First-of-its-kind Ukrainian egalitarian Haggadah launched

The haggadah was created by Project Kesher, a feminist Jewish organization empowering women in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and the Russian-speaking community in Israel.

 Illustration by Kyiv-born artist Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi (photo credit: Project Kesher)
Illustration by Kyiv-born artist Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi
(photo credit: Project Kesher)

A Jewish organization operating in Russian-speaking countries has launched a first-of-its-kind Ukrainian-language Haggadah. Purposely designed to help Ukrainian Jews honor their heritage as they observe the forthcoming Passover holiday, the Haggadah includes contemporary commentaries and original sketches inspired by Ukraine’s ongoing fight against the Russian invasion, bringing new meaning and relevance to the Passover story.

The Haggadah was created by Project Kesher, a feminist Jewish organization that empowers women in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and the Russian-speaking community in Israel “to build a society in which inclusive Jewish life can flourish, and where women are the instruments of peaceful change,” according to the organization’s website.

The Haggadah

The entirety of the Haggadah, including its text, illustrations and accompanying music, is currently available digitally at and is set to be released in print next year. It was designed to be customized and/or abbreviated for Seders taking place in regions of Ukraine affected by the war, refugee communities and households throughout the US and around the world where individuals have ties to Ukraine and/or support the revolution.

“As the Ukrainian people continue their fight to live in a free, democratic and safe society, it has become increasingly clear that Ukrainian Jews require access to Jewish liturgy in their own language,” Project Kesher CEO Karyn Gershon said. “This Haggadah is the embodiment of that cultural imperative, offering a translated and adapted work of significant religious and symbolic importance. What’s more, it places the current war for both Ukrainian land and cultural identity in the context of the Passover theme of moving from slavery to freedom.”

A press release promoting the Haggadah said: “Project Kesher designed the Ukrainian-language Haggadah to be intellectually compelling and egalitarian, and offer numerous opportunities for highly creative participation.”

 TABLE SET for the Passover Seder. (credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90) TABLE SET for the Passover Seder. (credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)

It includes five original sketches by renowned Kyiv-born artist Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi, who immigrated to Israel just weeks before the fall of the Soviet Union.

“At its essence, the Haggadah tells a story of hope, expressing the idea that people at the lowest position imaginable can find their way to the Promised Land,” Cherkassky-Nnadi said. “This sense of hope is what keeps Ukraine as a country and its people together and holding on.”

As Passover approaches, Jewish leaders throughout the world are lauding Project Kesher’s Haggadah and acknowledging its significance more than a year into this phase of the Russia-Ukraine war.

“With more than 1,000 Ukrainian Jewish refugees in Poland, we welcome this first-of-its-kind Ukrainian-language Haggadah,” Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich said. “As the Ukrainian people fight for their freedom, we know that a Haggadah in their national language, with readings that reflect their nation’s experience, will add meaning to their Passover celebration. It is essential at this time that our Ukrainian brothers and sisters know that we stand with them and will do so until they can live in peace. As we left Egypt, may they also leave oppression and the bitterness of war behind them.”