Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Books, bookstores, book people

Jews are known as Am Hasefer, the People of the Book.
This originally meant the holy books like the Torah and the wider canon of written Jewish law.
I think the definition has widened. This was proved to me when I joined a guided tour called "Sefarim rabbotai, sefarim!" given by the Yad Ben Zvi Institute.
We love books. Otherwise why would dozens of Jews gather at a windy corner in central Jerusalem, pay 70 shekels each, and walk around for hours on a cold December evening, listening attentively to the Ph.D.-student guide as he led us to legendary old bookstores?
He also explained where the good libraries used to be some 60 years ago.
It was a big history lesson.
The one store I could get a photo of was Trionfo, a store full of treasures.
The owner invited our big group in and gave us a lecture about their labor of love.

Their website says they specialize in Chanukah menorahs, yads, torah finials, charity boxes, plates (seder and others), manuscripts, art, ephemera, postcards, documents, and anti-semitica.
(Anti-semitica?? Is that a real word?!)
They also offer old, antique, and vintage Jewish-related books including 19th century travel books to Palestine; Israeliana (KKL pushkes, posters); Palestine and Jerusalem 19th and 20th
century original photography; and antique maps.
Trionfo even has an eBay store. Take a look at their photos of Jerusalem in the 1800s.
Quite amazing--like there was almost nothing here, outside the Old City.
Books and book people--that's my B contribution for ABC Wednesday.


RuneE said...

I can't imagine a life without books,magazines (serious ones), without something to read. The greatest gift you can give people is the literacy and the freedom to choose your own literature .

A booksy B! ;-)

Jew Wishes said...

What a wonderful post and photo!

Books are a staple in my life.

Pietro said...

Beautiful post, Dina! I find books are great "friends" and fill the life.

cieldequimper said...

So much better than e-books.

Yaelian said...

What an interesting tour Dina! And a nice posting!

Catherine said...

Books are still there in spite of Internet. I'm with Cieldequimper. Who would prefer reading a book on Internet ? These shops, wherever they are huge stores or little shops like the one in your post are still opened. There is no crisis in books sale.
I've loved to watch these old pictures of Jerusalem....just the essentials, not yet touristic facilities, I guess. And Jaffa !! Never been there, but I've seen some actual pictures of that city.....nothing to see with the old picture. Looks like a movie set.

Spiderdama said...

Books it`s a must! Great and interesting post as always:-)
Have a nice evening!

Grace and Bradley said...

We all have a sentimental relationship with books, old books. But Apple is announcing its new iSlate today and with all the other eBook on the market, I wonder how the book will be like in the not too distance future.

Reader Wil said...

Bookstores are my favourite shops and very tempting, for I always end up with buying a number of English books, which I prefer over other languages, for I don't need a dictionary for English.
Thanks for the visit!

Leslie: said...

I just read another blog about how Borders is closing down somewhere in England. That is such a shame. I'm glad you enjoyed your tours of the bookstores and the history lesson they involved. I'd love that, too! :D

James said...

What a cool little store.

VP said...

A great little bookstore. I wonder why this name, which is the Italian for triumph. Something about one of the sephirot?
They have a very good selection of old photographs!

Chuck Pefley said...

A fine "B" contribution. Bookstores are one of my favorite places to visit.

FA said...

Dina, We're on the same wave length today. I just posted about our bookstore and dropped by JHDP and found your post. We're spreading the Word together! Shalom

Sara said...

Ah books! They are wonderful. Your tour was something special.

Roger Owen Green said...

I just can't imagine that using a Kindle will ever replicate the feel, the smell, the going to a random page that a book affords, at least not for me. Charming-looking store.

On behalf of the ABC Wednesday team, thank you!

Life with Kaishon said...

This was such a wonderful post. I loved every word. And I ADORE that picture.

Cloudia said...

I'm salivating!
Can't wait to check out those sites...

ShAloha, Dina

Comfort Spiral

Louis la Vache said...

Like Runee, «Louis» can't imagine a life without books. «Louis» has more than 500 books. He's very resistant to the idea of quasi-books like the Kindle. He wants a REAL book. So «Louis» counts himself as being one of the "People of the Books".

Petrea said...

A trek around Jerusalem to legendary bookstores sounds like heaven to me, Dina. Especially at night!

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove said...

What a good post! Filled with wonderful information.

Jedediah said...

B for books, of course :) I used to work in a library that specialized in the history of German Jews and they had wonderful old Thora editions and other Hebraica, hundreds of years old.

Kate said...

I hope that Kindle never replaces the volumes that we can hold in our hands, smell for their delicious aroma (to a book lover), and hand down to our children and grandchildren.

Petrea said...

So many of us declare our love of bookstores, I wonder why so many of them are failing around the world? Maybe there aren't enough of us. We ought to post about them more. I wonder if bloggers could help.

Tumblewords: said...

It's hard to think about a world without books and book people - terrific post!