1952 'Korean War Haggadah' acquired by National Library of Israel

The 32-page volume was produced by two Jewish chaplains. One of them referred to their endeavor as “Operation Matzo”.

April 19, 2019 05:18
1 minute read.
The Korean War Haggadah

The Korean War Haggadah. (photo credit: NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ISRAEL)


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A rare Haggadah printed in Korea for the use of US soldiers in 1952 was recently acquired by the National Library of Israel, the Library said in a statement on Thursday.

According to scholars, only three copies of the 'Korean War Haggadah' exist in public hands worldwide.

The 32-page volume was produced by two Jewish chaplains who also organized the seder in Seoul, for which American soldiers gathered from all over Korea, thanks to the efforts of the US army. One of the chaplains, rabbi Chanan Brichto, referred to their endeavor as “Operation Matzo”.

And indeed, the food served at the seder covered all Passover’s major delicacies, from 'Gefuelte Fish' to 'Chicken Soup aux Kneidlach', as well as three types of wine, including 'Manischewitz California State.'

The Haggadah opens with the greetings from top US military officials. "Even as the Ancient Hebrew people answered the call of freedom symbolized by Passover, we too must heed its voice and stand fast in preserving freedom's principles for the world of our time," wrote General F.F. Everest, commander of the US Fifth Air Force, who was also the highest ranking officer to attend the seder.

"The Korean Haggadah combines traditional texts with elements unique to American soldiers serving in Korea. The Haggadah and the incredible Seder where it was used remind us how meaningful Passover can be for so many different people in so many different places and circumstances," commented National Library Judaica expert Channa Lockshin-Bob.

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