Saturday, October 4, 2014

Selections of Piyutim said in Germany under Nazi Rule

Within a Wilhemsdorf, Germany edition of a Selichot volume, I found 3 separate sheets of paper. Each contains the list of Piyutim chosen by the congregation to be recited that year on Yom Kippur for each of the prayers. Over the generations, German Jewry had accumulated numerous different Selichot Prayers and the custom developed to rotate the selections for each year, thus ensuring that none would be forgotten and that all shall be said at least occasionally. The 3 sheets were for the year 5736 (1935), 5737 (1936) and 5739 (1938).

below are other such selections from the period which I came across, one printed and one typewritten

hat-tip: Dr. S. Sprecher

Pepsi-Cola being used as a medical cure for stomach illnesses in Morocco 1940s

Going through a batch of Hebrew Documents from Morocco from a recent collection I acquired, I came across this entertaining letter. The writer, is writing of his reminiscences of a childhood friend with whom he grew up with in Ben-Ahmed, a small town in Morocco in the 1930s and 1940s.

Here is a portion of the 4 page letter: (the spelling mistakes in original have been corrected)
אני גם זוכר שרצה ללמוד לנהוג ברכב. היה לנו אוטו רנו מודל 1935 היה נוסע בו קדימה ואחורה, עד שיום אחד נכנץ בעץ ונבהל נורא, הכחשנו את המקרה מאבא ז"ל
"I also recall how he wanted to learn to drive an automobile. We had a Renault 1935 Model, he was able to go forwards and backwards, until one day he drove in to a tree and was frightened greatly. We denied this occurrence from our father, may he rest in peace."
היה סובל מהקיבה, לגבי תרופות רק מספרי הרמב"ם. העדיף לשתות פפסי-קולה הטיב לו לקיבה. רבים פנו אליו בשאלות רפואיות ולכולם היה לו תשובה...
"He suffered from stomach pains, and used only medicines brought down in the works of Maimonides. He preferred to drink Pepsi-Cola and this helped his stomach. Many people approached him with medical questions and for all he had an answer.........."

File:Renault celtaquatre 1935 lateral izquierdo.jpg
1935 Model Renault

Flyers for a Candidate in Israeli Elections in Judeo-Arabic - Ashkelon 1960s

 In the 1960s, Rabbi Reuven Ben David VeYosef, a Moroccan Rabbi ran for the city elections in Ashkelon. A large population of the city were Moroccan Jews and political flyers promoting him as canditate were published in Judeo-Arabic!

Notice on back wrapper the mention of the candidate being an example of Torah Im Derech Eretz.

The candidate, Rabbi Reuven Ben David VeYosef, was a learned Rabbi and author of several Rabbinic works. In Morocco, he headed the Otzar Hatorah branch in the town of Ben-Ahmed, and in Israel, he was active for many years on the political scene in Ashkelon within the Mafdal party. His son recently held the position of Deputy-Mayor of Ashkelon.

The Making of a modern-day Kabbalist, a document from the days of Baba Baruch in Ashkelon

Baruch Abuhatzeira (born 1941), also known as Baba Baruch, is an Israeli Kabbalist and Rabbi. He is the son of the leading Moroccan Rabbi Israel Abuhatzeira, also known as the Baba Sali.

Prior to his career as a Kabbalist, Baba Baruch had a short political career, when he was elected as Deputy Mayor of Ashkelon. He was later tried and sentenced to five years in prison for corruption and bribery connected to his role as deputy mayor. I recently acquired a document from his days in the political world, hand-signed by him. The document is a response to a request to have permits issued to build on a property, Baba Baruch's response was that 500 lira were first needed to be deposited in to a specific bank account detailed in the letter.


A Hebrew Sheet Printed in Tripoli, Libya by bookseller Yitzchak Cohen

Below are scans of a Piyut recited on Yom Kippur by the Jews of Tripoli. This sheet was published in Tripoli by the bookseller Yitzchak Cohen.

One of the many obstacles of running a publishing and bookselling business in a place that was not exactly the center of the world, was that no one really knew where you were. To help with this issue, Cohen made sure to state on the sheet that he is located in Tripoli, which is on the continent of Africa. He reiterated this 3 times on the sheet, apparently without much faith that potential customers would be able to place Tripoli on a map.