The Braginsky Collection is the largest private collection of Hebrew manuscripts from various areas of the Western and Eastern Diaspora. It gives a thorough picture of the diversity of Jewish book history. After making stops in Amsterdam, New York, Jerusalem, and Zurich, the collection was on display at the Jewish Museum Berlin in 2014.
Old Building, level 1
Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin
The Braginsky Collection
René Braginsky 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 print editions.
The collection is characterized by a particular connection between text and art, as these Hebrew manuscripts were often decorated with very elaborate illustrations. The focus is on illustrated manuscripts that originated in central and northern Europe of the 18th century. All the major Jewish calligraphers and limners of this period, a golden age of Jewish book arts, are represented with outstanding works in René Braginsky's collection.
The precious manuscripts of this private collection testify to the importance in Judaism of committing sacred texts and Biblical commentaries to writing. During the persecutions throughout the centuries, many Hebrew manuscripts and books were damaged or destroyed altogether. This makes René Braginsky's collection with its outstanding examples of Jewish calligraphy all the more precious.
Calligraphers at the Exhibition
- Visitors to the exhibition had the chance to watch several calligraphers ply their craft:
- The rabbi and Torah scribe Reuven Yaacobov spent five days a week writing a Torah scroll.
- Murad Kahraman demonstrated Arabic calligraphy and khatt art.
- Prof. Ding Yuan demonstrated Chinese calligraphy and Chinese painting.
- Lahsen Azougaye demonstrated different styles of Arabic calligraphy.
bios [torah] Robot Installation
Accompanying the exhibition, from 2015 July 2014 the museum showed the installation bios [torah] by the artist group robotlab, which provides a new take on the activity of writing Torah scrolls. While a trained Torah scribe or sofer guarantees the sanctity of the Scripture, the installation highlights its industrial reproducibility.
Objects and Video Recordings
Exhibition Information at a Glance
4 Apr to 3 Aug 2014
Old Building, level 1
Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin
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From the Theory to the Practice of Writing the Torah
An Interview with Rabbi Reuven Yaacobov
Events Accompanying the Exhibition: The Creation of the World: Highlights of the Braginsky Collection (7)
The Creation of the World: Highlights of the Braginsky Collection
While the exhibition was on, in 2014, the Jewish Museum Berlin held a symposium about the prohibition against images and gave a range of workshops on subjects such as artistic lettering and calligraphy, illustration, and papermaking.
Love Letters and Marriage Contracts
22 June 2014 – canceled!
Art Breakfast for all the Family
13 April 2014
The Arts of Writing and Bookbinding – Family tour and workshops with Kirstin Sieling, Grit Wenig (bookbinding experts), and Cornelia Brauer.
Art Breakfast on Mothers' Day!
11 May 2014
The Arts of Writing and Illustrating – Family tour and workshops with Cornelia Brauer & Michal Zamir.
Dealing with Images and Prohibition of Images in Judaism and Islam
16 May 2014
The symposium explores the question of how images have been handled in different eras, regions, and religious currents in Judaism and Islam
25 May 2014
Making Paper – Workshop led by Cornelia Brauer, artist and designer
In the Beginning was the Word
8 June 2014
Workshop led by Cornelia Brauer, artist and designer
Holding the World Together
6 July 2014
Bookbinding with Ria Tiemeyer, bookbinding expert
10 Jul 2014 to 12 Apr 2015
Cilly Kugelmann on the Braginsky Collection
Interview on the exhibition
1 Apr 2014
JMB Journal 12: Ban on Images
Blog posts on the exhibition The Creation of the World
Interviews with the curator, the lender, the Torah scribe, and many more!
Writing and Lettering
Ketubah (Wedding Agreement)
Megillat Esther/Scroll of Esther
List of current and future exhibitions
At a Glance...