JAN JIRI BALTZER (1738–99), POSTHUMOUS PORTRAIT OF DAVID BEN ABRAHAM OPPENHEIMER,CHIEF RABBI OF PRAGUE, 1773

Engraving after Johann Kleinhard, 7 3/4 x 4 3/8 in. (19.5 x 11.1 cm), The Jewish Museum, New York Gift of Dr. Harry G. Friedman, F 4143

The collection of Rabbi David Oppenheimer (1664–1736) is his most significant legacy. His more than 780 manuscripts and 4,200 printed books in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Aramaic form perhaps the most important private Jewish library ever assembled. For most of his life he was unable to enjoy this treasure, keeping the works at his father-in-law’s home in Hanover to avoid the censorship imposed on Hebrew texts in Prague. After his death, the collection was inherited by a succession of relatives. It was appraised by the Jewish luminary Moses Mendelssohn and ultimately acquired by the Bodleian in 1829.



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