One idea for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah who is celebrating around the time of Passover, is to learn about the Haggadah, create your own commentary and illustrations and create a Haggadah. I was recently reminiscing about a bat mitzvah i attended many years ago, that took place before the holiday of Passover. The Bat Mitzvah girl had researched Haggadot from the medieval ages, as well as various commentaries on the Haggadah. She compiled her work into an interesting Dvar Torah and visual presentation. She did a great job and it was interesting to listen to what she learned. She additionally designed her own Haggadah with commentary by hand. As a gift I gave her a gift of my framed Splitting of the Sea II, given the subject matter and connection to the time period.
Create a Haggadah-Haggadot Project
At the time, this Bat Mitzvah, compiled her Haggadah by hand. For young men and women who might be interested in doing something similar, today there is the Haggadot project. This is a non-profit project to compile personal or organizational Haggadot. This seems to be a continuation of the open Haggadah project, although I am not sure about that. There are video clips, pictures, and text resources on the site as well as sample Haggadot that you can use or use in part. You can additionally add your own.
Since this Haggadah would be a learning opportunity, the young man or woman could use contemporary Haggadot for ideas, and learn how to cite them. We have a number of reviews of Haggadot on our site, such as Rav Mitch Hefetz’s Haggadah, the Ethiopian Haggadah, or the artistic Szyk Haggadah. These can serve as a starting point for ideas. There are also some great books about the history of the haggadah, when texts were added in and historic illuminations. Some of my favorites are the Polychrome Historical Haggadah, Jacob Freeman and Yosef Haim Yerushalmi’s The Haggadah and History. There are a growing number of others in Hebrew as well.
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