Thanks to the visionary generosity of philanthropic leaders Dr. Georgette Bennett and Dr. Leonard Polonsky, The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary has enhanced its collection with 50,000 images from 400 digitized manuscripts that were previously unavailable in this format. Manuscripts digitized in this project include illuminated manuscripts as well as manuscripts that do not have any surrogate digital copies. These works are being made available to the general public for the first time through The Library.
Photo credit (left to right): Jāmī, Yusuf and Zulaykha, in Judeo-Persian Teheran, 17th century; Haggadah Shel Pesah, Darmstadt, 1733
The manuscripts are searchable via The Library's Digital Collections page, using ExLibris's Digitool software. The manuscripts can be searched by keyword, manuscript number, author, title, genre, and specific date.
The digital images are viewable in either METS or PDF format. All illuminated images are displayed in METS format utilizing the JPEG2000 viewer.
The Library houses more than 11,000 manuscript codices and 35,000 genizah fragments. The digitized selections are culled from many areas of the collection, including Bible, History, History of Science and Medicine, Kabbalah and Mysticism, Liturgy, Philology, Philosophy, Poetry and Belles Lettres, and Rabbinics. Further information about the manuscript collection is available on The Library's homepage.
In addition to manuscript digitization, the gift by Drs. Bennett and Polonsky enabled The Library to build the Polonsky Digitization Lab in memory of Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, a graduate of JTS who was a leader in human rights and interreligious affairs. Utilizing the lab, The Library will continue to digitize rare manuscripts and other materials for years to come, providing access to its exceptional collection using the best technologies available.
Photo credit (left to right): Seder Birkat Ha-mazon, Mannheim, 1736; Bible, Cordova, 1479