Page 12 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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We are happy to be able to give advance notice o f the p rep ­
arations tha t are being made for the celebration o f the 75th
anniversary o f the Hebraic Section o f the Library o f Congress,
which is headed by Dr. Michael G runberger. T h e history o f
the Section was ably presen ted in vol. 36 (1978-79) o f the An­
nual by Dr. Lawrence Marwick, who then served as head. He
indicated that the collection dates from 1914 when a Semitic
Division was established by an act o f Congress. In March 1944
its name was changed to tha t o f Hebraic Section. T h e collection
has the distinction o f being the largest und e r government aus­
pices and among its treasures are many incunables, manuscripts
and rarities.
One o f the best known o f these rarities is the Washington
Haggadah, a remarkable 15th century Hebrew illustrated
manuscript consisting o f 39 vellum leaves. I t is written in square
Ashkenazi script and was the work o f Joel ben Simeon, who
completed it in 1478. As the first step in the projected ann i­
versary celebration, the Library o f Congress is sponsoring the
production o f a facsimile edition o f the Haggadah in a limited
edition o f 500 copies together with a commentary volume con­
taining various essays by experts. Among the contributors on
various aspects o f the Haggadah are the Jerusalem scholars Dr.
Malachi Bet-Arie, director o f the Jewish National and University
Library, Dr. Bezalel Narkiss, director o f the Center o f Jewish
Art, and Dr. Mordechai Glatzer, professor at the Hebrew Uni­
versity. Doris Hamburg, head o f paper conservation at the Li­
brary o f Congress, has described the work o f preservation on
the Washington Haggadah which is said to have taken ten years.
In addition, the anniversary will be marked by an exhibition
to be mounted in the summer o f 1990 und e r the title: “From
the Ends o f the Earth: Judaica T reasu res o f the Library o f Con­
gress.” The exhibition catalogue by Dr. Abraham J . Karp is de ­
signed to indicate the wide scope o f the undertak ing. It seeks
to presen t an extensive sampling o f the books, manuscripts and
prints which m irror the cultural creativity o f the Jewish people.
A rranged in 19 sections, it endeavors to portray Jewish ideas
and ideals beginning with the Bible and Talmud. The various
books and manuscripts that are included aim to record the Jew ­
ish experience th roughou t history, down to that o f the Jews