Historic Haggadah discovered

By Marcus Dysch, June 24, 2011

A rare Haggadah published for a 19th century Jewish Indian community has been discovered in Manchester.

The 137-year-old leather-bound book is thought to be the only one of its kind in Britain. It was bought by historian Yaakov Wise at a garage sale in Salford. He is now researching its history.

He said the bi-lingual Haggadah - printed in both Hebrew and regional Indian language Marathi - could have been brought to Britain by Indian Jews following India's independence in 1947.

Poona (also known as Pune and Punya-Nagari) is one of India's largest cities and was home in Victorian times to the Bene Yisrael community.

Dr Wise said it was possible the publication of the Haggadah had been funded by Sheikh David Sassoon, a philanthropist who lived in the city in the 19th century.

He would not reveal how much he paid for the Haggadah but said it was "quite a few pounds". Its auction value could reach thousands due to its rarity and excellent condition.

Dr Wise said his Hebrew birthday coincides with Pesach and the purchase of the Poona Haggadah represented an early present for next year.

Last updated: 11:15am, June 24 2011