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April 12, 2012 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-04-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

>> Jews in the digital age

Da -le e eg Gc ery

Will An e+laggadah
Become Commonplace
At The Seder?


he Passover seder is the most
widely practiced home-based
Jewish ritual. There is no
shortage of Haggadahs to help leaders
navigate the time-honored seder.
The latest trend seems to be
Haggadahs of the digital variety. If you
used a Haggadah made of paper last
week at your seder, you're still in the
majority. However, a number of seder
participants have made the transi-
tion to an e-Haggadah this Passover.
Several seder leaders reported that a
few participants around their table
used a Haggadah app, but that it
wasn't a majority of the guests.
Before telling your seder guests
to bring their own iPad or Kindle
next year, there are some Jewish legal
concerns to consider. The use of elec-
tricity, and thus electronic devices, is
considered a creative act and therefore
forbidden on the Jewish Sabbath and
holidays like Passover. Some more lib-
eral Jews don't see electricity
as a violation of the laws
of the Sabbath and will be
amenable to the use of such
reading devices on Passover.
Jewish legal concerns aside,
many will still find the use
of an electronic gadget at
the seder table undignified.
For those who do not
have a problem with it, four
new apps became available
in the days leading up to
last week's seders. For those
eager to transition to an interactive
experience next year, these apps will
• Melcher Media's "The Haggadah"
app is intended to promote sharing of
recipes, photos, stories and questions.
Professor David Kraemer, head librari-
an at the Jewish Theological Seminary
where he also teaches Talmud, was
responsible for the modern translation
of the English text and commentary
for the app.
• The Reform Movement recently
released an iPad version of its "Sharing
the Journey: The Haggadah for the
Contemporary Family." It serves as
a helpful guide for people who have
never been to a seder. "Sharing the
Journey" even has functions for quick
downloads of iTunes Passover songs.
•"A Cantor's Seder" by eXQuisite
Software is more of a virtual seder
instructor for those who want to

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Meicher Media's "The Haggadah" app

learn the tunes for Passover. The app
features the traditional Hebrew text
that can be translated quickly into
English. A nice feature is the ability to
record the Four Questions sung by the
youngest child present as a memento.
•"The Union Haggadah:'
which was first published
in 1923 by the Central
Conference of American
Rabbis, is now available
in digital format in the
Amazon Kindle Store. This
is the least impressive of
the Haggadah apps avail-
able for download — a
90-year-old version of the
Haggadah fit for a tablet or
It will likely be several
years until Haggadah apps become
commonplace, but that won't keep the
app developers from creating more
interactive and multifunctional ver-
sions of a digital Haggadah.
No matter what you think about
eReader or tablet use at the Passover
seder, one thing is certainly clear: The
technology has arrived to make a digi-
tal seder possible. While some say we
have become slaves to technology, oth-
ers find it to be liberating. It is entirely
possible that your seder last week was
the last one in which you will use a
paper version of the 1,000-year-old
Haggadah. Time will tell. ❑


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Rabbi Jason Miller is president of Access
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He was recently named one of the top 10
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April 12 • 2012 11

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