Page 65 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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AFREN / AMSTERDAM
55
that, with little change, these illustrations have appeared in
scores of editions even into the twentieth century. Even hand­
written Haggadot of the eighteenth century often show the
same illustrations, proving the influence on Jewish art in general
and not just on the p rin ting art.
Amsterdam Jewry enjoyed a central position on the world stage
in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Its own cul­
tural, educational, and religious needs led to a p rin ting trade
that became outstanding, at least in part because non-Jewish
p rinting in Amsterdam had already achieved an excellence that
the world recognized. As children of their commercial age they
could hardly overlook the export possibilities of their printed
wares. The excellent product, the knowledge of trade, and the
cultural and economic leadership of the community were the
ingredients. T he results were a golden age of the Hebrew press.