Thursday, April 1, 2010

Haggadot Display

Because of its ancient roots, inspiring content, and ongoing relevance, the haggadah is an especially beloved Jewish ritual. Since the days of Amram Ben Sheshna Gaon and Rashi, it has attracted a vast number of commentaries and supercommentaries as well as translations into many languages. Moreover, the fact that each participant in the Seder must have his or her own copy led to artistic embellishment of the haggadah on a grand scale, often for the participating women and children. Richly illuminated haggadot were commissioned by wealthy Jews of the Middle Ages, great care being lavished on both the illustrations and the text (an entire page sometimes being devoted to one theme or word). Separate artistic traditions developed in Muslim Spain and Christian Germany and Italy; and a growing number of the finest illuminated manuscripts are now available in facsimile editions. The first printed haggadot came from Spain (c. 1482) and Italy (1505), but the oldest surviving illustrated edition was that printed by Gershom Cohen in Prague (1526). Since then, it is estimated, more than 2,000 editions of the haggadah have appeared in print, and new ones are still being published.
"HAGGADAH." The New Encyclopedia of Judaism. New York: New York University Press, 2002. Credo Reference. Web. 01 April 2010.

Stop by the library and check out the many haggadot that Dr. Joseph Rubinstein has on display. Arrangement and display commentary by Brandy Roscoe.

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