PROSTITZ, ISAAC BEN AARON (d. 1612), Hebrew printer. Isaac was born in Prossnitz, Moravia, and learned the printing trade in Italy, working with G. Cavalli and G. Grypho in venice . There he met the proofreader Samuel Boehm (d. 1588), who later joined Isaac in cracow , where he printed from 1569. From Italy they had brought with them typographical material, decorations etc., and in the privilege issued in 1567 to Isaac by King Sigmund August II of Poland for 50 years he is called an "Italian" Jew. In spite of initial intrigues by the Jesuits, Isaac and later his sons – Aaron and Issachar – and grandsons were able to print for nearly 60 years some 200 works of which 73 were in Yiddish, using fish and a ram (symbol for the offering of Isaac) as printer's mark. The productions covered a wide field: rabbinics, Bible, Kabbalah, philosophy, history, and even mathematics. The Babylonian Talmud was printed twice (1602–08; 1616–20); these were poor editions after an earlier and more auspicious beginning in 1579. The Jerusalem Talmud of 1609 has become standard in the form it was reissued in Krotoschin in 1886. Isaac was printer to the great scholars of the time: moses isserles of Cracow, solomon luria of Lublin, and mordecai jaffe of Prague and Poznan. In 1602 he returned to his native Prossnitz, where he printed some works until 1605, while his son Aaron remained active in Cracow to 1628 printing apart from the Talmuds, the zohar (1603), and the Shulḥan Arukh (1607, 1618–20), Turim with joseph caro 's commentary (1614–15), and Ein Ya'akov (1614, 1619). Isaac's descendants were working as printer's assistants until nearly the end of the 17th century. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Steinschneider, Cat Bod, 2901–02; idem, Juedische Typographie (1938), 34–35; H.D. Friedberg, Toledot ha-Defus ha-Ivri be-Polanyah (19502), 5–25; M. Balaban, in: Soncino Blaetter,3 (1929/30), 9–11, 47–48; R.N.N. Rabbinovicz, Ma'amar al Hadpasat ha-Talmud (1877), 70–75.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • PRINTING, HEBREW — pre modern period The first mention of Jews in connection with printing is found in Avignon c. 1444 (before Gutenberg) when a Jew, Davin de Caderousse, studied the new craft. The first Hebrew books were printed at least within 35 years after the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • CRACOW — (Pol. Kraków; Heb. קראקא, קרקא, קראקוב), city in S. Poland (within the historic region lesser poland (Malopolska); in western galicia under Austria). Cracow was the residence of the leading Polish princes during the 12th century, and later became …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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