Pesach haggadah: Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah for Pesach

The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah for Pesach was created by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat. Rabbi Rachel says, “This haggadah grew out of my desire for a seder text which cherishes the tradition and also augments that tradition with contemporary poetry, moments of mindfulness, a theology of liberation, and sensitivity to different forms of oppression.” It’s currently available in two versions: version 7.1 (84 pages) and version 7.2 (48 pages, abridged and expanded).


Here is some of what people have said about the haggadah:

For the second seder this year, I knew that I was going to have a diverse group of guests and was looking for a haggadah that would help make it traditional enough for everyone to experience a ritual that would be recognizable to Jews anywhere, but accessible enough for everyone to connect without difficulty. With your help, it was an amazing experience for all — 6 Jews (secular to Orthodox, Ashkenazi and Sefardi, American and Finnish), 3 Tibetan Buddhists, 1 French Catholic, and 1 German Presbyterian. If that were not enough, dayenu, one of the non-Jewish guests was so moved by the seder that she brought two passages from your haggadah to the board meeting at the foundation where she works the following day and used them to open their grant-making agenda. —Becky (The Pareve Baker)

This haggadah is truly amazing. Passover has always been my very favorite holiday, but as my political sensibilities have evolved, the celebration has become tinged with the constrictions of patriarchy and culture-boundness. I have longed for newer traditions that might challenge my family to collectively expand our understanding of oppression, and what our role is in interrupting it for not just Jews, but for all who suffer. —Bree

You can find both versions (downloadable PDF files), and can see some of what others have had to say about the haggadah, on the VR Haggadah page of her website.

Here’s more information about version 7.1 (2011); here’s more information about version 7.2 (2012.)