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Books in the Shaar Museum


The Shaar’s museum holds many fascinating Judaica items in its collection, including a number of books. This week we are featuring three beautiful books, all printed or composed around the late 18th and early 19th centuries, that are a part of our museum collections.

Siddur Safah Berurah




This gorgeous siddur, donated to the Shaar in 1988, was printed in Rödelheim in 1825 by the prolific German publisher, printer, and exegete Wolf Heidenheim (whose signature is printed on the title page). Heidenheim was born in 1757, and in 1799 established his printing house in Rödelheim, where it continued to operate for many years, including beyond his death in 1832. Besides this siddur, Wolf Heidenheim published numerous other editions of Jewish and Hebrew texts, including some with his own commentaries.



This edition seems to have been bound and engraved to be presented to a specific person: the front of the siddur features a silver medallion symbol of a family lion and the hands of the Kohanim, and the back has a silver medallion with the initials of the bride to whom this siddur was presented. The contents of the siddur itself are printed in Hebrew, Yiddish, and German and, as seen on the page adjacent to the title page, include some beautiful and detailed decorative engravings.



Handwritten Yemenite book of Haftorah / Haftorot



In this photograph are pictured two beautiful Hebrew books originating in Yemen. The larger of the two is a handwritten Yemenite book (Hebrew and Targum) of the Prophetic readings (Haftorah) composed in the early 19th century. Little else is unfortunately known about this beautiful manuscript book.




Siddur Kol-Bo

The smaller book is the Kol-Bo siddur (all inclusive, i.e., daily and holiday prayers all in one), composed circa 1750, which is bound in leather. This was gifted to the Shaar by Rabbi Charles Bender in honour of Mr. Allan Bronfman in 1968. The book is handwritten on vellum in Hebrew and Aramaic by a scribe whose name is not legible, though is inscribed in the book is, “the devoted, dedicated, and spirited Gabbay Tzedakah (Wardens of Charity) at Lisbon,” indicating the involvement of a person who collected and managed tzedakah funds.

Monday, June 17, 2024 11 Sivan 5784