18th century Esther Scroll written by teenage Italian girl up for auction

‘Mistress Luna Tama, daughter of the honored philanthropist, the honorable Yehudah Amron and she/is in the fourteen[th] year of her life,’ the inscription reads.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A Megillat Esther (Scroll of Esther) inscribed by a teenage girl in 18th century Italy will be auctioned off at Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem.

The rare artifact provides a unique insight into Roman Jewish life two centuries ago, and the role of women in that particular community.

According to TPS, the last page of the scroll revealed the name of the scribe who’d calligraphed the intricate text – one Luna Amron, the daughter of an influential Roman Jewish family.

“With the help of the awesome G-d/the writing of these blessings and Scroll are now complete/on the 10th day of the month of Adar I, 5527 [1767]/ all handwritten, with the hand of G-d who bestowed wisdom to a maiden who is humble/and pleasant,” reads the last page of the scroll, immediately after blessings which are said once the reading of the scroll is completed.

“Mistress Luna Tama, daughter of the honored philanthropist, the honorable Yehudah Amron and she/is in the fourteen[th] year of her life,” the inscription continues.

“Give her from the fruits of her hand/and they shall praise her actions in the city gates./And we shall merit witnessing miracles and wonders speedily in our days and her days.”

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TPS eported that there are only two other Esther Scrolls that have been written by Italian women, making the manuscript transcribed by Amron particularly notable.

Researchers from Kedem Auction House discovered that Amron was married nine years after inscribing the scroll to the scion of another notable Italian Jewish family, Jacob David son of Mordechai (Angelo) di Segni.

The fact that the scroll was written by a female gives it questionable Halachic status, as the majority of Jewish holy texts, such as Torah scrolls and mezuzot are required to be inscribed by men.

However, some prominent rabbis have ruled that Esther Scrolls can be written by women.

Rabbi Maimonides, who is widely considered one of the greatest thinkers in Jewish history, ruled that because women are required to hear the reading of the Scroll, they are also permitted to inscribe them.

Amron’s Esther Scroll will go up for auction in January 2022.