This Passover, the Jewish Women's Archive and JewishBoston.com have teamed up to bring you a downloadable, open source, fully inclusive Haggadah that weaves women's voices throughout the seder.
Less than a month ago, JewishBoston.com announced that it had created The Wandering Is Over Haggadah, an open-source Haggadah that folks could download and customize to make it meaningful for them. We loved this idea. Isn't that, at its core, what Judaism is about?
"We decided that to make it easy we wanted to offer a Haggadah that would be really welcoming and useful for someone who maybe had never led a seder before and wanted to lead one for the first time. And we also made it open sourced, downloadable and customisable so if someone does have the time, knowledge or patience, or whatever it takes to edit it in a way that’s more specific for them, they can do that too."
In the 1970s and 1980s, people began to recognize the role of women in the Passover story and in contemporary Jewish life and incorporate their stories into the Passover seder. We wanted to continue that tradition by including women's voices and newer rituals, like Miriam's Cup, into The Wandering Is Over Haggadah to create the first downloadable, open-source Haggadah that celebratres Jewish women.
The JWA version of The Wandering Is Over Haggadah highlights the roles of Shifra, Puah and Miriam in the Passover story, offers an alternative Four Questions and 10 "modern" plagues to discuss, and honors a historical or contemporary Jewish woman for each cup of wine. It also explains the origin of rituals, like the orange on the seder plate and Miriam's Cup. Staying true to the "JWA way," we included an oral history exercise so that telling your own family's story can become a part of your Passover tradition.
When we say that this Haggadah is "fully inclusive," we mean to say that it's not just for women. Just as women's history should be known by both men and women, a seder that includes women's voices has value for both men and women.
We hope you will use the Haggadah at your seder to make sure women's contributions are represented, spark discussion, and tell your own family's story. We can't wait to hear about your experience with the Haggadah. Be sure to let us know what you think!
Happy Passover from all of us at the Jewish Women's Archive!