First Chumash in Australia on show at the Great

November 11, 2010 by Susan Bures
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One of the oldest printed copies of the Hebrew Bible, a beautifully illuminated Koran, a Psalter dedicated to Queen Victoria, a book by the “father of Australian music” Isaac Nathan and the first Chumash to be brought to Australia are all part of a new exhibition at Sydney’s The Great Synagogue.

Titled The Beauty of Books: Masterpieces from the Falk Library, the exhibition will be opened by Rabbi Leib Falk’s daughter Nina Glasser on Sunday 12 December.

On the same afternoon, Rabbi Falk’s granddaughter Debbie Sleigh will deliver the annual Falk Lecture about her grandfather.

The exhibition will use books from the Falk Library to tell a number of stories including one on the history of Jewish writing from the Tanakh to today and another on a collection of academic works from the 17th century onwards by Christian writers on Jewish topics.

Also on display will be delightful 19th century travelogues of the “Holy Land”, a collection of works of Australian Jewish interest and another collection showing some of the fantastic variety within the library including a volume on the Laws of Hammurabi and a Chaldean and Hebrew dictionary.

Bibliophile, craftsman and rabbi, Rabbi Leib Aisack Falk served The Great Synagogue for 34 years from the 1930s to the ‘50s.

In the course of those years he not only designed and created a number of superb ritual works in silver and other metals, but put together an outstanding collection of books on Judaica.

On his death in 1957, Rabbi Falk’s book collection was acquired by the Great Synagogue and housed in what is now known as the Rabbi Leib Aisack Falk Memorial Library.

The collection of several thousand books and a large number of serials today includes works from the libraries of other bibliophiles including the late David Benjamin and the late Louis Klein.

It has works in English and Hebrew as well as a number of other works in Yiddish and various European languages.

This exhibition will be backed up by another on Treasures from our Collection, scheduled for early 2011.

For further information: Susan Bures 9267 2477

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