Posted by Haggadot
It turns out that Jews aren’t the only ones with a plate full of ritual items in the springtime. Persian new year, Nowruz, comes in the springtime (this year it falls on Sunday March 20th). And as part of the preparations for Nowruz, Persian families--Jewish, Muslim, and Christian--prepare haft-seen.
Haft means seven, and seen is a letter in the Persian alphabet that makes the s sound. Haft-seen is a plate or table that has seven things that start with the letter seen. Each item has a symbolic significance, and many are generally related to spring and rebirth.
- seer | garlic | medicine
- samanu | wheat-based pudding | affluence (or fertility, depending on who you ask)
- seeb | apple | health and beauty
- serkeh | vinegar | old age and patience
- sabzeh | sprouts or greens (usually sprouted lentils or wheat sprouts) | rebirth
- senjed | wild olive | love
- somagh | dried sumac berries | sunrise
And that’s not all. Many haft-seen tables include a slew of other objects that are related to the season. You might find:
- sekkeh | coins | prosperity
- sonbol | hyacinth | spring
- goldfish | life
- colored eggs | birth, new life, etc.
- candles | light
- a mirror | also light
- a sacred book
Haft-seen is not a religious holiday, so it is celebrated by nearly all Persians, including Jewish Persians, who will be setting up their seder tables in just a few weeks. And these Persian Jewish families are getting a head start on cleaning for Passover, because besides haft-seen, another way families prepare for Nowruz is by khooneh takooni. This translates literally to "shaking the house" and is basically a thorough spring cleaning.
Want to see some beautiful pictures of haft-seen tables? Check out our pinterest board with some gorgeous examples, and take some inspiration for your own seder table.
Looking to update your seder plate? Over time, the most basic components of the seder plate have been joined by some new friends. There’s an orange, symbolizing the struggle by Jews who used to be ignored by our tradition—like gays and lesbians, and women, and Jews by choice. A tomato, to represent modern day slavery. An olive for peace in Israel and Palestine. A roasted beet “bleeds” to provide a vegan alternative to a shank bone. Find more on all aspects of the seder plate over in the clip library.
Wishing you a happy Nowruz!
Posted by Haggadot
Very exciting news over here at Haggadot.com…for this Passover season, we’ve got a new partnership and new specialty Haggadot. Here are some highlights – for the full press release, click here.
Our specially created and curated Haggadot include:
- - “Greatest Hits” Haggadah (curated by Haggadot.com team)
- - The Jewish Women’s Archive Haggadah (created by Jewish Women’s Archive)
- - The JQ International GLBTQ Haggadah (created by JQ International)
- - A Haggadah for Justice (social justice and equality content, curated by Haggadot.com team)
- - The Anonymous Haggadah (created by Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others).
We are also partnering with Michael Hebb and Seder2015, who have provided two additional featured Haggadot and several other supplements and conversations:
- - The Human Trafficking Haggadah, with partner Polaris Project
- - The Interfaith Issues Haggadah, with partner Interfaith Family
- - A recipe collection, edited by NYC chefs and cookbook authors Eli and Max Sussman in partnership with the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles
- - A compendium of Passover anecdotes, in partnership with Tablet Magazine
- - A new initiative to expand the conversation about gentrification, in partnership with Repair The World
And did you know… about sixty percent of Haggadot.com’s more than 37,000 registered members are between the ages of 18-34, indicating that millennials – the digital natives who trust peer-to-peer content more than top-down authoritative content – are seeking out Passover content that is accessible and more personally reflects their passions and interests.
As always, we have our three standard templates – traditional, liberal and secular – for you to start building your Haggadah with, and over 2000 pieces of unique content from 600 contributors worldwide on the topics that are meaningful to you, like social justice, feminism, art, interfaith and addiction. And if you’ve got your own Passover content you’d like to share with the world, share it into our Haggadot.com library.
Check out the full press release for more information.
Posted by Haggadot
From the team behind Haggadot.com comes Custom & Craft, a new site for publishing your own Shabbat services and Jewish celebrations. Soon, you'll be able to mix and match prayers, songs, and artwork for Friday night service, Havdalah, mealtime gatherings, and more. Find out more at http://www.customandcraft.org/.
We are currently accepting submissions for artwork from Jewish artists who wish to engage with ritual and Jewish culture, especially Shabbat. If you have already created such work, we would love to see it and share it with our audience! We can also supply a small fee for artists who create work for us. If you have any questions please feel free to contact our Community Coordinator Melissa Karlin. We would be happy to speak with you more about our website, services and how your artwork will be shared and used in our initiative.
We strongly encourage visual artists, writers and performers to apply. Please submit by providing a link to your portfolio website or images in file attachment to email@example.com.
