Discovering the Sarajevo Haggadah

Mar 20, 2012

An ancient volume. An illuminated manuscript. A 500 hundred year journey evading destruction.

In Geraldine Brooks‘s People of the Book, Hanna Heath, a rare-book expert, follows the trail of seemingly random clues that begin to unlock the history of the Sarajevo Haggadah. The reader is taken into the worlds of Inquisition-era Venice, early 20th Century Vienna, and the fascist occupation of Sarajevo during Word War II. History is mixed with modern-day intrigue as Hanna must keep this priceless text safe from self-serving, nefarious interests.

The Hebrew codex known as the Sarajevo Haggadah was created around 1350 in Barcelona. It was “handwritten on bleached calfskin and illuminated in copper and gold … (and) opens with 34 pages of illustrations of key scenes in the Bible from creation through the death of Moses.” This text sets the order of the Passover Seder, and wine stains throughout the book testify to its regular use over the centuries.

People of the Book—Pasadena’s 10th year anniversary selection for One City, One Story—has been described as a “complex love story, thrilling mystery, vivid history lesson, and celebration of the enduring power of ideas.”

Brooks will discuss People of the Book this Thursday, March 22nd at All Saints Church. Pasadena Public Library Director Jan Sanders will lead the discussion, and questions will be welcomed from the audience. You’re encouraged to bring your copy to be signed by the author, though copies will be available for purchase on site.

One City, One Story: People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks
Thursday, March 22nd, 7 p.m.
The sanctuary at All Saints Church, 132 N. Euclid Ave.
This event is free and open to the public.
For more information, visit Pasadena Public Library



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