Passover seder hand washing.
(photo credit: American Colony-Jerusalem-Photo Dept.)
The Library of Congress has recently digitalized a collection of over 10,000
photographs, taken by the "American Colony" in Jerusalem, a group of Christian
utopians who lived in Jerusalem between 1881 and the 1940s. The photographers
returned to the US, and bequeathed their massive collection to the Library of
Congress in 1978. The collection includes Winston Churchill's visit to
Jerusalem, Jewish expulsions from the Old City during Arab riots, and the
building of Tel Aviv.
Passover is one of the three pilgrimage
festivals mentioned in the Bible along with Sukkot and Shavuot.
Historians and rabbinic literature refer to hundreds of thousands of
pilgrims who filled the streets and alleyways of Jerusalem, bringing
sacrifices to the Temple.
Today as well, Jews from all over the world and from all over Israel make their pilgrimages to the holy city.
Library of Congress photographic collection includes the 100-year-old
picture of the "throngs" visiting Jerusalem. The collection also
contains a series of photographs of Yemenite residents of Jerusalem
celebrating their Passover seder in 1939. Note their low table.
The Yemenite community has a tradition of a soft
matza, similar to Middle East pita or laffa bread, which they bake daily
Discussing the local matza, an ancient traveler
to Tza'ana in Yemen quoted his Yemenite host, "There is no requirement
that the matzos be dry and stale because they were baked many days
before Pesach. Every day we eat warm, fresh matza. "
traveler reported, "I enjoyed their special kind of matza -- it was
warm, soft and didn't have the usual burnt sections which was present in
every matza I had ever eaten until then."
Unfortunately for the
1939 Yemenite family, it appears that the only matza available to them
was the square and stale machine-made matza.
More photos can be viewed at http://www.israeldailypicture.com