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New Book From CCAR Press Re-Imagines Union Haggadah, Looks to Bridge Gap Between Tradition and Modernity

The New Union Haggadah Re-Envisions Classic Text for 21st Century Jewish Life

CHICAGO, IL -- (Marketwired) -- 04/01/14 -- One of the most profound difficulties facing any religious organization is how to balance tradition and custom with modernity and change. The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) presents one answer in the form of The New Union Haggadah, a new edition of the seder companion which preserves the original version's essence while making it relevant to Jewish life in the 21st century.

Since 1923, the Union Haggadah has served as a seder companion for generations of American Reform Jews. Over 90 years later, Rabbi Howard A. Berman, the CCAR, and the CCAR Press have published a renewal, attempting to navigate the tension between the old and the new.

The book continues tradition and reflects modern life; some parts are new and some have stayed the same. For example...

  • The essay section from the 1923 version has been replaced with new essays from leading contemporary scholars.

  • The New Union Haggadah incorporates the original artwork, and also includes new, full-color art, inspired by stained glass windows from Reform congregations around North America.

  • Parts of ritual that were excluded from the 1923 version, like welcoming Elijah, have been restored; also, aspects of more recent ritual development, like Miriam's cup and the orange on the seder plate, have been added.

  • The New Union Haggadah keeps the best of the Union Haggadah's approach to the Reform liturgical heritage, and also provides accessible text and ritual for today's Jewish families and their guests.

  • Gender-sensitive language throughout, an inclusive approach, and full transliteration.

The New Union Haggadah is a re-imagination of a classic text within a modern context. Rabbi Berman's edition is consistent with both tradition and 21st century, allowing Reform Jews to bring an ancient ritual into the present day.

For more information about The New Union Haggadah, please contact Katarina Wenk-Bodenmiller of Sommerfield Communications at (212) 255-8386 or [email protected].

About CCAR Press
CCAR Press, a division of the CCAR, publishes liturgy and resource materials for the Reform Movement, including prayer books for the home, congregations and other Jewish institutions, as well as Responsa, platforms and guidelines. For more information, please visit

About CCAR
The Central Conference of American Rabbis, founded in 1889, is the oldest and largest rabbinic organization in North America. As the professional organization for Reform Rabbis of North America, the CCAR projects a powerful voice in the religious life of the American and international Jewish communities. Since its establishment, the CCAR has a rich history of giving professional and personal support to Reform rabbis, providing them with opportunities for study, professional development and spiritual growth beginning while they are still in seminary, through mid-careers, and into retirement. The CCAR is uniquely positioned to meet the ongoing needs of its nearly 2,000 member rabbis (virtually the entire Reform rabbinate) and the entire Reform Jewish community. For more information please visit the CCAR's website at

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