When Jewish Printing was Young

June 12 2015

In People of the Book, Akiva Aaronson tells the story of Hebrew religious literature in the era of the printed word. Gil Student writes in his review:

Printing was developed in Germany, but Jews [there] were excluded from the industry by the local guilds. However, when the technology made its way to Italy, Spain, and Portugal, Hebrew printing exploded. [During the] first 50 years of printing, from 1450 to 1500, . . .there were 29 active Hebrew printing shops, [constituting] nearly one-fifth of all known printers at the time. With a literate and learned population, the Jewish community enjoyed a high demand for affordable books.

Each printer had to carve out his own letters—what we call fonts today—but regional characteristics can be easily seen. Ashkenazi printers used more square letters and Sephardi printers used rounder letters, each following the practice of scribes. Hebrew vowels proved a unique challenge; additional metal type had to be included for each [consonant-vowel combination]. Numbering of pages appeared in the early 1500s—the first Hebrew book with page numbers was the 1509 Constantinople edition of Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah.

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Read more at Jewish Action

More about: Books, German Jewry, History & Ideas, Maimonides, Renaissance, Sephardim

 

Hamas’s Tactics of Attrition and Extortion Are Paying Off

Feb. 21 2020

In January, the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh visited Iran after promising the Egyptian government that he would not. Cairo responded by cutting exports of cooking gas and tires to the Gaza Strip. Facing a possible domestic crisis, the terrorist group recently resumed sending balloon-borne explosives into Israel, and allowed other jihadists to fire rockets. The move succeeded, despite retaliatory strikes by the IDF, writes Elior Levy:

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More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, Israeli Security