Ketubah from 1890 Kashan (Persia)



"Marriage Contract. Uniting Reuven ben Moshe with Serach, daughter of Yechezkel. Manuscript in Hebrew, composed in Persian Hebrew square and cursive script on paper. Text within colorful triangular panels surrounded by rectangular blocs, red, orange, yellow and green predominating in floral motifs, with sidebar illuminated with geometrical motif. Folds with a few slight tears. 17 x 13.5 inches. Framed in glass 23 x 27 inches. Kashan (Persia), 17th Cheshvan, 1890. 

Kashan is an ancient city located in the the province of Isfahan, Iran. Although reputed for its Jewish poets, at the close of the 19th-century there lived in Kashan no more than some 150 Jewish families in the midst of 30,000 Muslim inhabitants." (Fine Judaica, Kestenbaum & Company, 2015)

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Five Woodcuts by Yossi Stern

w w2







Five woodcuts by Yossi Stern made in 1945. 5 leaves are 21 x 14 cm. Signed, numbered and dated in pencil. Five early prints portraying scenes of Jewish life in Europe, in an expressive and grotesque style, inspired by Jacob Steinhardt. 18 x 10 m, paper: 21 x 14 cm.


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Meisterwerke von Maurycy Gottlieb (1856-1879)










"One of 100 Numbered Copies specially bound. Portfolio of 26 plates by Gottlieb in color and black-and-white. German introduction by Moriz Scheyer. Calf-backed portfolio-case, upper cover with vignette portrait of the artist. 12 x 17 inches. Viena, Christoph Reisser, 1923." (Fine Judaica, Kestenbaum & Company, 2015)

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Invictus by Isac Friedlander


"Invictus: Milestones in the History of the Jews. With 5 full-page plates after wood engravings by Friedlander: Moses; Bar Kochba; 15th Century Spain; The Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto;  Toward the New Day, each signed by the artist in pencil; along with 5 corresponding engraved text passages. Table of contents noted: Portfolio "No. 46" (of?). Plates 13.25 x 10.5 inches, loose as issued. Original green illustrated upper cover, loose. Previous owner's (Yiddish) captions in red. Folio. American, 1890-1968, c. 1935." (Fine Judaica, Kestenbaum & Company, 2015)






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Gravura na Dereve ["Wood Engravings"] by Solomon Yudovin

IMG_0231"One of 1100 numbered copies. Suite of 24 wood engravings, along with illustrated Russian text by Gr. Sorokin. Text in printed wrappers, plates loose. Folio. Leningrad, Izokombinam, 1941.

An exceptional portrait of Russian shtetl life since wiped out physically by the Nazis and ideologically by the Soviets. Unlike his contemporaries Marc Chagall and El Lissitsky, Solomon Yudovin (1892-1954) rejected Moderism and depicted both traditional Jewish and Socialist themes in his skillful wood engravings." (Fine Judaica, Kestembaum & Company, 2015)




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New Ketubah from Rome, Italy, 1857

Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on vellum, dated 26th of Av 5617 at Roma (1857), 79 x 45 cm.

New Kebutah

Bridegroom: Matsliaḥ ben Mosheh Eliyahu mi-Ṿeroli.
Bride: Gratsya bat Aharon Menifi.
Witnesses: Ḥayim ben Avraham and one other.

The text is written in Italian block letters and is enclosed in a double border with sections framed in red. On the top, in the center register are two figures from biblical times who are appear to be serving wine. On either side are two images relating to the biblical story of the binding of Isaac (Gen. 22:2-14). On the bottom, in the center, are two figures in contemporary attire also serving celebratory drinks.

side left

side right

On either side, are images of two couples dressed in contemporary dress, who appear to be bridal couples.

Other sections contain decorative elements including rams horns, doves, coats of arms, flowers and geometric designs.


The bottom is scalloped with a stylized vase in the center of the triangle, which is typical of ketubot from Rome.

