National Library of Israel reveals new Hanukkah treasures

The library has the vast majority of Hebrew and Jewish books, journals and magazines published in history.

 A HANUKKAH MENORAH on display at the Western Wall. (photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
A HANUKKAH MENORAH on display at the Western Wall.
(photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)

The National Library of Israel is welcoming Hanukkah 2021 by releasing eight clips featuring rare items from its collections.

The clips introduce numerous items to the public for the first time. Each one is about two to three minutes long, with items presented in eight languages – Spanish, Italian, Polish, Hebrew, German, French, Russian and English – and will be uploaded on the National Library's Facebook and Twitter pages as Hanukkah progresses.

Treasures showcased in the clips include a rare printing of a Medieval French text that includes what is believed to be the oldest written mention of latkes (the fried potato pancakes traditionally eaten during Hanukkah); a special Hanukkah booklet prepared for Jewish German soldiers during World War I; and a rare booklet of Ladino Hanukkah verses printed around 1828 in the Ottoman Empire.

The National Library of Israel was founded in 1892 in Jerusalem. Its Haim and Hanna Salomon Judaica Collection includes the vast majority of Hebrew and Jewish books, journals and magazines published in history. The library also holds the world's largest collections of textual Judaica, Jewish and Israeli music, ancient maps, rare books, photographs and more.

The National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, set to be completed in 2020 (credit: HERZOG AND DE MEURON ARCHITECTS)The National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, set to be completed in 2020 (credit: HERZOG AND DE MEURON ARCHITECTS)

NLI collection highlights include significant handwritten works by luminaries such as Maimonides and Sir Isaac Newton, exquisite Islamic manuscripts dating back to the ninth century and the personal archives of leading cultural and intellectual figures such as Natan Sharansky and Naomi Shemer.

The new NLI campus, currently under construction beside the Knesset in Jerusalem, is set to open its doors in 2022.