Early prints in the collection of the Jewish Historical Institute come from the famous printing houses in big cities, or from small presses in distant towns. They picture the history of Hebrew printing and of Jewish thought from the 16th through 18th centuries, when Jewish communities of Europe were experiencing major developments and grave disasters. The book is a material object, but its essence is of spiritual and intellectual nature. For Jews their Book, the Torah, determines the sphere of daily life and creates the passionate aura of religious dispute and quest. This double perspective is the key idea of the exhibition. It opens a view into the era of social and cultural transformation resulting from the rapid progress of printing. Primarily, it is the story of Jewish spiritual life, deeply immersed in tradition, but also changing with new trends arising, under the impact of historical circumstances or shocks of heresy.