Object Thursdays: A Lunar Calendar

This Object Thursday, we bring you a favorite: an important item of Rhode Island Judaica: A Lunar Calendar, of the Festivals, and Other Days in the Year, Observed by the Israelites (Newport: Newport Mercury, 1806 — Vault, CE 35 .L8).
rhix17244This calendar — used to determine holidays and other important dates — reflects Rhode Island’s long tradition of religious freedom. The Touro Synagogue, for instance, is the nation’s oldest, completed in 1763 as a place of worship for a Jewish community that had been in Newport for over a hundred years.
A Lunar Calendar is the first Jewish calendar printed in America and only the second book printed for American Jews. (The Library also holds a copy of the first, A Sermon Preached at the Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode-Island, called “The salvation of Israel”. Both have recently been re-cataloged and re-housed.)
Moses Lopez, the author of the calendar, was born in Portugal and apparently also held a patent for the manufacture of potash.*
This copy includes the following inscription on the front pastedown: “Presented to Jacob J. Cohen by Naphtali Phillips, New York 11th Ce Adar, 5570″ [March 17, 1810].” The image below (click for a closer view) provides an idea of the calendar’s contents and includes annotations by, perhaps, Cohen:rhix17245
Much to our delight, the Lunar Calendar was one of the items of interest to C-SPAN’s Book TV when they visited the RIHS Library this past Tuesday, December 4. The program on Providence will air in January. Check back or follow us for updates and links to the upcoming program.

* See George Mason’s Reminiscences of Newport (Newport: Charles E. Hammett, Jr., 1884), pages 56-7.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More of the Latest Old News
Donor Privacy Policy

The Rhode Island Historical Society’s Commitment to Our Donors

We will not sell, share, or trade our donors’ names or personal information with any other entity. We will not send mailings to our donors on behalf of other organizations. This policy applies to all information received by RIHS on any platform by any means, both online and offline, as well as any electronic, written, or oral communications. To the extent any donations may be processed through a third-party service provider, our donors’ information will only be used for purposes necessary to process the donation.

Website and digital strategy by nabec partners