In creating this new haggadah, Alan S. Yoffie recognizes and responds to the contemporary Reform Jewish family that may include members from many different backgrounds and religious — even nonreligious — traditions. Clearly written and handsomely illustrated by the noted artist Mark Podwal, the haggadah meets all the participants in the seder on their own ground. Gender neutral, with God addressed in the second person and some creative translations of the Hebrew, Sharing the Journey stresses the universality of the seder.
Although Sharing the Journey speaks to a broad community, it follows the traditional order of the seder although some parts have been shortened or omitted. This allows for expanded explanatory sections and supplementary material. For example, the lighting of the festival candles includes the Shabbat blessings for sons and daughters as well as the priestly benediction; both Dr. Martin Luther King and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel are quoted in the breaking of the matzo; and a section on the Holocaust has a recitation of concentration camps and ghettos where Jews perished during World War II. In addition, at various points boxes indicate opportunities and topics for discussion.
The Appendix has longer versions of some of the abbreviated sections and additional songs, both traditional and contemporary, allowing the leader to insert them into the text for more traditional seders and to add songs. Hebrew is transliterated as well as translated throughout the text.
Yoffie, an attorney, has played an active role in his Jewish community. He worked with Dr. Paula Brody, director of the Outreach Training Institute of the Boston URJ Outreach, Rabbi Matthew Berger of Temple Emanuel in Worcester, Massachusetts, and many other advisers. A Leader’s Guide to the haggadah and a CD of the music are available; an icon in the text indicates that music for the blessing or song is on the CD. Sharing the Journey is a thoughtful haggadah that will lead diverse and contemporary participants to a meaningful seder and provide the basis for fuller celebration and discussion. Appendix, bibliography, endnotes, illustrations.
Maron L. Waxman, retired editorial director, special projects, at the American Museum of Natural History, was also an editorial director at HarperCollins and Book-of-the-Month Club.