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The Passover Haggadah

Celebrated writers Jonathan Safron Foer and Nathan Englander talk about their new American translation of the Passover Haggadah, a story of freedom.

A 700-year-old Haggadah on display. (AP)

A 700-year-old Haggadah on display. (AP)

Almost everybody knows the ancient story of Moses and the Jews flight to freedom.  Egypt.  Slavery.  The pharaoh, and plagues, and the parting of the Red Sea.  Let my people go.  It’s bedrock.

The Jewish remembrance of that story each year at Passover is elaborate, also ancient, and guided by the text called the Haggadah.  There have been thousands of translations from the old Hebrew.  Now, celebrated American writers Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander have taken their turn.

This hour, On Point: a new American Haggadah, and the great old story of freedom.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Nathan Englander, translator New American Haggadah.

Jonathan Safron Foer, editor of New American Haggadah.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “After thumbing through the sleek hardcover book, Mr. Obama looked up and asked wryly, ”Does this mean that we can’t use the Maxwell House Haggadah anymore?””

The Philadelphia Inquirer “It began with an e-mail nine years ago. Novelist Jonathan Safran Foer asked a friend to join in a writing project.”

The Guardian “Passover is the easiest festival for Jews of scant belief to embrace. There is none of the policed piety of the High Holy Days or the rejection of western culture that Hanukah commemorates. Its universalist message of a people’s liberation from slavery has been adopted by revolutionary movements throughout the modern era from Oliver Cromwell to Martin Luther King. ”

Excerpt: New American Haggadah

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