A collection of 1,130 Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts gathered from all parts of the Orient has been received as a gift by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, it was announced by Professor Alexander Marx, the librarian, at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Library Corporation of the Seminary.
The new group of manuscripts comes from such places in Africa as Fez, Mequinez, Agadir, Oran, Algiers, Jerba, where the Jewish community of about three thousand souls is famous for its piety and learning, and lives entirely isolated, from Tripolis, Garaia, in the Sahara, between Morocco and Algiers.
In Asia some of the choice Spanish manuscripts were found in Tokat, Anatolia, where the Spanish exiles had taken them in 1492. Old cabbalistic manuscripts come from Aleppo and Damascus, and curious literary compositions of Frankfort Rabbis of the eighteenth century were found in Palestine. The Yemen literature, particularly well represented in this collection, was largely found in that ancient Jewish settlement in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. It includes three private libraries, those of Rabbi Ibn Yahya, Solomon Busani and Musa Amr, together amounting to about 350-400 volumes.
Representing as it does the spiritual interests and cultural aspects of so different a group of communities, the collection embraces every possible branch of Jewish literature; Bible with commentaries: Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash and commentaries; Codes and Responsa; Liturgy; Philosophy and Cabbala; Homiletics; Philology and Science.
The other donations to the Library and Museum consist of documents of interest to American Jewish history from Mrs. Harriet Coale of Baltimore, Mrs. Gertrude Cohen and Samuel Hyman. The American Jewish Committee presented 119 volumes, many numbers of periodicals and a large collection of newspaper clippings of historic interest, and valuable books were received from a large number of individuals and learned institutions in this country and abroad.
In connection with the festival of Chanukah, the Museum of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America announces that it has among its exhibits a number of very fine Chanukah lamps in silver and brass, some ancient lamps excavated in Palestine, as well as a number of coins of the Maccabean period.
The Museum is open daily from 10 A.M. till 5 P.M., except Friday and Saturday, but during the week of Chanukah it will also be open on Tuesday, December 27th, and Thursday, December 29th, from 7 P.M. till 10 P.M.