Marcus, Joshua. “The Official Jewfro Genius Haggadah Shel Pesach”, Independently Published, 2021.
It’s That Time of Year Again
TheJewish festival of Pesach traditionally celebrates the Exodus from Egypt and it is a time when families participate in a Seder together. This somewhat formal meal has two main requirements: speak about the Exodus from Egypt and ask questions. There is usually tension between the questions the characters were supposed to ask and the questions that are asked as we answer those who are often considered to be outsiders. The story of the Exodus, as well as the way it is recounted in the Haggadah sets out a vision for what the God of Orthodox Judaism wants both from and for His people. When you’re gay or queer or simply questioning the meaning of your own life, this vision does not work. This Haggadah is Joshua Marcus’s own and follows the fourteen stages of the traditional Seder. It consists mainly of stories about certain characters that relate to each stage, exploring the concepts of freedom, liberation, and purpose. For those with Orthodox Jewish backgrounds, it is extremely relevant as the themes are universal. “We were all raised in one system or another, into which some people seem to fit naturally while others are forced to either compromise or find a safe way out”. Even if you have never had to struggle with your identity in this system, no person is born with ready-made beliefs or practices and each of us has questioned this. The contents of this Haggadah challenges traditional Jewish and religious thought, but it is not meant to be an academic or intellectual document. It is all story that reflects on characters and experiences that are real, resonate regardless of where we stand in relation to religion.