The Sarajevo Haggadah comes to Spain

Inaugurated to coincide with the Yom Kippur holiday, the exhibition will remain at the Centro Sefarad Israel until 17 December


Cultural events are back, and the Centro Sefarad Israel has taken advantage of the occasion to inaugurate an avalanche of events. In one fell swoop it closed the celebrations of Rosh HaShanah, the new Jewish year, the 5782nd of its calendar, the awarding of the Crown of Esther Prize to the historian José Antonio Lisbona, and the opening of the exhibition on the Sarajevo Haggadah. 

This is a 15th century codex, which was written by the Jewish communities of northern Spain and brought to Bosnia-Herzegovina by the Sephardic Jews after their expulsion. Considered one of the most beautiful books of its kind in the world, it is now kept in the National Museum in Sarajevo and is an important representation of the multicultural tradition of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Curated by Goran Mikulic and Jacob Finci, president of the Jewish Community of Sarajevo, the exhibition offers the public the history and details of the Sarajevo Haggadah, whose edition in a very careful facsimile has made this displacement of a monument of Sephardic culture possible.

In Hebrew haggadah means history. Therefore, the contents of the Sarajevo Haggadah are written in calligraphy and decorated with miniature paintings on refined, processed leather to better narrate the stories that appear in it. And it is not only its pages that contain stories. This book, more than 500 years old and unique in the world, survived the Inquisition, two world wars and the last Balkan war. The Haggadah is today a priceless cultural treasure. 


Visitors can discover an abundant graphic display of many of the illustrations it contains, decorated with gold, as well as the facsimile edition, which is extremely faithful to the original, created by the Rabic Publishing House.

The exhibition, which will remain open until 17 December, has coincided with Yom Kippur, the most solemn and sacred day in the Jewish calendar. According to the Book of Numbers, chapter 29, verse 7, "on the tenth day of the seventh month, it shall be a holy convocation, you shall afflict your souls, you shall do no work...", this Day of Atonement or Atonement coincides with Wednesday 15 September in our calendar. The feast lasts until sunset on Thursday, which marks the end of the ten-day period of reflection that began on New Year's Day 5782 on 7 September.


The only day in the calendar on which synagogues offer five prayer services, it is not unusual to practice a complete fast for 25 hours at a time, along with prolonged prayer and meditation, with Yom Kippur providing an opportunity to change behaviour and readjust values. The religious rite concludes with the blowing of the Shofar, a ram's horn that marks the end of the fast.