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Haggadah: The Passover Guide and Storybook

Return to the Guide to Passover for Interfaith Families

During Passover, the Haggadah is the guide book everyone follows during the seder. Haggadah is Hebrew for “the telling,” which makes sense because the Haggadah tells the Exodus story. The plural of the Hebrew word, Haggadah, is Haggadot, with a long “o” in the last syllable.

How is the Haggadah Used?

The Passover seder can be long, and that’s why you typically have a handy guidebook, called a Haggadah, to keep the celebration on track. Depending on which version you choose, it provides instructions for the seder and walks participants through each step.

Haggadah means “the telling” in Hebrew, and it comes from the same root word as Maggid, the storytelling section of the seder. Traditionally, the Haggadah says that in every generation, each person must regard themselves as if they personally had come out of Egypt. By hearing the story while we see and eat the various symbols, each participant hopefully experiences the journey from slavery to liberation.

If you’re at a seder where people take turns reading from the Haggadah, no one will mind if you stumble over the names, Hebrew words or need to ask for pronunciation help. It’s also more than OK to pass if you’d rather not read.

There are many versions of the Haggadah for every Jewish denomination and for people with all interests (see some of our suggestions here). One of the most common versions was produced by Maxwell House to advertise that their coffee was kosher for Passover. Sometimes free Haggadot (plural of Haggadah) are included with the purchase of large boxes of matzah or sent in the mail to families who receive PJ Library books. Whether you’re a vegetarian, member of the LGBTQ community, Harry Potter fan or looking to finish your seder in 30 minutes or less, you’ll find a guidebook that suits you!

There are many downloadable versions online and fully customizable options at haggadot.com. And even if you already have one, you can add in additional songs and readings of your own to personalize the experience. Many organizations focused on particular issues such as the environment, refugees, hunger, poverty and inclusion put out their own Haggadah supplements every year with additional readings, ideas and conversation starters.


18Doors

18Doors is here to support interfaith couples and families exploring Jewish life. We offer educational content; connections to welcoming organizations, professionals and programs; resources and trainings for organizations, clergy and other program providers; and our Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship provides offerings for couples in cities nationwide. If you have questions, please contact info@18doors.org.

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Author: 18Doors