New Rare Judaica Acquisitions at the Penn Libraries!

November 7, 2019
Becky Friedman
Rare Judaica Fund

The Library at the Katz Center is one of the world’s largest and richest resources on the history and culture of Jews. Schottenstein-Jesselson Curator of Judaica Arthur Kiron has recently announced the acquisition of a variety of new holdings, ranging from medieval Hebrew manuscript leaves re-used for binding Latin poetry to Holocaust-era texts belonging to Jewish refugees in Shanghai.

See below for a selection of new titles, made possible by the generosity of our donors:


The Douer Endowed Fund: From the late sixteenth-century, the only known manuscript of R. Abraham Monson’s defense of the kabbalist R. Chaim Vital and his vehement rebuttal of R. Menachem di Lonzano’s criticism of him. (Rare Judaica Cataloging Librarian Louis Meiselman has written a blog post on this item, available here.) []

The Frommer Endowed Fund: All in Yiddish, a group of 12 pamphlets published during the 1930s pertaining to the Birobidzhan region and the life of the colonists in the Jewish Autonomous Republic of the Soviet Far East. []

The Gershwind-Bennett Endowed Fund in partnership with Penn’s Jewish Studies Program: Inscribed, signed, and dated, a first-edition copy of Zishe Bagish’s (B. Vaysman’s) 1936 Yiddish translation of Langston Hughes’ poetry, along with African-American spirituals and related folk-songs. []

The Kaplan Collection Gift: A mid-nineteenth-century Torah ark curtain and valance from the Prussian city of Breslau (Wrocław) commemorating the wedding of a Jewish couple in San Francisco during the early years of the Jewish community in the city.


The Rare Judaica Fund: Assembled in 1608–19, a group of eight volumes of Latin poetry, whose binding covers are made out of medieval Hebrew manuscript vellum leaves from the Babylonian Talmud, tractate Hullin, written in a semi-cursive German-Ashkenazic scribal hand. []

The Zucker Fund, in Partnership with Penn’s Jewish Studies Program: From 1948, the first book dedicated to the life of Raoul Wallenberg, banned by the Hungarian government upon publication. []



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Becky Friedman

Becky Friedman

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