von Tekle Ekvtimishvili, Kerstin von der Krone, Marie-Luise SchmidtJewish life is determined by religious practice whose implementation was shaped by local and regional traditions represented by customs or minhagim. Since the Middle Ages, the customs were systematically collected and written down in books of customs, a Sefer Minhagim, that detailed all practical aspects of holidays and ritual acts and usually were meant for women and men with insufficient knowledge of Talmud-Torah. As such, they offer a comprehensive insight into Jewish daily life of past centuries. Rabbi Isaac Tyrnau (14-15th century) authored one of the most influential Minhagim, which initially circulated as a manuscript. It was first published in Hebrew in 1566 and in Yiddish in 1590. Minhagim often included illustrations, usually woodcuts, that underlined the educational purpose of these books guidings one's religious practice. Numerous editions of Tyrnau's Sefer Minhagim have been published since the 16th century. The University Library Frankfurt holds more than Yiddish editions published in Amsterdam, Bad Homburg, Dyhernfurth, Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt an der Oder, Fürth, Karlsruhe, Offenbach, Rödelheim as part of its Yiddish Print collection (Jud. Germ). The edition presented here was published in Frankfurt am Main in 1722/23 and includes 15 woodcuts. A handwritten note identifies Yitzhak b. Zanvil Leyb Segal of or from Heinsheim as a former owner.
Originally this text was published as part of the online exhibition Jewish Books & Jewish Collections: Treasures of the University Library Frankfurt on the occasion of the 12th Congress of the European Association for Jewish Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt, July 2023.