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Exhibits to be restored
  

PATH OF LIFE
Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel (ca. 1525–1609)

Židovské muzeum v Praze Správa Pražského hradu

Exhibits to be restored

 
Rare printed books
Synagogue textiles
Tombstones of the Maharal family
How to make a gift

 

 

Rare printed books

Rare editions of Judah Loew ben Bezalel’s works and books by his pupils and descendants in the Jewish Museum’s collection of manuscripts and early printed books
 
The JMP’s collections contain several first editions of works by Rabbi Loew (the Prague Maharal). Naturally, these will be among the most important exhibits of the Maharal show in 2009. Before they can be displayed, most of these items require some degree of restoration. The original copies of early printed books and manuscripts will be replaced with facsimiles in the course of the exhibition for their protection. The preliminary cost estimate for the restoration of original books and the production of facsimiles is CZK 212,000.
 
In recent years the Jewish Museum in Prague has funded the restoration of the printed books Be´er ha-Golah (The Well of the Exile, Prague, 1598) and Tzemah David (The Sprout of David, Prague, 1592), a historical work by David Gans, a pupil of the Maharal’s. The Museum has also restored the 16th–18th century Hazkarot (Memorial Prayers) of the Old-New Synagogue in Prague, an invaluable but fragile illuminated manuscript on parchment which commemorates dozens of names of the members of the synagogue, including the Prague Maharal.
 
Seven works by the Maharal and four related printed books remain to be restored. There will be minor restoration work on the Maharal’s Gevurot ha-Shem (Mighty Deeds of the Lord, Cracow, 1582) (CZK 5,000) [pic. # 1] and on Sefer ha-Hayyim (The Book of Life, Cracow, 1593) (CZK 5,000), a work by the Maharal’s brother Hayyim. [pic. # 2]
 
Partial restoration is necessary for the Maharal’s Gur Aryeh (Lion´s Whelp, Prague, 1578) (CZK 10,000) [pic. # 3] and Torah Or (The Torah is Light, Prague, before 1739) (CZK 15,000), a manuscript work by the Maharal’s descendant Moses ben Eleazar Perls. [pic. #. 4]

Jehuda Leva ben Becalel, Gevurot ha-Šem (Mocné činy Hospodinovy) Chajim ben Becalel, Sefer ha-chajim Jehuda Leva ben Becalel, Gur arje (Lvíče) Moses ben Eleazar Perls, Torah Or (The Torah is Light)

Comprehensive restoration is necessary for three rare editions of the Maharal’s sermons Derush Na´e be-Shabbat Teshuvah (Pleasant Sermon Delivered on the Sabbath of Penitence, Prague, 1583/4) (CZK 7,000) [pic. # 5], Derush Na´e be-Shabbat ha-Gadol (Pleasant Sermon on the Great Sabbath, Prague, 1589) (CZK 10,000) [pic. # 6] and Derush al ha-torah al ha-mitzvot (Sermon on the Torah and on the Precepts, Prague, 1593) (CZK 10,000). [pic. # 7] Overall restoration is also necessary for a short work by the Maharal’s pupil Yaakov Polak, Teshuvah al-agunah (Responsum concerning a Deserted Wife) (Prague, 1594) (CZK 10,000), which also contains a legal decision by the Maharal. [pic. # 8]

Judah Loew ben Bezalel, Derush Na´e … be-Shabbat Teshuvah (Pleasant Sermon Delivered on the Sabbath of Penitence) Judah Loew ben Bezalel, Derush Na´e be-Shabbat ha-Gadol (Pleasant Sermon on the Great Sabbath) Judah Loew ben Bezalel, Derush … al ha-Torah al ha-Mitzvot (Sermon on the Torah and on the Precepts) Jacob Pollak, Teshuvah al-Agunah (Responsum concerning a Deserted Wife)

