This Haggadah, the first in a series of city-specific Haggadot, is bursting with rich China flavour and depicts each part of the seder through the places, culture and street life that makes Beijing special. It is a unique answer to the instruction to retell the Exodus story ‘in every generation’. China is one of the latest outposts of the Jewish diaspora, and this Haggadah expresses the Jewish story through the contemporary life of that place.
A page from the Beijing Haggadah
The pages of this China Haggadah are richly illustrated with original artwork in joyous color. Every piece of imagery is imbued with meaning and full of details to discover each year.
As much care has been put into the typography as into the artwork. It is clear, easy to read, and elegant. The text is in Hebrew and English, with transliterations.
Along the bottom of each page one will find a full commentary which explains the layers of meaning contained in each of the Beijing Haggadah’s illustrations as well as the aspects of Chinese culture that inform the artwork.
Michael, originally from Massachusetts, had a deep love for living in China. The guiding principle for creating every artwork in this book was to make the Haggadah that he would have loved to use. A Haggadah for anyone with a thirst for discovering new worlds and immersing themselves in new cultures.
In addition to the book, Leon has created an 80x80cm artwork that contains the entirety of the Beijing Haggadah. Possibly the first of its kind. In most of his artworks, Leon habitually depicts the world as a series of collided memories and ideas rather than chronologically or geographically. This is very similar to how the traditional Haggadah tells the Exodus story. As such it was only natural to depict the Haggadah as a single, chaotic artwork. Seeing the Haggadah in this form is striking and surprisingly intuitive. Prints of this work are available for purchase.
A depiction of the entire Beijing Haggadah in a single artwork
Stay tuned for future Haggadot that Leon will be creating, including for other places in the world.