Posted by Haggadot
We’re in the home stretch! Passover begins
Can't remember everything you should have in your haggadah? We made this cute little video to remind you. Check it out--we're pretty proud of it.
And if you think your haggadah could use a little something more, here are some of our favorite clips:
- Letter From a Slave to His Old Master
- Emancipation Proclamation
- Who Knows One in Ladino
- Vengeance Vs. Empathy
- The Four Defense Committee Members
- The Four Faces of Oneself
- Ten Plagues of Climate Change
- "Exodus" by Bob Marley
- Dayenu, an exercise in gratitude
- Gender neutral god-language wine blessing
- A Gefilte Fish Tale
- Human Rights Prayer
- Elijah's Journey
- Olives on the seder plate
- Pharaoh Hardened His Own Heart
- Ten Plagues, Ten Healings
- Karpas--Tears of Exertion
- Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
Need even more inspiration? Head over to the clip library and look for something that inspires you. Or head to our blog for recommendations ofartwork, videos, activities and more that will make your seder something special this year.
Wishing you a very happy Passover, and excellent seders!
Posted by Haggadot
Passover is a few days away, and you’re probably putting the finishing touches on your Haggadot. If you’re looking to add some striking visuals to your Haggadah, we’ve got you covered with over 400 options. Here are some of our favorite pieces of art that you can add to your Haggadah.
This striking stained glass-like image gives a dreamy feel to the miracle that kicked off the whole story.
You can’t have the traditional song about a goat without an adorable picture of a baby goat, can you?
This picture of a seder held in Europe in 1943 depicts dozens of soldiers taking a break from fighting the Nazis to eat some matzah and have the customary four cups of wine.
The Israelites suffered greatly under Pharaoh, and this Lego image is surprisingly evocative. Use it as a challenge to the Lego movie lovers in your midst: who can create the most impressive Lego scene from the Exodus?
This is just a taste of all the art we have at Haggadot.com. Choose your favorites for your own Haggadah here.
Posted by Haggadot
Less than a week to go until the first seder, so it’s time to put the finishing touches on your Haggadot so they’re ready for you on seder night. At Haggadot.com we have tons of text clips that are perfect for your print Haggadot, but we also have dozens of video clips, perfect for helping get you into the mood for Passover, and for playing at your seder if you use electronics on the holiday. Here are some of our favorite video clips:
For the a capella lovers: The Fountainheads Dayenu medley
We guarantee this song will be stuck in your head for hours, plus it has stunning visuals, some excellent costumes, and live camels.
This stop motion video is a deeply creative look at the numbers in the seder, and the way that the breaking of the matzah might symbolize different things.
For the history buffs: Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the Four Freedoms
Which kind of freedom is most valuable to you?
If you’ve been following the Women of the Wall controversy, this video is a fascinating look at what it’s really like to be there. A poignant and emotional video that will spur lots of discussion about freedom of religion within Israel.
Did you see our shoutout in the Forward by Jay Michaelson? He wrote, "First things first. Haggadot.com has, in the three years since its launch, become a well-oiled Pesadik machine. Templates, video clips, clean web design — there is no longer any excuse for not making your own Haggadah, mixing and matching from the wealth of online resources, like making a Passover playlist. Haggadot.com is no longer just a start-up — to me, it’s the industry standard. Now I’m ready for Machzor.com." Read more here.
Posted by Haggadot
Sure, seder means order, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play around at your seder. In fact, we have over 60 games and activities that will help give your seder a healthy dose of fun. Some of these games are great for young children, but we also have lots that are fun for grown ups, and intergenerational groups, too. Here are some of our favorites:
Afikomen Treasure Hunt by Adam Hopkins
Don’t just hide the afikomen, send your guests on a treasure hunt all over the house, tracking down clues that come straight from the story of the Exodus. A nice way to add something new to the traditional afikomen search.
Yoga for Your Seder Table from Marcus J Freed
Marcus Freed runs Bibliyoga.com, and he has a series of clips to add to your haggadah that bring some deep movement into your feast of freedom. These yoga poses can be adapted for any body, and some can even be done while seated at the table. Want to bring a little freedom into your body during the seder? This is a great way to start.
A Guided Visualization for Healing from the Kalsman Institute
We are all slaves to something, and this guided visualization allows the leader to bring seder participants through a meaningful and deep visualization of slavery, and of releasing the bonds of slavery. A great way to bring some intense energy to your seder.
A Passover Play by Rabbi Daniel Brenner
This 10-minute play is the perfect way to get guests of all ages involved in the story, and get through the Maggid section without putting anyone to sleep. It has 13 parts in it, so it works for big groups, too.
Four Children Drawing Activity by Made it Myself Books
Made it Myself Books has several options for pages you can include with space for kids to draw their own illustrations. If you’re not comfortable with drawing at your seder send it to kids ahead of time, and make sure to pass around their works of art during the seder so everyone can ooh and ah.
