May 22, 2022

New Online: New York Public Library Digitizes Centuries-Old Hebrew Manuscripts

From the NYPL:

The New York Public Library’s Dorot Jewish Division has digitized 11 Hebrew manuscripts and two early printed books. The documents — which span over 400 years from the late medieval period to early modern history — cover Kaballah, literature and playwriting, science and medicine, and philosophical and astrological commentary.

More than 2,000 digitized pages chronicle early Jewish scholarship and are now available on NYPL’s Digital Collections website.

Items selected for digitization included:

  • Two Kabbalistic texts by Abraham Abulafia circa 1468
  • 17th century Lurianic Kabbalistic writings by Hayyim Vital
  • Rabbinic response on the laws of Prozbul
  • A 19th century treatise against dancing
  • Tsahot bedihuta de kiddushin, a five-act prose play circa 1550
  • Bilingual libretto, Betulia liberate by Metastasio
  • Philosophical texts by Ibn Gabirol and translations of Aristotle
  • Miscellany of magical and astrological texts
  • Sefer nitsahon, commentary on the Bible circa 1644
  • Tiklal, a 17th century Yemenite siddur
  • Collection of poems, riddles, and discourses from the 18th century
  • Sphaera Mundi, a treatise on astronomy by Abraham ben Chiya printed in the 16th century
  • Maaseh Toviyah, the first work in Hebrew to mention tobacco circa 1707-08

“The digitization of these early Hebrew texts furthers the Library’s mission to expand access to NYPL’s diverse collections,” said Dr. Stephen Corrsin, Curator of NYPL’s Dorot Jewish Division. “We’re thrilled to share this collection online and providing scholars and researchers with additional opportunities to enhance their learning and understanding of Jewish history.”

Digital copies of the materials were sent to the National Library of Israel for inclusion in their International Digital Library of Hebrew Manuscripts.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.