Passover

The spring liberation holiday of Passover (Pesach) offers a rich illustration of the linguistic diversity of the Jewish people. Wherever Jews have celebrated this holiday, they have incorporated songs, recitation, and/or conversation in their specific communal language(s). In 2020, the Jewish Language Project is featuring Passover traditions by offering a delightful multimedia concert, recipes from around the world, videos of Passover songs in many languages, and an original haggadah supplement for you to bring these traditions to your seder. Click on the images below to see and hear more.

PowerPoint Haggadah for Zoom seder

In 2020, Jews around the world are confined to their homes because of Coronavirus. The Jewish Language Project has created a PowerPoint haggadah to present at a home seder or to use with the screensharing function of Zoom or another video service. The slides include much of the material from this website, such as videos and texts of songs in multiple languages and fun facts about Passover words and traditions around the world. Enjoy!

Praise for the Jewish Language Project's Zoom Haggadah:

 

"Just wanted to send you a quick note to say thank you on behalf of a bunch of people to whom I've sent the link to your Zoom Haggadah. Many of them have never run their own seders and weren't sure they'd be able to get common texts into the hands of everyone they want to Zoom with. Your Haggadah solved that problem, and they're all enjoying the diversity of Jewish music, foods, and rituals represented. Just within my own network, you've made seder much easier, less stressful, and more meaningful this year for at least a dozen s'darim."

Several people have created their own twists on our Zoom Haggadah, such as this version by Neo-Hasid, which includes more English translation, commentary, and gender-neutral God language.

Alternative foods for seder plate

It might be difficult to find the symbolic foods of the seder plate during this time of quarantine. Click here for some alternatives, inspired by international seder traditions.

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The Persian tradition of whipping guests with scallions during Dayenu at a seder in Los Angeles (image from Haggadot.com)

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A Yemenite table; celebration in Georgia. See images of Passover tables around the world.

For more information on global diversity of Passover celebrations, check out these books:

  • Abadi, Jennifer Felicia. 2018. Too Good to Passover: Sephardic & Judeo-Arabic Seder Menus and Memories from Africa, Asia and Europe. Jennifer Abadi.

  • Kurshan, Ilana. 2008. Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?: “The Four Questions” Around the World. Schocken.

  • Lowenstein, Steven. 2000. The Jewish Cultural Tapestry: International Jewish Folk Traditions. Oxford University Press.

  • Ochs, Vanessa. 2020. The Passover Haggadah: A Biography. Princeton University Press.

  • Raphael, Chaim. 1993. A Feast of History: The Drama of Passover through the Ages. Reprint edition. Bnai Brith International.

  • Spiegel, Murray, and Rickey Stein. 2013. 300 Ways to Ask the Four Questions. Second edition. Spiegel-Stein Publishing.

Additional Passover resources:

This article and this page discuss a variety of seder customs from around the world, including traditions regarding the Ten Plagues and Elijah the Prophet and decorating the door with "blood."

If you read Hebrew, you can also find resources, such as haggadah manuscripts and recordings in many languages, from the Hebrew Language Academy and the National Library of Israel.

If you're looking for a Reform English-Hebrew haggadah covering the highlights of the seder, here's one by Ellie Flier:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WIVeccVEJRTBKioQeDaqX4sCuVRJDAFV/view?fbclid=IwAR384-t9OpFgETxr1GTV3b0AFL855g0hUJZhgaD7nkr6MWjCgBsigBqJJu8. Tips info: Venmo: @Ellie-Flier, Paypal: ellieflier@gmail.com.

If you wish to express gratitude for the multitude of materials on the Jewish Language website, you can donate to support the documentation of endangered Jewish languages.

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Editor: Sarah Bunin Benor      Last update: 2020-07-05

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