While recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor earlier this month, Cardinal John O'Connor composed his annual New Year's letter to his many friends in the New York Jewish community.
In fact, the 79-year-old leader of New York City Catholics has been sending heartfelt holiday greetings twice a year (on Rosh HaShanah and Passover) to Jewish leaders for at least 10 years.
The People of the Book produce no books in greater quantity than the Passover Haggadah. As surely as the seder brings Jews together every year, the seder table holds a selection of the new Haggadot that appeal to the scholar, the art lover, the historian of all ages.
Here are some of the latest selections:
The Seder Night: An Exalted Evening by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. Edited by Rabbi Menachem D. Genack. OU Press. 203 pages. $25.
At sunrise on April 8, the eve of Passover, a group of Jews from the Upper West Side will gather on the roof of the JCC in Manhattan. Organized by Hazon, the New York-based group that works for a “more sustainable Jewish community,” the early-morning risers will say some prayers, do some yoga and burn some chametz.
When the sun appears over the Atlantic that morning, a similar scene will take place on Miami Beach.
In Mick Fine’s classroom, the sixth-graders are creating cartoons and board games and posters for their family’s upcoming seders. In the classroom of Nicole Levy and Vanessa Miller, the kindergarteners are putting the finishing touches on artworks that will be bound together into mini-Haggadot to be shared with their families next week. Throughout the classrooms of the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan, the K-8 students are learning about the traditions of Passover in other non-traditional, hands-on ways.
At West Side Judaica, seder plates are the hot item these days. A little south, at Manhattan Judaica, a new Haggadah by the late philosophical leader of the Modern Orthodox movement is a best-seller. Further south, at J. Levine Books & Judaica, novelty items like a Pharaoh punching bag and a where-did-the-wine-go? Elijah’s Cup are popular.
In this national time of recession, in the Jewish period before Passover, business is off for many merchants – but it’s not as off as expected for businesses selling goods for Pesach.
Each year one of the unofficial Passover traditions is the Haggadah-sales competition. New and old Haggadot, many of them issued by established publishers, vie for shoppers’ favor.
This year a new Haggadah under a new imprint appears to be winning.
North Conway, N.H. — Karen Eisenberg brought the homemade chopped liver. Joan Kurz brought a bagful of bottled gefilte fish. Suzie Laskin, the charoset.
And other women came to Maestro’s Italian restaurant last week, carrying yom tov staples, as the sun set over the White Mountains.
It was time for the second-night seder of Chavurah HeHarim, the Jewish community of rural east-central New Hampshire and western Maine, and the restaurant staff had prepared a meal of roast chicken, tsimmes and chametz-free chocolate cake.
With Islam’s top religious leaders publicly sanctioning suicide bombings against Jews, outraged New York rabbis plan to protest the behavior of their religious counterparts at a demonstration in front of the Palestine Mission next Monday.
Three prominent liberal New York rabbis have abruptly resigned from the advisory board of a new national Jewish peace group after their names appeared in a controversial full-page New York Times ad that likened Israel to the Passover story’s evil Pharaoh, and also used a Nazi allusion to describe the Sharon government’s military actions in the West Bank and Gaza.
Last Passover, as Jeffrey Rubin and his son Benjamin were heading for early morning prayers at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, they discussed how to help Israel as the Palestinian attacks against the nation increased.
Benjamin, then a 15-year-old junior at Long Island’s Hebrew Academy for the Five Towns and Rockaway, came up with the idea to unite American yeshiva teens to show support. With the help of fellow student Baruch Danziger, they formed the National Council of Yeshivot in Support of Israel.