Welcome to Haggadot.com (the "Site"). Haggadot.com, customandcraft.org, [email protected] and all future,
as-yet-to-be-created brands are projects of Custom & Craft Jewish Rituals, Inc., which is the legal name of this
California nonprofit organization (hereinafter referred to as “Haggadot.com”). All projects of Custom & Craft Jewish
Rituals are subject to the Terms of Service described below. This Terms of Service ("TOS") contain the terms and
conditions that govern your use of the Site, and the Haggadot.com Service (as defined below). This TOS describes your
rights and responsibilities and what you can expect from the Haggadot.com Service. Use of the Site constitutes your
acceptance of and agreement to this TOS.
Haggadot.com reserves the right to add, delete, and/or modify any of the terms and conditions contained in this TOS, at any time and in its sole discretion, by posting a change notice or a new agreement on the Haggadot.com Site. In the event of substantive changes to this TOS, you may be notified by email. If any modification is unacceptable to you, your only recourse is to not use the Site and the Haggadot.com Service. Your continued use of the Haggadot.com Site following posting of a change notice or new TOS on the Haggadot.com Site will constitute binding acceptance of the changes.
The Haggadot.com Service.
Haggadot.com provides a number of Internet-based services through the Site as well as any other Haggadot.com affiliate websites, digital content, mobile applications, online service or anywhere the TOS are shown (all such services, collectively, the "Haggadot.com Service"). One such service enables users to create customized products, including without limitation, merchandise and books (collectively, "Products"). Haggadot.com users may create and purchase individual Products for their own personal use. Haggadot.com may offer a number of other services on its Site, including without limitation, message boards, contests, and newsletters, which may change from time to time.
Use of the Web Site and Haggadot.com Service.
Eligibility. Haggadot.com will only knowingly provide the Haggadot.com Service to parties that can lawfully enter into and form contracts under applicable law. If you are under the age of 18, but at least 13 years of age, you may use the Haggadot.com Service only under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian who agrees to be bound by this TOS. The Haggadot.com Service is not intended for children under the age of 13.
Compliance with TOS and Applicable Law. You must comply with all of the terms and conditions of this TOS, the applicable agreements and policies referred to below, and all applicable laws, regulations and rules when you use the Haggadot.com Service and the Site.
Your License to Use the Web Site and the Haggadot.com Service.
Haggadot.com solely and exclusively owns all intellectual property and other rights, title and interest in and to the Haggadot.com Service and Site, except as expressly provided for in these TOS. For example and without limitation, Haggadot.com owns the copyrights in and to the Site, and certain technology used in providing the Haggadot.com Service. You will not acquire any right, title or interest therein under this TOS or otherwise to any intellectual property owned by Haggadot.com.
Haggadot.com grants you a limited revocable license to access and use the Site and the Haggadot.com Service for your own personal purposes, subject to your compliance with this TOS. This license does not include the right to collect or use information contained on the Site for purposes prohibited by Haggadot.com; to compete with Haggadot.com; to create derivative works based on the content of the Site; or download or copy the Site (other than page caching). If you use the Site in a manner that exceeds the scope of this license or you breach this TOS, Haggadot.com may revoke the license granted to you.
This Section 2.3 does not pertain to your intellectual property rights. For information regarding your intellectual property rights, please see Section 4.
Third-Party Content: Wherever Haggadot.com websites, online services, and digital content make reference to third party organizations or include information, content, or graphics from third parties, Haggadot.com assumes third-party content is for general informational purposes only and displaying third-party content does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement of the opinion, product or service. Haggadot.com makes no claim as to the accuracy or relevance of third-party content. If you decide to access any other websites linked to or from this website, you do so entirely at your own risk.
