Page 58 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 33

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48
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Judaism as well as the great changes tha t have taken place in
Jewish life.
The new book for Passover contains some impressive illustra­
tions by Leonard Baskin. Unfortunately, some of the beauty of
the art is lost when the large work is reduced in size for the
Haggadah.
The book opens from right to left. T he new
Siddur
of the CCAR has been printed to provide congregations with the
option of ordering texts opening from left to right or from right
to left.
THE UNIQUENESS OF THE CCAR HAGGADAH
What is unique about the
Haggadah
and a tribute to its editor,
Herbert Bronstein, and his committee was the refusal to merely
update an earlier Reform text. T he new
Haggadah
returns to
the roots and tries to deal with realities of the present Jewish
experience. Faithful to the central theme of the Passover story,,
that of moving from “degradation of glory,” there is also the
story of Israel’s deliverance and the messianic vision for a re­
deemed humanity.
In the introduction to the new
Haggadah
are directions for
preparing for the Seder. What a change from the past! These
include the removal of
hametz, bedikat hametz
(there is the
qualifying sentence, “it is suggested that the family make a
common decision as to what practice they will adhere to in their
home”) , and the table setting with all of the symbolic foods.
Here, as in the RA
Mahzor
and the CCAR
Siddur,
are readings
from modern and historic sources. They include Martin Buber,
Anne Frank, Samuel Halkin. An effort is made to relate the
persecution in Egypt to the agony of Auschwitz. For the most
part, the selections are a fine commentary to the old text. Themes,
past and present, have a remarkable similarity though separated
by centuries. One of the most touching additions is on pages 40
and 41. The traditional
Va-nitzak el Adonai Elohenu
is matched
by a paragraph of 15 year-old Peter Fischl who perished at
Auschwitz in 1944 and who wrote: “We got used to undeserved
slaps, blows and executions. . . .”
The
Haggadah
has brought back the “Plagues of Egypt,”
although the emphasis is altered from the tradition. There was
no allusion to plagues in the CCAR Haggadah of 1923. In the