Cowen, Dave. “The Trump Passover Haggadah: People All The Time They Come Up And Tell Me This Is The Best Haggadah They’ve Ever Read, They Do, Believe Me”, Independently Published, 2018.
We Should Have Seen It Coming
“I’d only ever been to one Passover. Back in 1984, when my best Jew lawyer, Roy Cohn, finally convinced me to accept one of his invitations to a Seder at his penthouse in Manhattan. Frankly, there’s only one word to describe that night. Boring. Even with Madonna as my date, and I’m talking still-hot, pre-pregnant, pre-Kabbalah Madonna, it was unbearable. Before we could eat, we had to take turns reading from these old, raggedy, dirt — filthy really — paper manuals, these Haggadahs, right, that’s what you call them? Well, let me tell you, they’re very low energy, very poorly written stuff, and the whole thing went on forever, I left after the second cracker course.”
This is the introduction to Dave Cowen’s satirical Haggadah that is flying out of stores and I must admit that parts of it are very funny. What is not funny are the tremendous number of errors that should have been caught in the editing process (if there even was an editing process) and the fact that Donald Trump indeed is the president of this country.
Before I criticize it, let’s have a little fun thinking what the White House Seder might be like. First all undocumented chametz must be removed and this is rough since the White House has lost its help due to immigration policy and Melania is allergic to feathers. As the first lady sets the table, Trump reminds her that cushions are needed for leaning and she reminds him that he already leans when he eats on the couch being debriefed.
Pence arrives and demands that they wait for his wife to arrive before making Kiddush, because he cannot attend events where alcohol is served without her. The Kush recites the Shehecheyanu prayer and thanks his father-in-law for his job.
“The four questions are of course asked by Ivanka (the wise child), Tiffany (the wicked child), Donald Junior (the simple child), and Eric (the child who doesn’t know how to ask).” And what about that other child, Baron?
On Amazon.com, the description reads: “The book guides Seder participants through a re-living of the Jewish people’s suffering under the Egyptians and celebrates their freedom from a vain, capricious, thin-skinned, small-handed, megalomaniacal, temperamentally unfit President— er, Pharaoh. If you’re an afflicted liberal Jew, with an unconservative (sic) sense of humor, and you find traditional Seders as dry as matzo, so why not try this radically irreverent political parody Haggadah this Passover.”
On the minus side are the errors (which I will get to) but the text is just a compilation of terrible Trump jokes that we have all heard before. Buy, hey, it is a cheap book ($6) and one day you my want those jokes although I cannot imagine why. There are a number of typos especially in the Hebrew and in the Hebrew spelling of God’s name. Of course this means that the Haggadah has yet another use— counting the mistakes and this is a great way to use the time while waiting for the sponge cake that fell.
With as many mistakes as there are, it is doubtful that this is a utile Haggadah—- it was written for the fun of it. (Nonetheless, Ivanka remains the wise child even if her father told a stripper/prostitute that she was as beautiful as his daughter, the wise child).
I do think that we could have had a really funny Haggadah based upon this presidential (it hurts to use that word with Trump) administration because they are funny. If nothing else, this one gives us an idea to write one that is funnier and without errors. And while you are at it, let’s add a dried prune added to the Seder plate to reminds us of Alec Baldwin’s terrific impersonation of the prez.