Monday, February 6, 2012
Kline Books had booth at this weekend's book fair in San Francisco. (Come see us this coming weekend at the 45th California International Antiquarian Book Fair in Pasadena.) Steve Schaefer ran into Eric mentions and mentions him in his blog Test Driving Life:
I was impressed by the Judaica I found at Eric Chaim Kline's booth. Kline is a longtime expert in this field, and he kindly showed me some amazing old Hebrew bibles, books on Hebrew typography, and, two special treasures from his display case. The first was a Passover Haggadah from 1946, a slim paper volume printed right after World War II. It contained some shocking and painful depictions of concentration camps and the other horrors of the day. On a happier note from that period, a 1948 colorful book presented the story of emigration to an Israeli kibbutz for children, with sweet illustrations that would have helped the kids adjust to the move.
I actually helped prepare both books he mentions. The Haggadah was the most gut wrenching inconspicuous little pamphlet I have ever seen. It was printed for survivors in the DP camps after the war and brilliantly reconstructs the entire Seder experience around the Holocaust. There was one particular piece that got to me. It took the caption of complaint by the Israelites in the desert "we remember the fish" and placed it under a picture of a concentration camp soup kitchen. Anyone who sees no value and only sacrilege in rewriting sacred texts in the light of current issues, I challenge you to take a look at this Haggadah. The Aliyah book was cute and stands as a monument to a specific time and place. It pictures people making aliyah by boat. Within a year of this book being published, Israel was bringing thousands of Yemenite Jews to Israel on Operation Magic Carpet by plane.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
We recently came across a letter from Pope Clement XII (r. 1730-40) pasted inside a fifteenth century incunabulum.
Eric has agreed to put this letter up as a contest for all Latin manuscript specialists. $25 for anyone who can work their way through this bit of eighteenth century handwriting and transcribe the letter. If I am reading him correctly, he seems to refer to war with Islam.