Passover, coming in the Spring with the reopening and budding of nature, not only recalls the beginning of the Jewish people when they left Egyptian slavery and went to the desert to learn laws and then to Israel and final freedom. It is also a time when Jewish law tells Jews to think about the message of Passover, the meaning for Jews today, the meaning for non-Jews, the need to work to improve just as nature does in the Spring, and improve the world for everyone, everyone. And, as the Haggadah, read at the evening Seder, proclaims, “Anyone who expands on the telling of the story of the exodus from Egypt, is worthy of praise.”
Gefen Publishing House has just published “Pictures Tell” by the famed award winning photographer Zion Ozeri. Ozeri is one of our generation’s preeminent chroniclers of the Jewish story by means of stunning photographs of Jewish life. He documents Jewish life in every corner of the world.
His Haggadah not only contains dozens of his striking, eye-catching, and often dramatic photographs, but also Ozeri’s insightful explanations on how to read a photograph, and fascinating page-long and longer insights from leading Jewish thinkers such as Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Dr. Daniel Gordis, Professor Deborah E. Lipstadt, Professor Jonathan D. Sarna, and more. These insights build on questions such as “Why build a meal around questions?” and “What is Freedom?” and “What marks the Evil Child as evil?”
Ozeri frequently raises questions under his photos that make us think, such as his comments on a picture of an old, perhaps Yemenite couple touching a mezuzah, “What strikes you most about this photograph? Where do you see sanctity or holiness in this photograph? How do we sanctify the people, places, objects, or moments in our lives?” Concerning another photo, he asks several questions, one of which is hard to ignore, “What do you imagine is the story of this photograph?” After prompting us to think and feel, Ozeri tells readers about each of the dozens of Photographs in 11 pages at the end of his thought-provoking book.