By Asia Hester
For the Mitzpeh
The Orthodox Union’s Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus’s second installment of this university’s haggadah, released Friday, features writings of UMD students that reflect and offer guidance as Passover begins on the evening of April 10.
The idea for the Maryland haggadah originated from Ahuva Tsykin, Maryland Hillel’s JLIC Torah educator, with the help of her husband Rabbi Alex Tsykin and the contribution of students to bring the 2017 haggadah together.
The haggadah is a Jewish text that tells the story of the Israelites’ enslavement and freedom from Egypt and offers guidance to celebrating Seder, a sacred feast at the beginning of Passover commemorating the Jews’ exodus. The purpose for creating one for this university was to “include the commentary of the people from UMD,” said Alex.
“We take the standard text of the haggadah and ask people in the community to to write reflections or memories from when they were children or a commentary on a particular passage,” he said.
This is the first time senior linguistics major, Rebecca Magazine, contributing to the haggadah. Her piece is titled “Being Thankful for What We Have” in which she shares her thoughts on how people can take time this Passover to appreciate and be mindful of the things they have.
Magazine got involved after the Tsykins reached out to her over spring break.
“Typically things like this end up favoring the orthodox community more and I’m more involved with the conservative community at Hillel,” she said. “I thought it was important that we made sure there were voices from all different communities and backgrounds included,” Magazine said.
Her piece was inspired by the holiday song “Dayenu,” which she always liked growing up.
“I thought it was fun and I was justing trying to think of something as I was scrolling through the options of what you could write about,” she said.
The haggadah can come in a variety of styles with artwork and writings making it more interesting for readers and helping people think about the Passover Seder in a new way.
Magazine said creating different versions is good. Recently, a Harry Potter haggadah came out in March and is a bestseller on Amazon.
“There are people always looking for something a little more meaningful,” she said.
“I think it’s important for anyone to express their viewpoint in these kinds of things. It can be fun to challenge the text and think about it and be able to put some thought into it.”
People can view a digital copy of the UMD-JLIC haggadah shared on the OU-JLIC at Maryland Facebook page. Alex said there will not be a JLIC Seder as some students will not be on campus, but they can take this haggadah home and share it with their families.
The UMD JLIC Haggadah can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-bCv2V5XYA5aklIaG5WVnFhbHM/view