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The Jeselsohn Collection
Mahzor Roma, 1460

The Jeselsohn Collection

The Jeselsohn Collection, also known as the David and Jemima Jeselsohn Collection, began in 1970 as a collection of ancient oil lamps originating from the Land of Israel. Since then the collection has increased substantially both by additions to the lamp collection as well as by adding other collectible categories. At present, the Collection houses a comprehensive collection of archaeological materials originating from the Near East, mainly from the Land of Israel, as well as Judaica, Manuscripts and Printed Books.

The Materials of the The Jeselsohn Collection

I. Archaeology: The most important sub-categories are:

  1. Archaeological Lamps - terracotta, bronze, silver and glass lamps dating from pre-historic times to the time of the Crusades - thirteenth century CE.
  2. Written Materials: Hebrew and Aramaic ostraca (inscribed sherds), seals and bullae (seal impressions) as well as inscriptions on stone, pottery and other media from the Judaean (Iron II), Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods covering 1500 years, from the eighth century BCE to the sevenths century CE. One of the most important pieces in this part of the collection is the Jeselsohn Stone, a three-foot high tablet on which is inscribed a text known as Gabriel’s Revelation, dated to the end of the first century BCE.
  3. Numismatics and Weights: Coins, mainly of the Land of Israel, dating from the very beginning of coinage in the seventh century BCE through the Crusades period - thirteenth century CE. The weights date from the second millennium BCE to the time of the Crusades.

II. Judaica: Ritual objects of Jewish religious use, created during the time as from the Middle Ages up to the present.

III. Manuscripts and Printed Books: Manuscripts and printed books in Hebrew and/or relating to Judaism from the Middle Ages up to the present time. One of the best known item in this collection is the Nuremberg Mahzor, dated to 1331 CE. The main sub-categories of this collection are Hebrew manuscripts, Hebrew incunabla, early prints and travel diaries with descriptions of Palestine.


Publications and Exhibitions

Many objects from the Jeselsohn Collection have been published and exhibited in the past. They are presently part of permanent and traveling exhibitions in museums around the world.

In addition, one monograph and one catalogue have been published.

The monograph, by Jordan Penkower, is on a manuscript of an illuminated Sefardi bible, copied on vellum by Moses Ibn Zabara in Spain at the end of the fifteenth century. The manuscript also contains handwritten glosses by the masorah expert Menachem de Lonzano of the sixteenth century.

The catalogue written by Ada Yardeni covers about 560 Aramaic ostraca of the fourth Century BCE as well as 14 others from Idumea, a territory which now lies within the boundary of present day Israel.

Visit the Jeselsohn Collection Website