Images of notable items recently acquired by the Judaica Collection at Yale University.
Eight drypoint plates and cover printed by Kathy Caraccio on Rives BFK paper. Of the six copies made, the Judaica Collection owns copy number one. The text accompanying the piece reads: "Golem was created in Prague over 500 years ago, only to be detroyed by its creator because it was thought to be unnecessary. Unfortunately, history has proved this a hasty decision."
Ketubah : Edirne, Turkey, 1990, October 28.
Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on paper, dated 5th of Marḥeshṿan, 5661(1900) at Adrianopoli. The document has a scalloped top decorated with domes and flowers. The text is written in two columns in separate frames. Above the text are the initial letters of phrases of good wishes for the bridal couple. The letters, scallops and borders are colored with metallic gold paint. Additional floral decorations and repeating stamped patterns fill the borders.
Shiviti plaque : Hungary, 1942
Manuscript, ink and paint on paper. Dated 702 [1941 or 1942]. Folk-art style. Includes the typical Shiviti statements as well as other verses and sayings. On the top is an unusual statement: "Men why are you sinning and you do not remember the bitter day, because the angel of death with the sword in his hand, does not ask young or old." Painted in bright colors with many details, including the twelve symbols of the zodiac, two rampant lions holding up the Ten Commandments, two deer holding a Menorah, and two peacocks on the outside of a circle containing in micrography the entire text of the Song of Songs.
Ketubah : Modena, Italy, 1876 November 19.
Bridegroom: Avraham ʻOvadyah ben Yosef Elʻazar Almansi.
Bride: Margalit bat Mazal-Tov Yitsḥaḳ Formigini.
Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on vellum, dated 3rd of Kisleṿ 5637 (1876) at Modena. Above the text is a six-pointed star. In the middle of the text is a sentence in Italian noting the secular date of the evening of November 18th [after the conclusion of the Sabbath]. The text is framed by an inner border of Biblical quotations in honor of the bride and groom written in square Hebrew characters in green and red ink. In the corners are the four words for happiness from the traditional Sheva Berakhot (the seven blessings recited during the marriage ceremony). The outer border consists of a design in the form of a decorative chain. The signatures of the witnesses at the bottom are written in Italian and Hebrew.
Ketubah : Pisa, Italy, 1804, May 15.
Bridegroom: Yosef Ḥayim bar Avraham Bonaṿenṭura.
Bride: Dona Ḥanah bat Yeshaʻyah Arbiv.
Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on vellum, dated the fifth of Sivan 5564 (1804 May 15) at Pisa. The two sections of text contain the marriage contract and betrothal conditions (tenaʼim), The two parts are separated by the image of a vine with a flower on the top. The text, written in small cursive letters, is surrounded by borders which include biblical verses relating to the joys of marriage written in large Hebrew block letters. One of the verses concerns the biblical figure of Joseph, which is also the name of the groom (Gen 39:21). There is a gilt stamp on the upper left hand of the ketubah but it is hard to make out what it represents.. The signatures of the groom and the witnesses appear in Italian at the bottom of the document.
Shiviti plaque (Votive plaque hung on synagogue wall)
The focus of the plaque is the four-letter name of God written on the top in the center and the three seven branched candelabra in the center. The candelabra are made up of three psalms. A laurel surrounds the center one. Beneath them is the saying “prayer without devotion is like a body without a soul.” At the bottom of the document in large block letters is a prayer for God’s protection of the People of Israel. The border contain the passage from the Hebrew Bible relating to the candelabrum that Moses built in the desert and placed in the Tabernacle. According to the vendor, Bery Gross, the Shiviti is from Iraq and was created in the early 20th century. The document itself, however, does not mention either place or date.
Honorary Poem, Trieste, 1904
Poem written by Aharon Matsli’ah ben Yirmiyah Romanini in honor of Vittorio Castiglioni, Chief Rabbi of Trieste, upon his departure to assume the position of Chief Rabbi of Rome. The poem, written in flowery Hebrew, expresses the sadness of the community of Trieste at the loss of its rabbi but also the happiness felt by the community at the great honor that was bestowed on him. The poem is written in Italian block letters. Above the poem, is a short introduction written in cursive letters which explains why the poem came to be written and which also expresses wishes for the speedy recovery of Shabetai Rafael Mili, the former rabbi of Trieste whom rabbi Castiglioni came to Trieste to replace.
