The Creation of the World

Illustrated Manuscripts from the Braginsky Collection

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.

Past exhibition

Map with all buildings that belong to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The Old Building is marked in green


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.

The Braginsky Collection online

During the exhibition of the Braginsky Collection in the State Museum of Zurich 2011/12, a website was developed with views of the exhibition and detailed views with additional information on each object.
Exhibition website of the State Museum of Zürich (in German, using Flash) 

An additional website was created for those who prefer to read in English or Hebrew. Here you can browse entire books from the collection.
Exhibition website of the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, Amsterdam (in Flash)

The Braginsky Collection as an app

During the exhibition in the Jewish Museum Berlin, the iPad-App Braginsky Collection Berlin was introduced, with all objects in the collection (available for free in the App-Store (from iOS 6.0), in German, English, French, and Italian). 
Link to the app in the App-Store

Exhibition Information at a Glance

  • When 4 Apr to 3 Aug 2014
  • Where Old Building, level 1
    Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin
    See Location on Map

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