Tag Archives: Travelogues

Recent rare acquisitions in Judaica @ CUL

The past few months have been busy for us, as we’ve acquired a number of new rare books and manuscripts for the Columbia RBML:

1. Divre Rivot – A compilation of various disputes and discussions relating to customs that took place in Mantua in the late 16th and 17th centuries.  The wealthy members of the community took it upon themselves to arbitrate disputes and wrote copious records about them.  An excellent resource for research in early modern Mantua (Hebrew with some Italian).

2. Adding to a number of autograph manuscripts that we have by the 19th century Italian philosopher Samuel David Luzzatto is a treatise on theology and Aramaic grammar. (Italian with some Hebrew)

Ilan Kadosh3. We are very grateful for a donation of an Ilan Kadosh (see image, left) to our manuscript collection.  Information about this scroll will be added to the Ilanot Database.

4. A manuscript describing a massive fire in the city of “Cairo” (קירו), in Italy in 1768 and praising God for the miracles that occurred there (nobody was harmed, the fire was out before Shabbat, etc.)

5. Mid-19th century letters of recommendation for a charity collector from Tzefat (Safed) who traveled to Italy and France and received recommendations in many towns throughout (towns mentioned include Genoa, Ferrara, Firenze, Livorno, and Sabbioneta).  The collector also included his own diary of his travels, beginning with the day that “I travel to Italy.”

New Acquisitions: Travels of Moise Vita Cafsuto

In 1733, a man from Firenze, in Italy, named Moise (Moses) Vita (Hayyim) Cafsuto (Cassuto) set off on a journey to the Holy Land.  He kept a diary of his travels throughout the Middle East, where he noted interesting sites (specifically Jewish ones, like graves and synagogues) and scenes along his journey.   We recently acquired a copy of this manuscript, in Italian with Hebrew blurbs for sites of Jewish interest.  It is an interesting journey of travels in general, but also specifically for Jewish "Biblical tours."  In one instance, for example, the author describes how he and his fellow travelers found "Har Ha-har," the site of the Biblical Aaron's burial.  He describes the site as containing a "cave, where there are writings said to be in Arabic on a great stone of marble, and there is an everlasting candle…"