Meet DiJeSt – DIgitizing JEwish STudies

"Ma Nishtana"(what has changed?), traditionally sung by the youngest child at the beginning of the Passover Seder. In Hebrew from the Sarajevo Haggadah, a famous illuminated manuscript from circa 1350 ce.. Image taken from Wikimedia commons, (last visited April 3, 2020).

Ma Nishtana?

Well, quite a bit has changed and Passover will not be the same this year. It is an eerie occasion, yet especially appropriate, to be unveiling a digital project that aims to make Jewish Heritage digitally open and available for research, accessible beyond limitations of space, and, as it happens, of quarantine. 

It is even more appropriate to start by sharing as the first digital fruit of our project a family haggadah. This specific 19th century Hebrew-Ladino Haggadah, bearing the stamp of Abraham J. Jalfon (1875-1949) from Tetouan, Morocco, arrived via Spain to Israel with Michel Jalfon, his great grandson, who is one of the contributors to this project. 

Abraham J. Jalfon’s stamp

There is much we do not know yet about this copy; It has lost its cover and front page and with it the information about its edition – place and date of publishing, printer and provenance. Some of this we hope to learn from you, the reading and studying community. The answer may lie in reference books on your shelves, or in similar Haggadahs in your families.  

During the days of this coming Passover I will post a little about the meaning of its being a digital Haggadah and of the way in which Digital Jewish Studies can approach it, and benefit from it.

For now, you can scroll through the pages of our mysterious “Tetouan” haggadah below. It is a textual PDF which enables search, copy and paste.  By clicking the << sign on its upper corner, a menu will open where you can chose to expand the view, print or download. By clicking the opposite corner, you can open or close a panel that will let you browse the pages or alternatively, navigate via a table of content.


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