Previous Notable Acquisitions

Images of notable items acquired in the recent past by the Judaica Collection at Yale University.


Click on images to enlarge.




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.



Blessing of the sun plaque, 1925.

Manuscript, ink and gouache on paper. Description from catalogue: This plaque was created in celebration of Birkat ha-Hammah, a special Jewish prayer recited once every twenty-eight years. According to the Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Berakhot 59b), every 28 years the sun returns to its celestial position at the time of the Creation. The Sages used this opportunity to institute a special prayer acknowledging God’s might and his creation of the world. The last time this blessing was recited was in April of 2009. The present lot was written and illustrated to commemorate the Blessing of the Sun that took place on Wednesday, April 8, 1925. Inscribed on the center of the panel is the blessing "Blessed are you, our God, King of the universe, who effects the work of creation." In addition, the plaque contains verses from Psalms that are recited as part of the ceremony including Psalm 148 (inscribed in roundels around the blessing), Psalm 19 (bottom left) and Psalm 121 (bottom right). The artist has further embellished the plaque with images of the zodiac, the sun and the moon, and two rampant lions which flank the blessing at center.


Mizrah: Petroşani, Romania, 1864

Large plaque, designed to be hung on the eastern wall of a home or synagogue to indicate the direction for prayer. The plaque includes the traditional verse, "From the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof the Lord’s name is to be praised" (Psalm 113:3), as well as a gold, round background image at the top center representing the sun. At the four corners are images of the four animals from the Mishnah, "Yehudah ben Tema said: 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). In the middle of the plaque are three drawings of sites from the Holy Land: the Tomb of Rachel, the Wailing Wall and the Tower of David. The inscription indicates that this Mizrah was a gift from Yehoshia ben Yehudah Hillel Biber of Petroseni to his son-in-law Meshulam ben Yosef Rubinstein of Karlsburg. The Mizrah is signed by the artist and dated a few days before Purim; perhaps it was given as a Purim gift. Hand calligraphed and illuminated by Marton (Mordekhai) Kaufman



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.



Blessing of the sun plaque, 1925.

Manuscript, ink and gouache on paper. Description from catalogue: This plaque was created in celebration of Birkat ha-Hammah, a special Jewish prayer recited once every twenty-eight years. According to the Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Berakhot 59b), every 28 years the sun returns to its celestial position at the time of the Creation. The Sages used this opportunity to institute a special prayer acknowledging God’s might and his creation of the world. The last time this blessing was recited was in April of 2009. The present lot was written and illustrated to commemorate the Blessing of the Sun that took place on Wednesday, April 8, 1925. Inscribed on the center of the panel is the blessing "Blessed are you, our God, King of the universe, who effects the work of creation." In addition, the plaque contains verses from Psalms that are recited as part of the ceremony including Psalm 148 (inscribed in roundels around the blessing), Psalm 19 (bottom left) and Psalm 121 (bottom right). The artist has further embellished the plaque with images of the zodiac, the sun and the moon, and two rampant lions which flank the blessing at center.



Mizrah: Petroşani, Romania, 1864

Large plaque, designed to be hung on the eastern wall of a home or synagogue to indicate the direction for prayer. The plaque includes the traditional verse, "From the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof the Lord’s name is to be praised" (Psalm 113:3), as well as a gold, round background image at the top center representing the sun. At the four corners are images of the four animals from the Mishnah, "Yehudah ben Tema said: 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). In the middle of the plaque are three drawings of sites from the Holy Land: the Tomb of Rachel, the Wailing Wall and the Tower of David. The inscription indicates that this Mizrah was a gift from Yehoshia ben Yehudah Hillel Biber of Petroseni to his son-in-law Meshulam ben Yosef Rubinstein of Karlsburg. The Mizrah is signed by the artist and dated a few days before Purim; perhaps it was given as a Purim gift. Hand calligraphed and illuminated by Marton (Mordekhai) Kaufman







Illustrated Yiddish Book

Geyt a hindele keyn Bronzvil (A Little Hen goes to Brownsville)

1937; Story by Yehoshua Kaminiski; Illustrations by Note Kozlovski



Shivviti Plaque

Shivviti Plaque, Morocco, late 19th or early 20th century.

Large paper plaque designed to be hung on the wall of a synagogue to exhort the congregation to more intense prayer with the traditional verse, Psalm 16:8, "I have set (shiviti) the Lord always before me." The plaque is lavishly decorated in gold and silver ink on a red background, with calligraphed verses and designs including menorahs, hamsas, implements used in the Temple and other symbols. In the center the words of Psalm 67 are written around three menorahs, each enclosed in a decorative arch. Below the menorah are three circles containing blessings. The name Reuven Amar appears below.



Illustrated Yiddish Books



Ketubah: Verona, Italy (1835)

Hand written and illuminated marriage contract with ornamental border, made up of calligraphed verses, repeating floral and other patterns in red, ochre, and black ink. Sanadaj is the capital of the Iranian province of Kurdistan.

Ketubah: Sanadaj, Iran (1905)

Marriage contract, manuscript, ink on parchment, dated 9th of Kislev 5595 in the evening (1835 December 10) at Verona. Surrounding the text are calligraphed biblical verses (Isaiah 61:10, Isaiah 62:5, and Ruth 4:11-12) inside a plain ruled border with an Italian stamp in each top corner. Signed by the groom(?) and two witnesses in Italian. One of the witnesses is the rabbi, David Samuel Pardo.

Ketubah: Izmir, Turkey (1878)

Hand written and illuminated marriage contract with ornamental border, made up of gilded outlines and painted floral patterns in green, yellow, orange, blue and lavender.

Memorial Yahrzeit Board (1932)

Memorial Yahrzeit Board for Berényi Lipótné Farkas Anna (1932)

Ink on heavyweight paper. Calligraphic plaque with memorial prayers and verses in memory of Anna Farkas (Mrs. Lipót Berényi), Neḥamah bat Yitsḥaḳ u-Fradel, who died on July 12, 1932 and was buried in the town of Csongrád on July 14, 1932. At the center is an Eternal Light and the name Neḥamah bat Yitsḥaḳ, the Hungarian dates of her Yahrzeit (the anniversary of the Hebrew date of her death) for fifty years, and the memorial prayers Kaddish and El Male Raḥamim. At the top and bottom of the plaque are sections filled with Hebrew verses beginning with each letter of her name. Decorative elements include candles, stars of David, pillars and geometric designs.
In Hebrew and Hungarian.

Mizrah: Romania(?) circa (1900)

Decorative plaque to hang on the eastern wall of the synagogue or home to indicate the direction for prayers. Ink, paint and pencil on paper. Art-deco style illustration depicting a synagogue, with the traditional verse, Psalm 113:3, "From the rising of the sun to its setting, the Lord’s name is to be praised" on the ark. Three circles at the top contain the tri-partite priestly blessing; the arch contains the verse from Isaiah 2:3/Micah 4:2, "For out of Zion will go forth Torah and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem;" and two six-pointed stars on the columns contain the word "Zion." The plaque is signed in Hebrew in the bottom right corner, G. Bruno Polako. According to the vendor, this plaque was probably made in Romania, circa 1900.