Jewish texts

Medieval Haggadah gets an Apple makeover

By Sandy Rashty, May 2, 2012

A famed 14th-century Haggadah is now available to browse on the iPad.

The medieval "Rylands Haggadah", originally created in Spain, was restored by experts at the University of Manchester's John Rylands Library.

The app features a narration by Rabbi Shlomo Ellituv, the minister of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation in Manchester.

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Should you bury this article - or recyle it?

By Rabbi Natan Levy, February 10, 2011

In a landfill near Stansted, Yankel Mayer Rosenfeld is dumping God's name. A huge yellow skip pours black bin-bags into a hole in the ground. This is the end for discarded siddurim, and Hamodia paper clippings, for extra Cheder hand-outs and any scrap of paper that can be categorised under the label of sheimot - literally Hebrew for names, but here referring to the singular name of God.

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Dead Sea scrolls to go on Google archive

By Jennifer Lipman, October 19, 2010

The Dead Sea scrolls will soon be available to anyone with an internet connection.

Search engine Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority have revealed plans for an online archive of the scrolls, which number around 900.

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New chapter in restitution opened as Catholic manuscript is sent home

By Jessica Elgot, September 21, 2010

A looted 12th-century manuscript is to be returned to Italy, the first under a new law designed to restitute art work in British museums and galleries stolen during the Holocaust.

The intricately decorated missal, a manuscript for Catholic mass, is to return to the cathedral in Benevento.

The missal was acquired by a British soldier from a secondhand book-seller in Naples in 1944, and subsequently bought by the British Museum at an auction in 1947.

Looted by Axis forces in Italy before turning up in the bookshop, the manuscript was later transferred to the British Library.

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No bidders for rare Torah

By Lucy Morris, July 8, 2010

Does anyone want to buy a Sefer Torah for £200,000? Nobody did on Tuesday, when a rare medieval Spanish Torah was left unsold at a Sotheby's Western Manuscript and Miniatures auction.

The Sephardic Torah - believed to belong to a private owner in North America - was made in Toledo and is one of only two or three which were produced in Spain in the 13th century. It is remarkable that the scroll has survived in near-perfect condition - just one sleeve had to be replaced at a later date.

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Jewish donor funds Cambridge digital library

By Jennifer Lipman, June 9, 2010

Cambridge University has announced plans to digitise a collection of rare books including important ancient Jewish texts.

Thanks to a donation from British Jewish philanthropist Dr Leonard Polonsky, the university will be converting books from its faith collection into digital form.

Dr Polonsky, ranked at number 507 on the Sunday Times Rich List in 2009, has pledged £1.5 million for the project. The New York born businessman founded the Polonsky-Coexist Lectureship in Jewish Studies at Cambridge.

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PA claims the Dead Sea Scrolls

By Ron Csillag, January 14, 2010

LETTER FROM CANADA

Weirdly, the sideshow was almost as compelling as the main event.

For six months, ending in January, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto hosted the Dead Sea Scrolls, the ancient parchments recovered from the caves of Qumran beginning in 1947. The Scrolls comprise the earliest known examples of Jewish biblical writings and offer a tantalising glimpse of life during the Second Temple period.

None of that stopped local Palestinians from staging noisy demonstrations at the museum, demanding that Canada close the show.

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How the Talmud can be a road map to peace

By Daniel Reisel, November 19, 2009

‘Two are holding a garment,” begins the Talmud in tractate Baba Metzia. Each claims they found it. “One says, kulo sheli — all of it belongs to me. The other says, kulo sheli — all of it belongs to me.”

The first chapter of Baba Metzia presents a well-known scenario. Two people claim an object. The nature of the dispute is such that the original ownership cannot be established. Both claims are emotional, exclusive and absolute.

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Valmadonna's collection of Hebrew books struggles to find home

By Simon Rocker, November 12, 2009

The compiler of the world’s finest private collection of Hebrew books and manuscripts still hopes to find a new home for them, preferably in the UK.

Since February, the 13,000 volumes in Jack Lunzer’s Valmadonna Trust Library have been with Sotheby’s in New York, awaiting a buyer.

But now the 85-year-old bibliophile believes that the proposed new Jewish Community Centre in North-West London being built by Dame Vivien Duffield would make an ideal place to rehouse them.

“It would be wonderful if the library could stay in England”, said Mr Lunzer, who lives in Hampstead.

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Jews thought of Jesus first, says Bible scholar

By Simon Rocker, May 14, 2009

The idea of a Messiah who is killed and then resurrected is a Jewish one that pre-dates Christianity, according to a Hebrew University scholar.

Israel Knohl, a professor of Bible, believes the evidence lies in the “Gabriel Revelation”, an inscription on a stone found at the Dead Sea, which dates back to the beginning of the first century CE or the end of the century before.

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