Jan Aronson: Illustrations for the Bronfman Haggadah

A Revolutionary Haggadah for the 21st Century by Renowned Philanthropist and Jewish Leader Edgar M. Bronfman and Acclaimed Artist Jan Aronson

On View:

February 19 at 5:30 pm

The Bronfman HaggadahA revolutionary Haggadah for the 21st century, The Bronfman Haggadah is a provocative and stunningly visual reinterpretation of the Passover story. A collaboration between world-renowned philanthropist and Jewish leader Edgar M. Bronfman and acclaimed artist Jan Aronson, it tells of the Exodus, the Jews’ dramatic journey from slavery to freedom, in a way that will captivate generations to come.

The exhibition will open at the New York Campus of HUC-JIR on February 19 at 5:30 pm.

Laura Kruger, Curator, HUC-JIR/New York Museum, notes, “The Bronfman Haggadah presents the Exodus story filtered through Edgar Bronfman’s personal philosophy, drawing inspiration from his Jewish experience and fostering Jewish pride. Watercolor paintings created by internationally acclaimed artist, Jan Aronson, bring a fresh perspective to the immortal words. Pairing the vibrant images and the articulate rendering of the story enhances our understanding of the Passover Seder.”

Aronson’s bold and brilliant watercolor paintings heighten the text and amplify a story that is crucial to the Jewish narrative of identity. These luminous images-both abstract and figurative-artfully illustrate the Seder plate’s symbolic foods, the parting of the Red Sea, the forty-year journey through the desert, the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, and other events pivotal to Passover.

“Jan Aronson has illustrated Edgar Bronfman’s text with skill and imagination to delight everyone at the Passover seder table,” explains Milton Esterow of ARTNews.

The Bronfman Haggadah, at once a sublime full-color art book and a radical reimagining of the Passover text, weaves together a diversity of powerful readings from the nineteenth-century abolitionist Frederick Douglas to Ralph Waldo Emerson and poet Marge Piercy to complement the revered text and to inspire a profound sense of Jewish pride and commitment. With its underlying message of human rights and freedom, this Haggadah transmits a positive message about the capacity for peace and understanding.

For avid Haggadah collectors, art book aficionados, anyone interested in Jewish learning, and, above all, for today’s Jewish families, The Bronfman Haggadah offers an engaging and interactive contemporary account of Passover, which will foster meaningful and constructive dialogue between Jews and non-Jews alike.


About Edgar M. Bronfman

Born in Montreal in 1929 and raised in a proudly Jewish home, Bronfman has dedicated his life and work to Jewish causes. His love for the Jewish people informs his work at The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, named for his father and dedicated to inspiring a vibrant and joyful Jewish future. Bronfman’s experience as the CEO of Seagram Company Ltd. for more than thirty years informed his work as the Founding Chairman of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life and his time as president of the World Jewish Congress, which he ran for more than twenty years.

In 1999, Bronfman was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United State’s highest civilian honor by President Bill Clinton. He holds honorary doctoral degrees from various institutions of higher learning, including Tel Aviv University, McGill University and Williams College.

This is his fifth book and first collaboration with his wife, the artist Jan Aronson. You can follow Edgar M. Bronfman on Facebook.


About Jan Aronson

New York based but New Orleans born 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 the 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 venues in the US.

Aronson’s work has been reviewed in numerous periodicals and newspapers since she began her exhibition career in the mid-seventies. Visit JanAronson.com

THE BRONFMAN HAGGADAH by Edgar M. Bronfman, Illustrated by Jan Aronson. Hardcover, 9 x 11, 128 pages. $29.95 U.S. / Rizzoli NY / ISBN: 978-0847839681. Release date: February 12, 2013.