Page 191 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 48

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MARLENE R. SCHIFFMAN
The Library of the Jewish Institute
of Religion, 1922-1950
*
l. FORMATIVE YEARS
t h e
J
ew ish
in s t i t u t e
of
r e l ig io n
was founded in New York
by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise in 1922. New York, he argued, was
the ideal place for the school because it provided a laboratory
for training in the rabbinate. Wise also cited the great schools,
universities, and libraries there.
In 1922 a cha rter was gran ted by the State o f New York to
the Jewish Institute o f Religion (JIR) to train rabbis, scholars,
and educators, and to establish a library. The library officially
was founded in 1922 by the acquisition o f the library o f the
late Marcus Brann, professor o f Jewish History at the Jewish
Theological Seminary o f Breslau, consisting o f nearly 3,100
items, and by the purchase o f several hund red items by Dr.
Stephen S. Wise1 in Europe. The classrooms and library soon
moved from a temporary location to 40 West 68th Street, ad ­
jacen t to Dr. Wise’s Free Synagogue. Dr. Jo shu a Bloch
(1890-1957), teacher o f Bible, Aramaic, and Syriac and Acting
Librarian, repo rted , “We have now the nucleus o f what p rom ­
ises to be a rich storehouse o f Jewish and general theological
scholarship. The B rann collection is especially rich in works
dealing with the history o f the Jews in various countries and
* I wish to express my thanks to my colleagues o f the HUC-JIR libraries who
helped me in my research, particularly Ms. Fanny Zelcer o f the American
Jewish Archives, Dr. David Gilner o f the Klau Library, Cincinnati, and Dr.
Philip E. Miller o f the Klau Library, New York. A special appreciation goes
to Prof. Jonathan D. Sarna, HUC-JIR, Cincinnati for his many helpful sug­
gestions.
1. Report o f Librarian, in the form o f a letter from Joshua Bloch to Stephen
Wise, December 27, 1922, p. 1, in
Minutes o f Meetings o f the Faculty and
Faculty Committees,
3 vols., September 1922-June 1942 (typescript), vol. I.
183