Why is this book different from all other books?
The Haggadah -- a Jewish ritual book used on the holiday of Passover to tell the story of the biblical Exodus from Egypt -- has some 7,000 iterations, reprinted and retranslated perhaps more than any other Jewish book.
This year, Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander published their "New American Haggadah" (as editor and translator, respectively) hoping to set the new standard for "intellectually and aesthetically satisfying" Haggadahs. The art, commentaries and new translation are remarkable, but perhaps the most interesting aspect of the New American Haggadah is the timeline that runs across the top of each page, telling the history of the Jewish affair with this text.
The timeline -- just like the Exodus from slavery -- doesn't end. Someday, there will be a New New American Haggadah. For now, though, there are thousands of versions to choose from. Here is a round up of some of the most interesting.
Birds' Head Haggadah (1200s)
The earliest known illustrated Ashkenazi Haggadah, the <a href="http://jhom.com/topics/birds/haggadah.htm" target="_hplink">Birds' Head Haggadah</a> gets its name from the fascinating depictions of humans with birds heads, thought to be a result of strict compliance to the Jewish prohibition against graven images.
The Rylands Haggadah (1300s)
This Medieval Jewish illuminated manuscript is currently <a href="http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/rylands-haggadah" target="_hplink">on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art</a>. It will be <a href="http://blogs.forward.com/the-arty-semite/154207/window-to-a-medieval-seder/" target="_hplink">opened to a new page each month</a>, allowing visitors to the museum just enough time to meditate on the Exodus from Egypt.
Sarejevo Haggadah (circa 1350)
One of the oldest Sephardic Haggadahs in the world, this tome survived the Jewish exile from Spain and the Nazis, wine stains and all. The <a href="http://haggadah.ba/?" target="_hplink">Sarejevo Haggadah</a> is now on permanent display at National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarejevo.
This all-Hebrew Haggadah (free on Google Books) shows that some things really don't change: the <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=tKREAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA6#v=onepage&q&f=false" target="_hplink">wine stains speak volumes</a>. (Hat tip: <a href="http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2011/04/250-year-old-haggadahs-wine-stain.html" target="_hplink">The Elder of Ziyon</a>)
New Revised Edition (1949)
The old standard by Rabbi Nathan Goldberg, the <a href="http://www.ktav.com/product_info.php?products_id=204" target="_hplink">New Revised Passover Haggadah</a> provides the bare-bones Hebrew and English with numbered sections for a traditional, round-the-table Passover seder.
The Haggadah Treasury (1986)
Text-heavy as it is, "<a href="http://www.artscroll.com/Products/HATH.html" target="_hplink">The Haggadah Treasury</a>" by Rabbi Nosson Scherman from Artscroll can enhance and deepen the traditional/Orthodox Passover shtick. Transliteration not included.
On Wings of Freedom: The Hillel Haggadah (1989)
"<a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=3eyOSaP9WusC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false" target="_hplink">On Wings of Freedom: The Hillel Haggadah for the Nights of Passover</a>" grew out Jewish life on college campuses. This interdenominational Haggadah provides alternate texts for some traditionally long readings as well as transliteration, poetry and insights from the sage Hillel himself.
Open Source Haggadah (2002)
The <a href="http://www.opensourcehaggadah.com/aboutus.php" target="_hplink">Open Source Haggadah</a> allows users to assemble a personalized haggadah from texts and images from an array of Jewish sources, including user-generated content.
Socalled Seder: A Hip Hop Haggadah (2005)
Not exactly a Haggadah, in the traditional sense of a Haggadah being a book that is read, the "<a href="http://jdubdigital.com/album/the-socalled-seder" target="_hplink">Socalled Seder: A Hip Hop Haggadah</a>" from <a href="http://www.socalledmusic.com/" target="_hplink">DJ Socalled</a> is a collection of Jewish and hip hop samples centered around the theme of the Seder.
Haggadah for Jews & Buddhists (2006)
"<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Haggadah-Jews-Buddhists-Passover-Ritual/dp/0977322122" target="_hplink">Haggadah for Jews & Buddhists: A Passover Ritual</a>" is retelling of the Passover story that links the Exodus to Buddhist concepts. It is under "<a href="http://www.modernhaggadah.com/haggadahs.html" target="_hplink">Copyright Karma</a>" so it may be photocopied.
