ForeWord Reviews

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Haggadah Illuminated

Foreword Review

Beautiful illuminations and clear text with vowels brings to life the traditional Jewish Haggadah, a compilation of excerpts from the Bible and Rabbinic literature including prayers and hymns.

This 2007 edition of the ritual book used at every Jewish seder during the holiday of Passover, while not bringing anything new to the text, does bring beautiful illustrations and expert calligraphy to the traditional words. Clearly written in Hebrew, with nikkud and stretching of letters to enable the justification on both margins. The consistent use of illuminations at the start of each section of the seder enables the user to quickly locate their place.

Caredio attended the art school Duccio Buoninsegna in Sienna, where he learned the old techniques of medieval painting. Illustrator Benaj√° discovered the beauty of illuminated manuscripts when he moved to Sienna to study at the Pinacoteca Nazionale.

A lack of directions or instructions, however, enables only those well versed in the seder to utilize the volume during the ritual meal without additional guidance. This book would be a welcomed addition to a library that has a large illuminated manuscript section, or serves a large Jewish population; not so much for a general collection because of its specialized nature. The lack of English translations, while not taking away from the visual appeal of the work, does exclude the comprehension of the retelling of the Exodus from Egypt, the parable of the Four Sons, and other ritualistic portions from those not fluent in the Hebrew language.

Sara Marcus