Monthly Archives: January 2013

DRBR 7: In which the Upper West Side is told its Duty

Adar 1, 5698 To the Jewish storekeepers and residents of the West Side in the vicinity of West 59th Street and West 125th Street, New York City. Dear storekeepers; It is your religious duty not to transact your business on SHABOS or JEWISH HOLY DAYS. Therefore it is advisable that you have your stores closed […]


DRBR 6: In which satin flowers feature

I’m not exactly sure what this one is. It says festiggiandosile nozze at the top; looks like a poem, or perhaps a song, but it’s in Italian so I don’t know really. For a wedding, I know nozze. I’m dispatching it here because I liked the multimedia aspect. You can see the poem part is […]


DRBR 5: In which the Oppenheimers leave Vienna

The RBR has a good many decrees resembling this one. They’re all printed on that kind of heavy paper which makes the letter depressions palpable, and some of them have seals and such too. They’re in German, but note how they’ve set the Latin jargon in a Roman typeface, and the German in Fraktur: This […]


DRBR 4: In which lights are bidden to shine

Somewhere in drawer 4, but I didn’t note the reference. Two little snippets, today. One random prettything:


DRBR 3: In which a ketubah is pre-printed and passed by the censor

DR4-L5 is a pre-printed ketubah from Russia, 1857, with gaps left for the names and date. We do this today. Nice to know we’ve been doing it for a long time. The ketubah’s in a folder with the passport of its owner, who was a cantor. One supposes he travelled a bunch; you’re supposed to […]


DRBR 2: In which cherubs sit on a cloud

JTS manuscript DR4-R82 is a pen-and-ink drawing of cherubs sitting on a cloud, which floats beneath a shining crown. The cherubs are singing music from a scroll and above them float the words “To the Queen, with Her Majesty’s most Gracious Permission this Work is most respectfully inscribed by Her Majesty’s most faithful obedient and […]


DRBR 1: Azulai raises funds

Drawer 4, item DR4-R57. This is a form letter, signed by Hayyim Yosef David Azulai. Azulai is also known as the Hida, the acronym of his name. He’s a famous rabbi and scholar. But he also spent a lot of time fundraising, asking people for money for specific good causes, and tis here is a […]


Dispatches from the rare book room

I volunteer at the Rare Book Room at JTS. I’m helping do an inventory of the flat media. Since many interesting things are flat, I am getting to see many interesting things. But before we go into the stacks, some fun with the card catalogue drawers. I don’t know what Coptic Custard is, but I’m […]


Fun with megillot

It’s megillah-writing season. So here are some fun pictures from a megillah. A photocopy of a megillah, actually, whose provenance I do not know (other than the obvious “Ashkenaz, Beit Yosef script”). Students, look and be impressed at the scribe’s creativity, but also take the time to look critically. Notice how you can make a […]


Ketubot when couples don’t have shared artistic visions

I would normally be out at gay square dancing right now, it being Tuesday evening (it’s really nice; they let straights in to dance), but I’m home nursing a cold so it doesn’t have a chance to turn into bronchitis, so I’m going to tell you about ketubot instead. Chum R just called, see. She’s […]