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Return to the Guide to Passover for Interfaith Families
The Haggadah is the guide book everyone uses at a seder. Haggadah is Hebrew for "the telling," which makes sense because the Haggadah tells the Exodus story. The plural of the Hebrew word, Haggadah, is Haggadot, with a long “o” in the last syllable.
More liberal or alternative Haggadot will generally have all of the above, although:
Most of the traditional Haggadah is written in Hebrew or Aramaic, the ancient languages of Jewish life and prayer in the Middle East, usually with an English translation on the facing page. Some modern or alternative Haggadot have a retelling of the story without much Hebrew or Aramaic, and may include readings and songs from other traditions and parts of history that fit with Passover themes.
Haggadot will often have song lyrics and musical notation to help new singers learn fun Passover song melodies. There are so many different varieties of Haggadot available nowadays, and some of them come with an accompanying CD to help the non-singers at the table, or for seders in which there are a lot of newcomers to the experience. Some publishers have included transliteration of the Hebrew into English letters (affectionately known as “Heblish”), so that everyone can join in with the Hebrew singing and chanting at the meal.
If you are a first-time guest at the seder, your hosts will provide a Haggadah for you to use, and you can follow the lead of your hosts about how to participate. If you are planning a seder at your house for the first time, we have a list of suggested Haggadot that you can purchase or download (see below). If you live near a Judaica shop, synagogue gift shop or Jewish bookstore, you can also go browse through the choices there.
The Guide to Passover for Interfaith Families is also available in PDF