The latest in Haggadot


The Haggadah, the text narrating the story of Passover, serves as a way for families to remember the Jewish liberation from Egypt, as well as making the seder a unique experience by personalizing their own Haggadot. And there are always new and creative Haggadot popping up every year. Check out some of the latest, innovative ways to get the feeling that you were once a slave in Egypt.

A creative drawing of the Ten Plagues was used in a customized DipTwice Haggadah. Photo courtesy of DipTwice
A creative drawing of the Ten Plagues was used in a customized DipTwice Haggadah. Photo courtesy of DipTwice

Personalized Haggadot, often filled with customized text and family photos, are nothing new. But the process of making an old-fashioned one from scratch somehow seems a little 20th century.

DipTwice, a new website dedicated to the idea of expressive freedom during Passover, is making the process of personalizing Haggadot much easier.

Bethesda-based founders Andrea Dettelbach and Liz Feldman launched the project in 2012 and it debuted online in December. With its own photobook website and choice of contemporary, traditional or sans-decoration templates, registered users can design their own Haggadah, enjoying the freedom to upload personal photos, stories, matzah covers, recipes and more, and to change styles, backgrounds and colors. Upon completion, users can purchase their customized book, which is then mailed directly to them within five to 10 business days.

After hiring a web developer and partnering with PrintLuna, a photobook company based in California, Dettelbach and Feldman connected with rabbis, cantors and educators around the area. They also spent time contacting people around the world and getting permission to use both written content and artwork, and licensing images of historical Haggadot, which are all available in DipTwice’s library and gallery for no additional charge. The written content includes Hebrew prayers, as well as translations and transliterations.

“We really want to offer a broad range of content so we can accommodate [users],” said Feldman.

“You can personalize it to any extent you want,” added Dettelbach, noting that families can have their style and tradition reflected in the books, without worrying about photocopying.

For those who’ve never created a Haggadah, the DipTwice process is fairly simple. After registering, users can view the homepage and resources for Haggadah and seder ideas. Once they agree to begin creating their book, users can choose whether they want it oriented horizontally or vertically, printed in hardcover or softcover, and whether it reads left to right or vice versa. Uploading personal photos simply involves dragging uploads from the bottom of the screen and dropping them on the page.

“We felt it was time for us to have something that was unique to us,” Dettelbach explained. “In this age of personalization, this has the blend of the familiar and traditional with the new and personalized.”

For more information, go to


30 minute sederShort and sweet seders

According to Robert Kopman and Bil Yanok, the authors of the 30minute Seder and the 60minute Seder, a successful seder depends on the quality, not the quantity, of pages read in a Haggadah. And if you’re used to hearing guests murmur about when it’s time to eat when the seder has barely started, these books might help you “blend brevity with tradition.”

Both books, which provide colorful photographs and illustrations courtesy of Yanok, serve as beginner’s guides to the seder and the story of Passover. With descriptions of each symbol on the seder plate and the Ten Plagues, text for the blessing of the wine and the four questions, the books also serve as a way for knowledgeable families to quickly get through the readings.

The use of either book is suitable for families with small children; they even have descriptions of how to handle different types of children during the seder, splitting them into four categories: the wise child, the wicked child, the simple child and the child too young to ask.

If a 30-minute seder is too short for one’s liking, the 60-minute version is written and presented in the same style, and includes all 15 parts and an in-depth account of the Ten Plagues, along with “just enough Hebrew to satisfy the ‘maven’ in your family,” writes Kopman. The final page of the 60-minute version also includes a 10-question Passover quiz.

The beginning of the Ten Plagues, which jump from page to page.
The beginning of the Ten Plagues, which jump from page to page.

Keeping Haggadah hip
One of the latest Haggadot on the market aims to keep it hip, vibrant, fresh and colorful for the 2014 seder. Melissa Berg was inspired to create a book both Orthodox and fun, after noticing bored and distracted reactions from guests year after year at her Passover Seder.

The commentary in Berg’s Pop Haggadah is filled with colorful and creative graphics meant to keep readers engaged and seders upbeat. The commentary and story are mainly given through the graphics, ranging from the four sons shown as puzzle pieces, plagues that jump multiple pages and a chalkboard explaining the Exodus. The illustrations and designs are aimed to please all ages and all affiliations of Judaism, and the pages come with both English and Hebrew text.

Despite this Haggadah’s flashiness and “pop,” it still manages to tell the story of Passover and adhere to tradition, and in a way that’s indicative of the 21st century.

JDate’s “First World Problems” version of the Ten Plagues.
JDate’s “First World Problems” version of the Ten Plagues.

The JDate Haggadah
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a JDate Haggadah exists. The website aimed at Jewish singles looking for love now has its own Haggadah in the form of an iBook available for smartphones and tablets. With an easy-to-use guide and a light and joking tone, the JDate Haggadah gives its users all the necessities of a Seder in a way that stays true to the dating site’s demeanor.

Examples include a “Chametz Lease Agreement,” which discusses lending chametz to a friend when it’s time to get it out of the house; “The Story of Passover,” which cheekily provides online dating profiles for Moses, Pharaoh, his daughter and more; hilarious descriptions of the four children; and a “First World Problems” version of the Ten Plagues, which include the Polar Vortex, a cracked phone screen, morning breath, a freezing cold shower and a bad haircut.

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