Alan S. Yoffie, Sharing the Journey: The Haggadah for the Contemporary Family,
CCAR Press (a division of the Central Conference of American Rabbis), 2012.
With the Lenten season upon us and the Feast of Esther (Purim) almost here (March 7 and 8), can Paschal celebrations for 2012 be little more than one month away? Yes. The first night of Passover falls on Good Friday, April 6 (one week later for Orthodox Christians). Within these four short weeks, vigorous preparations for festival meals take place. Jews completely clean their homes, ridding every crack and crevice of hametz (daily cakes and bread). Then books (haggadot) that guide the Passover service at the table come out of storage, receive a good dusting and finally end up distributed at each place setting before the guests arrive.
The haggadah helps the participants fulfill the necessary rituals before and after the Passover meal, which in its entirety is called the seder (the order). Based on the Greek symposium, either a leader or each member of the dinner party reads from the haggadah while everyone else follows the text. Some families prefer a set of one edition of the haggadah that everyone follows and some families prefer collecting different haggadot, which tend to liven up the conversation around the table or cause mass confusion.