At the bottom of the manuscript we find information regarding the date the poem was written and by whom.
Click on images to enlarge.
Collection of Jewish sheet music from different parts of the world in the early twentieth century.
Images from the Jewish Literary World, 1912-1913, a Yiddish weekly published in New York City.
Jewish Literary World Title Page
Designed by Saul Raskin. Journal edited by Abraham Reisen
Photo of Young Yiddish Writers
Standing: Y. Opatashu, R. Eisland; Seated: Y.Y. Schwartz, M. Leib, P. Egnatu, Z. Landau.
Image of a young Morris Rosenfeld
Image of Peretz Markish by Issac Brouner from a pamphlet Markish poetry. Warsaw, 1922.
Images from the Literary Review, edited by Ozer Warshavsky in Paris, 1926. The journal contains works by some of the greatest Yiddish writers including Illiya Ehrenberg and Itzik Fefer, as well as illustrations by Marc Chagall. The two drawings below are by Marc Chagall, the latter being a self portrait.
Images from The Magic Trip, by Moses Teitsh. The illustrations were done by A.D. Steinberg.
Images from a Yiddish Almanac edited by Marcus Kramer; Romania, 1922-23
Paintings by Reuven Reuben when he still lived in Romania. The top image is a self-portrait.
Painting of a family by Arthur Kolnik in Czernowitz, Romania.
Painting by Saloman Lerner; Czernowitz, Romania
Painting of a boy by Jakob Eisenscher; Czernowitz, Romania
Ketubahs from the Jewish community of Yazd, Iran.
Ketubah, Yazd, Iran, June 14, 1827
In Aramaic and Hebrew
Bridegroom: Yitshak ben Mordekhai Kohen
Bride: Ester bat he-hakham Tsemah
Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on paper, dated 19th of fSivan 5587 (1827) at Yazd. Text surrounded by floral border. The upper register of the decoration has a cypress tree in the center with peacocks and flowers on either side. Though the decorations on the ketubah follow the conventions of ketubah illumination in Iran, the art on this ketubah is particularly expert and colorful. The ketubah is signed by seven witnesses with each signature in its own register.
Ketubah : Yazd, Iran, March 1, 1861
In Aramaic, Judeo-Persian and Hebrew
Bridegroom: Yeḥezḳel ben ha-zaḳen Yiśraʼel Kats.
Bride: Bibi bat Binyamin.
Witnesses: Yitsḥak ben Daṿid ; Raḥamim ben Yaʻakov ; and others.
Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on paper, dated 19th of Adar 5621 (1861) at Yazd. Text surrounded by floral border. The upper register of the decoration has a cypress tree in the center with peacocks and flowers on either side. Below the main text of the ketubah, is a statement in Judeo-Persian, written in Hebrew cursive characters, which may concern additional gifts given by the groom. The ketubah is signed by six witnesses directly below the text, not within the six cartouches in the bottom border which are blank.
Ketubah. Yazd, Iran, April 18, 1917
In Aramaic, Hebrew, and Judeo-Persian
Bridegroom: Rahamim ben Moshe
Bride: Rahel bat David
Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on paper, dated Tuesday, the 8th [i.e. the 18th?] of Nisan 5677 (1917) at Yazd. The date contains a mistake because the 8th of Nisan falls on a Saturday that year. Perhaps the word asar (ten) was accidently omitted. The text is surrounded by a floral border painted in brown. The writing on the top in bold letters contains blessings for the bride and groom as does the writing in large block letters along the border. Below the main text is a statement in Judeo-Persian, written in Hebrew cursive characters, which may concern additional gifts given by the groom. The ketubah is signed by seven witnesses.
Shiviti plaque : [Kurdistan?, 19th century?]
Manuscript, ink and paint on paper. The design is typical of illuminated manuscripts of the Kurdish Jews from Iraq and Iran. The plaque includes the traditional shiviti texts, Psalm 16:8, "I have set [Heb. shiṿiti] God always before me," and Psalm 67 written in the shape of a seven-branched candelabrum, with texts relating to the festival of Purim on either side. These texts include short poems relating to the festival, and the special bessings for the day and for reading the Megilah of Esther. The borders around the text consist of colored geometric and floral decorations, mainly in orange and gold.
