“And now, write for yourselves
this poem, and teach it to
the Children of Israel,
place it in their mouths!”
Jews have always had an intimate relationship with books, beyond intimate, closer to love: We are taught that the Torah was the marriage document between Jews and G-d.
But how did our books reach us?
The texts that form the central body of Judaism have storied biographies of their own that are as fascinating and varied as the Jewish people themselves. For millennia, our Talmuds were fiercely censored and burned; and as fiercely preserved in secret. The Jewish people’s struggle for its books is a wondrous journey spanning continents and centuries.
Scribes, printers and ordinary women and men sought to transmit precious truths against almost overwhelming odds. They were powered by the belief that the pen is always mightier than the sword, and that G-d’s pen is mightiest of all. They ensured that we remained the beneficiaries of the collective wisdom of the Jewish people. They sustained our title – ‘The People of the Book.’
Join the Academy and Dean Lutrin for a 3-part series on the history of Jewish books and printing. Travel from Qumran in the Judean desert to the canals of Venice, from ancient Syria to the App Store and learn how sofrim (scribes) and printers have left an indelible mark on the course of Jewish history.