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March 2014

Spring is in the air and hay fever sufferers are already sneezing in the parks. Pesach/Passover is Chag Ha'Aviv/Holiday of Spring - so it must be the next holiday on our calendar! In this issue we bring you resources for Passover, a look at a few historic Haggadot, an educational exhibit and program celebrating coexistence and tolerance, and local cultural events.


Jewish LearningWorks' Israel Education Initiative is proud to provide you with creative resource materials and innovative ideas to enhance Israel Education in your programs all year round.  


Please forward this mail to your colleagues and staff.  

We wish you a happy and Joyful Passover!

Pesach - Passover
Me'Avdut Le'Cherut - From Slavery to Freedom

Every person needs to have a certain Egypt,


To deliver themselves from it


With a strong arm, and persevere


With the grinding of their teeth.



Every person needs one long journey


That they will always remember


In their feet,


Every person needs to have a certain Jerusalem.


Israeli Poet Amnon Ribak

The poem in Hebrew


The Haggadah, which we read on Erev Peasach, is the reenactment of our master story. The text tells us that "In each generation, each person is obligated to see himself or herself as though he or she personally came forth from Egypt." It is not enough to remember or retell the story, but rather to experience the move from slavery to freedom on an intimate personal level. We, who are blessed with freedoms and liberties, are also obligated to look beyond our opulence and help others who are not yet liberated to come forth from their Egypt. 
Two Israeli songs dealing with personal liberation and modern day exodus with several hints to the Passover story.
Out of Egypt - Alma Zohar (with subtitles)
Out of Egypt - Alma Zohar (with subtitles)

From Slavery to Freedom 

From Slavery to Freedom

Yankele Rotblit, Music: Yitzhak Klepter and Guy Bokatti, Singer: Arik Einstein 


My ability to suffer failed, I could bear no more
Enough is enough, I said, I have to go
The slave in me, I left behind
In a place to where I shall never return.                        

I have nothing more to say, there are no words
I have nothing more to lose, except for these shackles

They have cut me to a pulp, I am still scratched
Tonight I will go forth, from slavery to freedom


And there's something in me, like a full moon of Nisan

That calls me to rise, and calls yet again all the time

To embark on a journey full of perils

For a hint of a chance of an envisioned happy and unimaginative future


There is probably a chance, that from the top of some mountain

I will see far away a promise for tomorrow

That might not arrive, but even if I'll die on the road

Tonight I will go forth, from slavery to freedom


Hebrew Lyrics

Freedom Haggadot


We are fortunate to have a remarkable opportunity to closely examine the Arthur Szyk's Haggadah at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Szyk (pronounced "Shick") created his magnificent Haggadah in Lodz, on the eve of the Nazi occupation of his native Poland. The Haggadah is filled with sumptuous paintings of Jewish heroes, tyrannical foes and stunning calligraphy. Behind the beautiful design and masterful illustrations Szyk carefully interjects his criticism of Nazism in Europe. Szyk, who immigrated to the US in 1940, was throughout his life a staunch visual commentator on social and political issues. He was known for standing up to tyranny and was dubbed "A Soldier in Art" by his peers. 


Unfortunately, tyranny and enslavement have not been eradicated yet. On Passover night we ought to be mindful of people in the US, in Israel and around the world who are not free. We bring you several samples of "Freedom Haggadot" and other resources with the hope that you will find a way to incorporate them into your Seders. 


Link to Social Justice Haggadot

Freedom and Justice seder

Pesach Seder Supplements on Economic Justice, Slavery, and other issues of Tzedek

A Human Rights Haggadah


Current human rights issues in Israel

Foreign Workers and their families

Bialik Rogozin high school's African refugee cross-country team to rep Israel at world championships    

Strangers No More, a film about the Bialik-Rogozin School in Tel Aviv, won the Academy Award in the category of Documentary (Short Subject) 2011  

Strangers No More Oscar Winning Movie Trailer
Strangers No More - Oscar Winning Movie Trailer


Sudanese refugees

Ha'aretz: Articles on Sudan Refugees

Times of Israel: Topic Sudan 



47 years a slave: A new perspective on the occupation


Human Trafficking

Slavery-Free resources for educators

Global Slavery Index finds Jewish state doing relatively well, but problem persists


Two Historic Haggadot

And their Influence on contemporary Israeli artists


There are several Haggadot dating back to the Middle Ages that we are familiar with. These illuminated manuscripts tell historic tales of Jewish life and creativity. They are also fine examples of ancient Jewish art and are therefore being addressed visually in contemporary Israeli art. Two of the most widespread examples are the Birds' Head Haggadah and the Sarajevo Haggadah.


