Journal

The Medieval Haggadahs

by | Apr 14, 2014 | Editorial

I love perusing and studying books of illuminated medieval manuscripts. It’s a special joy at this time of year, with Passover coming, to study the pages of medieval Haggadahs. Haggadahs are the books we use at the Passover
seder that tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The words have been the same for eons, but the designs and illuminations have changed over the centuries.

One of my favorites is the Washington Haggadah, so called because the original now resides in the Hebraic section at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. It dates from 1478 and was calligraphed and illustrated by scribe and artist Joel ben Simeon in Germany. When I do workshops on calligraphy, poetry and old manuscripts in Jewish day schools, I find the children fascinated by my facsimile of this haggadah with its castles, court jesters, and other figures in medieval dress!

You can take a look at some of the pages from the Washington Haggadah here.

seder that tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The words have been the same for eons, but the designs and illuminations have changed over the centuries.

One of my favorites is the Washington Haggadah, so called because the original now resides in the Hebraic section at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. It dates from 1478 and was calligraphed and illustrated by scribe and artist Joel ben Simeon in Germany. When I do workshops on calligraphy, poetry and old manuscripts in Jewish day schools, I find the children fascinated by my facsimile of this haggadah with its castles, court jesters, and other figures in medieval dress!

You can take a look at some of the pages from the Washington Haggadah here.

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