Upon cataloging manuscript ephemera from the Abraham J. and Deborah Karp Collection of Judaica at the Penn Libraries, one item caught my eye – something very uncommon. What I mean by this is that there is no real comparable equivalent to this manuscript that I have seen in other collections or at Judaica auctions.
Katz Center Fellow Alanna E. Cooper on Unraveling Jewish Communities, Synagogue Dissolution, and the Afterlife of Material Culture
Steven P. Weitzman (SPW): Your research began far afield from this year's current focus on America's Jewish Questions. You did anthropological fieldwork in Uzbekistan and produced an excellent monograph on Bukharan Jews—you could have fit well into a recent Katz Center year focused on Jewish life in modern Islamic contexts. How then did you move from that focus and part of the world to your current project on American synagogues?
Yad Aharon is a fascinating little book of poems and homilies. It was printed in Thessaloniki, Greece in the Hebrew year 5599 (1838 or 1839), and the author, Aharon Tsevi Ashkenazi, is only identified as being an elderly poet in Thessaloniki.