By Pagine Ebraiche staff
The Biblioteca Palatina, a prominent historic library located in Parma, a city in northern Italy, has published online over 1,600 ancient Hebrew manuscripts. The digitization of the manuscripts was carried out together with the National Library of Israel, with the cooperation of the Italian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the support of the Friedberg Jewish Manuscript Society.
The collection of Hebrew manuscripts at the Biblioteca Palatina is one of the world’s most important and has been digitized in its entirety as part of the project “Ktiv: The International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts”.
To present the results at an event held in Parma last week, were Aviad Stollman, Head of Collections of the National Library of Israel, Sabina Magrini, from the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage, Malachi Beit Ariè from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and president of the Foundation for Jewish Cultural Heritage of Italy, Dario Disegni.
The idea of digitizing ancient Hebrew manuscripts was first suggested by David Ben Gurion. “In March 1950, Ben Gurion, then prime minister of Israel, was enjoying a hard earned vacation in Tiberias, now a resort town, but in the ninth century the seat of Jewish learning in Eretz Israel. The problems facing the prime minister of a state still less than two years old were enormous: security, economy, immigration and colonisation to name a few. Nevertheless, Ben Gurion found the time to write a long letter to his minister of finance requesting a large sum for the establishment of an Institute of Manuscripts in Jerusalem for the purpose of microfilming all the Hebrew manuscripts in the world. The letter was sent to the minister and copies to all the other members of the government on March 5, 1950. A few days later the government voted to establish the Institute of Hebrew Manuscripts under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Culture,” explains the website of the Institute.