Winner Best Book in Religion 2016

The New World Haggadah
For a Special Passover in 2017


Ilan Stavans

with art by

Gloria Abella Ballen

Hadassah Magazine says: "The must-have Haggada is author Ilan Stavan’s The New World Haggadah
(Gaon Books, 88 pp. $18 paperback). Gloria Abella Ballen’s art suffuses the pages with warmcolors and bright accompanying illustrations.

"Among the unique aspects to this Haggada is Stavans’s intention to show the diversity of the Jewish world, and so he has included—in addition to the traditional Hebrew text—Spanish poetry by Conversos who have returned to Judaism, his own poetry about love and freedom, the protest song “We Shall Overcome” from the civil rights movement and more.

"Fittingly, he concludes the Haggada in three languages: Le-shana Haba’a Be-yerushalayim, Next Year in Jerusalem and El ano proximo en Jerusalen.


The story of Moses and the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt is a story of resilience and the need for freedom and homeland. This makes the Passover story endlessly resonant. The biblical Moses is a greater than life mythical figure. The depiction we get of him is of an imperfect, reluctant leader who kills an Egyptian in his youth and runs away soon after, who is miserable at public speaking and suffers from an irate temperament, and who, more than anything, is ambivalent about his relationship with the Divine. Yet, in spite of himself, he frees the Israelites from slavery, guides them out of Egypt, and takes them through an odyssey in the desert that tests them at every turn and ultimately defines them as a nation. No wonder the heroic achievement of Moses and the Israelites has been celebrated in song and story throughout history.

The purpose of The New World Haggadah is to make Moses emblematic of today’s complex world.
What makes this a new Haggadah is also its multicultural—and multilingual—qualities. We have reconfigured the liturgy to be more embracing, inserting voices from various lands, all seeking freedom through renewal.
Like Moses, each of us is a symbol because others see themselves reflected in us. Others live their lives through ours. Passover is about realizing that we are at once imprisoned in our moment in time and space and simultaneously free to wander to other times and places through the power of our imagination. This Passover story transports us to a time long ago when great men and women and great events led a people to freedom.

The story of Exodus is a human story. It is universal. The dream is that the diversity in this narrative will make all of us feel that it is ours. The act of repeating the Exodus story is liberating and gaining freedom is a continuous process. We might not be fully free, but each of us is in the process of breaking from our slavery, our "Egypt".

Winner Best Book in Religion 2016

New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards also Nominated for the National Jewish Book Awards 2016

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The New World Haggadah

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ISBN: 9781935604440. 88 pages. $18.00

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The New World Haggadah
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P.O. Box 23924
Santa Fe, NM 87502


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