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“What To Do When You Can’t Afford A Manuscript: The Passover Haggadah as a Material Object”

Hosted By: The National Library of Israel (NLI)

By the 12th Century, the text of the Passover Haggadah had become virtually uniform across Jewish communities. This was true despite the fact that written copies of the text were very expensive, and not all Jews could read. How did families get access to the fixed text of the Haggadah, and what did they do with the copies they had? How did illiterate families or those too poor to own a copy conduct the Seder? How did the spread of the printing press make copies of the text cheaper and more available? How did these changes affect the physical form that Haggadot took?

For answers to these questions and more join the man in charge of the world’s largest collection of Haggadot at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem!

Dr. Yoel Finkelman is curator of the Haim and Hanna Salomon Judaica Collection at the National Library of Israel. His work focuses on collection development and digitization. Formerly a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and a teacher of Torah in Jerusalem, his book, Strictly Kosher Reading: Popular Literature and the Condition of Contemporary Orthodoxy appeared in 2011.

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