The Jewish Liturgical Year: Calendars in LBI Collections

The LBI library holds hundreds of calendars in German and Hebrew that lay out the same annual rhythms of life and prayer according to the lunisolar calendar for centuries. The months of the Jewish calendar, numbering 12 in a typical year and 13 in a leap year, are calculated based on lunar phase, while years—normally 354 but 384 in a leap year—are based on the revolutions of the sun around the earth. The “Sefer Ibronot” is a guide that contains the rules and information necessary to calculate the Jewish calendar. Instead of diagrams and tables, it makes use of wheels that can be superimposed on one another as an aid for complicated calculations. One important version, the “Sefer Ibronot: … la-hashov tekufot u-moladot” by Eliezer ben Jacob Bellin Ashkenazi, was first published in 1615 in Lublin. In 1722, Israel ben Moses of Offenbach published the edition of this book that is held in LBI collections. It includes a chapter entitled, “Luach HaChagaoth,” which provides a list of Christian holidays in Germany, Poland, and Russia, as well as the dates of the weekly and annual markets. As objects of daily use that helped their owners navigate both religious and secular life, calendars reflect the cultural, social, and political context of their time. Some of the calendars in LBI collections show a more religious character, while others have a more political character, and still others were intended for specific demographic groups.

A calendar from Altona, almost 200 years old, belongs to a group of calendars published by Samuel and Judah Bunn between 1820 and 1839.

A calendar from Altona, almost 200 years old, belongs to a group of calendars published by Samuel and Judah Bunn between 1820 and 1839.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten calendars, published by the Bonn brothers between 1881 and 1893. The covers of the booklets show the wear and tear of the 354+ days of their lifetimes. One of their bindings was repaired with sewing thread.

Ten calendars, published by the Bonn brothers between 1881 and 1893. The covers of the booklets show the wear and tear of the 354+ days of their lifetimes. One of their bindings was repaired with sewing thread.

A calendar published by the Jüdischer Frauenbund in Breslau. The editors, Lisbet Cassirer and Hannah Karminski, featured portraits of prominent women in history and feminist quotations.

A calendar published by the Jüdischer Frauenbund in Breslau. The editors, Lisbet Cassirer and Hannah Karminski, featured portraits of prominent women in history and feminist quotations.

The Jüdischer Kulturbund in Deutschland e.V., published this calendar in 1939. Produced in the Nova printing house in Berlin, it contains the weekdays and the months in German as well as in Hebrew and shows the Jewish holidays next to the Christian ones. It indicates the time of dusk to calculate the beginning of the Sabbath in Central Europe as well as refugee destinations as far flung as Cape Town and Johannesburg.

The Jüdischer Kulturbund in Deutschland e.V., published this calendar in 1939. Produced in the Nova printing house in Berlin, it contains the weekdays and the months in German as well as in Hebrew and shows the Jewish holidays next to the Christian ones. It indicates the time of dusk to calculate the beginning of the Sabbath in Central Europe as well as refugee destinations as far flung as Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Superimposing the wheels of the “Sefer Ibronot...” aids in the calculation of the Jewish calendar.

Superimposing the wheels of the “Sefer Ibronot…” aids in the calculation of the Jewish calendar.

The Zodiac signs are printed on this calendar for the year 1861–62. The calendar was produced by the Sulzbach publishing house in Breslau.

The Zodiac signs are printed on this calendar for the year 1861–62. The calendar was produced by the Sulzbach publishing house in Breslau.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.