Prohibited Use. You may only use the Haggadot.com Service as expressly permitted by Haggadot.com. You may not cause harm to the Site or the Haggadot.com Service. Specifically, but not by way of limitation, you may not: (i) interfere with the Haggadot.com Service by using viruses or any other programs or technology designed to disrupt or damage any software or hardware; (ii) modify, create derivative works from, reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble any technology used to provide the Haggadot.com Service; (iii) use a robot, spider or other device or process to monitor the activity on or copy pages from the Site, except in the operation or use of an internet "search engine," hit counters or similar technology; (iv) collect electronic mail addresses or other information from third parties by using the Haggadot.com Service; (v) impersonate another person or entity; (vi) use any meta tags, search terms, key terms, or the like that contain Haggadot.com's name or trademarks; (vii) engage in spamming or any activity that interferes with another user's ability to use or enjoy the Haggadot.com Service; (viii) assist or encourage any third party in engaging in any activity prohibited by this TOS; (ix) upload to, transmit through, or display any material that is unlawful, fraudulent, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, or otherwise objectionable or that infringes any third party’s intellectual property rights or any confidential, proprietary, or trade secret information of any third party; (x) upload, transmit, or display any advertisements, solicitations, chain letters, pyramid schemes, investment opportunities, or other unsolicited commercial communications (unless expressly permitted); (xi) display adult nudity or inappropriate child nudity; (xii) use the Site for sale of goods or services; or (xiii) upload photographs or other content depicting images or people who have not given permission to have their photographs or images uploaded to a share site.
Password Security. You are solely responsible for protecting the security and confidentiality of the password and identification assigned to you. You shall immediately notify us of any unauthorized use of your password or identification or any other breach or threatened breach of this website’s security.
Ordering Policies. If you purchase Products, you agree to do so in accordance with Haggadot.com's ordering policies and instructions on the Site. Your order constitutes an obligation to pay, subject to acceptance by Haggadot.com at our sole discretion. Your order is accepted by us when we ship the goods to you. An order confirmation does not signify our acceptance of your order, but merely confirms receipt of your order. We will send you a shipment confirmation once your order is accepted. Haggadot.com reserves the right to cancel any order prior to delivery at our sole and absolute discretion, whether or not you have already been charged. If your order is canceled pursuant to this section, and you have already been charged, Haggadot.com will automatically issue a refund to you. As the products are individually produced, an approximate availability and delivery time are shown alongside the product description prior to order completion. The products will be delivered as soon as they are available. The times are estimates only and cannot be guaranteed. At the latest, delivery will occur within thirty (30) days from acceptance of your order by Haggadot.com. Please note that Haggadot.com is not able to deliver to all regions worldwide. All prices are subject to the delivery charges, as well as any applicable taxes, duties, fees, or levies. Haggadot.com reserves the right to change the prices published on the Services at any time. However, orders already submitted to us will not be affected by such changes. Title to the Products you purchase passes to you when the Products are delivered to the common carrier.
Create and Buy General Rules and License.
Description. As part of the Haggadot.com Service, Haggadot.com offers a service (the "Create & Buy Service") that allows you to upload images, video, audio, data, and other content as well as text, files, and works of authorship (collectively, "Content") to the Site to create, produce, and purchase Products featuring the uploaded Content for your own use. “Content” also includes without limitation, any Content that you contribute or share with other members through the Site.
Delivery of Content. You will upload or deliver to Haggadot.com all Content that you want to use with the Create & Buy Service in accordance with the applicable instructions on the Site. Haggadot.com may, in its sole and exclusive discretion, determine whether any Content complies with such instructions and is satisfactory for use with the Create & Buy Service.
Ownership of your Content. You represent and warrant that you own or otherwise possess all necessary rights with respect to the Content and that the Content does not and will not infringe, misappropriate, use, or disclose without authorization or otherwise violate any copyright, trademark, trade secret right, or other intellectual property or other property right of any third party.
Use of Likeness. You consent to the use of your likeness, and you have obtained the written consent, release, and/or permission of every identifiable individual who appears in the Content to use such individual’s likeness, for purposes of using and otherwise exploiting the Content in the manner contemplated by these TOS. If any such identifiable individual is under the age of eighteen (18), you have obtained such written consent, release, and/or permission from such individual’s parent or guardian. You agree to provide a copy of any such consents, releases, and/or permissions upon our request.
