It probably wouldn’t be too much of a challenge to amass a collection of a hundred different haggadot. So why not make it 101 by adding your own version to the lot? If you have a meaningful interpretation – or a favourite joke – that you retell after seder, you can incorporate it into your very own haggadah. Here are some sites that let you do it yourself and sample some other homemade haggadot.
As you work on your haggadah, please be aware that you will likely be incorporating and printing selections that contain God’s name and should be treated accordingly.
Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner provides three reasons to create a do-it-yourself haggadah:
- Customize them for the two seder nights which often have different participants, skills and interests.
- Enjoy them and then give them away as a souvenir for seder guests.
- Use them to inspire intergenerational learning for grandparents, parents and children.
In addition to helpful hints, Rabbi Lerner has created several haggadot which can be printed and combined. Some contain the entire bilingual text of the seder, others have highlights only. And then there’s the World’s Largest Seder Songbook with all the traditional titles, as well as over 100 contemporary tunes like There’s No Seder Like Our Seder.
Haggadot.com asks “Wouldn’t it be great if we could embrace tradition and start a conversation that reflects our interesting, hilarious, modern, multicultural thought-provoking lives? We can.” And they do deliver. Start with one of their templates and customize it from their library of readings and add clip art (like this Original Manischewitz Box, 1888.) Include commentary not just for yourself but for the entire haggadot.com community. While building your haggadah online, invite input from friends who will be joining you for the seder. When ready, print it out for the big night. (If you visit only one DIY Haggadah site, make it this one.)
Ariana Katz’s Make it Yourself Haggadah has done all the hard work for you. This printable pdf has Haggadah highlights with plenty of blanks that you can customize and use to get the conversation going at the Seder. How would you complete the following?
My favourite Passover food is ___________________. When I think of Passover, I think about ________________. My favourite part of the Passover story is ______________. I would least like to experience this plague (circle one): raining frogs, swarms of locusts, wild beast. I think the afikomen will be hidden here: _____________.
Chabad’s haggadah page has clear step-by-step instructions in English. Or you can download another file that contains the entire Hebrew text of the haggadah (with Hebrew instructions.) Chabad doesn’t offer a bilingual haggadah but Mechon-Mamre.org does – Hebrew and English side-by-side with clear instructions based on the Mishneh Torah.
The Open Siddur Project is “for folk liberating liturgy and crafting their own prayerbooks” There, you can download several personalized Haggadot including:
- Haggadah of the Inner Seder, by Rabbi David Seidenberg – “focuses on revealing the inner structure of the seder… and adds in some commentaries that will make sense of not just what things mean but how they work.”
- Haggadah Shir Ge’ulah – Song of Liberation by Emily Aviva Kapor-Mater – “at once traditional and radical, featuring egalitarian Hebrew and English, full transliteration, progressive theology, and a focus on modern issues of oppression and liberation.”
- The First Battlestar Galactica Seder Haggadah – Impress Commander Adama fanboys at your seder table while confusing everyone else.
A bit less traditional but very wonderful site is Uncle Eli’s Special-for-Kids Most Fun Ever Under-the-Table Passover Haggadah. Written in the style of Dr. Seuss, Uncle Eli (Segal) retells the haggadah in a familiar yet unique way:
“Why is it only on Passover night
we never know how to do anything right?
We don’t eat our meals in the regular ways,
the ways that we do on all other days…
Cause on all other nights we may eat
all kinds of wonderful good bready treats
like big purple pizza that tastes like a pickle,
crumbly crackers and pink pumpernickel…
Yes – on all other nights we eat all kinds of bread,
but tonight of all nights we munch matzah instead.”
And if you’re planning to lead a seder this year and need a bit of help with your Hebrew pronunciation or want to brush up on a tune, the Virtual Cantor is at your service. (Actually, you’re at HIS service.) The Cantor – also known as Josh Sharfman – has recorded the entire traditional haggadah and put in online so that you can listen to it anytime. The seder has been divided into 40 parts (e.g. Dayenu, Fourth Cup, Chad Gadya etc.) so that you can easily jump to any part of the haggadah. Done with the Cantor? Then you can listen to the Rabbi. Rabbi Mark Zimmerman has recorded his own Seder highlights along with handy text in Hebrew, English and transliterated Hebrew.
Have a kosher and happy Passover!