Many people have asked why I included a biblical map in The Bronfman Haggadah. Well, for starters, I love maps and I guess I assume that other people love them as well.
As a kid, I spent a lot of time poring over maps. Growing up in New Orleans, maps helped me figure out where I was in relation to the world. I wanted to know, for instance, where I was in relation to Europe. Where was Paris?
I also loved the colors of maps, as maps are very beautiful. Indeed, I think they are beautiful for a reason: so that we may enjoy and admire them as we investigate the world and place ourselves within a certain universe.
For that reason, I thought it would be useful and important to be able to turn to a page in the Haggadah and see the part of the world that we’re talking about. I also realized that I’d never seen a map in a Haggadah — and I have looked at countless illustrated Haggadot. And so, I decided that a map would indeed be a very interesting, unique, and informative detail.
This led to many days of research about biblical geography, and that’s when things got complicated. There’s an open-endedness about our story and it is nearly impossible to pinpoint specifics. It turns out that there are five possible sites for Mount Sinai, and there are at least three possible routes taken by the Jews — there were established trade routes, important cities flourishing, and various tribes settled among the land.
I know that I am not alone in loving maps, so I hope that including one in The Bronfman Haggadah will not only entertain and inform readers, but also open their eyes to a new aspect of the Passover story.
Visit Jan Aronson’s official website here.
Jan Aronson is the illustrator of the The Bronfman Haggadah published by Rizzoli. Born in New Orleans, New York-based artist Jan Aronson has had more than seventy solo and group exhibitions. Her work is included in many museum, corporate, and private collections, both nationally and internationally.
Aronson received a MFA from Pratt Institute in 1973 and began teaching soon after. For the past 23 years she has concentrated on her work in a studio in Long Island City. She is known for her nature inspired work that has taken her to Sinai, the Indian Himalayas, Patagonia, the Amazon, the American West, the beaches of Anguilla and the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu. She recently wrote a lecture entitled The Contemporary Portrait and presented it in various venues in the United States.
Aronson’s work has been reviewed in numerous periodicals and newspapers since she began her exhibition career in the mid-seventies.