We met at a beautiful hotel in Italy and after hearing the wonderful presentation she had just finished giving in the main hall of the hotel on the Sassoon Codex, I had to have a chat with this wonderful woman, Mrs. Sharon Mintz.
I was pleasantly surprised at her soft and sweet voice, and her very relaxed and simple approach even though so many people wanted to speak to her at the end of her lecture. The amount of knowledge this woman has doesn't match her very approachable and humble personality. She listens carefully to all those who speak to her and ask her questions, want advice, or simply want to hear more interesting stories about her career.
Sharon Liberman Mintz is the Curator of Jewish Art at the Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary and specializes in the fields of Illuminated Hebrew manuscripts and rare printed books. She has curated more than 40 exhibitions, over the course of 30 years at the Library, authored ten exhibition catalogs and has lectured extensively on a variety of topics in the fields of Jewish Art and rare Hebrew books. She is Senior Consultant for Judaica at Sotheby’s since 1995 and has cataloged and appraised Hebrew books for Judaica sales worldwide for over two decades.
In February 2009, Sharon collaborated on the cataloging and exhibition of the Valmadonna Trust Library at Sotheby’s, the finest private library of Hebrew books and manuscripts in the world. She was the Project Director of the acclaimed Judaica exhibition Printing the Talmud: From Bomberg to Schottenstein (2005) and co-editor of the monumental catalog published in conjunction with the exhibition. How honored I felt to be able to sit alone with her and ask her about the incredible Codex Sasson story. Sharon lives and breathes Judaica books and manuscripts, she is one of the biggest experts in the world, as you talk to her though I get the feeling that it is not just a career for her it's really a passion it's part of her life. Her eyes light up when she describes the first time she touched Codex Sassoon with her hands, and when she tells me the story of this book it is as if she is telling the story of her life.
Sharon has made us all so much more aware of the importance of preserving and recognizing the value of these books and manuscripts for us as the Jewish nation - known as the people of the book! She gently encourages us to learn about it, to appreciate and to enjoy most of all these incredible pieces that can be seen at museums and libraries all over the world.
As we are about to finish the interview I wonder how many secrets she has kept or behind-the-scenes stories that cannot be publicized on the buying and selling of certain pieces and surely the drama and suspense we never heard behind the Codex Sasson, I understand though why anyone would trust her fully, she is reserved, professional and focused, yet so nice and friendly.
I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed the conversation I had with Mrs. Sharon Mintz.