Samuel Johnson and Hebrew at Columbia

We’ve discussed the history of Hebrew language study at Columbia in previous posts, but until now, not much has been said about Revered Samuel Johnson’s connection to the study of Hebrew. Samuel Johnson was the founder of King’s College (renamed Columbia after the American Revolution), and its sole faculty member until 1757.  He served as president […]

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The semester of the Jewish book

Columbia University Libraries exists to support teaching and learning, in the classroom and beyond. This usually occurs in the form of research consultations, classroom presentations on doing research, online research guides, and various other reference interactions. This semester, however, a wonderful partnership between a professor and a librarian gave graduate students a rare opportunity to […]

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Gift of c.200 items greatly enhances Judaica collections

At the beginning of 2018, the Norman E. Alexander Library received a generous gift to be added to Columbia’s collections.  The gift includes printed and handwritten materials from the 14th to the 20th centuries, and spans the globe, from Djerba to Dresden, from Mantua to Maryland, Jerusalem to Jessnitz, Sydney to Sulzbach, and many more.  […]

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New Acquisitions: Personal Prayers and Kashrut

According to the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, Tkhines, or “supplications” were a “private devotions and paraliturgical prayers usually in Yiddish, primarily for women, published beginning in the early modern period.”  While one of our recent acquisitions definitely falls under the category of Yiddish prayers for women, it was not published, but rather […]

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George Arthur Plimpton and Hebrew Manuscripts

George Arthur Plimpton (1855-1936) was a man of many passions, including book collector, founder of Columbia’s “Friends of the Libraries” and Barnard trustee.  He donated his collection on the history of mathematics (among many other things) to Columbia shortly before his death. We know of a few Hebrew manuscripts that were included in his collection, classified […]

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Exhibition: Yiddish at Columbia (Chang Octagon Gallery, March 5-June 15)

As part of the celebration of the digital publication of the data for the LCAAJ, we will be launching a small exhibition in the Chang Octagon Gallery at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which will be on display from March 5-June 15, 2018.  The exhibition will feature a variety of themes including old Yiddish, […]

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Launching the Digitized Data for the Language and Culture Archive of Ashkenazic Jewry (LCAAJ)!

Columbia University Libraries is very pleased to announce the launch of the website for the digitized data of the Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry. An accompanying guide to the use of the digitized materials with many supplementary materials is also available. The LCAAJ archive is an extraordinary resource for research in Yiddish studies that can shed much […]

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New Acquisitions: Amsterdam, Shadal, Broadsides, Booklists, and more!

It’s been a busy few months! The following items have been recently added to Columbia’s rare Judaica collections: 18 Letters from the Jewish community of Amsterdam: These letters will join our collection of manuscripts relating to the Jewish community of Amsterdam.  The new collection spans from 1764-1922 and covers topics as varied as kosher cheese, […]

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How to repair books in the early modern era

Between the years 1557 and 1559, the printer Ya’akov Kohen mi-Gazolo worked on producing a mahazor, the standard Jewish prayerbook which included prayers for all holidays, in two volumes, in his Mantua printshop. He produced two editions of the prayerbook; one in large format (folio), perhaps for the prayer leader, and one in smaller format (octovo) […]

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