Page 70 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

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they brought. I expect—and the Court has already found it probable that
those claims will fail. The Court would then formulate a disposition plan for
the materials that either recognizes HUC’s property interest or optimizes their
utilization by institutions o f higher Jewish scholarship, depending upon
whether HUC ’s direct claim is accepted. However, the Court need not con­
front that issue because the conservancy arrangement will fully accommodate
all interests. On that latter point we would support a decision by the Court to
seek the advice and guidance o f the JRSO to assess the feasibility o f the conser­
vancy arrangement and to identify appropriate participants.
The background o f the conservancy agreement is this: When the existence
of the Hochschule books and manuscripts came to light last year, the JT S pur­
chased the most prized elements of the collection, the Prague Bible and Cata­
lan Machzor, from the Guttmann defendants in a private sale in June 1984
before the auction took place. Thereafter, HUC and JTS negotiated toward a
conservancy arrangement in an effort to make the Bible and Machzor broadly
available to scholars and to carefully preserve them. W e reached an agreement
in principle. W e hope to bring other appropriate institutions o f higher Jewish
learning into the arrangement.
As proposed, the conservancy, which would own these materials, will in­
clude a representative o f each participating institution as a trustee. . . . The
trust will preserve the books and manuscripts. . . and make them available to
institutions o fJewish or general scholarship. The agreement would provide for
admission of additional appropriate institutions in the future (pp. 13-14) .
Put another way in the accompanying memorandum: “HUC
does not insist upon asserting its property interest in those materi­
als to the exclusion of other institutions of higher Jewish learning.
Instead, HUC proposes a conservancy arrangement, whereby
HUC, the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Leo Baeck College,
and other appropriate institutions of higher Jewish learning will
share ownership and access to these materials” (pp. 13-14).
The setdement was approved despite HUC’s opposition, but
HUC’s espousal of the conservancy plan was more successful.