Page 113 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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GOLD / A SIGN AND A WITNESS: THE MAKING OF AN EXHIBITION
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ance of foreign loan items by the government, and Immunity
from Seizure, which guarantees the return of foreign loans to
their lenders. These applications required much very detailed
information, including lists of all the illuminations in most of
the manuscripts.
The exhibition itself has been described elsewhere, and I shall
not repeat that here. But it was a gathering unprecedented in
scope, and nobody knows when anything like it will be under­
taken again. It offered many moving sights. The Burgos Bible
in proximity to the Cervera Bible, two versions of the sanctuary
implements in a Sephardic Bible from Copenhagen and in the
Harley Catalan Bible, Judeo-Persian illuminations, the superb
micrography of Aaron tending the lamps in the Bibliotheque
Nationale’s Ashkenazic Pentateuch alongside the Ebermann-
stadt Pentateuch from Copenhagen, the Xanten Bible from New
York and the twentieth-century printed Ashkenazic Pentateuch
of the Soncino Gesellschaft with its message of encouragement
to German Jewry, while nearby stood the British Library’s Sus­
sex and Coburg Pentateuchs. The visitor could also see the
Frankfurt
Mishneh Torah
and the Vatican
Mishneh Torah,
two
parts of the same manuscript shown together for the first time
since their separation centuries ago, one case containing the
Kaufmann, Golden and Rylands Haggadot, all three parts of
the Tripartite Mahzor side by side, the Bibliotheque Nationale’s
“Zodiac Man” next to an illustration of a doctor drawing blood
in the Cambridge Medical Miscellany, and the list could go on
and on.
Preparing this exhibition was a rare experience. Working with
these books, ancient and modern, gave me a sense of closeness
to Jews of other times and places I had never thought possible.
And, now that it is all over, I remain with the conviction that
all the wonderful books finally added up to a picture of Jew­
ishness as a microcosm of humanity.