Page 190 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Bible with commentaries, Talmud and Rabbinics, Jewish law,
history, philosophy and mysticism, Hasidism and Habad, and
belles-lettres. With regard to the acquisition o f new materials,
this library definitely excludes works authored by writers who
are not committed to the observance o f the mitzvot. Other stric­
tures o f religious conduct are adhered to as a matter o f op­
erational policy; e.g., men and women use the library on al­
ternate days. Its selection o f magazines and periodicals, likewise
reflects an orientation towards an ultra religious worldview.
The “ Levi Yitzchak Library” uses a classification system orig­
inally devised by its former director. Cataloging is computer­
ized. A staff o f five part-time workers is supervised by the pres­
ent director, Rabbi Nehemia Kessler. The budgetary needs are
met by Tzeire Agudas Chabad — a group dedicated to pro­
moting Habad’s ideological as well as organizational interests
on an international scale. The library’s appearance and func­
tionality, with its special collection o f 8,000 tapes, convey the
impression o f an educational center for young people according
to grade levels. Whether total isolation from the outside world
serves these users’ best interests, is a question beyond the scope
o f this article.
In addition to the two facilities, the large research library
and the Levi Yitzchak educational center, Lubavitch institutions
encompass three other collections, which are entirely autono­
mous, subject to direction and supervision exclusively by the
Rebbe: 1. The collection in the main Beth Hamidrash number­
ing about 10,000 volumes, all Sifre Kodesh; e.g., liturgical ma­
terials, Bible with commentaries, Talmud and Rabbinics, works
in mysticism and Habad, discourses delivered by the Rebbe at
gatherings with Hasidim in their rough preliminary form, as
well as carefully edited tracts with bibliographic annotations and
references. Scores o f users, at times hundreds o f them, mill
around at all hours o f the day in this Beth Hamidrash, savoring
samples o f Habad’s teachings from the resources at hand or
just listening to a lecture.
2.
The collection o f Yeshivat Tomche Temimim, some
7000-8000 volumes strong, mostly i f not exclusively in Rabbin­
ics, especially the type o f literature that highlights elucidation
in talmudic studies. This type focuses on “ novellae” (hiddushim)
and to a lesser extent on legal responsa (she’elot u’teshuvot),
works which invariably concentrate on relevant talmudic refer­