Vous consultez une page Web conservée, recueillie par Bibliothèque et Archives Canada le 2007-05-15 à 21:30:23. Il se peut que les informations sur cette page Web soient obsolètes, et que les liens hypertextes externes, les formulaires web, les boîtes de recherche et les éléments technologiques dynamiques ne fonctionnent pas. Voir toutes les versions de cette page conservée.
Chargement des informations sur les médias

You are viewing a preserved web page, collected by Library and Archives Canada on 2007-05-15 at 21:30:23. The information on this web page may be out of date and external links, forms, search boxes and dynamic technology elements may not function. See all versions of this preserved page.
Loading media information
Skip navigation links (access key: Z)Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Graphical element FrançaisContact UsHelpSearchCanada Site
HomeAbout UsWhat's NewWhat's OnPublications

Previous ArticleContentsNext Article

Vol. 32, no. 9-10

Hebraic Treasures Transform the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec

Cheryl Jaffee,
Curator of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection,
Research and Information Services

Clara Lowy
Mrs. Clara Lowy and Roch Carrier.

For two brief summer weeks, from June 14 to June 27, an extraordinary exhibition was held at the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec (BNQ) in Montreal. Entitled The Sephardic Heritage of North Africa, this exhibition was the centrepiece of Montreal’s Jewish cultural festival, La Quinzaine Sépharade. The festival was sponsored by the city’s Centre communautaire juif.

From left to right: Philippe Sauvageau, President and Director General of the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec; David Bensoussan, President, Quinzaine Sépharade 2000; Roch Carrier, National Librarian.

The exhibition brought together over 100 manuscripts, printed books and artifacts from the collections of Yaer Oliel and various Montreal families. Eighteen old and rare books from the National Library of Canada’s Jacob M. Lowy Collection were selected to highlight the heritage of Sephardic communities in and beyond North Africa. On June 18, Cheryl Jaffee, curator of the Lowy Collection, presented a lecture at the BNQ on the six 15th-century books from Spain and Portugal displayed in the exhibition.

The opening of the exhibition took place on Wednesday evening, June 14, in the BNQ’s beautiful salle Saint-Sulpice. This elegant reading

Moses Nahmanides, 1194-1270
Perush ha-Torah.
Lisbon : Eliezer b. Jacob Toledano, 1489

room was filled with guests in a celebratory mood. Philippe Sauvageau, President and Director General of the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, and Roch Carrier, National Librarian of Canada, were among the evening’s speakers, and Mrs. Clara Lowy, widow of Jacob M. Lowy, was an honoured guest.

It was an evening of firsts of different kinds. Many of the books and documents that had come from family collections were publicly viewed for the first time. Also, the treasures of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection were displayed in Montreal for the first time in 10 years. A milestone of a different kind was realized, however, with the close, three-way collaboration of government and community: the National Library of Canada, the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec and the Jewish community of Montreal.

An excerpt from the exhibition:

Sephardic Treasures from the National Library of Canada’s Jacob M. Lowy Collection of Rare Hebraica and Judaica

Isaac b. Solomon ibn Sahula, born 1244
Meshal ha-Kadmoni.
Venice : Meir b. Jacob Parenzo, ca. 1547

The first decades of Hebrew printing, beginning from about 1470, coincide with the last decades of Jewish civilization within Spain and Portugal. Among the great treasures of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection are its incunabula, the first printed books, which date from the 15th century. Of the incunabula, those printed in Spain (up to 1492) and in Portugal (up to 1497) are among the Lowy Collection’s greatest treasures. Printing houses in Híjar (Spain), Lisbon and Leiria (Portugal) are represented by six incunables.

The civilization of Sepharad subsequently spread throughout four continents. A few of Sepharad’s great luminaries  --  among them Maimonides, Nahmanides, Jacob ben Asher and Isaac Abravanel  --  are represented by early and beautiful printings. Also among these treasures are books of the Bible, commentaries and translations, religious law, a prayer book, the Zohar, Hagadot for Passover and a book of fables. The renowned engravings of Bernard Picart grace a Dutch edition of Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde.

Bible. Hebrew and Spanish.
Torah, Nevi’im u-Khetuvim.
Amsterdam : en casa y a costa de Joseph, Iacob y Abraham de Salomon Proops, [1762]
People Isaac b. Jacob Alfasi, 1013-1103
Sefer Rav Alfas.
Riva [de Trente] : [Jacob Marcaria] be-vet Antoni Bruin, 1558

These works offer us a glimpse of the brilliance of Sepharad and the resilience of Sephardic civilization in some of its places of refuge within Italy, Constantinople, Amsterdam, Casablanca, Tunis and Jerusalem.

For further information on the National Library’s Jacob M. Lowy Collection, contact:

Cheryl Jaffee
Curator of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection
Telephone: 613-995-7960
Fax: 819-934-8333
E-mail: lowy@lac-bac.gc.ca