Birds' Head Haggadah


The Birds' Head Haggadah, the oldest surviving Ashkenazi illuminated manuscript (S. German, c. 1300), derives its name from the birdlike human figures illustrated in the manuscript's margins. This motif is believed to be related to the biblical (Second Commandment) prohibition against creating graven images. The Birds' Head Haggadah, discovered by Israeli art historian Bezalel Narkiss in 1946, the realistic human figure is avoided by providing it with the head and beak of a bird. Some of the figures wear helmet-like hats reminiscent of the conic hats Jews were obliged to wear in Ashkenaz (Germany) during the Middle Ages. From time to time new theories claim that the codex was illuminated by Christian artists who interjected anti-semitic elements by depicting Jews as ravens.



Michael Sgan-Cohen The Wandering Jew (left) and Zoya Chekassky The Aachen Hagaddah (right) 


Michael Sgan-Cohen 

Sgan-Cohen used the hybrid figure as a symbol of the wandering Jew and by association as his self-portrait. In his painting The Wandering Jew Sgan-Cohen used the motif of the Hand of God, pointing (in the picture) to the image of a man (the artist's self-image) with a bird's head wearing a Judenhut, a pointed Jewish hat that was forced upon Jews in the Middle Ages. The chair, a symbol of settling down, remains in the foreground empty for now.


Zoya Cherkassky

Cherkassky created the illustrated "Aachen Passover Haggadah" (named after the German city of Aachen where the artist did a residency). The Haggadah portrays graphic designs in red, black and gold - inspired by Jewish images, the Russian Avant-garde and anti-Semitic images. Throughout the Haggadah there are images of birds; their head is a Jewish head wearing a Streimel. These illustrations resemble the ones appearing in the Birds' Head Haggadah.The red, swollen feet symbolize the wandering Jew and the journey from Egypt to the Holy Land. 


The Sarajevo Haggadah

Sarajevo Haggadah - Creation


The Sarajevo Haggadah is an illuminated manuscript one of the oldest Sephardic Haggadahs in the world. Originating in Barcelona around 1350, the Haggadah has survived many close calls with destruction, including World War II and the Bosnian War. Historians believe that it was taken out of Spain by Spanish Jews who were expelled by the Alhambra Decree in 1492. Notes in the margins of the Haggadah indicate that it surfaced in Italy in the 16th century. It was sold to the National Museum in Sarajevo in 1894 by a man named Joseph Kohen.  The novel People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks (2008), crafts a fictionalized history of the Haggadah from its origins in Spain to the museum in Sarajevo. The fascinating history of Dervis Korkut, who saved the book from the Nazis, was told in an article by Geraldine Brooks in The New Yorker magazine. The article also sets out the story of the young Jewish girl, Mira Papo, whom Korkut and his wife hid from the Nazis as they were acting to save the Haggadah. In a twist of fate, as an elderly woman in Israel, Mira Papo secured the safety of Korkut's daughter during the Bosnian war in the 1990s.


Video: Sarajevo Haggadah - The Ultimate Survivor

Video: ABC Nightline - searching for Hope 1996






Sarajevo Haggadah "Moses receiving the Torah" (left), Arie Aroch "Moses of Sarajevo" (right)



Arie Aroch

The dramatic history of this Haggadah and its beauty fired the imagination of several Israeli artists, most notably the painter Arie Aroch. Aroch was familiar with the Sarajevo Haggadah and its illustrations, which interested him both thematically and composition-wise. 


Several pieces of his artwork are either directly related to the Haggadah or offer further developments on the themes and composition. These include: Moses from Sarajevo, The Creation, and The Figure 2 (based on a page where the number 2 was scribbles on the margins).

