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New York - Dershowitz Judaica Collection To Be Auctioned Next Week

Published on: February 25, 2016 10:46 AM
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New York - An upcoming Judaica auction on Long Island will feature a collection of over 200 rare artifacts including the first lot ever to be offered for sale by well known lawyer, author and political commentator Alan Dershowitz.

The 78 year old Dershowitz has been collecting Judaica for years, amassing items of interest as he traveled around the world.

“I truly believe that the essence of Judiaca is ‘from generation to generation,’ that is, it should be passed down so that we never forget where we came from and so that the memories and treasures of others live on through Judaism and through Jewish history,” said Dershowitz.

The auction will be held at the J. Greenstein & Co, Auction House in Cedarhurst on February 29th and will feature 28 lots put up for sale by Dershowitz.  Owner Jonathan Greenstein said that Dershowitz’s recent move from a house in Cambridge, Massachusetts to an apartment in New York City prompted him to part with a portion of his collection in an effort to downsize.

“He has a very eclectic group of things,” Greenstein told VIN News.  “He has a couple of great kiddush cups and a megilla, Eichah, that was made in Jerusalem in 1887 and then brought to Frankfurt am Main where it was used in a shul that was later destroyed on Kristallnacht.”

The olivewood megilla case bears an inked inscription indicating that it was presented to Rabbi Yehuda Hamburger and his wife Lady Gittel Karolina in honor of the bar mitzvah of their son Yosef on the 29th day of Elul, 1889.  A wooden pull tab with a small knob attached to the megilla’s parchment lists the name of the sofer, Getzel Hakohen.

PROPERTY OF ALAN DERSHOWITZ -- AN EXCEPTIONAL OLIVEWOOD MEGILLAH EICHA CASE WITH ORIGINAL MEGILLAH BY GETZEL HAKOHEN, SOFER. Jerusalem, 1887. Inscribed: The case is inscribed in Hebrew “THIS IS THE GIFT OG THE HUMBLE YEHUDA, HIS LIGHT SHOULD SHINE, SON OF THE RABBI YOSEF HAMBURGER, MAY HIS MAMORY BE A BLESSING AND HIS WIFE THE MODEST AND ESTEEMED LADY GITTEL KAROLINA, DAUGHTER OF RABBI DAVID ROTHSCHIKD OF HOLY MEMORY ON THE DAY THAT THEIR DEAR SON YOSEF REACHED BAR MITZVAH, HIS LIGHT SHOULD SHINE, ON THE EVE OF ROSH HOSHANA 29, ELUL 1889, G-D SHOULD GRANT THEM THE PRIVILEGE TO SEE HIM GROW TO REACH THE TORAH, THE WEDDING CANOPY AND GOOD DEEDS” ALSO INSCRIBED PRESENTED TO THE SYNAGOGUE OF RABBI YEHUDA SON OF RABBI ELIYAHU, ALSO KNOWN AS LOEB REIS OF HOLY MEMORY IN OUR CITY FRANKFURT-AU-MAIN 1888. RETURN US TO YOU AND WE WILL COME BACH . RENEW OUR DAYS LIKE THE THE OLD. The Synagogue “Rabbi Yehuda ben Rabbi Eliyahu was donated by Loeb Reis who left his house and 70,000 Florins to the chief Rabbi on the condition that the synagogue become as center of learning and charity. The synagogue was destroyed on Krystallnacht. Signed on pull tab in Hebrew “This is my work, Getzil Hacohen, scribe, here in Jerusalem the holy city. 14.3” long. Estimate $6,500 - 7,500PROPERTY OF ALAN DERSHOWITZ—AN EXCEPTIONAL OLIVEWOOD MEGILLAH EICHA CASE WITH ORIGINAL MEGILLAH BY GETZEL HAKOHEN, SOFER. Jerusalem, 1887. Inscribed: The case is inscribed in Hebrew “THIS IS THE GIFT OG THE HUMBLE YEHUDA, HIS LIGHT SHOULD SHINE, SON OF THE RABBI YOSEF HAMBURGER, MAY HIS MAMORY BE A BLESSING AND HIS WIFE THE MODEST AND ESTEEMED LADY GITTEL KAROLINA, DAUGHTER OF RABBI DAVID ROTHSCHIKD OF HOLY MEMORY ON THE DAY THAT THEIR DEAR SON YOSEF REACHED BAR MITZVAH, HIS LIGHT SHOULD SHINE, ON THE EVE OF ROSH HOSHANA 29, ELUL 1889, G-D SHOULD GRANT THEM THE PRIVILEGE TO SEE HIM GROW TO REACH THE TORAH, THE WEDDING CANOPY AND GOOD DEEDS” ALSO INSCRIBED PRESENTED TO THE SYNAGOGUE OF RABBI YEHUDA SON OF RABBI ELIYAHU, ALSO KNOWN AS LOEB REIS OF HOLY MEMORY IN OUR CITY FRANKFURT-AU-MAIN 1888. RETURN US TO YOU AND WE WILL COME BACH . RENEW OUR DAYS LIKE THE THE OLD. The Synagogue “Rabbi Yehuda ben Rabbi Eliyahu was donated by Loeb Reis who left his house and 70,000 Florins to the chief Rabbi on the condition that the synagogue become as center of learning and charity. The synagogue was destroyed on Krystallnacht. Signed on pull tab in Hebrew “This is my work, Getzil Hacohen, scribe, here in Jerusalem the holy city. 14.3” long. Estimate $6,500 - 7,500

A signed and dated oil painting of a Chasidic teenager by Mane Katz, a contemporary of renowned Israeli artist Marc Chagall, is expected to sell for between $25,000 to $35,000.  An early 20th century Megillas Esther housed in an inscribed silver bell-shaped case featuring hand painted illustrations and a notation that it was written according to the tradition of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev is expected to fetch between $6,000 and $8,000.

It was Dershowitz’s uncle who found the megilla in Poland shortly after World War II, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

“At the end of the Holocaust there were much more Judaica than Jews,” said Dershowitz.

The items in the Greenstein auction represent just a portion of Dershowitz’s collection.  Among the finds that Dershowitz plans to keep a pre-World War II wristwatch bearing pictures of Moshe Rabbeinu holding the Ten Commandments and a mogen dovid-shaped Torah decoration featuring Chinese characters.

While he may be parting with a portion of his collection, Dershowitz’s days of acquiring Judaica are by no means behind him.

“I’m going to keep collecting even as I sell my stuff,” said Dershowitz.

PROPERTY OF ALAN DERSHOWITZ -- A RARE AND IMPORTANT SILVER TORAH SHIELD. Poland, 1802. Chased with two outwardly facing lions flanking a heavily inscribed Decalogue. The inner shield mounted onto a large frame. With a later added crown. 11” tall. Estimate $12,000 -  $15,000PROPERTY OF ALAN DERSHOWITZ—A RARE AND IMPORTANT SILVER TORAH SHIELD. Poland, 1802. Chased with two outwardly facing lions flanking a heavily inscribed Decalogue. The inner shield mounted onto a large frame. With a later added crown. 11” tall. Estimate $12,000 -  $15,000

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