HUC-JIR Library Collection: Exploring Nine Centuries of Jewish Life

By The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center: Spring 2021 (other events)

Tuesday, August 10 2021 11:30 AM 12:30 PM EDT

The membership list of the Kaifeng (China) Congregation during the Ming Dynasty.

A 15th-century Spanish Bible with Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed in the margins.

An 18th-century Purim scroll commemorating the survival of the Jews of Padua after an attack on their ghetto 150 years earlier.

The whimsical “receipt” given by Herbert Samuel to his predecessor when he became High Commissioner for Palestine.

For almost 150 years, the Klau Library at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion has been amassing rare memorabilia of Jewish life and lore, religion and culture. Now the largest collection of Judaica and Hebraica outside the National Library of Israel, it’s a cornucopia of prayer books, lavishly illustrated Haggadot, wood- and copper-engraved bookplates, theatrical posters, printed maps of 15th-century Palestine — even a Yizkor book written in both Hebrew and Chinese. 

After introductory remarks by HUC-JIR’s president, Dr. Andrew Rehfeld, Yoram Bitton and Dr. Jordan Finkin will serve as our tour guides through this fascinating treasure trove — and the critical moments in Jewish history they reflect. 

Dr. Jordan Finkin is the Rare Book and Manuscript Librarian at HUC in Cincinnati and a specialist in modern Yiddish literature. 

Yotam Bitton is the Director of Libraries of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion at New York, Cincinnati, Los Angeles and Jerusalem.