Licensing Your Content to Haggadot.com. You will retain ownership of the Content that you upload to the Site. You hereby grant to Haggadot.com a perpetual, irrevocable, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide, transferable, nonexclusive, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right and license to: (i) use such Content, in all media existing now or created in the future, as Haggadot.com deems necessary to enable you to use the Create & Buy Service to create, produce, and purchase Products; (ii) with respect to any Content that you expressly designate as being “public,” to link to, use, reproduce, create derivative works from, license, sublicense, distribute, print, publicly display, and otherwise utilize your Content including, without limitation, making your Content available to the Haggadot.com community. Please note that, while you retain ownership of your Content, any template or layout in which you arrange or organize your Content through tools and features made available through the Site or the Haggadot.com Service are not proprietary to you, and the rights to such template or layout are reserved to Haggadot.com.
Licensing Your Content to other Haggadot.com Members. Except for any of your Content that you specify as “private” during the submission process, you also hereby grant all other members of the Haggadot.com community a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable license to use, copy, publicly display, create derivative works from, and otherwise communicate and distribute your Content for any purpose on or through the Site or the Haggadot.com Service and/or in the Haggadot.com member’s own products. You acknowledge and agree that any such Haggadot.com member can exercise the foregoing rights without further notice, payment, or attribution to you. For avoidance of doubt, any of your Content that you designate as “public” will not be limited to any restricted purpose and is provided on a non-proprietary and non-confidential basis and will be generally accessible by other users of the Site and Haggadot.com Service.
Reservation of Rights.
Monitoring. Haggadot.com reserves the right, but does not assume the obligation, to monitor transactions and communications that occur through the Site. If Haggadot.com determines, in its sole and absolute discretion, that you or another Haggadot.com user will breach a term or condition of this TOS or that such transaction or communication is inappropriate, Haggadot.com may cancel such transaction or take any other action to restrict access to or the availability of any material that may be considered objectionable, without any liability to you or any third party.
Modification of the Service. Haggadot.com reserves the right to modify the organization, structure or "look and feel" of the Haggadot.com Service or the Site, and may change, suspend, or discontinue any aspect of the Haggadot.com Service at any time without any liability to you or any third party. Haggadot.com shall have complete discretion over the features, functions, prices and other terms and conditions on which the Haggadot.com Service is offered to Haggadot.com users.
You shall not upload, distribute, or otherwise publish through this website any content, information, or other material that (a) violates or infringes the copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, or other proprietary rights of any person; (b) is libelous, threatening, defamatory, obscene, indecent, pornographic, or could give rise to any civil or criminal liability under U.S. or international law; or (c) includes any bugs, viruses, worms, trap doors, Trojan horses or other harmful code or properties.
Haggadot.com reserves the right to immediately remove any content it deems offensive, or in violation of these Terms and Conditions. Haggadot.com also reserves the right to remove a user account, without notice, if the user has been found to pose a threat to other users or has violated any rule laid out in the Terms and Conditions.
Copyright and Trademark Issues
While we are not obligated to review Content for copyright or trademark infringement, we are committed to protecting copyrights and trademarks and expect users of our Site and Haggadot.com Services to do the same. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (the “DMCA”) provides recourse for copyright owners who believe that material appearing on the internet infringes their rights under U.S. copyright law. If you believe in good faith that any material used or displayed on or through our Site or the Haggadot.com Services infringes your copyright, you (or your agent) may send us a notice requesting that the material be removed, or access to it blocked. The notice must include the following information:
a physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed; identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed (or, if multiple copyrighted works are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works); identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or the subject of infringing activity, and information reasonably sufficient to allow us to locate the material on our Site and/or the Haggadot.com Services; the name, address, telephone number and email address (if available) of the complaining party; a statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and a statement that the information in the notification is accurate and, under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
If you believe in good faith that a notice of copyright infringement has been wrongly filed against you, the DMCA permits you to send us a counter-notice. Notices and counter-notices must meet the then-current statutory requirements imposed by the DMCA; see http://www.copyright.gov for details. DMCA notices and counter-notices regarding our Site and the Haggadot.com Services, or notices concerning trademark use in personalized products we make or in our Site and the Haggadot.com Services, should be sent to:
Haggadot.com PO Box 385 Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 [email protected]
Upon receipt of a compliant DMCA Takedown Notice, Haggadot.com will investigate the claim, take appropriate action and serve the notice on our member. If a member submits a DMCA Counter-Notice, Haggadot.com will forward such notice to the party that submitted the relevant DMCA Takedown Notice and allow the member to repost the disputed content after 10 days, as provided by law. Haggadot.com reserves the right to terminate the account of any member who repeatedly infringes the copyright rights of others, as determined in Haggadot.com’s sole discretion.
