Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Handy Companion for the Classic Red and Gold Haggadah

With Passover quickly approaching, I've been on the lookout for interesting materials to share at our seder. One such discovery: a transliteration of the classic Red and Gold Rabbi Nathan Goldberg Haggadah that we use at our seder. I think this is a clever way to let those who don't read Hebrew participate in the festivities. For example, here's the transliteration of the 10 plagues:

The pages even match up to the 1963 edition of the Haggadah I grabbed off our shelf.

The publisher of Rabbi Goldberg's haggadah describe it so:

The definitive and most recognizable Haggadah in English. This has become the standard for most synagogues, schools, and homes.

Rabbi Nathan Goldberg's Passover Haggadah comes with an accessible English translation, clear instructions, and numbered lines so everyone can follow along in Hebrew or in English.

And from my perspective, this is true: it is the standard. It's the one I've been using my whole life. And yet, I can find no notable history of the haggadah on the web. Compare that to the similarly compact and universal text: the Maxwell House Haggadah. There's a colorful history associated with that text. Yet, the web is silent on old Red and Gold. How could this be? Could the Goldberg story really just be simple: it's an affordable, relatively easy to follow, simple text?

In a holiday so rich with meaning and minutia, surely we can't leave it at that. Can we?

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