Page 166 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 49

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DAVID WOLPE
Ostrow Library
University of
Judaism
*
t h e
U
n i v e r s i t y
o f
Judaism was founded in 1947. Based on
the vision o f Mordecai Kaplan, the University’s mission was to
provide an academic environment for the study o f Judaic and
world culture. Originally housed in a series o f classrooms at
Sinai Temple, the University moved one year later to what had
been a private eight room mansion. The makeshift library was
housed in the dining room o f the mansion, and all the books
were und e r lock and key.
In 1956 the University, having outgrown its modest quarters,
moved to a building on Sunset Boulevard. T h e building was
a fo rm e r health club facility, and there the University remained
for the next 11 years. Once again, the library lacked a p rope r
facility: the collection was housed in what had been the handball
courts. As the holdings grew, one court was no longer sufficient;
space requirements necessitated breaking th rough the walls into
the adjacent court. T h e whole episode proved, in library d irec­
tor Dr. Louis Shub’s wry phrase, “the trium ph o f Hebraism
over Hellenism.”
In 1963, Dr. David Lieber became president o f the University.
U nde r his direction, and that o f chairman o f the board Jack
Ostrow, the University continued to expand , and once again
proved too large for its building. This time it was decided to
construct a facility commensurate with the aims o f the institu­
tion. In 1977 the University moved into its cu rren t twenty-eight
acre quarte rs in the Santa Monica mountains on Mulholland
Drive.
Today the University o f Judaism is a comprehensive Univer­
* I would like to thank Dr. Louis Shub, Dr. Max Vorspan, and University
Librarian Rick Burke for their help in preparing this article.
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