10 Things You Need to Know about the Sarajevo Haggadah

Passover is just around the corner, so on March 26, 2018, I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Sarajevo Haggadah

Sarajevo Haggadah_Wikipedia

Page from the Sarajevo Haggadah. Notice the wine stains and handwritten doodles, which indicate that this haggadah has been in extensive use throughout the years. (Source: Wikipedia)

Every year on Passover Jewish families all over the world gather ’round to celebrate and commemorate the Exodus from Egypt. At the center of this annual celebration is taking turns reading from a book called a haggadah. The word haggadah comes from the Hebrew root HGD, which means “to tell,” which is exactly the purpose of the Passover celebration–to tell the story of the Jews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt, also known as the Exodus.

Because haggadot are not considered holy texts, but rather instruction materials, over time they have developed into beautiful artifacts of book art. And nowhere were such beautiful haggadots made as in the Spanish city of Barcelona during the Middle Ages. And of these Barcelona haggadots, few can compare to the wonder and splendor of a book today known as the Sarajevo Haggadah.

Here are ten things you need to know about the Sarajevo Haggadah.

If you wish to read the post in its entirety, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

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10 Things You Need to Know about Megilat Ester

On February 26, 2018 I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about Megillat Ester.

Megilat Ester_BL Or 1047

Megilat Ester (BL Or. 1047)

Happy Purim!

Purim is a Jewish holiday based on the events in the biblical Book of Esther, which tells the story of how the Jewish woman Esther saved her people from extinction in the ancient Persian Empire. The exact age of this particular holiday is not known, but Purim has been celebrated since at least the second century C.E.

The Book of Esther is also known as Megilat Ester, which is Hebrew for the Scroll of Esther. Because of the importance of Esther’s story in the celebrations of Purim, the Book of Esther is written on a separate scroll which is read out loud as part of the Purim celebrations. The tradition to write the Book of Esther on a scroll dates back to c. 500 C.E.

If you wish to read the post in its entirety, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Yonah Pentateuch

On February 6, 2018, I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Yonah Pentateuch

The Yonah Pentateuch is an elaborately decorated Jewish manuscript from northern Europe, using the art form of micrography.

Micrography are images that you can read.

Knight approaching a castle_Yonah Pentateuch_BL Add MS 21160_f 201 v

If you wish to read the post in its entirety, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Sana’a Pentateuch

On August 4, 2017, I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Sana’a Pentateuch

Yemen is a country that somehow feels further away than most. Located on the south-west part of the Arabian Peninsula, news about Yemen only seem to reach us when there is a tragedy.

But Yemen is so much more than the occasional news story from a far away land. Yemen is a country with an old civilization capable of wonderful art.

Book art.

One of the most famous books from Yemen is the so-called Sana’a Pentateuch.

If you would like to read this post in its entirety, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

Quirky History: Micrography, or Minuscule Medieval Images Drawn with Letters

On June 14, 2017, I published the following post on Quirk Books.

Quirky History: Micrography, or Minuscule Medieval Images Drawn with Letters

Whenever we here at Quirk Books think we have found everything there is to discover about the weird and wonderful world of medieval manuscripts, something new always pops up and takes us by surprise. This time, what came at us out of left field was the incredible art form of micrography.

Micrography is an art form unique to Judaism that developed during the Middle Ages. Here, reading, writing, and imagery come together in one.

If you wish to read the entire post, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Golden Haggadah

On April 6, 2017, I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Golden Haggadah

The Golden Haggadah miniatures

Next week is Passover, one of the most important holidays in Judaism. Passover celebrates the Exodus, in other words when God liberated the Jews from slavery in Egypt.

On the first night of Passover, family and friends gather round for the Seder when everybody takes turns reading from a book called a haggadah. The haggadah contains the story of the Exodus, intermingled with prayers and songs. The Seder is then concluded with good food and wine.

Because the Torah contains only text, and depictions of God are forbidden, over time the haggadah became the book where Jews interpreted their religion through images. Throughout the centuries, the haggadah also became a way for Jewish families to display their prosperity and wealth.

No other haggadah is a better example of this than the Golden Haggadah.

Here are ten things you need to know about the Golden Haggadah.

If you want to read the rest of this post, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

Literature’s Most Underrated Monsters

On October 29, 2015, Quirk Books published the following post written by me.

Literature’s Most Underrated Monsters

leviathanWe can agree that not all monsters are created equal. However, what’s with certain types enjoying more popularity over others? If you ask us, vampires and werewolves have had more than their fair share of the limelight. Here’s a list of literary monsters we think should get more love from pop culture.

If you wish to read the entire post, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.