These are two pages from a Haggadah printed in Italy in 1892. These pages, from the beginning of the Haggadah, include instructions and illustrations about the preparations for the festival of Pesach.
These pages from the Haggadah show a number of different images related to preparations for Pesach. The four images on the right-hand page show women preparing in various ways (clockwise from top left): washing clothes, preparing utensils for use on Pesach using a fire, making matzah, and sifting flour. On the left-hand page there are two pictures: the picture above the text shows the process of threshing wheat, the picture below the text shows the process of making matzah. The text appears in both Hebrew and Italian.
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Haggadah - While Jews scattered around the world have adapted to changing times and different places, adopting independent languages and customs, the annual telling of the Haggadah – the story of the Exodus from Egypt– remained unchanged, taking place every year on the eve of Passover eve during the Seder:
And you shall tell your son on that day, saying: It is because of that which the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.
Though this core message persists, the Haggadah itself has evolved, adapting in form and content to local cultures and influences.
The Jews of Italy - The Italian Jewish community has ancient roots that can be traced back to the Roman era in the second century BCE. In ancient Rome the community was highly organized with several synagogues. With the introduction of Christianity to Italy the situation of Italian Jews generally declined, and anti-Jewish laws were passed. Similar to other European countries, the Middle Ages brought persecution and expulsions. However, this was also a flourishing period for Bible commentary, Talmud, Hebrew grammar, and halacha (Jewish law). Jews were also known as skilled medical practitioners, some serving as physicians to the kings, nobles, and clergy. The fifteenth century was a time of migration: many Spanish Jews arrived in Italy following the Spanish expulsion of 1492, and a few years later, more arrived from France. In the sixteenth century, when many Italian areas fell under Spanish rule, Jews fled the inquisition and moved to southern Italy and other European countries. This was also the period when the first Jewish ghetto was established in Venice and other prohibitions were issued against the Jews including a yellow badge, ghettos in additional cities, forced labour, and expulsions. This continued into the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Influenced by liberal thought, French rule in Italy, and the decline of the Papal influence, the Jews slowly gained emancipation during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. By 1910, a Jew was prime minister of Italy, one of the first in the world. Another Jew served as mayor of Rome from 1907 to 1913, and Jews also served as senators. Italian Jews fought in World War I, half of them as officers. The 1930s brought Mussolini, fascism, and, ultimately, anti-Semitism to Italy, influenced by Nazism and the racial ideologies of the time. Despite the fascist regime’s alliance with Germany, the Italians did not initially cooperate with the deportation of Jews to the camps. The deportation of Italian Jews only began in September 1943, when the Allies captured southern Italy. While many Jews were saved by local Italians and the Church, approximately 7,500 Jews were murdered. The Jewish community has declined since World War II due to immigration to Israel and other countries, assimilation, and low birth rates. It is estimated that 45,000 Jews live in Italy today.