Left Behind: Some Posts that Have Needed to Happen

19th c. Jerusalem

So apparently teaching and spending a month in Israel has caused my blog to languish a bit. This happens occasionally and you have my deepest apologies. Anyway, here is look at what I have missed the in the past month—some of these things you might have seen already.

Bodleian Library Manuscripts are Coming to the Jewish Museum (Reuters)

More than 60 Hebrew, Arabic and Latin medieval manuscripts from England’s Bodleian Library in Oxford will be displayed, most for the first time in the United States, in a new exhibition at the Jewish Museum this fall.

The show, “Crossing Borders: Manuscripts from the Bodleian Libraries,” includes the Kennicott Bible, which was created in Spain in 1476 and is thought to be one of the most extensively illustrated medieval manuscripts in existence.

One of the two earliest Latin Gospel Books from the British Isles, dating to the late 6th or 7th centuries, and the Michael Mahzor, the earliest illuminated Jewish prayer book for festivals, also will be shown in the exhibit, which will run from September 14 through February 3…[More here]

Rare 19th c. Map of Jerusalem Discovered in Berlin (Ha’aretz)

A map of Jerusalem that was drafted some 190 years ago by a German tourist was recently unearthed by two researchers – one Israeli, the other German – in an archive in Berlin. The map, sketched by hand in 1823, was discovered in the course of a study conducted in tandem by Israeli researchers and scholars at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, in Leipzig, Germany…[more here]

A High Holy Whodunit (NY Times)

One day this spring, on the condition that I not reveal any details of its location nor the stringent security measures in place to protect its contents, I entered a hidden vault at the Israel Museum and gazed upon the Aleppo Codex — the oldest, most complete, most accurate text of the Hebrew Bible. The story of how it arrived here, in Jerusalem, is a tale of ancient fears and modern prejudices, one that touches on one of the rawest nerves in Israeli society: the clash of cultures between Jews from Arab countries and the European Jews, or Ashkenazim, who controlled the country during its formative years. And the story of how some 200 pages of the codex went missing — and to this day remain the object of searches carried out around the globe by biblical scholars, private investigators, shadowy businessmen and the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency — is one of the great mysteries in Jewish history…[more here]

Revealing Akko’s Ancient Harbor

In archaeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting at the foot of Akko’s southern seawall, installations were exposed that belong to a harbor that was operating in the city already in the Hellenistic period (third-second centuries BCE) and was the most important port in Israel at that time.
The finds were discovered during the course of archaeological excavations being carried out as part of the seawall conservation project undertaken by the Old Akko Development Company and underwritten by the Israel Lands Administration.
The first evidence indicating the possible existence of this quay was in 2009 when a section of pavement was discovered comprised of large kurkar flagstones dressed in a technique reminiscent of the Phoenician style that is characteristic of installations found in a marine environment. This pavement, which was discovered underwater, raised many questions amongst archaeologists. Besides the theory that this is a quay, some suggested this was the floor of a large building…[more here; YNet (Eng/Hb); MFA; Arutz Sheva (Eng/Hb)]

HT: J. Lauer

Reading the Talmud

With the seven-and-a-half year cycle of the daily Talmud study program known as Daf Yomi about to finish next week, preparations by those who have taken on the challenge and won are swinging into high gear for the climactic party celebrated upon completion of this ancient tome of Jewish law.

Tens of thousands of people in Israel and abroad, who have devotedly pored over the complex tracts of rabbinic debate with study partners, in groups, in special lessons and by themselves will finish the entire Babylonian Talmud on Monday.

And the Anglo community in Israel is no exception, with several thousand expatriates from the UK, US, Canada, Australia and South Africa all getting ready for the big celebration…[more here]

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