The Lombard Haggadah takes its place in the collection of outstanding facsimiles of rare medieval Haggadot. The first stand-alone Italian Haggadah — one that is not part of a siddur — it dates to the fourteenth century. Reproduced in a handsome large-format volume for study and appreciation, it includes essays by leading scholars on Jewish life in Lombardy, the artistic sources and inspiration of the Haggadah, and the meanings and ambiguities in the illustration. For the lay reader the delicately beautiful art, appearing on almost all of the seventy-five pages, are reward enough, showing the dress, environment, household life of the Jewish Lombard community, and influence of Christian art. The entire Haggadah is reproduced in the closing section; in addition to the seder, the volume includes a few stories from Genesis and Exodus, and a catalogue of monthly labors akin to a book of days.
Maron L. Waxman, retired editorial director, special projects, at the American Museum of Natural History, was also an editorial director at HarperCollins and Book-of-the-Month Club.