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Gallery 4: The Jewish Town, 1648–1772

The most popular book in YiddishYiddishthe historic Jewish vernacular of Ashkenazi Jews, a fusion of German dialects, Hebrew and Aramaic, and Judeo-Romance and Slavic languages. The beginnings of Yiddish are in the Rhineland in the Middle Ages. About 13 million people spoke Yiddish before the Second World War. was the Tsene-rene by Yankev ben Yitskhok AshkenaziAshkenazimdescendants of Jews who, from the Middle Ages, resided initially in German lands, and later also in the whole of Central and Eastern Europe. Today they also live in Israel and in many other countries. Some still speak Yiddish. They have their own customs, which differ somewhat from those of Sephardim.  from Janów – the title comes from Song of Songs 3:11, “Go forth and see, daughters of Zion.” This book, which was intended for women, provided a summary of the weekly TorahTorahIn the narrow sense, Torah refers to the first five books of the Bible. In the broad sense, Torah refers to all Jewish sacred teachings stemming in one way or another from the written Torah. The handwritten Torah scroll is the most sacred object in Judaism. portion, abridged and paraphrased commentaries, and edifying stories. Later editions might also be illustrated. Mothers would read from this book on the ShabbatShabbat(Yiddish: shabes) – day of rest, from sunset Friday until shortly after sunset Saturday, during which work is prohibited. and holidays and tell the stories to their children. The earliest edition to survive is dated 1622.