Columbia Library Holdings

Columbia University's library resources in Jewish studies include some 35,000 Hebrew and Yiddish titles in addition to large holdings of Jewish scholarly works in Western languages. Moreover, the University's Rare Book and Manuscript Library houses a distinguished Judaica collection of its own, with 28 Hebrew incunabula, over 300 sixteenth-century printed books, and more than 1,000 manuscripts covering a remarkably wide range of subject matter.


Many of these rarities were originally held in the private libraries of the renowned eighteenth-century Talmudist Rabbi Jacob Emden of Altona and the nineteenth-century bibliophile Joseph Almanzi of Padua, Italy. These items were acquired in 1868 by Temple Emanu-El of New York and presented as a gift to Columbia in 1892. The collection was augmented over the years, first by Professor Richard Gottheil, and then under the guidance of Professor Salo Wittmayer Baron. In 1947 the library added yet another jewel to its crown with the acquisition of the magnificent Oko-Gebhardt Spinoza Collection, consisting of almost 4,000 books by and about the Dutch Jewish philosopher. Film copies of Columbia's manuscripts have been made in recent years and deposited in the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts in Jerusalem.

The Judaica collection regularly shares exhilarating discoveries, exciting news, and recently acquired materials with the community. To keep up to date with the latest from the library, check out the blog curated by the Norman Alexander Librarian for Jewish Studies, Michelle Chesner.

The Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies works very closely with the Jewish Theological Seminary. Learn more about the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

For assistance in researching topics related to Israel or Jewish Studies, be in touch with Michelle Chesner, the Norman Alexander Librarian for Jewish Studies.