IN THE BEGINNING
In the beginning there was the Holocaust. We must therefore start all over again. We must write a new Talmud, just as we did after the destruction of the Second Temple. We did so then in order to accentuate the new beginning: until then we lived one way; from then on we had to undergo changes.
– Elie Wiesel
I go through the gate of the camp showing the pass I was given. I walk slowly for about a kilometer and see a field surrounded with trees, not far from the highway. Lilac trees are flowering. I pluck a leaf of elder and put the stalk in my mouth. I spread my coat under a tree and lie down. Rays of sun filter through the leaves and cast golden spots on the red moss. An ant runs onto my hand. As it comes to the end of my finger, I put another finger there to form a bridge and the ant runs from one to the other. As I drop the ant to the ground, a grasshopper leaps from a stalk just in front of the ant. The stalk is still trembling when a yellow field butterfly comes to rest on its leaf. It stops fluttering its speckled wings and folds them gently together. I feel the warm rays of the sun on my face and inhale the sweet scent of the lilacs. How good it is to be alive! The past is only a horrible dream from which I have awakened. Reality is this moment, the scent of the lilacs, the drifting clouds, the softness of the moss.
— Henry Lilienheim
For twenty-five years, a group of Second Generation and Child Survivors of the Holocaust, along with families and friends, have come together once a year to commemorate Yom HaShoah — Holocaust Memorial Day — in a special ceremony they called The Third Seder. Echoing the Passover Seder, it features readings of contemporary and traditional texts and songs, accompanied by singers and musicians and a lot of storytelling.
Irene Lilienheim Angelico, a child of Survivors and Yehudi Lindeman, a child Survivor, edited this egalitarian Haggadah — adding, and refining the readings for each Seder, and creating new rituals uniquely for the commemoration of Yom HaShoah. Three years ago, Angelico and Lindeman contacted Simon Dardick of Véhicule Press who agreed readily to publish this important haggadah in two editions — one with a CD of songs recorded in English, Hebrew and Yiddish.
After searching worldwide for an artist to illustrate the text, Dardick suggested Montreal artist J.W. Stewart. Drawing on images and Survivor’s records, Stewart created stunning contemporary full-color illustrations throughout The Third Seder.
The Third Seder: A Haggadah for Yom HaShoah is now available for individuals and groups worldwide who are seeking a way to commemorate the liberation from the Holocaust.
In his foreword to The Third Seder, Rabbi Arthur Waskow says there are two paths we need to take to commemorate the Shoah. One is to turn our own pain into a pointer about the dangers that afflict all peoples and the web of life on our planet. Then we become teachers, not victims. The second is to celebrate life after staring death in the face — as the Survivors did. And so in this haggadah we do both: We sing, dance, laugh, share and love.