Masha Sapp, cataloger of the Brisman books, selected the following six titles to be the first volumes to receive conservation treatment from our three year grant from the Morris Family foundation. Tony De Marinis, Preservation librarian, prepared the volumes for shipment to the conservator.
Sheveṭ Yehudah 1654
History of persecutions of Jews from ancient times to the 17th century. This book was discussed by Professor Martin Jacobs at the Brisman exhibit of 2009. The printer, Immanuel Beneveniste, and the decorations on the title page are also interesting, as described by Rivka in the online exhibit.
Ḥamishah Ḥumshe Torah 1666
This is a Bible, possibly unique in terms of OCLC holdings, with a beautiful hand-colored title page (see in online exhibit).
Sefer ha-Kuzari 1593
Subject: A medieval sage named Isaac Sangari who, in this account, converted the king of the Khazars to Judaism. Published in Venice by Giovanni di Gara (top image). Interesting also for evidence of censorship, both at the time of original publication (Latin “con licentia” statement on title page) and much later (Polish censorship stamp from the 19th century).
Or le-ʻet ʻerev = Dos Likhṭ ḳign abend tsayṭ 1818
Attempt to convert Jews to Christianity. Published by the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews. In Yiddish and Hebrew. The author is listed as “Yoḥanan Ḳimḥi,” and the book was apparently published by the London Society in the belief that it was written by a Jew. However, Yohanan Kimhi was actually a pseudonym for Christian pietist author Johann Müller. Apparently this was a favored tactic among Protestant missionaries at the time! See The goy who speaks Yiddish : Christians and the Jewish language in early modern Germany p. 35 for an interesting overview.
Maʻaśeh gadol ṿe-nora 1732
An appendix to Zera Kodesh by Moses ben Menachem Graf, describing his exorcism of a dibbuk in Nikolsberg. In Yiddish. Unique in terms of OCLC holdings. Fascinating topic. Bound in old-looking patterned paper-covered boards.
Sefer Mikhlol yofi
Biblical commentary, which is a bit esoteric, but with beautiful engraved title page. Also interesting as the first example of a Hebrew work trying to attract Christian readers with an additional Latin title page.