Biblioteca Ets Haim – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Atlas Obscura

This fascinating little Jewish sect library in Amsterdam and its history was featured yesterday in the daily “Atlas Obscura” email. I think you will find it’s story unique and interesting.

Below is the brief summary and opening paragraph. Find the rest of the story at the link below. And be sure to take in the pictures!

In the late 1500s and early 1600s, as Sephardic Jews were establishing a community in Amsterdam, they founded a school for themselves that would become the oldest continuously operating Jewish library in the world.

Having been forced to live as Christians in their home countries, Spain and Portugal, Sephardic Jews arrived in Amsterdam with the promise of religious freedom. The school/library, Ets Haim (Hebrew for “Tree of Life”), was founded in 1616 to help the newcomers start living publicly as Jews again. Many had continued to practice their true religion in secret while living outwardly as Christians. Amassing the library allowed them to debate among themselves, after so long, what being Jewish meant.

Source: Biblioteca Ets Haim – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Atlas Obscura

Published in: on April 6, 2017 at 6:36 AM  Leave a Comment  

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