Religion: A Feast of History

THE Seder meal on the eve of Pass over is "the most universally ob served and therefore the most unifying of all Jewish ceremonies," says British Author Chaim Raphael. When Jews throughout the world sit down to the meal this week, they will recount and reflect again on the 3,000-year-old story of how the Angel of Death "passed over" the Israelites when slaying Egypt's firstborn, as told in the Seder narrative, the Haggadah.

They could have no better guide than Raphael's lively, scholarly new history of Passover, A Feast of History (Simon & Schuster;...

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