Representations and Warranties.
Mutual Representations and Warranties. You represent and warrant to Haggadot.com and Haggadot.com represents and warrants to you: (i) that you or it has the full power and authority to enter into and perform under this TOS, (ii) the execution and performance of your or its obligations under this TOS does not constitute a breach of or conflict with any other agreement or arrangement by which you or it is bound, and (iii) this TOS is a legal, valid and binding obligation of the party entering into this TOS, enforceable in accordance with its terms and conditions.
By You. In addition to any other representations and warranties contained in this Agreement, You represent and warrant to Haggadot.com that, in your use of the Haggadot.com Service, you: (i) will not infringe the copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, right of privacy, right of publicity or other legal right of any third party, and (ii) will comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations. You further represent and warrant to Haggadot.com that: (i) there are no claims, demands or any form of litigation pending, or to the best of your knowledge, threatened with respect to any of your Content; (ii) Haggadot.com will not be required to make any payments to any third party in connection with its use of your Content, except for the expenses that Haggadot.com incurs in providing the Haggadot.com Service; (iii) the use of any instructions, formulae, recommendations, or the like contained in your Content will not cause injury to any third party; and (iv) your Content does not contain viruses or any other programs or technology designed to disrupt or damage any software or hardware.
Disclaimers and Exclusions.
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES. Haggadot.com PROVIDES THE SITE AND Haggadot.com SERVICE ON AN "AS IS" AND "AS AVAILABLE" BASIS. Haggadot.com DOES NOT REPRESENT OR WARRANT THAT THE SITE, Haggadot.com SERVICE OR ITS USE: (i) WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, (ii) WILL BE FREE OF INACCURACIES OR ERRORS, (iii) WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS, OR (iv) WILL OPERATE IN THE CONFIGURATION OR WITH THE HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE YOU USE. Haggadot.com MAKES NO WARRANTIES OTHER THAN THOSE MADE EXPRESSLY IN THESE TOS, AND HEREBY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF TITLE, ACCURACY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, MERCHANTABILITY, NON-INFRINGEMENT AND ANY WARRANTIES THAT MAY ARISE FROM A COURSE OF DEALING, COURSE OF PERFORMANCE, OR USAGE OF TRADE.
Limitation of Liability.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMISSIBLE BY APPLICABLE LAW, NEITHER Haggadot.com, NOR ANY OF ITS DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, SHAREHOLDERS, EMPLOYEES, CONTRACTORS, AGENTS, REPRESENTATIVES, OR AFFILIATES (COLLECTIVELY, “THE HAGGADOT PARTIES”) SHALL BE LIABLE FOR ANY CONSEQUENTIAL, INCIDENTAL, INDIRECT, PUNITIVE OR SPECIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION DAMAGES RELATING TO LOSS OF BUSINESS, LOST PROFITS, LOST DATA, USE, OR LOSS OF GOODWILL) ARISING OUT OF, RELATING TO OR CONNECTED WITH THE USE OF THE Haggadot.com SERVICE OR THIS TOS, BASED ON ANY CAUSE OF ACTION, OR FROM UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO OR ALTERATION OF YOUR CONTENT OR DATA, EVEN IF A REMEDY SET FORTH HEREIN IS FOUND TO HAVE FAILED ITS ESSENTIAL PURPOSE AND EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. FURTHERMORE, THE HAGGADOT PARTIES WILL HAVE NO LIABILITY TO YOU OR TO ANY THIRD PARTY FOR ANY CONTENT UPLOADED. YOUR SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE REMEDY FOR DISSATISFACTION WITH THE SITE OR THE Haggadot.com SERVICE IS TO STOP USING THE SERVICES. TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMISSIBLE BY APPLICABLE LAW, THE MAXIMUM LIABILITY OF THE HAGGADOT PARTIES SHALL BE THE ACTUAL PRICE PAID THEREFORE BY YOU. NOTE: CERTAIN JURISDICTIONS MAY NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL OR CERTAIN OTHER TYPES OF DAMAGES, SO SOME OF THE ABOVE EXCLUSIONS OR LIMITATIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.
