MOCRA exhibitions: The Papercut Haggadah

The stories and rituals of the Jewish festival of Passover, presented in the traditional medium of papercutting.

Papercut Haggadah exhibition logo

    February 26 - May 20, 2012

     free public opening reception with collectors Sandra and Max Thurm
     Sunday, February 26     2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
            Click here for a PDF with special parking information for the opening reception.

    The Jewish Experience and the Haggadah
    and exhibition closing reception

     a lecture by Stephen P. Durchslag, owner of the largest private collection of haggadot in the world
     followed by a closing reception for the exhibition

     Sunday, May 20     2:00 - 4:30 p.m.
            Click here for more information.


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General Exhibition Information
Hours: Tues - Sun, 11 am - 4 pm
Admission: free, with suggested donation of $5/adults, $1/students and children

Directions and Parking information
Group visit information


Archie Granot, The Papercut Haggadah - Page 32, 1998-2007

Archie Granot. Page 32 from The Papercut Haggadah, 1998 - 2007.
Cut paper. 16.5 x 22.375 x 1.5 in. Collection of Sandra and Max Thurm.

A living tradition

Haggadah (הַגָּדָה)‎ is Hebrew for "telling," namely, the telling of the Exodus story at the Seder service during the Jewish festival of Pesach, or Passover. The term also signifies a book that contains the ritual guide to the Seder, along with scripture passages, commentary, prayers, and songs. For centuries the Haggadah has been one of the most celebrated items of Jewish literature and art, and there are many examples of both handwritten and printed Haggadot with intricate illustrations. In each generation artists continue the tradition of reinterpreting the Haggadah for contemporary believers.

Commissioned by Sandra and Max Thurm, Archie Granot's Papercut Haggadah was handcrafted using the Jewish folk art tradition of papercutting. The result is a series of 55 pages that employ intricate geometric and abstract shapes and calligraphic text to create an exquisite version of the Haggadah.

Granot evokes the intense emotions attached with the Passover Seder by utilizing geometric and abstract shapes instead of the usual symbols. Every word of Hebrew text in his Haggadah is handcut, with each page standing as both an independent work of art and a single piece of a beautiful, thematically unified whole. Each page of his multi-layered paper pieces (some nearly an inch thick) tackles a certain aspect or song associated with the Seder, such as "Ma Nishtanah" (מה נשתנה , The Four Questions), or "Pesach, Matzah, Maror" (פֶּסַח, The Passover Offering; מצה, the Unleavened Bread; and מרור, the Bitter Herb), which incorporates shapes that evoke the traditional matzah.

Archie Granot, The Papercut Haggadah - Page 46, 1998-2007

Archie Granot. Page 46 from The Papercut Haggadah, 1998 - 2007.
Cut paper. 16.5 x 22.375 x 1.5 in. Collection of Sandra and Max Thurm.

Archie Granot, The Papercut Haggadah - Page 39, 1998-2007

Archie Granot. Page 39 from The Papercut Haggadah, 1998 - 2007.
Cut paper. 15.25 x 21 x 1.5 in. Collection of Sandra and Max Thurm.

About the artist

Archie Granot was born in London in 1946 and moved to Israel in 1967. Prior to settling in Jerusalem in 1978, he was a member of an agricultural community where he milked cows and grew melons. He earned a M.Phil. in Russian Studies from the University of Glasgow, Scotland and a B.A. in Political Science and Russian Studies from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Granot started papercutting in 1979, and currently has his own studio and gallery in Jerusalem. Many of his papercuts carry a reminder of the Holy City, a source of his inspiration, and he often employs texts that relate to Israel, Judaism, and Judaica. Granot has had solo exhibitions in the United States, Israel, and Germany, and has participated in group exhibitions in France and Japan. Granot's works are found in public collections in Israel, Germany, England, and the United States, as well as numerous private collections.

Archie Granot, The Papercut Haggadah - Page 53, 1998-2007

Archie Granot. Page 53 from The Papercut Haggadah, 1998 - 2007.
Cut paper. 15.75 x 22.5 x 1.5 in. Collection of Sandra and Max Thurm.



Archie Granot, The Papercut Haggadah - Page 48, 1998-2007

Archie Granot. Page 48 from The Papercut Haggadah, 1998 - 2007.
Cut paper. 16.5 x 22.375 x 1.5 in. Collection of Sandra and Max Thurm.

Archie Granot, The Papercut Haggadah - Page 20, 1998-2007

Archie Granot. Page 20 from The Papercut Haggadah, 1998 - 2007.
Cut paper. 16.5 x 22.375 x 1.5 in. Collection of Sandra and Max Thurm.

Additional links

See a slideshow of the pages of The Papercut Haggadah

More about Archie Granot

MOCRA Voices logo
Listen to the MOCRA Voices podcast interview with Archie Granot and Max Thurm

Visit The Papercut Haggadah website

Learn more about the traditional medium of the Jewish papercut 

Additional information about Jewish papercutting 

The Papercut Haggadah in the media

*****

Download a guide to the Haggadah and the Passover Seder

Listen to audio files of chanted passages from the Haggadah

Delve into the "Jewish in St. Louis" guide to Passover

Explore "Exodus: Cargo of Hidden Stories," from American Public Media's program On Being

See excerpts from "A Survivor's Haggadah," published in 1946 for the first Passover following the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps

Listen to Cokie and Steve Roberts discuss their book, Our Haggadah: Uniting Traditions for Interfaith Families

Explore articles related to Haggadah from the online magazine Tablet

Explore "Legends to Live By," from American Public Media's program On Being: an interview with book designer Scott-Martin Kosofsky

Hear an NPR interview with Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander about the New American Haggadah

Listen to an interview with artist Mark Podwal about his haggadah Sharing the Journey, including some interesting notes about historical haggadot

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