René Braginsky’s Collection of Esther Scrolls
This talk provided a rare opportunity to meet the man behind what has been called the world’s most remarkable private collection of Hebrew manuscripts. To mark Purim, the festival which commemorates the saving of the Jews from annihilation in ancient Persia, collector René Braginsky presented gems from his collection of illuminated Esther scrolls.
Braginsky talked about his approach to collecting, which started with a present for his son’s Bar Mitzvah and has continued over 20 years, to encompass Hebrew manuscripts and printed books, illuminated marriage contracts and Esther scrolls, spanning seven centuries.
The Braginsky collection, recently exhibited in Amsterdam, New York, Jerusalem and Zurich, attests to these aesthetically rich and historically important books as bridges between generations and between Jewish and non-Jewish worlds.
René Braginsky is an entrepreneur and philanthropist based in Switzerland. | Emile Schrijver is curator of the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, the Jewish special collection at the University of Amsterdam, of the Ets Haim Library in the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam, as well as co-curator of the Braginsky Collection.