Term and Termination.
Term. This TOS shall remain in full force and effect while you use the Site and Services.
Termination. In its sole discretion, with or without notice to you, Haggadot.com may: (i) suspend, limit your access to or terminate your use of the Site and/or the Haggadot.com Service; (ii) suspend, limit your access to or terminate your account; (iii) remove any of your Content from Haggadot.com's servers and directories; and (iv) prohibit you from using the Haggadot.com Service and/or the Site. Upon termination for any reason, your right to access and/or use the Site and/or the Haggadot.com Service will immediately cease.
Survival. Notwithstanding Section 12.2 above, this TOS will survive indefinitely unless and until Haggadot.com chooses to terminate this TOS.
Effect of Termination. If you or Haggadot.com terminates your use of the Site or the Haggadot.com Service, Haggadot.com may delete any Content or other materials relating to your use of the Haggadot.com Service on Haggadot.com's servers or otherwise in its possession. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you understand that any Content you expressly designated as being “Public” and that Haggadot.com or other users of the Site made available in other areas of the Site other than your user profile (including, without limitation, in another user’s library) may not be deleted. Haggadot.com will have no liability to you or any third party for any termination of your use of the Site or Service or for any deletion of your Content or for any Content that was not deleted that remains on the Site.
All notices required or permitted to be given under these TOS (other than in connection with Section 7) will be in writing and delivered to the other party by any of the following methods: (i) U.S. mail, (ii) overnight courier, or (iii) electronic mail. If you give notice to Haggadot.com, you must use the following addresses: 19 Worth St., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 [email protected] & [email protected]. If Haggadot.com provides notice to you, Haggadot.com will use the contact information provided by you to Haggadot.com. All notices will be deemed received as follows: (i) if by delivery by U.S. mail, seven (7) business days after dispatch, (ii) if by overnight courier, on the date receipt is confirmed by such courier service, or (iii) if by electronic mail, 24 hours after the message was sent, if no "system error" or other notice of non-delivery is generated. If applicable law requires that a given communication be "in writing," you agree that email communication will satisfy this requirement.
All disputes arising out of, relating to or connected with these TOS or your use of any part of the Haggadot.com Service will be exclusively resolved under confidential binding arbitration held in California, before and in accordance with the Rules of the American Arbitration Association, by a sole arbitrator applying California law (without regard for conflicts of law principles). The arbitrator's award will be binding and may be entered as a judgment in any court of competent jurisdiction. Any action to enforce an arbitrator's award will be brought in a federal or state court located in California. Each party hereby irrevocably submits to the personal jurisdiction of the Federal and California State courts. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Section Can 14, Haggadot.com may seek equitable relief, including, without limitation, injunctive relief and specific performance, without the requirement of posting a bond or other security or proving money damages are insufficient, from a court of competent jurisdiction.
These TOS will be binding upon each party hereto and its successors and permitted assigns, and governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California without reference to conflict of law principles. This TOS is not assignable or transferable by you without the prior written consent of Haggadot.com. This TOS (including all of the policies and other Agreements described in this TOS, which are incorporated herein by this reference) contain the entire understanding of the parties regarding its subject matter, and supersedes all prior and contemporaneous agreements and understandings between the parties regarding its subject matter. No failure or delay by a party in exercising any right, power or privilege under this TOS will operate as a waiver thereof, nor will any single or partial exercise of any right, power or privilege preclude any other or further exercise thereof or the exercise of any other such right, power, or privilege. You and Haggadot.com are independent contractors, and no agency, partnership, joint venture, or employee-employer relationship is intended or created by this TOS.
Through The Water And Into The Fire - As Told By Aaron's Unnamed Daughter
I was young enough at the time that I felt the danger in growing up, but I didn’t have to go through the worst of it, really. Still, the way things were working, the way we all felt like we were on the edge of something catastrophic without any comfort, or the way the adults would talk in circles, night after night, with nothing solid to grasp onto. That’s what it was like when it all changed.