We also recommend this extensive list of activities that will spice up your seder. You can even add your own!
Posted by Haggadot
You’ve probably been to some pretty famous seders in your day. The year your toddler cousin accidentally head-butted your dad while searching for the afikoman, and you had to take your dad to the ER to get his nose looked at. The time the roast was completely raw in the middle. The time your uncle drank more than four cups and said some things you all regretted.
Throughout Jewish history, Jews have been having epic seders of all kinds. You may want to forget raw roast, but we’ve got some great clips that will help you bring the spirit of some famous seders to your seder. Here’s hoping that this year your seder will be famous for being so awesome.
Famous Seder: The Last Supper
Famous Because: Jesus led it (though it's debatable as to whether it truly was a Seder as we know it)
Clip recommendations: Spring, Time for Choices and Family by Rabbi Kerry Olitzky examines some of the ways we can approach an interfaith seder respectfully and thoughtfully, bringing many different traditions to one (seder) table
Haggadah and Liberation by Mark looks at the history behind the seder, and explains some of the different understandings of the Last Supper in both Judaism and Christianity.
Famous Seder: The Seder in Bnei Brak
Famous Because: The traditional Haggadah text uses this seder as the paradigm for all long seders—it lasted through the night til dawn
Clip recommendations: Seder in Bnei Brak by Daniel gives the historical context behind the epically long seder, explaining that its length was due in part to the rabbis using the ritual as a cover for some strategic planning they were doing to try to overthrow the emperor Hadrian. Sneaky!
Maaseh bBnei Brak by Bangitout.com is a smart alecky look at this seder, with plenty of rabbinic wisdom mixed in to boot. Why did all those rabbis come spend Passover with Rabbi Akiva? And why did the rabbis lie??
Famous Seder: The Last Seder in Warsaw before the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Famous Because: In just a few days the remaining Jews in the ghetto would put up one last fight before being shipped off to death camps by the Nazis
Clip recommendations: Yad Vashem has put together this poignant video that collects the testimony of a handful of survivors who experienced that fateful seder.
Shefoch Hamotcha by Rabbi Michael Lirner considers the Warsaw seder, and the ways that those in the present who choose to testify to the possibility of transformation become the focus of everyone’s anger and displaced frustrations, and eventually their murderous rage.
Famous Seder: The First Freedom Seder
Famous Because: Just a year after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Jews and Africans American joined together for a seder to celebrate the freedom they fought for together, and to steel themselves for the journey to come.
Clip recommendations: Some video footage from the original Freedom seder still exists, and you can watch it with your seder. We especially love the emotional singing of “Let my people go.”
Texts on Social Justice by AJWS gives you a lot of great civil right and social justice sources to examine as a seder. What resonates with you? What’s the civil rights cause that you find yourself thinking about at your seder?
Posted by Haggadot
Now that Purim is behind us Passover is the next big event on our calendars. And Passover, particularly the seders, require lots of planning, preparing and organizing.
Here at Haggadot.com we can’t help you with the house-cleaning, and we don’t remember how many boxes of matzah you had left over at the end of the holiday last year. But we can help you prepare for some truly fantastic seders.
Step 1 is to decide whom you’re going to invite. Will it be just family? Mostly close friends? Are you organizing your Temple’s community seder? Think about creating a guest list that will allow you to craft the kind of experience you want to have—maybe you want to focus on families with young children, so that you can make a seder that will really stimulate kids. Or maybe you want a crowd that are all involved in working in one field, or have something particular in common. Think about the kind of conversation you want to have, and who are the best people to invite to create that environment.
As you start to get RSVPs, you’re ready to begin more careful planning of what you want your seder to be like. If you’ll have lots of kids at the table, you may want something really interactive, with lots of games and activities. We’ve got you covered, with well over 50 seder games in our clip library. I especially recommend seder bingo, the bitter herb taste test, and the circle of plagues game.
If you have a crowd of singles, maybe you want to promote lots of discussion to get people talking to each other. This is a good opportunity to check out the progressive clips in our clip library (even if you don’t consider yourself progressive, we bet these clips will lead to lots of heated discussion. Some highlights: the 21 Jump Street activity, Freeing Your Inner Pharaoh, and Occupy Passover.
Or maybe you want to make sure you have some gorgeous artwork and interesting pictures in your Haggadah. We have over 350 images for you to choose from to make your Haggadah easy on the eyes.
Whatever you choose, I guarantee we have some clips that will get you started on building your Haggadah. Head over to our clip library and begin searching for the content to build your Haggadah, and start uploading your own content to create something unique just for your seder.
Passover is just four weeks away. Let’s get planning!