Anyone who has ever attended Seders, the ceremonial Passover meals, knows that an essential part is the Haggadah, the text that recounts the exodus of Jews from Egypt.
No, you won’t find lots of references to the ritual food in it. Instead, you’ll find God’s list of “25 things you didn’t know about me,” the “Which god are you?” quiz, and “Yes We Conserve,” a Facebook application “designed to help you save money, energy, and the planet.”
I called its creator, Carl Elkin, with some burning questions: Where did you get the idea for this? Is it irreverent to write a Haggadah to promote a Facebook application? And will you use this Haggadah at your own Seders this year?
A computational chemist, Elkin says he’s convinced that global warming is a serious problem. So he created the “Yes We Conserve” application to encourage others to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. But he needed a way to publicize it.
In the tradition of the Facebook version of “Hamlet,” he wrote this Haggadah with “Yes We Conserve” in mind.
Reaction, Elkin says, “has been amazingly positive. … I was worried that some would perceive it as sacrilegious, but literally not one person has said that.”
He’s also quick to point out that he doesn’t profit from the Facebook Haggadah, other than gaining almost 10,000 visits to “Yes We Conserve” in about a week. (He released the Haggadah on March 29.)
Because he wrote it, you’d expect Elkin to use the Facebook Haggadah at his own family’s Seders.
“Probably not,” he says, “because it’s not traditional.”