Tag Archives: Israel

National Library of Israel Buys Vast Library of Rare Jewish Books

“The National Library of Israel has acquired what has been described as the greatest private library of Jewish books and manuscripts ever assembled. Compiled by collector Jack V. Lunzer over more than six decades, and stored at his home in London, it became known as the Valmadonna Trust Library, a reference to the Italian town that Mr. Lunzer’s family has long been associated with. The collection comprises more than 10,000 items that “chart the spread of Hebrew printing and the global dissemination of Jewish culture,” the National Library of Israel said in a statement.” (via The New York Times)

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Israeli court decides Kafka works to go to National Library

“Israel’s Supreme Court has stripped an Israeli family of a collection of Franz Kafka manuscripts, ruling that they be transferred to the country’s National Library.The National Library says in an announcement on Tuesday that the court ruled it was “the preferred location” for the trove of unpublished Kafka works. The library says it will make the manuscripts accessible to the general public.” (via AP)

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Syrian Jewish bibles could spark ownership dispute

“Two decades after Israeli spies helped Syrian Jews whisk ancient Hebrew bibles from Damascus to Jerusalem, Israel’s national library asked an Israeli court on Monday to grant it custodianship over the manuscripts — a move that could spark an ownership battle over some of the Syrian Jewish community’s most important treasures. Known as the Crowns of Damascus, the nine leather-bound parchment books — some featuring microscopic calligraphy and gold-leaf illumination — were written mostly in Spain and Italy between 700 and 1,000 years ago. For hundreds of years, they were guarded inside synagogues in the Syrian capital, presented only on special occasions.” (via AP)

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Israeli library’s manuscripts tell unique stories

“These are treasures that Israel doesn’t allow anyone to check out of its national library. Kafka’s Hebrew vocabulary notebook. The first written evidence of the Yiddish language. And the Crowns of Damascus, Bibles smuggled out of Syria 20 years ago in a Mossad spy operation so classified that their very existence in Israel was kept secret for years. Many nations maintain official libraries of their countries’ most prized historical manuscripts. Israel’s is unique: It seeks manuscripts from every country in the world where Jews have ever lived.” (via AP)

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Judaica Division Receives $1 Million Grant for Digitization

“The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation of New York has awarded the Judaica Division of the Harvard College Library a grant of $1 million. The grant is for the digitization of the Division’s recently acquired photo archive of Israel Sun Ltd., a photo news agency in Israel. This archive consists of well over a million negatives covering the years 1968 to 2003. These negatives, representing photographs taken in this period by a cadre of photographers working at Israel Sun, document in great depth events, places and people in Israel.” (via Harvard Library Portal)

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