Snarky liturgical review… from 1890!

I did not–I repeat, did not–invent the snarky liturgical review. The new oldest incidence of such a thing was written by Israel Zangwill about a tragic then-new haggadah in 1890.

It was pointed out on the excellent On the Main Line blog, written by Mississippi Fred MacDowell, who writes,

Zangwill writes that every year he seems to “get hold of an edition which is funnier than the preceding year’s.” The trouble with this one is that the English is simply awful… In addition to the ones cited by Zangwill, I came across its mention of “horseradisch” and the “sederdish,” “Grace after meat,” and the remark that “we are leaning back” when one drinks the cups of wine. Zangwill also takes issue with the illustrations, which he thinks are atrocious.

The illustrations are atrocious!


Check out the rest of MacDowell’s post, complete with selections from the haggadah in questions.

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7 Responses to Snarky liturgical review… from 1890!

  1. S. March 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Thanks David.

    If you save the images to your hard drive and resize them slightly (which you can do in photoshop, or through an online image editor like then the images will fit nicely in your margin.

  2. Jen March 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    “whether this means that the rest are under the table…” – glorious!

  3. Efraim March 25, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    … or add a width attribute to your img tag.

  4. jonahrank March 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    That is hysterical!