JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen RE: Family Bibles #general


Wegner, Peter
 

Henriette Moed Roth wrote:
"I have not seen any Jewish family bibles bearing any handwritten family records,
though I have done this in my own Bible...... Is anyone aware of this as a general
practice amongst Jews?"

In my experience (at least, in England) it was far more usual to record family
information on the flyleaf of a Siddur (prayerbook) rather than in a Tanakh.
That's probably because whereas most 19th-century Anglo-Jewish homes would have
owned a prayer book, few would have owned a Humash (those being provided in
synagogue, which was the only place where most people would have had occasion to
use one). And a Tanakh (complete Hebrew Bible) would probably have been found only
in the homes of people whose Hebrew was very proficient and who had sufficient
interest in studying the second and third sections of the Bible -- the Nevi'im
(Prophets) and the Ketuvim (Hagiographa). But I think it's fair to say that the
average English or American Jew (even the observant ones) was probably satisfied
with synagogue access to the first section (i.e. the Torah). So family info
usually ended up, if at all, in a Siddur. In my own family, one set of
great-great-grandparents entered the information in a Haggadah -- which of course
is another book that would have been available in most 19th and 20th century
Jewish homes.

Judith Romney Wegner
jrw@brown.edu

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