Page 110 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 38

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Hadassi and published in Eupatoria, Crimea in 1836, contained
an au tograph and dedication by Abraham Firkovich, the 19th
century Karaite leader, to the head o f the Karaite community o f
Egypt. In addition, this collection included 30 Hebrew m anu ­
scripts. Among these were
Sefer Shaarei Tzedek
by Joseph ben
Gikatilla, copied in Pisa in 1548, and several anthologies o f
piyyutim, Hebrew liturgical poetry.
In 1947, the library acquired from Professor Abraham S.
Yahuda, the well-known Egyptologist, nearly 100 volumes o f
biblical and rabbinic works p rin ted in the Orient, in add ition to
16th century first editions and a num be r o f manuscripts. Most
noteworthy in this collection was the acquisition o f the library’s
first incunabulum ,
The Book of Judges, Samuel I and II,
with the
commentary o f Rabbi David Kimhi, published by Soncino in Italy
in 1485.
The library’s friends were not limited only to the New England
area. At this time, the library was enriched by a collection o f 500
volumes from the Library o f Rabbi Menahem M. Eckstein o f
Cleveland. Particulary importan t in this collection were ra re
homiletical works, as well as Responsa, talmudic commentaries
and compendium s o f Jewish law from Central and Eastern
Europe, published in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
On the day o f the establishment o f Israel, the library received as
a gift from Dr. Moses H. Lurie and Reuben L. Lurie the en tire
collection o f the ir fa ther, Rabbi Simon Sheima Lurie o f Shavel,
Russia. This collection o f 2,000 volumes, rich in rabbinic works,
Kabbalah, biblical commentaries and ethics, contains the au to ­
graphs o f such diverse scholars as, the renowned 19th cen tury
biblical commentator Meir Leibush Malbim and the controversial
Kabbalist from Frankfurt-am-Main, N athan Adler. Also in te res t­
ing in this collection are the genealogies o f the Lurie family,
written on the fly leaves o f several volumes and the history o f the
book lovers and book dealers who hand led many o f these books.
In addition, some o f the volumes contain the stamps o f Jewish
communities in Eastern Eu rope tha t were destroyed in the
Holocaust and the special stamps o f schools and learn ing centers
in Poland and Russia.