The Superhero Haggadah

The Superhero Haggadah: When Monoculture Meets Mono-Judaism

We live in a disjointed media market. Gone is the monocultural dominance and the sense of camaraderie you and your coworkers would feel as you gathered around the watercooler to discuss the latest twist on Lost. Instead, we binge whatever Netflix series our personal algorithm drops in our queue or turn to The Office for the umpteenth time. Jews too live in a disjointed market, albeit a religious one. Everyone knows the expression “two Jews, three opinions.” Whether it’s politics, God or Israel, we have never been able to come to a consensus on anything. Heck, we can’t even agree on how to spell the holiday Chanukkah Chanukah Hanukkah.  However, when it comes to Passover, the Jewish people display a certain level of unity and community not seen throughout the rest of the year. On the...

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My Mother’s Three Seders

Though Rachel never felt it, her family was poor. She liked visiting friends who came from smaller families, had more room in their homes, and whose mothers served rich cakes. But her parents, Blima and Moshe, managed to eke out a living for their growing brood, and she never went hungry.  The Genuths, among 10,500 Jewish residents of Sighet (comprising 40 percent of the town’s population), lived in a three-room apartment near shops, a movie theater, synagogues and churches. Most importantly, they lived in the same long yard as Rachel’s grandmother Chaya, to whom Rachel and her siblings ran whenever Blima scolded them. It was Chaya who never let Rachel or her older sister Elisabeth forget that they must help those less fortunate. Never mind that Blima sold gifts of toys they received. Never mind that...

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Invite people of other faiths to join your seder

Go Forth and Invite: Passover Message From Moment

Moment editor-in-chief Nadine Epstein calls on the Jewish community to tackle anti-Semitism and COVID-19 at the same time by using the freedom of virtual seders to invite people of other faiths to join. “We’ve all watched in dismay as anti-Semitism and the coronavirus have converged in new variations of old conspiracy theories, Epstein says. “Including people from outside the Jewish community in our seders can combat both these scourges in one fell swoop. We can inoculate present and future generations against the dangerous virus of anti-Semitism. Seders are all about learning and education is the best defense against all kinds of prejudices. They are a great teaching moment.” In some Jewish circles, these invitations remain rare due to a combination of custom based on centuries-old rabbinical rulings that effectively banned Jews from cooking for people who do not observe...

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Helena Weinrauch, the girl with the blue Passover sweater

The Girl in the Blue Sweater: One Pandemic later

A year later, we speak every day, staying close during this pandemic. Helena, soon to turn 96, is quarantined alone inside her apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. It’s a home filled with memories. Photographs, books and artwork, much of it from her travels, cover walls and shelves. But her kitchen calendar, once abrim with engagements—lunches, dinners, concerts, plays—is now blank.

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