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OBJECT OF THE MONTH – September 2009

Hazkarah (memorial prayer) for Rabbi Loew and his wife Perle

Memorial Prayers /Mazkirbuch/ of the Old-New Synagogue in Prague
manuscript, parchment, ink, red pigment, mid 19th century full-leather binding a index
Prague, 15th-18th century
Jewish Museum in Prague, inv. no. 9.503 /Ms 113/

A rare manuscript, kept for three hundred years in Prague Altneuschul, contains memorial prayers, prayers for the cantor and a modern register prepared by Kalman Lieben /1811–1892/, secretary of the Burial Brotherhood of Prague, scholar and bibliophile. The register of the hazkarot was started probably already at the end of the 15th century; the part containing prayers for the cantor originated definitely before 1599, when one of the scribes, Israel ben Joseph ha-Levi Horowitz died /buried at the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague, tombstone D 879/. The individual hazkarot were being added by various scribes until the 18th century /e.g. by David ben Jacob Israel Pinhas, perhaps 1629, or Meir ben Eleazar Perels, 1709). The manuscript is incomplete in its present condition, probably almost a half of it is missing.

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