The works with the most damage and requiring the highest restoration costs are two editions of works by Rabbi Loew: Derekh Hayyim (Path of Life, Cracow, 1589) (CZK 30,000) [pic. # 9] and Netzah Yisrael (Eternity of Israel, Prague, 1599) (CZK 25,000), [pic. # 10] as well as a manuscript work written by the Maharal’s descendant Moses Meir ben Eleazar Perls, Derashot (Sermons, Prague, 1st third of the 18th century) (CZK 30,000). [pic. # 11]

Judah Loew ben Bezalel, Derekh Hayyim (Path of Life) Judah Loew ben Bezalel, Netzah Yisrael (Eternity of Israel) Moses ben Moses Meir Perls, Derashot (Sermons)
 
 
 

Synagogue textiles

Synagogue textiles that should be on display at an exhibition Path of Life belong to a group of items with Hebrew inscriptions in which the donors emphasized their membership of the Maharal’s family. Although more than 10,000 individuals throughout the world now profess to be descendants of this prominent Prague rabbi and thinker of the Renaissance era, extant synagogue donations with similar inscriptions are very rare. Only two synagogue curtains and two smaller ceremonial textiles (Torah mantles) in the Jewish Museum’s textile collections have such inscriptions. Both of the synagogue curtains and one of the Torah mantles need restoring.

Synagogální opona, inv. č. 040.521, silk (atlas, velvet), metal thread (embroidery),  2100 x 1550 mm, 1799 Synagogue curtain, inv. no. 040.521
silk (atlas, velvet), metal thread (embroidery), 2100 x 1550 mm, 1799
 
Inscription: Dedicated to the Lord. The fruit of her hands bequeathed by the courageous woman Perel, peace upon her, daughter of the noble KH Hirsch Marl of the MaHaRaL family from Prague, wife of the learned MHV Lipman of the Mahariv family, blessed be the memory of the just, in the year “bearing a good message” (Isaiah 52:7, Chronicles 559) according to the minor era (=1799).
Provenance: moved to the Central Jewish Museum in Prague from a collection point in 1942–45, Prague, Pinkas Synagogue
Estimated restoring costs: CZK 99,000
 
Synagogální opona, inv. č. 040.500, silk (atlas, velvet), metal thread (embroidery), 2300 x 1600 mm, 1813 Synagogue curtain, inv. no. 040.500
silk (atlas, velvet), metal thread (embroidery), 2300 x 1600 mm, 1813
 
Inscription: This was donated by KH Elazar Hayyim, son of MHV Beer Perels, blessed be the memory of the just, a judge in the holy community of Prague, of the MaHaRaL family, and his mother, the esteemed woman Sprinza, long may she live, daughter of KH Samuel Tausk, of blessed memory, grandson of the most learned MaHaRaM Hamburg, blessed be the memory of the just, the head of the Rabbinical Court of the holy community of Holešov, and his wife, the esteemed woman Rezl, daughter of KH Barukh Toters, of blessed memory, in the year 573 according to the minor era (=1813).
Provenance: moved to the Central Jewish Museum in Prague from a collection point in 1942–45, Prague, Pinkas Synagogue
Estimated restoring costs: CZK 209,000
 
Torah mantle, inv. no. 057.207, velvet, embroidery in metal thread, silk atlas, fringes, Turnov, 1781 Torah mantle, inv. no. 057.207
velvet, embroidery in metal thread, silk atlas, fringes, Turnov, 1781
 
Hebrew inscription: Renovated from the garment of a Torah scroll that belonged to Simhah Ausch, of blessed memory, by means of his grandson Leib, servant of the community leaders, the son of Yokev Jitschin SGL Epstein, and by means of his wife Hayyah, daughter of Moses Aaron Perls, of blessed memory, in the year according to the minor era (=1781).
Estimated restoring costs: CZK 85,000
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tombstones of the Maharal family

The aim of the rescue and restoration work at the Old Jewish Cemetery is to properly repair the tomb of Rabbi Loew, as well as 19 tombstones and a tomb belonging to the rabbi’s descendants and other relatives. The monuments will be comprehensively restored not only to save them and to prevent their further deterioration but also to ensure their preventative conservation in the long term. All of these monuments are of exceptional historical importance.
 
