Romm publishing house

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The Romm publishing house was a famous publisher of Jewish religious literature, especially known for its 1886 Vilna Talmud, which still serves as a definitive edition.

Romm was founded in 1789 in Grodno, by Barukh ben Yosef Romm. It moved to Vilnius in 1799, where it expanded greatly under the ownership of Barukh's son, Menahem Mann Romm (d.1841).[1][2] Initially publishing halakhic and homiletic works, in 1835 it caused a stir by publishing an edition of the Talmud, whose publication had previously been undertaken by the Shapira family of Slavuta. After fierce controversy over whether this new edition was permitted by rabbinical law, with rabbis on each side unable to reach agreement, the death of a worker in the Slavuta factory during the controversy led to the Russian government intervening (Vilnius was at the time in the Vilna Governorate of the Russian Empire). The Slavuta publishing house was shut down, and to instill order amongst the Jewish publishers, the Russian authorities instituted a formal publishing monopoly, which Romm successfully bid for.

The Romm factory burned down in 1840, but was soon rebuilt, and prospered through both its monopoly privileges and the rapidly increasing Jewish population of the region. Upon the death of owner David Romm in 1862, the company was, unusually, taken over by his widow Deborah, and renamed to the "Widow and Brothers Romm". It was under this name that it produced a highly regarded new edition of the Talmud, completed in 1886, which is still widely used.

The firm's last Talmud edition was printed in 1897, after which the rise of Zionism shifted Jewish publishing. Deborah Romm died in 1903, and after several of her sons emigrated to the United States, the firm was sold in 1910 to David Günzburg. It continued to print both Hebrew and Yiddish works until it was destroyed in 1940, following the Soviet invasion.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Jewish encyclopedia 1925 "The establishment was inherited by his son Menahem Man Romm, who in 1835 commenced, in partnership with Simhah Zimmel of Grodno, to publish a new edition of the Talmud."
  2. ^ Žydų gyvenimas Lietuvoje: parodos katalogas Rūta Puišytė, Darius Staliūnas - 2007 "8 The Vilnius printers Menachem Romm and Dvoira Romm. Boruch Romm set up the first Jewish press in Lithuania in Grodno. From 1823 it operated in Vilnius. Between 1829 and 1833 it published 111 religious books. In the decade 1847-1857 the Romms published 460 Jewish books."

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