Shiviti plaque : [Morocco?, 19th century?]
Manuscript, ink and paint on paper. Intricate micrography and designs. Inscription to the groom Yosef Biton. Biblical verses and blessings for the couple, as well as prayers against the evil eye.
Mizraḥ plaque : [Germany or Poland?], [19th century?]
Manuscript, ink and paint on paper. The manuscript has a red background on which is placed an elaborate papercut design that includes birds, flowers, and a seven branch candelabrum held by two rampant lions. On either side of the lions are the Tablets of the Law consisting of the Ten Commandments in abbreviated form. In the center is the word "Mizraḥ" (east) and and מצד זה רוח חיים ("from this side [comes] the spirit of life"), four words composing the acronym, מזרח ("mizraḥ"). In the top two corners and above the lions are phrases of the Mishnah, "Be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and strong as a lion [to carry out the will of your Father in Heaven]" (Pirke Avot 5:23).
Rabbinic emissary document from Tiberias to communities in North Africa, 1922
A large letter on parchment, which appears to be more like a plaque to be hung on a wall. The calligraphy is beautifully executed, indicating that the document was probably written by a professional scribe. The document bears the signatures and official stamps of over forty rabbis, mainly from the Maghrebi community in the Land of Israel. The letter is addressed to rabbis and leaders of the large centers of Jewish settlement in Tunisia and Libya to establish the credentials of the emissary, Yaʻaḳov Ṿaḳnin.
Shiviti plaque : [Spain? North Africa?], [late 19th or early 20th cent].
Manuscript, ink and paint on paper. Ornately decorated shiviti plaque with extensive calligraphed biblical and kabbalistic verses, painted and gilded floral designs in borders, and other symbols. At the top is the shiviti statement , "I have set the Lord always before me" (Psalm 16:8). Psalm 67 is written in the center of the plaque in the shape of a seven-branched candelabrum. Next to the candelabrum are images of implements used in the Temple
Shiviti plaque : [Germany or Poland?, 18th century?]
Manuscript, ink on vellum. The traditional shiviti quotation is written at the top of the document. In the center is Psalm 67 written in the shape of a seven-branched candelabrum.
Segens-Hymne zur Vermahlung im Januarie 1910.
Wedding blessing, manuscript, ink and paint on paper, dated Januarie 1910. The plaque depicts an elaborately decorated structure with ornate pillars and towers. In the space in the middle rhymes in honor of the groom, Heinrich Tillman, and the bride, Anuţa Ipcar, are written in German on the left and Hebrew on the right. "King of the Universe, please look from the celestial throne / And bless Heinrich and Anuţa with longevity ...Save [the couple] from harm, disaster and desolation / and may they be met with good blessings from the land of Romania..." At the base, the blessing is signed by J.M.Feldblau, rabbi and professor of theology, Focșani.
Ketubah : Scandiano, Italy, 1839, October 18.
Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on vellum, dated 10th of Marḥeshṿan 5600 (1839) at Sḳandiʼano. The text is surrounded by a border of Biblical quotations in honor of the bride and groom written in square Hebrew characters. In each corner is one of the four words for joy in the wedding blessings surrounded by micrographic passages with good wishes.
Ketubah : Cairo, Egypt, 1893, November 12.
Marriage contract, manuscript, ink on paper, dated the 3rd of Kisleṿ 5654 (1893) at Elkahra. Around the text is an elaborate archway drawn (or printed?) in gold ink. At the top of the archway are lush foliage and a crown, with vine- and drapery-embellished pillars on either side. "No. 128" is written in the top left corner of the page and two holes are punched on the left side of the page.
Ketubah : Alexandria, Egypt, 1855, March 9.
Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on paper, dated 19th of Adar 5615 (1855) at No Amon. The top of the ketubah is cut in the shape of a scalloped arch. Within the border is a vine of colorful leaves.
Amulet : Baghdad, Iraq, ca. 1910-1920.
Manuscript, purple and orange ink on paper. Amulet including kabbalistic diagrams and texts. In the center is a large circular grid with two smaller circles above it on either side. Framing the amulet on three sides is a border of crisscrossing diagonal lines with a single letter written in each opening.
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October 15, 2012.