Letters That Link Us

Day 1: Wednesday, April 10; 9am–6pm
University of Minnesota
Day 2: Thursday, April 11; 9am–6pm
Minnesota Center for Book Arts

Minnesota Center for Book Arts is pleased to be a co-host of this 2-day symposium featuring a curated slate of presentations, artist panels, and workshops led by esteemed historians, bibliographers, archivists, librarians, typographers, designers, printers, and book artists of all kinds. Participants will engage in collaborative learning, shared visual and performing arts experiences, and hands-on Hebrew printing opportunities.

Who designed Hebrew typefaces, who manufactured them, and how were they used? How was Jewish printing shaped by collaborations, conflicts, and contacts across religious, ethnic, and linguistic boundaries? Our gathering will survey the diverse contexts of Hebrew-character printing — not limited to texts in the Hebrew language, but including vernaculars like Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic — over the past five centuries.

And the story is not over! Today, Hebrew type is still being made, collected, and used by book artists and letterpress printers around the world. Together we will explore the challenges and joys of working with Hebrew type in all its forms, wood and metal, vintage and newly-cast. We will discover how the history of Hebrew typography can inspire creativity in contemporary book arts, and why preserving this process is so important.

Accompanying Exhibition

April 1–May 24, 2024
Open Book Literary Commons
Reception and tour: Thursday, April 11, 2–3:30pm

{L}inking Letters, features select artists from near and far who use Hebrew type as a central focus in their work. Join us for an artist reception as part of the symposium on April 11 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm. Light refreshments will be served. Following the exhibit will be a short performance by visiting actor & playwright,  Mikhl Yashinsky, presenting excerpts of his new Yiddish play, “The Gospel According to Chaim” (“Di Psure loyt Khaim”).

Participating Artists:

Lynne Avadenka (Detroit, MI)

Robyn Awend (Golden Valley, MN)

Leora Bromberg (Toronto, ON)

Sophie Edelhart (Toronto, ON)

Florian Geddes (Toronto, ON)

Yehuda Miklaf (Jerusalem, Israel)

Jacob Romm (New Haven, CT)

Elana Schwartzman (Minneapolis, MN)

Noam Sienna (Minneapolis, MN)

Giovanna Truong (Oxford, UK)

Letterpress workshop

The symposium will conclude with an interactive printing workshop in the Letterpress Studio of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, using their newly-commissioned Hebrew wood type as well as vintage Hebrew metal type. All participants will have the opportunity to get their hands inky and create unique mementos with Hebrew type, while exploring the historical presses and printing equipment preserved at MCBA.

This symposium is sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota Center for Jewish Studies and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and supported by Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council through the Oren & Sharron Steinfeldt Foundation.