The duties and privileges of a custodian of rare Hebraica are unique in the annals of Librarianship. Enough has been written of the vicissitudes of Hebrew books throughout the ages and of the perils that those guardians of Hebrew books faced. More precious to them than any worldly possessions were the books they possessed…

Hebrew manuscripts, from earliest times through to the Middle Ages, cover an extremely wide range of subjects. From the eighth or ninth century until the discovery of printing, the Jews not only lovingly copied and sometimes illuminated the Hebrew Bible, or books of the Bible, especially the Torah or Pentateuch, but they also wrote and copied the volumes of the Babylonian Talmud—the principal embodiment of the Oral Law and the second most sacred and important text, which guided, shaped and molded Jewish life from birth to death. …Although the principal objective of the Valmadonna Trust Library has been to assemble early Hebrew printing, advantage was taken to acquire Hebrew manuscripts as exceptional opportunities presented themselves during the past many years …To acquire Bible codices, well-nigh a thousand years old, and then to hold and read these treasures is a humbling experience for which I offer grateful thanksgiving to God for having granted me this privilege.

But now my age is upon me, I have held every one of these books in my hands; I have heard the tears they cry; they are the story of our people.

It’s been terrific—I’ve had such fun.

If these books have survived all these hundreds of years, then it has been worthwhile, for we have contributed in the preservation of our history.

Jack Lunzer
Custodian of the Valmadonna Trust Library