Hebrew mss @ CUL: Unpublished Plays from the Yiddish Theatre

Columbia’s Yiddish Studies Program is the oldest in the country, beginning in 1952 under the direction of renowned Yiddish scholar Uriel Weinreich.  Weinreich’s student, Marvin Herzog was one of the major figures in the creation of the Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry (LCAAJ), whose archives are held at Columbia. In terms of historic […]

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Hebrew mss @ CUL: Jews and Privileges in Germany

The Hebrew manuscript collection at CUL is quite wide-ranging, covering space from India to the Carribean, and time from the 10th to the 20th centuries.  It has particularly strong coverage of the early modern period, with substantial historical materials from Italy and Amsterdam, Greece (Corfu) and France.   One obvious lacuna for our collection was the […]

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Hebrew Mss @ CUL: The Pope, the Sun King, and a Hebrew prayerbook in Southern France

Throughout the centuries leading up to the French Revolution, the Jews of France were alternatively expelled and invited back many times (the 14th and 17th centuries were particularly confusing in this regard).  Throughout this time, however, there were four cities that remained consistently safe for Jews.  Ironically (but perhaps not too surprisingly for those familiar […]

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Hebrew Mss @ CUL: New Acquisitions in History and Literature

CUL is proud to announce the recent acquisition of two new manuscripts, both dealing with Sephardic Jewry, which were sold at a recent Kestenbaum and Company sale as part of the Alfonso Cassuto collection. The first manuscript, from 1506 (left), is critical for the history of the Jews in Portugal.  The manuscript contains a register of […]

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Hebrew Mss @ CUL: Travels to India

The manuscripts relating to Jewish Studies in the Columbia University Libraries are not limited to those in Hebrew.  This manuscript, written in Spanish in the 17th century, describes one of the far-flung communities of the Jewish diaspora: that of Cochin, India.  The author of the manuscript, Moses Pereyra de Paiva, traveled to Cochin with his […]

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“New” old books at CUL

While Columbia’s collection of Jewish Studies materials in its Rare Book and Manuscript Library is already extensive, we are still actively collecting "new" materials for our collection. Two recent purchases were made with the help of the Rabbi Nathan Stern fund for Semitic Studies: 1) A manuscript "Commonplace book" from America, c.1825, which includes  "the […]

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Hebrew mss @ CUL: Pardes Rimonim

Kabbalah, the subject of Jewish mysticism, is one discussed by many but understood by few.  One of the important Kabbalists of the 16th century was Moses Cordovero.  Moses Cordovero was a student of Joseph Caro, and one of the teachers of the famed Isaac Luria in Safed.  His first work, written at the age of […]

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Hebrew mss @ CUL: Notes on Incunabula

The word manuscript comes from a combination of two Latin words (manu, meaning "hand"; and script, meaning "writing").  In the literal definition of the word, a manuscript is anything written by hand (as opposed to printed).  The manuscript you see in this post would not be found as part of our "Hebrew manuscript collection," but […]

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New Book: Palaces of Time, by Prof. Elisheva Carlebach

 Congratulations to Columbia Professor Elisheva Carlebach on the publication of her newest book, Palaces of Time, by Harvard University Press. From the description: "From one of the leading historians of the Jewish past comes a stunning look into a previously unexamined dimension of Jewish life and culture: the calendar. In the late sixteenth century, Pope […]

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‘Ot Ha-berit

In 1824, a mohel and doctor named Yeḥezḳel Trish living in Lipník nad Bečvo (in the Czech Republic) received a gift from a man named Yonah Ḳaṿo.  It was a small manuscript book, which contained prayers and exquisitely detailed illustrations relating to his craft, that of circumcision.  Two of the spreads are shown here.  The […]

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