Avriel Bar-Levav (OU Israel): Father, Son and the Love of Books: R. Shimmon and R. Moshe Frankfurt and the organizing of Jewish knowledge in the 17th and 18th centuries.
R. Shimon Frankfurt (1634-1712) was born in Poland and immigrated to Amsterdam in 1656, after the Swedish invasion. For more than 30 years he was rabbi of the local Ashkenazi burial society, and published Sefer ha-Hayyim (Book of Life, Amsterdam 1703), a bilingual Hebrew and Yiddish manual for the sick and the dying that gained much influence. His son R. Moshe (1672-1762) succeeded him in this position and was also one of the two judges of the community, and a Hebrew editor and printer who undertook ambitious printing projects - among them Kehilot Moshe, Amsterdam 1724-1727, the biggest edition of Biblia Rabbinica magna printed till today. Both of them shared awareness to the changing patterns of the Jewish book world and the needs of a new kind of readers. I will present them and their work in the context of the novel processes of organizing Jewish knowledge in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Avriel Bar-Levav is professor of Judaic studies at the Open University of Israel, editor of Pe’amim: Studies in Oriental Jewry, published by the Ben-Zvi institute in Jerusalem, and co-editor (together with Irene Zwiep) of Zutot: Perspectives in Jewish Culture, published by Brill. He has published about Jewish attitudes towards death and about early Modern Hebrew book history. At the Open University of Israel he has written, together with Moshe Idel, an introduction to Jewish mysticism in four volumes.