The Children’s Haggadah, Abraham Morritz Silberman, Erwin Singer, Isidore Wartski, Arthur Saul Super, London 1948

5j Childrens Hag_0001This is the classic Children’s Haggadah.  I was given one (not this copy) as soon as I could read Hebrew.

This famous Haggadah was by Rabbi Abraham Moritz Silbermann, who was born in Hungary and had Semicha from the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary.  He was a publisher and bookseller. It was illustrated by Erwin Singer, a Berlin artist and art teacher, who emigrated to Britain in the 1930s.  It was first published in London in 1933, “with a new translation in prose and verse” by Mr Isidore Wartski and Rev. Arthur Saul Super.

5j Childrens Hag_0002My copy is the third edition, published in 1948.

Isidore Wartski was born in 1879. His family had emigrated from Russia to Bangor, Wales in the nineteenth century. His father, Morris Wartski, had made his home in Bangor and in 1865 established a jewellery and clothes shop on the High Street. Isidore was also a successful businessman and expanded his father’s clothes business, in addition to working on developing the Castle Hotel in the town. He was a popular figure in Bangor and a sponsor of local sports and charities. After 15 years as a member of the Town Council, he was appointed Mayor between 1939 and 1941 –the first Jewish Mayor in Wales.

Arthur Saul Super was born in Britain and studied at Jews College and at the School of Oriental Studies of London University. He also took a degree at Cambridge. He served as rabbi of Shaar Hashamaim in Montreal from 1933-36 and of the United Hebrew Congregation of Leeds, England from 1937-40. He was an army chaplain during World War II and lived in Israel during the 1950s where he worked as a journalist and was the chief editorial writer and assistant editor of The Jerusalem Post.  Later he moved to South Africa.

The Haggadah has elaborate illustrations, four of which include moving parts, depicting Moses among the bullrushes, the suffering of the Israelites and the plagues visited upon Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea and the hiding of the Afikoman.

This Haggadah was intended to involve children in the seder. Children are invited to ‘pull slowly’ on tabs connected to inserts in the illustrations, which move to reveal hidden elements of the pictures. The book also contains songs by the composer Arno Nadel (who served as Choir Director of the Jewish Community in Berlin) and other contemporary artists.

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