Manuscripts and Printed Books – all bound up

In the very name of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library is a distinction between printed books and those written by hand, or manuscripts. Columbia’s printed books are housed separately from the manuscript codices, and they’re generally considered to be separate kinds of materials.  In the early modern library, however, print and manuscript books sat […]

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New and newly cataloged manuscripts from around the world

In recent months, we have been able to add many important materials to the Judaica collection.  We acquired another set of letters (in Spanish, Hebrew, and Ladino) from the earliest days of the Amsterdam and Hamburg Sephardic communities in the 17th century (including one relating to the founding of the Sephardic community of Hamburg). These […]

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Places and Spaces, Sights and Sounds in the N.E. Alexander Library

Please join us at the 11th annual Norman E. Alexander Lecture in Jewish Studies! All are welcome to this virtual event, but registration is required. This year’s event focuses on researchers studying space and place using resources from the collections. Francesca Bregoli (Queen’s College) will discuss her research in the archive of a cross-Mediterranean family […]

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Censorship gone wild: Painting over liturgical prayers

Many thanks to Lucia Raspe for sharing her work on censorship in early printed Selihot, which was very helpful in writing this post. The Jewish month of Elul, coming right before the High Holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, is a particularly solemn one in Jewish religious life. Special penitential prayers, called Selihot, are […]

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Spinoza’s Death Mask, and Reflections on Working at the RBML 

Guest post by Marianna Najman-Franks, Barnard ’22. Marianna has done incredible work in the last three years participating in various projects to provide important access to the Judaica collections. Over the past 3 years I’ve been a part of so many incredible projects at the RBML, but by far the most exciting moment I’ve been […]

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Learning from the crowd: the CULHebrewmss Twitter bot

In 2018, we decided to partner with a developer named Russel Neiss to create an automated Twitter account that randomly selects and posts images from the Hebrew manuscript collection on the Internet Archive. In doing so, we have not only made the manuscripts available to an audience that includes people who could not or would […]

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New Acquisition Roundup: Rare and Digital

Special Collections: Although many people have been away from campus over the last year, there has been a significant increase of books available in the Judaica collection at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.  Some books are newly arrived on campus, while others, like a work with a list of English cantillation marks and descriptions, […]

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Salo Baron and Columbia’s Judaica Collections

This essay was initially published in the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies‘ Spring 2021 newsletter. It is copied here with permission. Salo Baron’s impact on Jewish Studies in America is widely known.  Less well known, however, is the impact he made in building the Judaica collection at Columbia University. Soon after Baron’s arrival at […]

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