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From a Kanye West parody to AI versions, here are 10 new haggadahs to try this Passover



(JTA) — What makes this year’s batch of new haggadahs different from all other years’? For one thing, there are entries written by machines — with not just one but two different versions written by artificial intelligence.

The haggadah market is continually booming, as Jewish writers and creatives take inspiration from news, pop culture and other trends to create seder texts and supplements that break out of the Maxwell House box. This year’s crop tackles Kanye West, the AI app craze, turmoil in Israel and more.

Here are 10 haggadahs to freshen up your seder this year or in the future. (For more options, check out last year’s list, including an Israeli Black Panthers haggadah now in its second printing and another written in Shakespearean verse.)

For the Kanye hater

Serial haggadah humorist Dave Cowen is back with his latest pop culture-themed Passover text: “The Meshugah Kanye Haggadah: A Passover Parody Musical,” which takes songs by the rapper Kanye West, now known as Ye, and loosely changes the lyrics to tell the holiday story. For those who missed the news in the fall, West declared himself an antisemite through a series of interviews and social media rants — though he recently recanted. West has said he struggles with bipolar disorder, and Cowen is donating part of the profits of his haggadah to Mad in America, which publishes research and content aimed at rethinking mental health care in the United States.

For the psychedelics-curious

Interested in “tripping toward freedom”? Or “ingesting transformation” through karpas? How about reciting kadesh with “spiritual intention”? Then you might be drawn to “Taste & See: A Psychedelic Pesach Companion” from the Jewish artist-run Ayin Press. It pairs prayers with specific psychoactive substances and then offers Jewishly-inspired passages to guide one through a seder trip, in a foundational text for the growing Jewish psychedelics movement.

For the visual artist

An Israeli artist collective known as Asufa has put out a haggadah featuring colorful and sometimes edgy illustrations by a slew of up-and-coming artists, for the last decade. Only once before has the collective put out a version with English text — until now. A 10th anniversary edition culls artworks from previous editions in one place with a gold-foil cover and a bilingual text. The group put out a new Hebrew version with fresh art as well.

For those concerned about Israel

As the founder of the first Orthodox yeshiva that ordains women clergy, Avi Weiss is no stranger to commenting on fractures in the Jewish community. The liberal Orthodox rabbi and outspoken pro-Israel activist is doing so again in haggadah-supplement form this year, writing in prayers and points of discussion for a seder on the political crisis in Israel that has exploded since the country’s right-wing government took office earlier this year. “It is a template meant to inspire thoughts wherein seder participants can join in, sharing their own reflections and interpretations,” he writes.

For the visually impaired

The Jewish Braille Institute has teamed up with the Kehot Publication Society, the publishing arm of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, to revamp and re-promote its free haggadah for the visually impaired. “Whether these haggadahs help a grandfather hoping to lead a seder as they have for decades or a child who hopes to read the four questions for the first time, JBI’s mission is to make sure that every person who chooses to can participate in our beloved traditions and know that they belong at the table,” JBI’s president, Livia Thompson, told

For fans of Chat GPT

The Chat GPT bot can do everything from compose music to hold conversations. It was only a matter of time before someone instructed it to produce a haggadah. Israelis Royi Shamir, an architect, and Yitzchak Woolf, a photographer, produced a version of the seder text through the app — a co-author they’ve called Rabb.AI. The original art in “Haggad.AI” — billed as the first of its kind — were produced by Midjourney, another artificial intelligence program that creates images from prompts. Julie Shain, an editor of the popular Daily Skimm newsletter, has done the same with “The AI Haggadah“; both start with text from Sefaria, the free online Jewish resource. (Both haggadahs are invigorating debates about the necessity of humans in Jewish practice.)

For the impatient

One of the best-selling haggadahs on Amazon this year has a pretty self-explanatory name: “The Swift Seder: The Concise Passover Haggadah for a Reverent Yet Efficient Seder in Under 30 Minutes.” No elaborate illustrations or long commentaries — just the instructions, story and explanations needed to run a tight seder (and a chapter full of songs to add in at one’s leisure).

For Ukrainian speakers

This year, for the first time ever, a haggadah is available in the Ukrainian language — a response to Ukraine’s war and the impulse of Jews there to shed their Russophone roots. This year the haggadah is available online only, but its creators — a Jewish feminist nonprofit and a musicologist who translated the whole text from its original languages — plan to make a print version available next year.

For trans Jews and their allies

The folks at Pink Peacock, the queer, Yiddish, anarchist cafe and Jewish movement in Glasgow, Scotland, have put out a “Trans Liberation Haggadah” perfectly timed for an era when trans rights are under attack in many states. The haggadah expands upon the haggadah supplement released a decade ago by Keshet, the LGBTQ Jewish advocacy group, in the brash spirit with which Pink Peacock has made itself felt far beyond its Scottish city.

Honorable mention: For curious kids (and their grownups)

Our sister site Kveller’s haggadah isn’t new — it was first published in March 2020 — but it still deserves a spot on any haggadah list, especially for families with young children. It makes the seder more digestible for kids, and it also features insights from renowned researchers who explain the connections between memory and food.

The post From a Kanye West parody to AI versions, here are 10 new haggadahs to try this Passover appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.

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Local News

Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary



By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre

Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)

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Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station



This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.

An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.

The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.

The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to  transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.

Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.

The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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