It sounds like a joke. But “The Baseball Haggadah: A Festival of Freedom and Springtime in 15 Innings,” published in 2015, is not only real, it was written by a rabbi — and it’s part of a trend toward quirkier and less scholarly Haggadahs, as The Jewish Week observed last year.
The baseball Haggadah’s author, a reform rabbi named Sharon G. Forman, said she wrote the text to fill a gap. “We searched all over, and to our surprise, with all of the chocolate, environmental, and even animated versions of the Haggadah available, no one had published a creative, sports-themed accompaniment to the Passover seder,” she explained on her website.
Both baseball and Passover, she wrote, “involve stories of wandering, of confronting challenges as we venture out from safety, and of finally coming home. On Passover, we celebrate God’s ‘mighty hand and outstretched arm.’ Baseball also celebrates the ability of a good arm to take a team home.”
“The Unorthodox Haggadah: A Dogma-free Passover for Jews & Other Chosen People,” by Nathan Phillips, promotes itself as “safe for non-believers,” and its author — not a rabbi, but a writer and advertising guy — intends his work for “Jews who enjoy the cultural aspects of the religion but not so much the dogmatic ones. “
Reviews for the 2015 book include a rave from Heeb magazine: “It’s the Passover you never knew you always wanted.”
And if any Haggadah, no matter how snarky, is too much, another text called “Passover Parodies: Short Plays for the Seder Table,” aims to give the holiday meaning by making it fun and provoking discussion. Among the 10-minute plays in the 2014 book: “Play It Again, Moses,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Horseradish,” and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Exodus.”
Beth Teitell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @bethteitell.