30 Minute Seder (2007)
The "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/30-Minute-Seder-Haggadah-Tradition/dp/097912560X/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_3" target="_hplink">30 Minute Seder: The Haggadah That Blends Brevity With Tradition</a>" sticks to the basics for a family friendly Passover meal. You can preview it <a href="http://www.30minuteseder.com/sample_page.html" target="_hplink">online</a>.
A Poet's Haggadah (2008)
In "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Poets-Haggadah-Passover-Through-Eyes/dp/0972755586" target="_hplink">A Poet's Haggadah</a>," edited by Rick Lupert, 36 poets from around the world reinterpret the themes of the Passover seder through their own lenses. Visit the book's website for a "<a href="http://www.poetseder.com/index.html" target="_hplink">virtual tour</a>" of the poet's seder.
Haggadah For The Fifth Child (2010)
Released in 2010 as a free e-book, the "<a href="http://passoverhaggadah.net/index.htm" target="_hplink">Haggadah for the Fifth Child: A Festive Discussion on the Exodus and History</a>" by Donald B. Susswein is crafted for the children, adults, families and/or communities who aren't totally satisfied with the traditional answers to the seder's theological, ethical and historical questions.
Journey to Freedom Ethiopian Haggadah (2012)
The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Koren-Ethiopian-Haggada-Journey-Freedom/dp/9653012924/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1" target="_hplink">Journey to Freedom Koren Ethiopian Haggadah</a> introduces Ethiopian customs into the traditional Haggadah as it tells the dramatic story of the <a href="http://www.myjewishlearning.com/history/Jewish_World_Today/Jews_Around_the_Globe/ethiopianjewry.shtml" target="_hplink">Ethiopian Jewish community</a>'s journey to Israel in the 1980s and 1990s. This year, many Ethiopian Jews celebrated their <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/ethiopian-jews-first-passover-seder-in-israel-photos_n_1403334.html?ref=religion" target="_hplink">first Passover in Israel</a>. (Via <a href="http://www.korenpub.com/EN/products/holiday/haggadot/9789653012929" target="_hplink">Koren Publishers</a>)
Food and Justice Supplement (2012)
<a href="http://www.utzedek.org/" target="_hplink">Uri L'Tzedek</a>, the Orthodox social justice organization, has created an ambitious additional chapter for the seder's never-ending story: <a href="http://www.utzedek.org/socialjusticetorah/uri-ltzedek-publications/uri-ltzedek-food-a-justice-haggadah-supplement.html" target="_hplink">food and justice</a>."
The Haggadah App (2012)
Perhaps the world's <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-haggadah/id504156214?mt=8" target="_hplink">first multimedia Haggadah</a>, this app allows users to toggle between Hebrew and English, features audio commentary, includes Passover-appropriate recipes and even games to keep kids engaged.
The Ultimate Digital Hagaddah (2012)
The first illuminated Passover App, the <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ultimate-digital-haggadah/id511849787" target="_hplink">Ultimate Digital Haggadah</a> is a multimedia retelling of the ancient story of Passover fusing calligraphy, computer design, digital animation, gold gilt painting and narration. For those who don't mind using electricity on the holiday.
A Haggadah for Mystics and Drunks (2013)
Maggid <a href="http://jewishspirit.com/" target="_hplink">Yitzhak Buxbaum</a>, who, perhaps more than anyone else today, works to revitalize the Jewish art of storytelling (a "Maggid" is like a rabbi of storytelling), will release "A Haggadah for Mystics and Drunks" in time for Passover 2013. In anticipation of this, the Maggid has revealed a Haggadah supplement for the seder table that tells the story of Serach bat Asher, a mysterious and redemptive biblical woman. "Serach at the Seder" (<a href="http://www.jewishspirit.com/Serach/SerachSupplement.pdf" target="_hplink">PDF</a>) is an unbelievable and inspiring compliment to a traditional aspect of the Passover seder, welcoming Elijah the Prophet. You'll have to read on yourself...
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Hilory_Federgreen_Wagner"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/534939412/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Hilory_Federgreen_Wagner">Hilory Federgreen Wagner</a>:<br />A Series of Unfortunate Egyptian Events Download free: http://bit.ly/HeAZHN
The Southern Passover Seder Haggadah shel Dixie
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Yid_N_Dixieland"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100002551180229/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Yid_N_Dixieland">Yid N Dixieland</a>:<br />How Jews in the Deep South retell the Exodus