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Friday, November 30, 2012

Jewish History and Heritage Tours

What are you doing next Wednesday night at 6? Here at the Rosenbach we will be having a special docent-led thematic tour on "Jewish History & Heritage in the Rosenbach Home." In order to support this tour (which will also run December 12 and 19) we will be putting out some special Jewish materials in the library display case for the month of December. Here are a couple of the items, to pique your interest.

Pierre Martinez, Mafteah Leshon ha-kodesh, that is, The key of the holy tongue. Imprinted at Leyden: by Francis Raphelengius, 1593.Rosenbach Museum & Library. J 593
This 1593 volume is the first Hebrew grammar published in English. The Key of the Holy Tongue is a translation by the Puritan scholar John Udall of Pierre Martinez's earlier grammar written in Latin. As the title promises, it has been "Englished for the Benefit of Those that (being Ignorant in the Latin) are Desirous to Learn the Holy Tongue."

Isaac Leeser, ed. Sidur Sifte Tsadikim . The form of prayers according to the custom of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews.  2nd ed. Philadelphia: Stereotyped by Slote & Mooney, 5617 [i.e. 1857] Rosenbach Museum & Library.  Ro3  857
On a more personal Rosenbach level, here is a prayer book that belonged to Isabella Polock Rosenbach, the Rosenbach brothers' mother. It is from the 1857 printing of The Form of Prayers According to the Custom of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews, edited by Isaac Leeser. One odd thing about the beautiful binding--her maiden name is typically spelled "Polock," but on all the volumes in this prayerbook set it appears as "Polok." I don't know if this was an acceptable variant or simply a misprint.
To see more, and to hear the wonderful stories associated with the Rosenbach's collection of Jewish material, you'll have to come to the museum. The tour is included with admission and is free for members, but RSVPs are recommended (215-732-1600, ext. 123 or e-mail --I believe the December 12 tour is already sold out, so don't delay.

Kathy Haas is the Assistant Curator at the Rosenbach Museum & Library and the primary poster at the Rosen-blog

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