Ancient waters from new fountains: municipal water sources in 15th-century Haggadot from Nuremberg

Tzafrir Barzilay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article analyses visual representations of urban water fountains in two 15th-century haggadot, drawing attention to the use Jews made of water sources during their preparations for Passover. The first section concludes that these images present features unique to 15th-century Franconia, particularly Nuremberg. The second section shows that the Jews of Nuremberg made daily and exclusive use of the local urban water system, and argues that some of the images in the haggadot portray this reality. The final section focuses on rabbinic sources that discuss halakhic deliberations regarding the drawing of water for baking matzah and highlights the connection between this discussion and the images, as well as practical concerns associated with water usage in Nuremberg. This analysis shows that the images represent the tension between older halakhic traditions regarding drawing water for matzot and the practical constraints on local Jews' daily practices imposed by the contemporary urban environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-428
Number of pages23
JournalJewish Studies Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

RAMBI Publications

  • RAMBI Publications
  • Haggadah -- Manuscript
  • Haggadah -- Illustrations
  • Jews -- Germany -- Nuremberg -- History -- 15th century
  • Matzos
  • Water -- Religious aspects -- Judaism


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