The tomb of Rabbi Loew The tomb of Rabbi Loew
The late Renaissance tomb over the grave of Rabbi Judah ben Bezalel and his wife Perl bat Samuel is the most visited monument in the cemetery. This large tomb, framed by Renaissance cartouches, is sunk deep into the ground. The front wall is decorated with the motif of grapes and a lion.
 
The tomb was fashioned from two different types of marble from Slivenec. A stone block of very high quality was used for the front slabs. Despite its considerable age, the level of damage is not severe. Nonetheless, the surface treatments of the stone which have been identified here may lead to further deterioration in the sub-surface layer. The surface has deteriorated primarily as a result of past repairs and surface alterations and due to damage from tourism. The tomb has become a major tourist attraction, which has given rise to a large amount of secondary material which has a more-or-less negative impact on the surface of the stone – particularly candle wax and paper messages that are inserted into the cracks of the stone blocks. In addition, the process of deterioration is accelerating as a result of the environmental conditions, particularly the influence of the humidity and dust particles.
 
The tomb of Rabbi Loew will be restored in a way that minimizes the impact on visiting tourists. It will remain on public view to visitors during the restoration project, apart from when it is being cleaned and when work in connection with the replacement of rods is being carried out. The tomb will be restored with maximum regard to its original state and to its importance as a Jewish monument.
The cost estimate for the comprehensive restoration treatments is 85,000 CZK.
 

Tobstones of Marahal's ancestors

Rabbi Lev (Liva), 1539
Rabbi Lev (Liva), 1539
cost estimate: 15 855 CZK
 
Jochebed b. Rabbi Akiva of Budín, wife of Rabbi Shabbetai b. Rabbi Isaiah ha-Levi Horowitz, 1551
Jochebed b. Rabbi Akiva of Budín, wife of Rabbi Shabbetai b. Rabbi Isaiah ha-Levi Horowitz, 1551
cost estimate: 7 035 CZK
 
Rabbi Shabbetai b. Rabbi Isaiah ha-Levi Horowitz, son-in-law of Rabbi Akiba of Budín, 1554/55
Rabbi Shabbetai b. Rabbi Isaiah ha-Levi Horowitz, son-in-law of Rabbi Akiba of Budín, 1554/55
cost estimate: 17 010 CZK
 

Tombstones of the Maharal family

Rabbi Menahem b. Rabbi Bezalel, 1602
Rabbi Menahem b. Rabbi Bezalel, 1602
cost estimate: 9 555 CZK
 
Rabbi Samuel b. Rabbi Bezalel, 1655
Rabbi Samuel b. Rabbi Bezalel, 1655
cost estimate: 4 935 CZK
 
Judah Leb b. Rabbi Samuel b. Rabbi Bezalel, 1705
Judah Leb b. Rabbi Samuel b. Rabbi Bezalel, 1705
cost estimate: 5 145 CZK
 
Faigele b. Rabbi Judah Leib, wife of Rabbi Isaac K c, 1629
Faigele b. Rabbi Judah Leib, wife of Rabbi Isaac K"c, 1629
cost estimate: 11 865 CZK
 
Rabbi Isaac b. Simson K c, 1624 Rabbi Isaac b. Simson K c, 1624
Rabbi Isaac b. Simson K"c, 1624
cost estimate: 99 750 CZK
 
Gitele b. Rabbi Judah Leib, wife of Rabbi Simon ha-Levi Brandeis, 1634
Gitele b. Rabbi Judah Leib, wife of Rabbi Simon ha-Levi Brandeis, 1634
cost estimate: 19 530 CZK
 
