April 13, 2006


130 books - one familiar story (NICHOLAS KEUNG, IMMIGRATION/DIVERSITY REPORTER, , Apr. 12, 2006, Toronto Star)

Arnold Recht has a collection of 130 books that all tell the same story. It's a 3,318-year-old story that will be shared again at sunset today by 15 million members of the global Jewish diaspora — including 360,000 in Canada — as the community ushers in Passover, which begins at sunset tonight and ends next Thursday.

It's a story that commemorates the struggle of the Hebrews under the pharaohs, their survival from decimation and ultimate celebration of freedom. [...]

From a 100-year-old Haggadah son Hershel, 26, picked up in 1999 from a Jerusalem synagogue, to a pop-up edition with animation for kids, and another with stunning illustrations by renowned artist Marc Chagall, Recht said each of the books — drawn from all corners of the world — has its own persona.

"Every Jew is obligated to tell the story of exodus and commanded to feel as if you are partaking in the exodus itself," explained the Bay Street litigation lawyer, flipping through Haggadahs neatly displayed in the study of his Thornhill home, along with binders of law books and more than 500 dreidels, a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side.

"This is like our rebirth. You repeat the same story over and over again, so no one would forget.

"All these books look different in their interpretations and presentations of the same story. They each teach me a certain tune when I read it at the seder. Each one is simply more beautiful than the one before."

In its emphasis on freedom and on the gift from God of the morality required to establish a free society it's a thoroughly American holiday.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 13, 2006 11:18 PM
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