Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The haggadah has always been popular among authors and publishers, with over 10,000 different haggadot estimated to have been published over the centuries.

One haggadah I recently acquired was the first to be printed in Chicago. Published in 1879, it boasts of being the “first [haggadah] to contain illustrations influenced by the American environment.” The illustrations are described on the title page as being “in accordance with the instruction of the Talmud.”

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The illustration for the four sons is particularly interesting. It depicts a bearded father in a turban, the wise son with a kippah on his head, the simpleton thumbing his nose while getting his finger burned by a candle, and the wicked son puffing away at a cigarette with his hand raised in contempt. The difference in the dress of the father and wicked son is striking, perhaps symbolizing the great generation gap common among Jewish immigrant families.

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