"Over the decades, from the earliest Providence Katz family seders at the home of my grandparents, Mollie and Harry Katz, with its eleven participants and the iconic Maxwell House haggadah, to the most recent seder…our choices of haggadah have evolved…and expanded.”
From Ruth Page’s “Evolution of the Katz Family Seder,” The Jewish Voice
"This is the tenth Pesach since my father’s death. We have a pile of Maxwell House haggadot that we use every year. I was going through the pile. Just making sure that we have enough haggadot for the family seder. So, I picked up a haggadah and opened it up. In its pages, I found my father’s handwriting in pencil. It was the haggadah that he used to use when he led our seders when I was a kid. On the bottom of page 38, I saw this little notation: ‘Skip to Page 42.’ And that was when I lost it."
Dave was crying.
The story of Dave’s father’s haggadah is, on one level, the story of Judaism, written in miniature.
Yes, it means that we inherit a text. On another level, it’s the story of Jewish renewal. Jewish history is always about finding and recovering the lost book. The scholar of Yiddish literature, David Roskies, once called the Jews “the people of the lost book.” We are those who constantly find and renew the past.
The creator of the Maxwell House Passover Haggadah, Joseph Jacobs, a former advertising manager with the Jewish Daily Forward who founded his own advertising firm in 1919, died at 75 on this date in 1967. Jacobs created the Maxwell House Haggadah as a publicity tool for the coffee company in the 1930s.
Maxwell House Coffee has become synonymous with the company-branded Haggadahs distributed at supermarkets in America. Though the Maxwell House Brand is currently owned by Kraft Foods rather than the Cheek Neal Coffee Company, the Maxwell House Haggadah remains a standby. Over 50 million copies of the Haggadah (a text providing special instructions and prayers unique to Passover) have been printed and distributed since 1932. […]
Coffee itself is not a product subject to leavening or classified with legumes, though instant coffee may contain maltodextrin, which can be derived from both of those categories. Most major brands of coffee produce instant coffee that is acceptable for Passover, although none have linked their name with the central text of the seder in the way Maxwell House has done.
maxwell house haggadah project turned 2 today! this cupcake is not kosher for passover, but your maxwell house haggadah memories are, so please submit them on the blog or by emailing email@example.com. Thank you!
“Let’s eat! That is what my Father said after I sang the Four Questions!
I am now almost 70 years old, my husband is 80. We recently moved to Venice, Florida in a […] new development. I asked our manager if her would support a Passover Seder for our community. He was positive and trilled to do this.
As a child, I remember the Maxwell House Haggadah, and continued to use them as my children grew up. We did the service accordingly ending with all of the wonderful songs.
My dear father’s comment after I sang the four questions was obliterated! We finished the Seder with joy.”
I clearly remember the Seders I attended at the home of relatives during my Hebrew school days. I was proud to chant the “Ma Nishtana” and sing along in Hebrew. The group would sing the songs they knew, but talked most of the time. The conversation was not relevant to Passover while the leader was mumbling along through the Maxwell House Haggadah. The food was great, but the service dragged on into the night. In spite of this, for me, a child, it was fun to be with family and friends to celebrate Passover. Those Seders were an important part of my identification as a Jew.
What makes this blog different than all other blogs?
Started in 2012, the Maxwell House Haggadah Project is a social media initiative and virtual exhibition that collects photos, memories and stories about the Maxwell House Haggadah. We welcome all submissions, including photos of grocery store Maxwell House Haggadah displays, recollections or images of the Maxwell House Haggadah "in action" during your family's celebration of Passover over the years, etc.
You can submit your entries here on the blog or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to sharing your stories and thank you for your participation!
**this blog is not affiliated with maxwell house coffee, kraft foods or the joseph jacobs advertising agency**