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The Creation of the World

Illustrated Manuscripts from the Braginsky Collection

René Braginsky has compiled his spectacular collection of Hebrew manuscripts over a period of more than three decades. It includes medieval documents, artfully prepared wedding contracts, richly illustrated scrolls, illuminated manuscripts, and rare prints.

An aleph written in blue ink

The collection is characterized by a particular connection between text and art, as these Hebrew scriptures were often decorated with very elaborate illustrations. The focus is on illustrated manuscripts that originated in central and northern Europe of the 18th century showing high points of Jewish manuscript art. All the major Jewish calligraphers and illuminators of the period are represented with outstanding works in René Braginsky’s collection.

A scroll with Hebrew letters in a golden shell

Megillat Esther (Esther Scroll): 18th century, Italy. Shell: 17th century, Venice or Rome.
© Braginsky Collection, Zürich. Photo: Ardon Bar-Hama.

The precious manuscripts of this private collection testify to the importance in Judaism of writing down sacred texts and biblical comments. During the persecutions throughout the centuries, Hebrew manuscripts and books were often damaged or even destroyed. This makes René Braginsky’s collection with its outstanding examples of Jewish calligraphy all the more precious. As the largest private collection of objects from different areas of the Western and Eastern Diaspora, it also gives a comprehensive impression of the diversity of Jewish book history.

Torah scribe rabbi Reuven Yaacobov wrote five days a week on a Torah scroll.

In the exhibition, different calligraphers had demonstrating their skills in Arabic, Asian, and Latin script.

- Khat art and Arabic calligraphy with Murad Kahraman from 14–22 April and 1–4 May at 2–4 pm.
- Chinese calligraphy and Chinese painting with Prof. Ding Yuan from 29–31 May 2014.
- Arabic calligraphy with Lahsen Azougaye from 6–7 June 2014.


4 April – 3 August 2014


Old Building, first level


with the museum ticket (8 euros, reduced rate 3 euros)

In the app store you can find the app "Braginsky Collection Berlin" (it requires iOS 6.0 or later). In English and German, it shows all objects of the Braginsky Collection in the exhibition "The Creation of the World" at the Jewish Museum Berlin.

Torah scribe rabbi Reuven Yaacobov© Jewish Museum Berlin

Mishneh Torah (Law Code)
Ketubah (Wedding Contract)
Megillat Esther (Esther Scroll)

The website www.braginskycollection.com provides comprehensive insights into the collection. 

Events Accompanying the Exhibition

The museum offers a tour through the exhibition on Sundays at 2 pm (duration: 1 hour; admission: 11 euros, reduced rate 6 euros).

Educational Program

Our accompanying educational program can be found in the website area for kids, students, and teachers. This exhibition is accompanied by a storytelling workshop on biblical stories, a student workshop on the culture of writing, and a tour on marriage and contracts in religions and cultures. In addition, the nationwide competition "Lyrix" will be held at the Jewish Museum Berlin this year and is dedicated to a ketubah from the Braginsky Collection.

"bios [torah]" Installation
10 July 2014 - 11 January 2015
Art Breakfast
25 May, 8 June, and 6 July 2014, 10.30 am–2 pm
Art Breakfast – Family Sundays
13 April and 11 May 2014, 10.30 am–2 pm
Symposium "Dealing with Images and Prohibition of Images in Judaism and Islam"
16 May 2014, 10 am–5 pm
Book cover "A Journey through Jewish Worlds. Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books"

A Journey through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books
Edited by Evelyn M. Cohen, Emile Schrijver, and Sharon Mintz
Amsterdam, Waanders Publishers, Zwolle (NL)
306 pages, hardcover, 10.8 x 8.8 x 1.3 inches
ISBN: 978-90-400-7654-1

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