We could run around noisily at night in our enclave, but we still had to be careful. Our breathy not-laughter disappeared into the night sky. All us children of Aaron were running around under a bright full moon when my father, who had been off meeting his brother – how he knew to meet him I’ll never know – made an introductory speech to the courtyard. I didn’t even know he had a brother, and somehow I’ve never asked why no one told me sooner. Maybe I don’t want to know.
Moshe-who-had-been-a-secret looked like his own full moon that night, silvery and like he could see our lives from up in the sky, like he was a floating ember on its way to or from the moon. We didn’t have much, but we loved each other. Looking at him, I picked at the loose threads at the hem of my smock and suddenly wanted things to be different. He smiled at me and I could see all the members of my family in his face, his eyes, his nose, Miriam’s sharp jaw, the smile that still looks exactly like my grandmother’s did.
When I remember that the story was already unfolding that night, rather than just beginning, I feel baffled. I heard them whispering through the doorway “we can’t do this” before each and every thing they did, and somehow it kept going.
Now, looking back, I’m struck by how long it all is - the whole process of liberation, and how no one told me it would be forever. If I had known, would I have felt as much hope? Would I have encouraged and fed and connected and held the people around me as I did, or would I have thrown up my hands and said you’re all fucking insane, I’m going to crawl into a cranny in this half-built city you’re all making and the rest of you can go wherever you want?
But they weren’t insane. Being in a state of hope is where I want to be. I’m grateful to be in this place, to be a wanderer, I suppose. From that night when I met my uncle I knew something better would be ahead. I knew it because I heard everything.
“My sweet” my mother would say, “if eavesdropping were a divine act you would unseat your father and uncle both.”
That divinity apparently meant that they were never around to be with us. It didn’t matter though - even before Moshe appeared out of nowhere I had Miriam, Anat, and Aya to listen to. Miriam had always lived here, but the others moved in when the cruel ones figured out they were breaking laws and came after them. It was originally meant to be short term, keeping a low profile, but everyone was so obsessed with them they wanted them to stay. Miriam was obsessed with them in a different way; I heard her explaining the life bond and its power, even if its origin remained a mystery. A love story with no beginning, they were. Anat and Aya taught Miriam their customs and rituals and she joined with them because the language spoke to her, too. Then they taught me. They said it was more productive than eavesdropping.
My uncle was family but he was also royalty, they said. Anat and Aya said that he was a traitor like they were – the ripples went through everywhere when the son of the royal princess absconded on the moral grounds that our oppression wasn’t an acceptable trade for his power. I heard him articulate that one day and something shifted in me. It felt so good to be loved like that. I hadn’t yet seen the miracles - I hadn’t felt the awe yet of watching the planet unleash its power at the bidding of my own family. But listening at the curtain then, the patch I was meant to be sewing into my tunic resting haphazardly on my lap, I heard about visions and miracles that I could only have dreamed of. A wavering fire moving through the unaffected leaves of a low desert tree, sending off embers into the sky to spell out a mandate, a direction into an unknown of our own. Something about that vision wouldn’t leave any of us.
In the dark days of the plagues, we’d sit with our dried-leaf tea blends and hold hands and cry together, murmuring incantations for comfort. We re-created the incantations with each plague, and again later when we watched a sea give and simultaneously take so dramatically. Many were cheering, so I was glad that Anat and Aya’s tradition explained that it also felt so terrible, even though the people were technically our enemies.
The last plague, especially, was... well. People were wailing all over the place. My parents held Nadav close and he complained about it. To be those without blood on their doorways was worse. We still carry those times, I can’t deny it. And what we had to go through to get out of the thing once the plagues had finished.
“How can anyone live unscathed?” is a question Miriam started asking everyone: pilgrims and visitors, even her brothers, who were so excited to become powerful on the other side of leaving that they barely answered. I admire her for that, and for her criticism of those with leadership, across the board. She always encouraged us to consider what we’d been through and what we need - but no one could say she didn’t care because of the well. She gave us water. Sang of it, provided it, made it her own friend. Even as the legacy of water was attributed to Moshe.
