How might I integrate or use technology to create a meaningful Passover seder?

created at: 2014-03-31The Passover story has inspired generations of artists to capture the narrative of the Haggadah through a variety of mediums. Editors have interwoven paintings, illustrations and even photographs throughout the pages of numerous editions of the Haggadah. Even the earliest medieval manuscripts bring the story to life through artistic creativity.

The modern world offers new ways to enliven the Passover experience. We live in a time where creativity of the millennial generation—my generation—is predominantly hosted through technology. A simple search for the word “Passover” on YouTube results in numerous Passover musical renditions, parodies and videos that deliver the Haggadah into the 21st century. While some will abstain from technology on Shabbat and chagim (Jewish holidays), those of us who are comfortable using it should take advantage of the opportunity to incorporate the artistry of the 21st century into our Haggadot.

Many households—including my own—use a self-published Haggadah. Nowadays, we might even save on printing costs, and save a tree, by creating digital versions of our texts and asking guests to bring iPads or other tablets. We might also simply display the Haggadah on a large-screen television. At Temple Beth Elohim, where I am a rabbi, we have begun to incorporate visual t’filah (prayer) into our prayer experiences, projecting onto our screens in the sanctuary the texts of our liturgy alongside our community artwork. The same can be done in a Passover seder.

Within the electronic medium, we are free to replace the reading of the “Four Sons” with an animated version created by G-dcast; we can dramatize the telling of the parting of the Red Sea with a clip from PunkTorah; or even do a creative rendition of Maggid (the Telling) with a musical performance by the Maccabeats. Brett Lubarsky, our assistant director of youth engagement at Beth Elohim, has created a page on our synagogue youth website that hosts many of these online resources. Visit tbeyouth.org/passover to discover a trove of amazing online Passover materials. Also make sure to check out JewishBoston.com’s new mobile app version of the Haggadah, which is featured in the image above.

No other Jewish book has been printed in so many different versions than the Haggadah. Some estimate that since Johannes Gutenberg, there have been at least 4,000 different versions ranging in themes and orientations, from traditional text to progressive, from Zionist to socialist, from Russian to American. Jews who are comfortable using technology on Passover should celebrate the long tradition of reimagining the Haggadah by integrating the digital revolution of our time into their seders.

created at: 2014-03-31Rabbi Joshua Franklin serves Temple Beth Elohim, a Reform congregation in Wellesley.

Check out JewishBoston.com’s Haggadah mobile app and other Passover resources.

Looking for a seder? Consider joining Rabbi Franklin’s young adult community for its second night seder featuring his original multimedia Haggadah.