When the Exodus was now

The Passover festival of 1946 found the men of the 650th Company, a British army transport unit, in the southern Italian town of Capua.

The soldiers, Jews from Palestine who had signed up to fight in British uniform, were poised between two wars. The world war had ended a year before. Israel’s independence war, in which most of them would fight, would break out the following year.

A copy of the Haggada they created for their seder meal 66 years ago was preserved in a wooden box kept by one of the unit’s soldiers, a 23-year-old driver named Nathan Rubin. It is a unique snapshot of a moment in Jewish history: a glimpse of the mindset of young men who saw the traditional text as a description not of a distant national memory but of events unfolding before their eyes.

The Times of Israel, April 5, 2012

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