Page 108 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 38

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MAURICE S. TUCHMAN
The Library of the Boston
Hebrew College
T
he
H
ebrew
T
ea ch er s
C
ollege
from its beginnings has been a
pioneer in Jewish higher education in the Greater Boston area. It
was founded shortly after World War I to teach Hebrew literature
in all its phases and to educate personnel for Hebrew and Jewish
educational positions. In the years since, it has become an impor­
tant center o f Jewish learning.
The College, which changed its name in 1969 to Hebrew Col­
lege, first opened its doors in 1921 offering a four year course o f
study, with Hebrew as the language o f instruction and requiring
daily attendance. From its inception, a library figured promi­
nently in the plans o f the college. Louis Hurwich, superintendent
o f the Bureau o f Jewish Education, whose bold plan was the basis
for the college, early envisioned the library as a major collection o f
Judaica and Hebraica and a lending library to serve the needs o f
the entire Boston Jewish community.
Even before the college was opened Mr. Hurwich befriended
an itinerant book seller, Joseph Shankerman, who assisted him in
locating many volumes which were to serve as a basis for the
library. In this manner, a collection o f books in Hebrew literature
and donations o f several hundred volumes o f biblical and rab­
binic literature were gathered for the library.
The college, from its beginning, counted among its friends the
Jewish communal leaders o f Greater Boston. In 1922, Dr. Louis
M. Epstein, rabbi o f Congregation Kehillath Israel o f Brookline,
visited Germany and discovered that a book dealer there was
prepared to sell a collection o f 2,000 volumes for $500. Morris
Feinberg, a lay leader deeply committed to Jewish education, and
his wife, quickly made possible the acquisition o f these books.
This collection was rich in 19th century Hebrew literature and
was to form the basis for the library’s extensive holdings in mod­
ern Hebrew literature.
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