This announcement from the Israelitisches Familienblatt [Israelite Family Paper] no. 38, September 20, 1928, supplement “Aus alter und neuer Zeit” [“Times Old and New”] no. 27, is more than just an advertisement calling for participation in a contest by stressing the valuable prizes to be won. For it also gives the reasons for selecting these particular prizes. The author and designer of this contest, one of a series held by the paper, is identified only as the “publisher and editor.” It is safe to assume that the detailed texts for these contests were written by Leo I. Lessmann, the paper’s publisher. They reflect his interest in reviving Jewish tradition and spreading knowledge about Jewish religious practice.
Leo I. Lessmann was born in 1891 in Altona. After his return from the First World War, he took over the Israelitisches Familienblatt, which his father, Max Lessmann, had founded. He was an Orthodox Jew and a member of the Neue Dammtor Synagogue’s Neue Dammtor-Synagoge administration. Between 1926 and 1932, the Israelitisches Familienblatt, a Jewish newspaper published in Hamburg and distributed nationwide, offered challenging contests that were very popular. Solving them required knowledge on Jewish culture and religion, and the prizes consisted mostly in valuable ritual objects for domestic religious practice as well as in paintings and books related to Jewish religion and culture. The many prizes offered were both very desirable and precious.
The “Israelitisches Familienblatt” and Its Support of Jewish Ceremonial Art, September 20, 1928 (translated by Insa Kummer), edited in: Key Documents of German-Jewish History, <https://dx.doi.org/10.23691/jgo:source-135.en.v1> [January 22, 2020].