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Ketubah (Marriage Contract) from Siena, Italy, 1790

This is a marriage contract, manuscript, ink on vellum, dated 12 of Shevat, 5550 at Sienah (1790), 62 x 42 cm.


Bridegroom: Yedidyah Menaḥem ben Aharon Ḥayim Galiḳi.
Bride: Leʼah de-hot mitḳare Avigail Ḥaṿah Tamar bat ha-manoaḥ Avraham Barukh Ḥaviv.
Witnesses: Yedidyah ben Refaʼel Shelomoh Segal, Yitsḥaḳ ben Sheneʼur?.

The ketubah is elaborately illuminated with colorful vignettes and floral and geometric designs.




Women of Valor

The top of the ketubah is shaped in a triangle in which are contained benedictory statements for the bride and groom, verses from Proverbs 31:10-31 (a woman of valor..."), depictions of exemplary women in Italian dress, and depictions of putti, all surrounded by decorative elements.


On either side of the text are symbols of the zodiac, and at the bottom is a vignette of Adam and Eve.
Adam and Eve

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Shiviti plaque : [Russia or Poland?, 19th century?]

Manuscript, ink and paint on paper, approximately 42 x 32 cm (in frame 55 x 45 cm). This elaborately calligraphed and illuminated plaque is a votive tablet designed to be hung on a synagogue wall to exhort the congregation to more intense prayer.

Shiviti Plaque

At the top of the plaque is the Hebrew verse often found on a mizraḥ hung on the eastern wall, "From the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof the Lord's name is to be praised" (Psalm 113:3).

Just beneath this verse is a turquoise border framing the four sides of the plaque containing the phrases, "Know before Whom you stand..." (based on Mishnah Avot 3:1) and "the seven lamps shall give light in front of the candlestick" (Numbers 8:2).

Inside this frame is a green inner border decorated with vines and animals and in each corner a round geometric medallion. The central portion of the plaque is divided into two registers.

In the top register is the shiviti statement, "I have set the Lord always before me" (Psalm 16:8), as well as a two-headed eagle and kabbalistic divine names. The bottom register contains a seven-branched candelabrum with Psalm 67 written within its intertwined branches. On either side are rampant lions and mythical creatures. The plaque is not signed or dated.

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Cain. A series of lithographs on the early biblical stories in the Book of Genesis by Avigdor Arikha, 1955. The images are accompanied by the biblical text and rabbinical commentaries translated into French.

The portfolio is comprised of a pen drawing and 8 lithographs, 31X29.5 cm. The colophon is signed and numbered 39 from an edition of 110. Published by imprimerie-Edition des Poets, Paris.

The Cover Drawing:

Below are photos of 2 of the 8 lithographs:
God prefers Abel’s sacrifice of a lamb to Caine’s sacrifice of grain.

Cain is punished by God for killing his brother Abel by becoming an exile, doomed to roam over the earth.

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New items in the collection: Last Will and Testament: Novohardak, Belarus, 1844

title page of last will and testament
second page of last will and testament

Manuscript in Hebrew and Yiddish. In this will Avraham Shklifer, evidently a wealthy merchant without children, leaves instructions for the distribution of his estate including bequests to talmudic academies, book publishers, hospitals, and other Jewish communal institutions. The document mentions several important leaders of the community of Novogrudok, Belarus and Vilna.

This quite lengthy will is mostly in Hebrew and not in Yiddish, the spoken language of the Jewish population of the region. It has a red wax seal at the conclusion. The graphic illustrations on the first two pages are also unusual. The two angels on the second page seem to have an Italian influence. The document is in its original binding. The stamp of one of the previous owners, Hayyim bar Reuven Lieberman, appears on several of the pages.

Since we mostly know more about the poor Jews who lived in Eastern Europe, it is quite a novelty to learn about the holdings, property, and way of life of a very wealthy one.

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