own Tu BiShvat Seder:

 

Drink Four Cups of Wine

It is customary to drink four cups of wine. Traditionally, the first cup is white wine, representing snow, winter, and a lack of natural growth. The second cup is a mixture of 2/3 white and 1/3 red wine to represent the beginning of spring and the potential for growth. The third cup is half white and half red to represent spring in full bloom, and the fourth is pure red to represent summer and the end of the agricultural cycle.

 

Eat A Variety of Fruits and Nuts

It is customary to make a blessing on fruits falling into four different categories, each symbolizing a particular aspect of our connection to the Earth:

  • Fruits or nuts with a hard shell and a soft interior, such as almonds or coconuts, represent the protection afforded us by the Earth and the importance of guarding and nurturing our spiritual interior.

  • Soft fruits with a hard pit, such as olives or dates, symbolize the essential life-giving energy emanating from the Earth and the spiritual potential we hold inside us.

  • Fruits that are soft throughout, like raisins or figs, represent God’s omnipresence in the natural world and in our lives.

  • Tough-skinned fruits with a sweet interior, like citrus fruits or prickly pears (sabra), symbolize the hidden mysteries of the Earth and our study of Torah to uncover them.

 

Add Poetry & Readings About Trees And The Environment

Now more than ever, it is essential to find time to reflect on the natural world, our inextricable connection to it, and our obligation toward it. You can use the Tu Bishvat Haggadah on Custom & Craft, and customize it with any of the resourcs on the site, or write your own!

 

Other Ideas

  • Buy only organic fruits and nuts for your Seder

  • Recycle by printing your readings or haggadot on the backside of used paper, or use a digital PDF on Custom & Craft

  • Compost the peels and shells from your Seder

  • Make your Seder meal vegetarian or even vegan!

  • Take a walk in the park or the woods and notice the sights, sounds and smells around you!

by David Diamond

We're Hiring!

Posted by Haggadot

Custom & Craft / Haggadot.com is seeking a Community Manager!


Responsibilities include:

 

- Managing our social media presence

- Assisting in partnership development with Jewish organizations & content providers

- Responding to user questions and flagging technical issues

- Maintaining our user database and email list

 

Required skills: 

 

- High attention to detail

- Ability to independently manage timelines & multiple deadlines

- Excellent writing and communication skills 

- Experience managing social media accounts

 

This is a junior-level position for 8-10 hours per week, working remotely. The Community Manager will have the opportunity to learn about all facets of our operations. Preference will be given to candidates with previous work experience with Jewish nonprofits or media brands who express interest in long-term growth with our organization.

 

Applicants should send a short email with their resume & hourly rate to: 

 

Eileen Levinson, Executive Creative Director

Haggadot.com | Custom & Craft 

eileen@haggadot.com 



Custom & Craft Jewish Rituals, Inc is a nonprofit design lab using technology & new media to reimagine ancient traditions. Haggadot.com invites Jews of all backgrounds to create and publish their own personalized Passover Haggadah. 

www.haggadot.com

www.customandcraft.org


 

Tu Bishvat – An Invitation to Reconnect with the Earth

Posted by Haggadot

Tu Bishvat is one of four Jewish New Year celebrations, specifically the “New Year for Trees” or Rosh Hashanah La’Ilanot. Originally, the date served as the start of the Jewish agricultural year, a calendar subject to a number of laws and practices regarding planting, harvesting, and tithing. For example, orlah, or the Biblical prohibition against eating the fruits of trees in their first three years of life, affords trees a solid growth period to ensure the success of later, mature harvests. In modern times, Tu Bishvat continues to mark a day of environmental importance in Israel, as it has become the national Arbor Day, celebrated by tree-planting en masse, a time-honored tradition in Judaism. Indeed, Israel is one of the only nations in the world to have entered the 21st century with more trees than it had one hundred years ago.

 

The holiday of Tu Bishvat offers time to reflect on Judaism’s relationship to the environment and its preservation, particularly in light of the dire state of our ecology at present. As Genesis recounts, human beings were formed from the very earth itself, and the name of the first human being, Adam, comes from the same root as the Hebrew word for earth, adamah. Our tradition sees humans as of the land and thus for the land, as both inhabitants and guardians.

 

We might see trees as the lungs of the Earth, and appreciate their value for providing food and shade, preventing soil erosion, braking the wind, and regulating temperatures. But perhaps they are equally important to us as humans for the contrast between us and them. Whereas trees by their very nature are rooted right into the earth, human beings need to strike roots into the earth willingly, out of conscious endeavor. On Tu Bishvat, we are called upon to take the time to cultivate these roots, to dig ourselves deep into the land, to feel its needs and respond to them. So important is this practice that Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai instructed that should the Messiah come while we are engaged in planting a sapling, we must first finish the planting and only then greet the Messiah! So this year, let us all celebrate Tu Bishvat by redoubling our efforts to make environmentally-conscious decisions every single day. Recycle more, conserve more water, invest in renewable energy, or just go out and plant a tree!

 

by David Diamond, Guest Contributor

 

Goodbye Chanukah, Hello Passover!

Posted by Haggadot

When we lit the menorah last night, I felt so much gratitude for the many Jewish communities that brighten our world, including our own Haggadot.com community, with nearly 50,000 members across the globe. It's truly a pleasure to co-create with you!
 
In 2020 we will celebrate an exciting milestone: Haggadot.com's 10th Passover Season! Please consider a special year-end gift to kick-off our celebrations, or even a monthly membership to support our work throughout the entire year. 
 
As you know, we're more than just a Passover resource. Custom & Craft has become a design lab for all aspects of Jewish life, with DIY booklets for the High Holidays, Chanukah, Shabbat and more. We're especially proud of our new Product Design Workshop, which recently produced The Heirloom Circle, a ritual guide & activity kit for families to explore their heritage through shared heirlooms.
 
Every donation helps us continue growing and creating together. We can't wait to celebrate with you in 2020.
 
Thanks for your support! And have a happy Chanukah!