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Bidding Information
Lot #    14320
Auction End Date    4/25/2006 1:10:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Sefer ha-Maasiot
Title (Hebrew)   
Author    [Travel] Joseph Judah ha-Levi Charni (Chorny)
City    Peterburg
Publisher    Habura le-Harbot ha-Haskalah Azel Yehudit Russia
Publication Date    1884
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. iv, [1], 350 pp., 225:135 mm., usual age staining, some chipping. A good copy bound in modern cloth boards.
   On the journeys in the Caucasus, the lands past the Caucasus, and other lands, from 1867 through 1875 by Joseph Judah ben Jacob ha-Levi Charni (Chorny). The title page states that Sefer ha-Maasiot was printed posthumously. There is a word to the reader from the famed orientalist, A. Harkavy, who edited the work, and a table of contents. In Sefer ha-Maasiot describes his journeys through the European and Asiatic Caucasus, the Crimea, and the provinces around the Caspian Sea within the Russian Empire. He describes the Jews in these areas, who, having lived isolated from world Jewry and among barbarous and warlike people, developed a distinct culture and life, having adopted many local customs. Many of these Jews spoke a Tartaric dialect and lived like their neighbors, carrying arms, feuding, and even engaging in battles. All of this notwithstanding, they observed Judaism tenaciously, albeit with considerable superstition. describes all of this in considerable detail, provides some demographic information, and provides historical background. In the text often intersperses his narrative with Yiddish phrases.

Joseph Judah ben Jacob ha-Levi Charni (Chorny) was a Russian traveler; born at Minsk April 20, 1835; died at Odessa April 28, 1880. His parents destined him for the wine-growing industry; but after having been graduated as a viticulturalist, he, owing to an indomitable passion for travel and exploration, abandoned this career. For eight years Charni, with practically no means, explored a great part of the Caucasus, Transcaucasia, and many Asiatic countries; studying everywhere the life, customs, and history of the inhabitants, and chiefly those of the Jews. In 1875, on returning from his travels, he endeavored to publish his studies on the Jews of the countries he had visited, but failed to find the necessary means. He resumed the life of an explorer; and after five years of hardships and privations returned, in ill health and poverty, to Odessa, where he died shortly after his arrival. Charni was highly appreciated by the officials of the Russian government, and his studies on the Caucasus and Transcaucasia, published in various Russian papers, attracted the attention of the minister of the interior, Loris Melikov, who recommended Charni to the protection of the governor-general of Odessa. The most noteworthy of Charnis studies were: "Kratkiya Istoricheskiya Svyedeniya o Gorskikh Yevreyakh Terskoi Oblasti," Terskiya Vyedomosti, 1869; "Gorskie Yevrei," in "Kavkaz," 1870, vol. iii.; "On the Caucasian Jews," in "Den," 1870, No. 38. Charni bequeathed his manuscripts to the Society for Promoting Culture Among the Russian Jews; and the latter commissioned A. Harkavy to edit them. They were published with Harkavy's notes under the title "Sefer ha-Massa'ot" (Book of Travels), St. Petersburg, 1884.

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   BE mem 2596; JE; Waxman III p. 638; CD-EPI 0160671
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Other:    Travel
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica