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Modern Israeli

Raban Haggadah
Illustrator: Zeev Raban
Tel Aviv: Sinai Publishing, 1967

The Israeli artist, Raban, is influenced by the approach to biblical subjects of the Bezalel School of art, a school founded by Boris Schatz at the turn of the century in Palestine. This art is characterized by a naturalistic romanticism, a romanticism evident in the biblical scene on the left of the gathering of Manna in the desert by the wandering Israelites. This illustration which accompanies the beloved hymn Dayenu, describes God's many miracles in aiding the Israelites when they fled Egypt. One of those miracles was the Manna, which fell from the heavens every night and was collected every morning-except on the Sabbath-and served as food for the forty year journey in the wilderness (Exodus 16:14-15).

Copyright Sinai Publishing

Livni Haggadah
Illustrator: Z. Livni
Editor: S. Skolsky
Translator: I.M. Lask
Tel Aviv: Yavneh Press, 1968

This edition of a popular Israeli Haggadah contains a special section for children as well as textual passages from the Bible and rabbinic literature not found in the standard Haggadah text. As with most Haggadot produced in the State of Israel, it combines the old with the new. Above is a modern-day artistic rendition of the prophet Isaiah's vision of the end of days and the ingathering of the exiles (2:2-3).

Copyright Yavneh Publishing House Ltd.

Jerusalem Haggadah
Illustrator: Shmuel Bonneh
Haifa: Shikmona Publishing, 1968

The return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple has been the focus of Jewish hopes and prayers from time immemorial. These religious and national aspirations are apparent in this Israeli Haggadah which reflects the euphoria that gripped Israel following its victory in the Six Day War in June, 1967. The statement "next year in Jerusalem" with which the Seder concludes is depicted here as having finally been fully realized.

Kibbutz Haggadah
Illustrator: Gad Ullman
Editor: Aryeh ben Gurion
Publisher: The United Kibbutz Movement (Kibbutz Me'uhad)
No Date

The Haggadot produced by the mostly secular collective settlements in Israel tended to downplay the text's religious message and to put more emphasis on the Haggadah's nationalistic and seasonal elements. Thus, the traditional text is often very abbreviated, and many secular readings taken from modern Hebrew literature and elsewhere may be added. Recurring thematic patterns tend to revolve around spring, the Exodus, peace, and the ingathering of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. Kibbutz Haggadot reflect the socialist-and often atheistic- views of the kibbutz founders and the name of God is often conspicuously absent.

The compilers of the above Haggadah omit large segments of the traditional text and replace them with passages from the Bible and other ancient and modern sources. The illustration is of the first settlers of Deganyah, founded in 1909. The text is taken from Psalm 126 and Amos 9:13.

Golden Haggadah of Jerusalem
Illustrations: Jossi Stern
Calligraphy: Noah Ophir
Herzeliya, Israel: Palphot Ltd., 1986.

A central element of the Passover Seder-and indeed of the entire seven day festival-is the eating of matzah (unleavened bread). The Book of Exodus recounts that in their haste to leave Egypt, the Israelites did not have time to allow their dough to rise (12:34). It is , therefore, forbidden to eat leavened bread during Passover for all generations. In the illustration above, past and present merge as members of a Hasidic family at the Seder table in today's Jerusalem prepares to eat matzah just as their ancestors did in ancient times.

Rebirth of Israel Haggadah
Illustrator: David Harel
Text: Chaya Harel
Herzeliyah: Harel Publishers, 1987

Historically, the Haggadah evoked for Jews the hope for redemption and the return to Zion. With the establishment of the State of Israel, Haggadah illustrations depicted the renewed Jewish settlement of the land of Israel as an integral part of the beginning of the yearned for liberation. This blending of traditional Jewish aspirations with modern Zionism is represented in the illustrations above. On the left, traditional prayers from the Haggadah, worked into the background mountains, are woven together with an artistic reworking of a photograph of the original settlers of Deganyah, the first collective settlement in Palestine, founded in 1909. There is a Stockade and Watchtower settlement in the background.

The Agam Passover Haggadah
Illustrations: Yaakov Agam
Jerusalem: Gefen Publishing House, 1993

The modern Israeli artist, Yaakov Agam, created illustrations for the Haggadah which are highly modernistic. Using vibrant colors, stick letters, and geometric shapes, he continues the great tradition of Haggadah illustration while adding a flare that is uniquely his own. Above we see his depiction of the Seder plate. The letters surrounding the circle make up the word plate in Hebrew. In the center of the circle there appears the word maror (bitter herbs).

Courtesy of Gefen Publishing House, Ltd.

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