The New American Haggadah

“The Torah is the foundational text for Jewish law, but the Haggadah is our book of living memory. It doesn’t merely tell a story, it demands a radical act of empathy — I would argue the most profound demand made by any book of any kind.” – Jonathan Safran Foer

I am totally stoked to get my hands on a copy of The New American Haggadah! When I first heard that one of my very favorite authors, Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Eating Animals) was writing a Haggadah I thought it would be somewhat a quirky side-line commentary on the classic… turns out I was supremely in the wrong. Word on the street was that Foer had actually thought to create a classic through the classic – a tool to accompany a common-folk seder.

“I didn’t know what I was originally imagining, something that felt more like an anthology, more like a reference tool than a primary Haggadah. But the more I worked on it, the more I became afraid of that. … What the world does not need is a Haggadah that pats itself on the back. It needs a Haggadah that gets out of the way, that starts a conversation and gets out of the way.” – Jonathan Safran Foer 

My curiosity about this new-aged Seder companion turned into sheer excitement when I heard that the famed Israeli typographer, Oded Ezer, would be doing the art!! I think the most amazing thing about this particular Haggadah is that the only art inside of it is typography – just the (far from simple!) hebrew letters from the ancient text itself!

“Jews have been designing Haggadahs for more than one hundred generations, deliberately, or not, these designs have inevitably reflected the time in which they were made. The notion behind the design of this book was to merge, visually, the history of the Jewish nation with the traditional text of the Haggadah. Toward that end, the letterforms on each page reflect those used in the period reflected in the timeline at the top of the page. In this way, the book is a graphic record of Jewish history.” – Oded Ezer

Just for fun, I  thought I’d share some more of Oded’s awesomeness:

(I totally want this Helvetica print for above my desk!)

Also, his strips of black letters always make me think of Teffilin straps…

You can read more about The New American Haggadah here.

P.S. I’m very much looking forward to getting a dose of commentary from Lemony Snicket! :)

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