Ets Haim is the oldest still functioning Jewish library in the world. It was founded in 1616 and has been housed in the historical complex of the Portuguese Jewish community of Amsterdam since 1675. In 1889 the private library of the then librarian David Montezinos was donated to Ets Haim and the library is known since then as Ets Haim/Livraria Montezinos.
This website holds images and descriptions of the 560 Jewish manuscripts (47,000 folios) from Ets Haim’s holdings. The descriptions of the manuscripts are based on earlier printed catalogues but contain a considerable amount of corrections and additions based on consultation of the original manuscripts.
The Portuguese Synagogue complex, including Ets Haim, was restored and reopened for visitors in December 2011. The complex is part of the Jewish Cultural Quarter together with the Jewish Historical Museum, JHM Children’s Museum and the Hollandsche Schouwburg. The Jewish Historical Museum has invested considerable time and money in the modernization of Ets Haim/Livraria Montezinos. In close cooperation with the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana at the Special Collections of the Amsterdam University Library, who were successful in securing the cooperation of the National Library of Israel, two large projects were started, involving the cataloguing of the collection of about 25.000 printed books and the digitization of the 560 manuscripts.
The digitization project is made possible through the generous support of the Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds
Project management: Hetty Berg (JHM), Lonnie Stegink (JHM)
Idea and concept: Emile Schrijver (Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, University of Amsterdam) and Ardon Bar-Hama (Ra’anana; www.ardonbarhama.com)
Digitization and website: Ardon Bar-Hama
Descriptions, editing and metadata control: Ruth Peeters (EH), Heide Warncke (EH)
Technical support: Aartjan Nooter (JHM)