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Jedidiah Ben Isaac Gabbai And The First Decade Of Hebrew Printing In Livorno

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Chapter Summary

Jedidiah ben Isaac Gabbai printed his first book, the midrashic work, Yalkut Shimoni, on the Torah, with the commentary Berit Avraham, in Livorno, Italy, in 1650. It is a large book, well done, and attractive. The Jewish presence in Livorno, in northwest Tuscany, Italy, dates from the sixteenth century. Hebrew printing came relatively late, given the history of printing in Italy, to Livorno. Nevertheless, from the founding of the first press in 1650, the city's print shops provided, intermittently, the Jewish communities around the Mediterranean with books for several hundred years, into the second-half of the twentieth century. Unlike the Yalkut, which was printed in its entirety in Livorno, a number of the books published by Gabbai were either begun elsewhere and completed in Livorno, or begun in Livorno and completed elsewhere. The Livorno press closed, for reasons unknown, in 1658, the last title being Hayyim Benveniste's Keneset ha-Gedolah.

Keywords: Berit Avraham; Hebrew printing; Jedidiah Ben Isaac Gabbai; Jewish communities; Livorno; Yalkut Shimoni



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