We’d figured out eating and drinking in the desert. Then, the news came. I didn’t know what to think. My uncle and father sat me down together, which should have warned me. Then they told me that I wouldn’t be making it to the milk and the honey. That being born oppressed means one will always feel oppressed, and so I would be kept from the promised land. As though I were some wicked child. As though my whole generation were wicked children. My uncle’s eyes shifted to the floor. My father said “Ah, yes, my children the last generation” and he laughed but in a way like he wasn’t sure if it was funny. Complete lack of control does sometimes inspire laughter, I suppose.
My head was swimming; the whole dream had been the promised land, and suddenly it’s not for me? What even was the point of wandering? Right then I got word that The Three, as I came to call them - Miriam, Anat, and Aya - summoned me. My stomach rumbled as I walked to their home, crunching over the well-worn ground from which all sustenance had already been gathered that morning while I was with Moses and my father. I felt so tired and worried about why I’d been summoned that I barely noticed the fourth set of eyes in the room. They were hazel, watery in their depth; something shimmered and took flight.
Miriam nodded across the table toward the owner of the eyes and said simply, “We found you someone.”
“Anipe,” said the mouth that grinned timidly below the eyes. “My family is Egyptian but we were so happy to get out of that narrow place. We were feeding some of your people and they told us how to survive, but even so sometimes it feels like people don’t know what to do with us.”
“Well uh, I don’t know what to do with anything, but I’d try, shit.” I found myself saying. “Don’t have a destination, but there’s time to get… somewhere, I guess…” drawing in a breath I watched that grin open in laughter to reveal a bit of tongue within it, and then five mouths were open in laughter together.
They never told me how they found her amongst the throngs but we came to wander together and I started calling The Three instead The Font of Love. They added “matchmakers” to their list of skills, and we five learned each other’s customs and incantations. We wrote songs and plays and stories together to spark conversation over the long days and months and years. We gave some to the children, hoping they’ll grow and remember and keep our work in mind since they never experienced anything but anticipation for a destination they know they’ll attain - imagine!
We sang litanies of the miracles, we sat in awe of all it takes to achieve freedom - each moment of darkness, every single hailstone, the exercise of transformative magic, each drop of blood and water. We told stories. We learned to make our own milk and honey.
The collective, under the leadership of our family members, is also creating new rituals - some of them really quite bloody - to make sense of what we did, what happened to us. Even if we got caught up in the tantalizing dream of being each our own direct conduits to the divine, ultimately we all agreed that it was especially nice to receive the collective mandate to not kill. Aside, of course, from sacrifices.
Miriam refused to participate in the ritual slaughter - not her metaphor, she said. Anat, Aya, and Anipe didn’t do that kind of thing. They talked about the animals they’d grown up with, naming and loving them, each one had a distinct society of creature neighbors to make their days beautiful. I could have participated in the slaughter myself, but what for? The Font of Love would toss their quick loaves over the coals when we had access to the ingredients, and the smoke of the singed edges was an offering, too.
When Miriam got sick, me and Anipe were the only ones there; we’d already been sitting together for the 30 days of mourning. Anat and Aya had gone within an hour of each other. We brought her some teas, whatever we had, but she barely noticed. She’s lost so many parts of herself, it makes sense for that to manifest physically. So much loss, even as the wildflowers bloom and the herbs dry hanging from the ceiling, sending their fragrance of contentment.
She looked at us and held our hands in her hands. We took care of her. Went for walks - going through the doorway sideways so that she - grumbling all the way - could keep our arms linked through each of hers as we emerged into the quiet outskirts of our camp. We talked to all sorts of people engaged in survival and enjoyment with each other.
Now we are the three - Anipe and I, with our matchmaker who we’d catch looking at us dreamily when she thought we weren’t paying attention. We talk every night about how we’re dreaming of freedom, of milk and honey, and we find new definitions for that every day. We remind each other that a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire could appear out of nothing. We sit under a sky full of stars and imagine being an eternal fire in the wilderness, a fire full of stars that might someday fly away up into the sky, like embers.
Haggadot.com is a project of Custom & Craft Jewish Rituals Inc, a nonprofit design lab empowering half a million people each year to design meaningful Jewish rituals for themselves and their loved ones. When you donate,100% of your tax-deductible investment sustains our platform and provides access for those who cannot afford to give.
Anyone you invite to collaborate with you will see everything posted to this haggadah and will have full access to edit clips.
You will not be able to recover your
Are you sure you want to delete it?