Inscription showing ownership of a copy of Isaac ben Moses Arama’s Akedat Yitshak (1522, Salonika) by Moshe Balsani in Morocco in the 16th century.


Footprints: Jewish Books through Time and Place, in conjunction with the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, invites applicants for participation in a two-day workshop in New York City devoted to the study of Hebrew paleography after the inception of print.

This two-day intensive workshop in New York (Monday morning May 21, 2023 through Tuesday afternoon May 22) will offer training in paleography and the analysis of manuscript annotations in printed books. The workshop will give preference to students and early career professionals, but senior and mid-career scholars and librarians are also eligible.

During this workshop, participants will engage in an intensive study of early modern and nineteenth-century Sephardi and Mizrahi Hebrew hands. This workshop will be led by Dr. Noam Sienna, a specialist in early modern and modern North African Jewish history and the history of Jewish material texts in the Islamic world. Participants will also be introduced to the Footprints provenance project and trained in entering evidence of the movement of Hebrew books in this period into the Footprints database, using new paleography skills. The workshop will take place at JTS and will make use of materials from the newly reopened JTS library.

This workshop is the second in a series of sessions for training in reading handwriting in Hebrew characters from the early modern period, following a workshop in 2020 on early modern Ashkenazic hands. Participants from that workshop are eligible to apply but there is no requirement of having participated previously as this is a stand-alone workshop.

There is no charge for the workshop for those accepted to the program. Those accepted, however, must commit to full attendance for the full duration of the two days. Participants must also commit to contributing to the Footprints project (see below) and becoming (if they are not already) on-going participants in the Footprints project as contributors of findings to the database in the course of their own research. For more information on the Footprints project, see here:

Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging, but subsidies are available based on need as funds allow, with priority for students and early-career professionals. Kosher meals will be provided during the workshop. Space is limited.

To apply, please send a letter of interest including current and future research projects, and a current CV. In your letter of interest, please explain how the workshop will benefit your scholarship and also identify a particular collection or library of early modern books that you intend to study and contribute data from as a collaborator in the Footprints project.

Those requesting subsidies should also send an itemized budget for travel and lodging, including other funds available and applied for. Graduate students, please list the name and email for one reference. Send material (and questions about the program) to:

Deadline for applications:  Monday January 23, 2023

Support for this workshop and the training program has been provided by the American Academy of Jewish Research, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Columbia University, CUNY Graduate Center (Center for Jewish Studies), Fordham University (Center for Judaic Studies), Northwestern University (Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies), Princeton University (Program in Judaic Studies), Rutgers University (Department of Jewish Studies), University of Pennsylvania (Jewish Studies Program), University of Pittsburgh (Jewish Studies Program), and Washington University in St. Louis (Department of Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Studies).