German SIG #Germany Questions about a Jewish Scribe #germany


dbing <dbing@...>
 

Dear GerSIG:

Since this involves historical questions rather than strict genealogy, I would
appreciate responses to me personally. <dbing@utk.edu>

Aaron LEVI in his 1756 petition for admission to Schutz status at Ihrnigen,
Baden (i.e. permission to reside and work at Ihringen), describes his father,
Abraham LEVI (my 5x great grandfather), as a “Zehngebotschreiber” (literally
“Scribe of Ten Commandments”). In 1757, in describing Abraham LEVI’s
inability to make a living in his old age, he is said to write occasionally
the 10 Commandments (“Er treibt keinen Handel. Er schreibt dann und wann die
10 Gebote.”)

In his three surviviing Ihringen Haggadot, Abraham LEVI described himself as
Sofer SaTeM (books, tefillin, mezuzot). My understanding is that the Ten
Commandments per se were not involved in these writings.

I have a couple of questions:

(1) Was there a market for short texts of the Ten Commandments among Jews in
the middle of the 18th century or could Abraham’s son (Aaron LEVI) be using
“Ten Commandments” as a simplification which the local Christian authorities
would readily understand rather than referring to the scriptural passages
traditionally found in mezuzot or tefillin? In other words, Abraham’s
scribal activities were restricted to sporadic small projects rather than a
major undertaking such as a Haggadah.

(2) Does anyone have information about the locations of Jewish scribal schools
in the regions of Baden, Alsace, and Switzerland in the 18th century. Abraham
LEVI was a highly trained and creative scribe who illustrated and illuminated
his Haggadot, and used Yiddish (or ju(e)dische Deutsch) to describe his
illustrations. He is more likely to have come to Ihringen around 1730 >from
Alsace. Thanks in advance for your [ off list ]responses.

Daniel Bing <dbing@utk.edu> Knoxville, TN, USA [Private replies only. MODERATOR]

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