Staff Book Recommendations

The Katz Center staff has been working from home for several weeks now, translating seminars into virtual meetings for fellows, planning for next year's cohort and public programs, and doing our best to nurture Judaic studies scholarship, all while social distancing.

But since we know our fellows and followers may be exploring literarily with their extra time at home, we put together a list of reading recommendations. Each staff member picked a favorite book—many quite fitting for the current moment—and has suggested that you read it. 

New Rare Judaica Acquisitions at the Penn Libraries!

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.

Examples of Safrut from the Penn Libraries Manuscript Collections

A Sofer is a Jewish ritual scribe, and Safrut is the ritual writing penned by a Sofer. Ritual writing follows a strict set of rules, and very small details can disqualify the item from ritual use. A misspelled word, certain misshapen letters, disorderliness, and even beginning certain columns with the wrong word can sometimes disqualify an entire scroll. Disqualified Torah scroll fragments, for example, are permitted for study purposes only, but not for ritual contexts.