Simon ha-Levi Brandeis, 1622
Simon ha-Levi Brandeis, 1622
cost estimate: 11 130 CZK
 
Samuel b. Šimeon ha- Levi Brandeis, 1628
Samuel b. Šimeon ha- Levi Brandeis, 1628
cost estimate: 10 185 CZK
 
Rachel b. Rabbi Judah Leib, wife of Rabbi Abraham ha-Levi Wallerstein, 1632
Rachel b. Rabbi Judah Leib, wife of Rabbi Abraham ha-Levi Wallerstein, 1632
cost estimate: 6 930 CZK
 
Tila b. Rabbi Judah Leib, wife of Rabbi Hirsch Sobotka, 1613
Tila b. Rabbi Judah Leib, wife of Rabbi Hirsch Sobotka, 1613
cost estimate: 7 350 CZK
 
Rabbi Meir b. Hirš Sobotka, 1668
Rabbi Meir b. Hirš Sobotka, 1668
cost estimate: 8 820 CZK
 
Samuel b. Rabbi Meir Sobotka, 1670
Samuel b. Rabbi Meir Sobotka, 1670
cost estimate: 3 570 CZK
 
Reline [b. Rabbi Judah Leib], 1639, wife of Rabbi Hayyim Wahl, 1631
Reline [b. Rabbi Judah Leib], 1639, wife of Rabbi Hayyim Wahl, 1631
cost estimate: 26 775 CZK
 
Kresl b. Ozri Jafe (1618) and Yutl b. Mores Sg l, wife of Kopman b. Bezalel, 1618
Kresl b. Ozri Jafe (1618) and Yutl b. Mores Sg"l, wife of Kopman b. Bezalel, 1618
cost estimate: 14 070 CZK
 
Esther b. Samuel ha-Levi Brandeis, 1634/35
Esther b. Samuel ha-Levi Brandeis, 1634/35
cost estimate: 5 145 CZK
 
Rabbi Moses Meir b. Eleazar Pereles, author of Megilat Yuchasin, 1739
Rabbi Moses Meir b. Eleazar Pereles, author of Megilat Yuchasin, 1739
cost estimate: 16 275 CZK
 
Lipet b. Rabbi Bezalel, wife of Rabbi Pinhas ha-Levi Horowitz, 1613
Lipet b. Rabbi Bezalel, wife of Rabbi Pinhas ha-Levi Horowitz, 1613
cost estimate: 5 985 CZK
 

 

In order to display as many items as possible at the exhibition, many of them have to be restored. We would be grateful for any financial contributions towards the restoration of items. An acknowledgement of your donation will be displayed at the exhibition near the restored work.
 
To make a gift
 
Please send a check made payable to the Jewish Museum in Prague, or transfer your donation to: Komercni banka, a.s., Spalena 51, Prague 1, Czech Republic
 
Acc. No. 195420830257/0100 (for all foreign currencies except the EUR) SWIFT CODE: KOMBCZPP IBAN: CZ6001000000195420830257
 
Acc. No. 510091870297/0100 (EUR) SWIFT CODE: KOMBCZPP IBAN: CZ8901000000510091870297
 
The variable symbol no. 1382002 should be stated when making a donation.
 
U. S. citizens are welcome to use the kind assistance of the The American Friends of the Czech Republic (AFoCR) that is our partner organization and has tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3).
Contact information: www.afocr.cz.org, afocr@afocr.org, tel.: 202-413-5528, 44 Massachusetts Av. NW #391, Washington, DC 200016-5572
 

To obtain more information, please contact:
 
Jewish Museum in Prague, U Stare skoly 1, 3, Prague 1, 110 00, Czech Republic
Leo Pavlat, Director, +420 221 711 511, [email] office@jewishmuseum.cz
Pavla Niklova, Fundraising, +420 221 711 571, [email] pavla.niklova@jewishmuseum.cz

 

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