For more paintings by Arie Aroch on the Sarajevo Hagaddah



Other Resources for Passover


About Passover - Goisrael

Jewish Virtual Library

The icenter: The Four Sons of the Haggadah - Creative Midrashim

The iCenter - Passover: Bringing Israel into your Seder

Neot Kedumim - Once we were Slaves

Shitim - Machon Ha'Chagim (in Hebrew)

Good News from Israel blog 

Lookstein resources for Passover

Hazon: Educational Resources for Passover

Hazon: Healthy sustainable passover resources

PJ Library

Hebrew Speaking Summer Camp
Machaneh Kachol-Lavan

Machaneh Kachol-Lavan at Camp Gilboa - THE ONLY ONE IN THE US - is a Hebrew speaking Jewish sleep away camp.  It offers a vibrant Israeli camping experience for kids entering 4th grade- 6th grade and teens entering 7th grade- 10th grade.


Our mission is to create a unique Israeli summer experience that strengthens and develops Hebrew language skills and combines Israeli culture with Jewish identity. A program rich with fun experiential summer camp education such as nature hikes, special theme days, electives: archery, arts & crafts, Israeli music, kayaking, Israeli dancing and more.


A summer camp experience develops independence and responsibility and is an opportunity to build lifelong friendships and community.





Program Highlight  
A great way to bring the theme of Freedom to your school is through the striking visual images of a locally available resource.

The Museum on the Seam for Dialogue, Understanding and Coexistence in Jerusalem initiated and produced an unusual and thought provoking poster exhibition.  The exhibition is composed of 32 large posters of coexistence created by artists from around the world.

The ready-to-hang exhibit is accompanied by educational materials including quotes about peace and coexistence, activities designed to engage the students in discussions about coexistence in Israel, around the world and in our community, and suggested art projects.



The Stranger Self in the Stranger Found


We, one-in-two,
Are nameless, oh stranger, when the stranger
Discovers his own true self in a stranger. Ours 
Is the might of shadows from the garden left behind.
Be gone out of your lands of night,
Concealing what you will. In haste we came
From the simultaneous setting of two abodes,
We sought our address together you and I;
Go forth to your shadow


-Mahmoud Darwish



Museum on the Seam Exhibit web site

A pdf of the Educational Booklet


The exhibit and educational resources are available for local schools and organization. 

Please contact


Local Events

Into the Fullness of the Void: A Spiritual Autobiography of the Secular Renaissance in Israel
Dov Elbaum in conversation with Rabbi Menachem Creditor 
Thursday, March 27, 7 PM
Jewish Community Library
San Francisco

Dov Elbaum is a journalist, television host, and lecturer on Jewish philosophy. He hosts the popular Israeli TV show Mekablim Shabbat. He is a founder of BINA's Secular Yeshiva, which is a grantee of the New Israel Fund. Rabbi Menachem Creditor is the spiritual leader of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley.

More Info


Exhibit: Arthur Szyk and the Art of the Haggadah

February 13-June 29, 2014 
Contemporary Jewish Museum
San Francisco


Exhibit: Moments of Presence with My Beloved by YoHana Bat Adam

March 4-May 29  

Reception: Sunday, March 9, 6:30-8:30 PM

Palo Alto JCC 

YoHana Bat Adam's art touches the realm of the mysterious phenomenon we call God. YoHana uses her art as a platform to make viewers more aware of human spirituality and potential.

More Info 


Wrestling Jerusalem, A Play

March 12 - April 6, 2014

Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco

Set in America, Israel and Palestine, Wrestling Jerusalem follows one man's journey to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Solo performance by Aaron Davidman 

More Info  


Oded Bality, Photojournalist

March 19-March 27

La Boutique, San Francisco

More Info

Artist Website 


To Build and Be Build: Kibbutz History

Ongoing until July 2014

Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco


More local Israeli events on Federation Community Calendar  

More local Israel related events on Consulate site   

Contact Jewish LearningWorks' 
Israel Education Initiative Team:
Ilan Vitemberg, Director
Vavi Toran, Arts & Culture Specialist