New Reform Haggadah centers on social justice, inclusivity--and poetry

New voices and experiences contribute to a meaningful haggadah and seder experience.

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Why is this Haggadah different than all other haggadot? 

Because Mishkan HaSeder: A Passover Haggadah is a new exploration of the Exodus story punctuated by a diverse collection of poetry, by authors from Yehuda Amichai, Emma Lazarus, and Grace Paley to Seamus Heaney, Adrienne Rich, and Bertolt Brecht. 

Published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis' CCAR Press and dedicated in memory of Chicago's Rabbi Herman Schaalman, Mishkan HaSeder is designed to become the Reform Movement's new flagship Haggadah. The book, which is edited by Rabbi Hara E. Person and poet Jessica Greenbaum and illustrated by artist Tobi Kahn, combines age-old texts, fresh insights, and new translations by Rabbis Janet and Sheldon Marder. 

Commentary by Rabbis Oren Hayon, Amy Scheinerman, and Chicago Sinai Congregation's Rabbi Seth Limmer draws out the historic background of the Seder rituals and offers contemporary connections to the social justice issues of our day, building on the standard for inclusivity and diversity set by the previous CCAR Haggadah , The Open Door, in 2002.

The new Haggadah particularly shines a spotlight on the pivotal role of women in the Exodus story, including new readings--such as "The Four Daughters" and "A Contemporary Dayenu"--which bring to life the bittersweet experiences of Jewish women today. 

Perhaps the most evocative feature of Mishkan HaSeder is its handling of The Four Questions, where participants are invited to select from a menu of questions, such as " How can each of us actually work for the freedom of others? How can the company at this table work together for the freedom of others?" 

Mishkan HaSeder follows the format of Mishkan T'filah and Mishkan HaNefesh, including transliteration, sublinear commentary, and poetic readings on facing pages. It will also be available as a digital ebook and a Visual T'filah presentation for screen-sharing or projection.  Visit

Linda S. Haase is Senior Associate Vice President of Marketing Communications for the Jewish United Fund.

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