Antique Passover seder plate returned to Israel Museum after 50 years

No one knows how the holiday artifact ended up at the Ben Zvi Institute, but a sharp-eyed Israel Museum employee noticed the seder plate during a workshop.

April 17, 2019 05:27
1 minute read.
Passover seder plate

Passover seder plate (illustrative). (photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)


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A Passover seder plate from the early 1800s was discovered at the Yad Ben Zvi Institute in Jerusalem by an Israel Museum staff member during a workshop, the museum announced. The staffer identified it as part of the museum's collection by an identification code.

It is possible the Israel Museum lent the artifact to Yitzchak Ben Zvi, Israel's second President for whom the institute is named, for display purpose in the 1950s, a press release stated. 
Neither the Yad Ben Zvi Institute nor the Israel Museum is certain how the seder plate ended up misplaced, but after 50 years it has now been placed back with the other Passover rarities in the museum's collection.

The rare holiday antiques on display come from varied locales in the Jewish diaspora such as Libya, Poland, Spain, Bohemia, Morocco, Germany, Egypt, Austria and the Netherlands.The collection also includes various printings of the Passover Haggadah, which tells the story of the Exodus from Egypt, and kiddush cups used for the traditional four cups of wine. 

A special tour of the Israel Museum's Passover collection was held Sunday and other special events for the holiday will take place.

The week-long holiday of Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, celebrates the freedom of the Jewish nation from slavery. It begins Friday night. Traditions include eating matzah, or unleavened bread, and a seder meal, a ritualistic meal that begins the holiday and includes symbolic foods placed on a decorative plate.

Yad Ben-Zvi Institute was founded in 1947, and houses over 120,000 manuscripts, books and rare journals used to study the life of Middle Eastern Jewry. The Israel Museum, located in Jerusalem, is the largest in the country and is home to the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit among other historic artifacts.

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