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Lot 93: Ketubah Recording the Marriage of Rabbi Amram Blau with the Proselyte Ruth Ben-David

Auction 53 - Rare and Important Items

by Kedem Public Auction House Ltd

15 November 2016

Jerusalem, Israel

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Description: Printed ketubah, filled by hand, recording the marriage of R. Amram, son of R. Yitzchak Shlomo Blau, with Ruth Ben-David (Madeleine Ferraille), in Bnei Brak, Elul 1965. Signatures of witnesses: "Eliezer David son of Chaim" and "Eliezer son of Yochanan". With stamp of the "Neturei Karta - Charedi Jewry". The form was printed earlier [Jerusalem, c. 1930], published by "Mendel Freidman & Co.- Jerusalem", Hatechiya printing press. R. Amram Blau (1894-1974) was head of the extreme Charedi organization Niturei Karta and younger brother of R. Moshe Blau head of Agudat Yisrael in Jerusalem. He was the focus of an event that caused an upheaval in Jerusalem Charedi circles - the trenchant polemic surrounding his marriage to the proselyte Ruth Ben-David (1920-2000, whose former name, Madeleine Ferraille also appears in the ketubah). R. Amram, at the time of this polemic, was a widower close to 70 years old and Ruth Ben-David, a French proselyte, was more than 20 years his junior. Ben-David was born to Catholic parents and at the age of 19 wed a French soldier whom she divorced three years later. Her son Claude, born from that union, converted together with her and changed his name to Uriel. She had university degrees in history and geography, worked as a dancer and teacher and participated in the anti-Nazi underground in France during World War II. At the age of 31, she converted to Judaism in Paris and later made Aliya to Israel. Ben-David was involved in the concealment of Yossele Schumacher and smuggled him out of the country. During that time, she became acquainted with the population of the Yishuv HaYashan and wished to join their closed circle and marry Rabbi Amram Blau. The Niturei Karta community and the Eda HaCharedit vehemently opposed this union and Rabbi Blau's disciples and children thought this marriage as a blow to his honor diminishing his status. The rabbis of the Eda HaCharedit also opposed his marriage on the halachic grounds of wedding a young woman to an old man as well as fearing a desecration of G-d’s name. The Charedi circles seethed; notices and proclamations were posted in the streets of Jerusalem, and the city raged. Finally, after more than half a year of stormy controversy, the two married in Elul 1965. R. Amram was forced to leave his native city of Jerusalem and moved for a while to Bnei Brak. After many years, Ruth Ben-David Blau published her best-seller Shomrei Ha’Ir (Jerusalem 1979) in which she relates this painful story. 44 cm. Good-fair condition. Tears to folds and other damages.

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