Page 46 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 27

Basic HTML Version

40
J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
ha-Yamim, by Nathan, “a prophet of Sabbetai Zevi”! One type
page is set up in the shape of a seven-branched menorah.
Not infrequently events in Jewish history are reflected in these
tiny volumes. A special prayer book, Tefillah mikkol ha-Shanah
Minhah Ketannah, was issued for the benefit of German Jews im­
migrating to the United States, undoubtedly to offset the dangers
of assimilation in the distant wilds of America. This was printed
in Furth, Germany, in 1860 by J. Sommer and measures 3}4 by
2i/g inches.
As if to hint that the exodus of the Jews from Czarist oppression
would be facilitated by means of an easy-to-carry Passover Hag-
gadah, the famous printers and publishers, the Brothers and
Widow Romm of Vilna, issued a miniature Haggadah in 1889.
The little book contains 64 pages, measuring 2 by 2i/s inches,
and is bound in green boards with blindstamped borders. Even
this well-known text required the approval of the Czarist censor
and his imprimatur, issued in Kiev on 17 July 1889, appears on the
verso of the title page. A copy of this rare item is in the possession
of a New York collector of miniatures, Dr. Samuel Hordes.
Distance did not affect the printing of these little prayer books.
The ancient Jewish community of the Island of Djerba, Tunisia,
although cut off by the sea from contacts with their fellow Jews,
was nonetheless a seat of learning and piety. A Tefillah Ketannah,
containing evening prayers for weekday and Sabbath, was issued
there in the middle of the nineteenth century.
The Bible, either in its entirety or in part, has been a frequent
subject for small format printing. An edition of the Bible based
upon the text edited by M. L. Letteris was reproduced in minuscule
facsimile by Menahem M. Shalz of Berlin in 1866. It consists
of 605 small pages measuring 1%6 by ^ inches and is protected
by a metal case. A somewhat larger version, measuring 3 by 2,]/2
inches and printed in double columns, was issued in an edition
limited to 1000 copies on the occasion of the International Bible
Contest held in the amphitheatre of the Hebrew University on
August 19, 1958. This edition displays in prominent letters the
passage from Joshua 1.8: “Thou shalt meditate therein day and
night.” Of the Book of Psalms numerous tiny editions have been
issued. To make certain that the reader make the proper daily
selections, Suwalski (father and son) of Warsaw issued in 1886
a miniature edition of 228 pages, measuring 3 by 2
14
inches. The
text is so arranged as to render completion possible in seven
days. To help those pressed for time, it is also divided into thirty
parts, one for each day of the month.
The greatest challenge to typography is the clear reproduction
of illustrations in miniature. Yet such a feat was accomplished