Recent acquisition by the Yale U. Library

Das Hohe Lied Salomos, the biblical book, Song of Songs in German translation with woodcut illustrations by Ludwig von Hoffman (1865-1945). Berlin: Otto v. Holten, 1921. Limited edition of 30 copies. Yale has number 26 signed by the artist on the colophon page. The Song of Songs is read in the synagogue on the Sabbath of the Passover holiday (this year, April 22-30). It is attributed to King Solomon and deals with spring and young love. It is read on Passover, because the festival is associated with freedom, spring and renewal.



A series of four lectures on Jewish Thought in the Twelfth Century revolving around the issue of the creation of the world, Yale University. Presented by- Daniel Lasker, Horace W. Goldsmith Visiting Professor.



Professor Daniel Lasker, Dr. Nanette Stahl, Judaica Librarian,
and Steven Fraade, Chair Program in Judaic Studies


Sarah Decker, Ph.D student in Modern Jewish History and Yotam Hotam,
Visiting Assistant Professor, Judaic Studies


The Judaica Collection, Yale University Library Nanette Stahl, Joseph and Ceil Mazer Librarian for Judaic Studies

The mission of the Judaica Collection at the Yale University Library, located in New Haven, Connecticut, is to support faculty, students and visiting scholars by providing the materials they need in order to accomplish their scholarly work in Judaic studies. Nanette Stahl has been the collection’s curator for 23 years.

The Yale Library’s Judaica holdings have grown slowly but steadily since the university’s founding in 1701. Following the receipt of two major gifts in 1915, the library established a separate Judaica collection which is now recognized as one of the major collections of Judaica in the country. The focus of the 300,000-volume collection, which includes manuscripts and rare books, is biblical, classical, medieval, and modern Jewish literature and history, and supports the research needs of the faculty and students of the University’s Judaic Studies Program and those of the broader academic community.

Yale has a long and rich tradition in the study of Jewish religion, history, and thought, dating back to Yale’s founding, when the Hebrew language was a required course of study. Now, with an undergraduate major in Judaic Studies, and a graduate program training future academic leaders, the study of Jewish life and thought is thoroughly integrated into the university’s offerings in the Humanities. Yale’s program of Judaic Studies comprises seven primary professorships.

Nanette has a diverse role as the Joseph and Ceil Mazer Judaica Librarian. She is responsible for giving focus and direction to the Judaica Collection and for locating rare and unusual items for purchase, with the help of dealers. All of the purchasing is in close consultation with the Yale faculty to ensure that the materials are as relevant as possible to courses being taught at Yale. She collects Judaica in many formats – printed, digital, microfilm and micro-fiche, manuscripts, etc. – and from all periods – biblical, post-biblical, medieval, and modern. Nanette also travels to Israel on a regular basis to nurture existing book dealers and to seek out new ones.

img0007  Scroll of Esther, Italy? early 19th century?

She helps to publicize the collection’s unique holdings, ensuring that the Judaica Collection maintains a high visibility on campus. One important aspect of this is organizing exhibits in the Yale Library, which offer both aesthetic and educational benefits. Examples of past exhibits include The Art of the Ketubah, The Art of the Passover haggadah, Yiddish Sheet Music, and others. Click on:

The curator’s role often involves coordinating conferences relating to special collections, such as one featuring the Yiddish author, Sholem Asch. Others have included Jewish music; the Israeli poet, Yehuda Amichai; the medieval scholar Moses Maimonides. The most recent one focused on the Jews of North Africa.

The social, religious, and cultural lives of the Jewish people are reflected in the library’s collections. Religious law, Sephardic studies, rabbinics, Jewish philosophy and modern thought, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Ladino languages and literatures are all well-represented components.

shivvitiShiviti (votive) plaque, hung in synagogue,
Morocco, 19th or early 20th century

Rare Judaica materials are housed in the Manuscripts and Archives Department and in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Among the rare and unusual materials at the Beinecke Library are 150 manuscripts and 45 incunabula (books printed before 1500). Special features of this impressive holding include the Selah Merrill Collection of Josephus, the Goodhart Collection of Philo imprints, and the Sholem Asch Collection. Materials of a political nature can be found in Manuscripts and Archives, such as the papers of the Palestine Statehood Committee. Yale’s official records documenting the history of Jews at Yale are also housed in Manuscripts and Archives. The Gilmore Music Library contains a collection of Yiddish and cantorial sheet music as well as many recordings.

For more information about the Judaica collection at Yale, the Judaic website website highlights the collection’s many resources and research guides, notable new acquisitions, and virtual web exhibits. It also contains useful links to other university and community resources in the field of Judaic Studies. See: If you are interested in contacting the curator, she can be reached by email at:

web page

Recent Aquisitions.

Collection of documents of the Etz Hayim Yeshiva, Jerusalem, early 20th century


List of expectations for study and conduct of the students enrolled in the yeshiva


A group of letters of Rabbi Zevel Berznasky
and his wife Masha Beila of Chicago.

A printed letter in the name of Rabbi Shmuel Salant,
head of the Ashkenazi community of Jerusalem,
soliciting funds for the yeshiva, 1892.

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