Catalan Mahzor

  1. Date/Time

  2. Location

    Center for Jewish History

    15 W. 16th St.
    New York, NY 10011

    (map)

  3. Admission

    Members: $5
    Non-members: $10

Update 10/20/2016—Unfortunately, this event has been postponed until further notice.

One of the jewels of the collection of the National Library of Israel is Ms. Heb. 8o6527, a stunningly illuminated High-Holiday Mahzor (prayer book) from the second quarter of the fourteenth century, a high point in Hebrew illuminated manuscript production in Europe in general and Catalonia in particular.

This Mahzor include works by some of the most important Hebrew poets of the so-called Golden Age of Spanish Jewry, such as Yehudah Halevi, Abraham Ibn Ezra and Moses Nahmanides. But the texts are not the manuscript’s most individually striking features. Numerous pages are adorned with some of the most elaborate and detailed micrographic images found in any Hebrew manuscript. Micrography, the art of creating pictures and designs out of tiny written words, originates with medieval Jewish scribes for whom only the word was sacred enough to be the raw material out of which images—human, natural, or abstract—could be constructed.

Michael and Linda Falter

Michael and Linda Falter

Librarians and curators have long sought ways to provide access to unique works like this, which remain untouchable when exhibited and offer none of the physical pleasures of books when digitized. World-class craftsmen like Michael and Linda Falter of Facsimile Editions offer yet another solution: the production of facsimiles of important manuscripts as a one-to-one reproduction, designed to imitate the original down to the last detail.

This event will focus on the Falters’ stunning recreation of the Catalan Mahzor as well as the original book’s remarkable journey. Once held in the collections of the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin, it was thought lost until it resurfaced at auction in the 1980s. Thanks to the efforts of the German-Jewish philanthropist Ludwig Jesselson, the Mahzor and many other works from the Hochschule’s collections were returned to Jewish institutions.

Co-presented with Yeshiva University Museum.