|In his foreword to In Every Generation: The JDC Haggadah (Devora Publishing. 96 pages; $24.95 cloth; $17.95 paper), Rabbi Joseph Telushkin describes the “Joint’s” new Haggada as just the latest gift from the organization that has provided life-saving support to Jewish orphans after World War I and helped Jews expelled from Germany and Austria by 1938. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee set up agricultural settlements in the Dominican Republic for refugees from Nazi Europe; supported others in Shanghai as well as those interned by the British on Cyprus after the war. In 1949, JDC financed Operation Ezra and Nehemiah to bring Kurdish and Iraqi Jews to Israel. It also founded MALBEN, a network of facilities and services for the handicapped, elderly and chronically ill who arrived in the new State of Israel.What do all these heroic acts of generosity have to do with Passover? On nearly every page of the traditional text are beautiful photographs from the archives of JDC. This is fitting, Ari L. Goldman writes in the introduction, because “JDC was founded very much in the spirit of the Exodus story. Its founding mission was to free modern-day Jewish slaves…enslaved by poverty, ignorance, injustice, dislocation and discrimination.” Since 1914, JDC has provided “rescue, relief and renewal” to Jews everywhere: prestate Israel, war-torn Europe, North Africa, the former Soviet Union, Cuba, India, Latin America as well as Israel today.Despite the subjects’ poverty and great needs, the accompanying selection of photographs from the Haggada shows compassion, comfort in tradition and sense of community.
All photos are courtesy of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Archives. For purchase information, call 212-687-6200.
Preparing cases of wine for shipment from Palestine to Displaced Persons (DP) camps in Europe in time for the Passover holiday, the first Festival of Freedom to be celebrated by many Holocaust survivors since their liberation. Palestine, 1946
Bakery workers in Berlin worked two shifts a day from February on to produce some 25 tons of Passover matza in 1946, the first to be baked in that city in 10 years. Together with other kosher for Passover items shipped by JDC, it made “this first free Passover a real Passover.” Germany, 1946
Just the moment he was waiting for: “stealing” the Afikomen at a multigenerational MALBEN Seder. Israel, 1954
Cared for by the Fédération de Sociétés Juives en France, these refugee and French Jewish orphans happily celebrate Passover together. France, 1947.
It may be difficult to carry, but this matza was made the traditional way by this nursery school student in Tehran. Iran, 1964