When I saw that the new issue of The New Republic had Robert Alter reviewing a new work by Nathan Englander, I instinctively thought it’d be of Englander’s new translation of the Passover Haggadah. Given that Alter is a widely admired translator of the Hebrew Bible, it was only natural for me to assume as much.
In the Jonathan Safran Foer-Nathan Englander ‘New American Haggadah,’ tradition and modern literary sensibilities collide.
The novelist Jonathan Safran Foer grew up with a fairly typical American Passover. His father would use the Maxwell House Haggadah, supplemented with his own pamphlet of writings, and lead the annual Foer seder. But nine years ago, sitting at his family seder in Washington, D.C., Foer thought that, literary-wise, the Haggadah could use a little work.
Anyone who has seen the movie “Jaws” will surely remember the opening scene. A woman swims peacefully in the ocean and all appears to be well, until we hear that pulsating, foreboding music. You can’t see the shark yet, but you know it’s out there, and before too long, it will make its appearance…
For our upcoming Passover editions, The Jewish Week is seeking memories of our readers' holiday firsts. Do you have a poignant or amusing story of a first seder, the first time you led a seder, the family's first seder after a death in the family, the first time after you converted to Judaism, the first time after you kashered your home, etc.?
Please send your vignettes and anecdotes to Steve Lipman, staff writer, The Jewish Week, 1501 Broadway, Suite 505, New York, NY 10036; the paper's fax number is (212) 921 8420; or send the stories to
I'll admit I did not know who Esther Broner was until she died on Monday. But I certainly knew what she is most famous for: the feminist haggadah. Though her professional life was devoted to academia--a professor of literature at Wayne State, Sarah Lawrence College and sometimes the University of Haifa--to say nothing of writing her many novels, Broner will be forever associated with feminist seders.
A belated Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, Jewish or not, who are raising Jewish kids!
And so as not to seem parochial, I will also add a belated Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, regardless of what religion they are raising their children in, with the exception of monstrous child abusers like this family profiled in today’s New York Times.
In Poland today, non-Jews rival Jews in interest in tradition.
Poznan, Poland — The eyes of Poland’s Jewish history are upon me when I come here for Passover.
Three years ago I led the seders, as a volunteer, in the Lublin yeshiva that that been renovated and returned to the Jewish community, in the eastern part of the country. It was established about 100 years ago by Rabbi Meir Shapiro, the scholar better known as founder of the Daf Yomi Talmud study project. As I moved around the meeting hall where the seders took place, a framed portrait of Rabbi Shapiro hung on the front wall, his eyes, I imagined, watching me.
Our Passover (which coincided with the kids’ spring vacation) passed pleasantly — three lovely seders to which I contributed cooking, but didn’t have to host; lots of time with family; various excursions and lots of culinary experimentation with quinoa. No major news developments on the home front.
There are a few days left of Passover, and either your fridge is full of leftovers, or you’re thinking desperately about what to eat for the rest of the week. But if you fall in to either of those categories, this cake is for you.
Aaron Herman reports fromThe Jewish Weeks's Grand Wine Tasting at the City Winery and looks at the expanding universe of Passover wines. Also: an interview with Rabbi Ari Israel about the custom of burning chametz.