Chicago U gifted largest private collection of antique Haggadahs

“It will be a treasure trove for faculty, students and visiting researchers seeking to explore Jewish religion."

 RARE Passover Haggadah is displayed in the Museum Judengasse in Frankfurt.  (photo credit: BEN G. FRANK)
RARE Passover Haggadah is displayed in the Museum Judengasse in Frankfurt.
(photo credit: BEN G. FRANK)
Stephen Durchslag’s love of Passover started at a young age. One could argue it started at birth, when his parents gave him the middle name Pesach.
So it’s not surprising that Durchslag, now a retired lawyer, amassed what’s being called the world’s largest private collection of antique Passover Haggadahs — over 4,500 versions of the book that leads Jews through the holiday’s seder meal.
He recently donated the collection to the University of Chicago, where he earned a master’s degree in divinity after retiring in 2013.
“It will be a treasure trove for faculty, students and visiting researchers seeking to explore Jewish religion, history and culture and will significantly enhance our important academic collection in Jewish studies,” the university’s library director, Brenda Johnson, told UChicago News.
The works in his collection are written in 31 languages, “from medieval Italian, Hebrew and Yiddish to Marathi, Judeo-Arabic and Judeo-Tat, spoken by the Jewish community in the remote Caucasus Mountains,” according to UChicago News.