National Library of Israel in West Jerusalem

Saturday, 28 October 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Opera Houses, Theaters, Libraries, Union for the Mediterranean
Reading Time:  9 minutes

National Library of Israel still under construction © איתי כהן / אלבטרוס צילום אוויר/cc-by-3.0

National Library of Israel still under construction © איתי כהן / אלבטרוס צילום אוויר/cc-by-3.0

The National Library of Israel (NLI; Hebrew: HaSifria HaLeumit), formerly Jewish National and University Library (JNUL; Hebrew: Beit Ha-Sfarim Ha-Le’umi ve-Ha-Universita’i), is the library dedicated to collecting the cultural treasures of Israel and of Jewish heritage. The library holds more than 5 million books, and is located in the Government complex (Kiryat HaMemshala) near the Knesset. The National Library owns the world’s largest collections of Hebraica and Judaica, and is the repository of many rare and unique manuscripts, books and artifacts.

The establishment of a Jewish National Library in Jerusalem was the brainchild of Joseph Chazanovitz (1844–1919). His idea was creating a “home for all works in all languages and literatures which have Jewish authors, even though they create in foreign cultures.” Chazanovitz collected some 15,000 volumes which later became the core of the library. The B’nai Brith library, founded in Jerusalem in 1892, was the first public library in Palestine to serve the Jewish community. The library was located on B’nai Brith street, between the Meah Shearim neighborhood and the Russian Compound. Ten years later, the Bet Midrash Abrabanel library, as it was then known, moved to Ethiopia Street.

In 1920, when plans were drawn up for the Hebrew University, the B’nai Brith collection became the basis for a university library. The books were moved to Mount Scopus when the university opened five years later. In 1948, when access to the university campus on Mount Scopus was blocked, most of the books were moved to the university’s temporary quarters in the Terra Sancta building in Rehavia. By that time, the university collection included over one million books. For lack of space, some of the books were placed in storerooms around the city. In 1960, they were moved to the new JNUL building in Givat Ram. In the late 1970s, when the new university complex on Mount Scopus was inaugurated and the faculties of Law, Humanities and Social Science returned there, departmental libraries opened on that campus and the number of visitors to the Givat Ram library dropped. In the 1990s, the building suffered from maintenance problems such as rainwater leaks and insect infestation.

In 2007 the library was officially recognized as The National Library of the State of Israel after the passage of the National Library Law. The law, which came into effect on 23 July 2008, changed the library’s name to “National Library of Israel” and turned it temporarily to a subsidiary company of the University, later to become a fully independent community interest company, jointly owned by the Government of Israel (50%), the Hebrew University (25%) and other organizations.

National Library of Israel during construction © Hagai Agmon-Snir حچاي اچمون-سنير חגי אגמון-שניר/cc-by-sa-4.0 National Library of Israel still under construction © איתי כהן / אלבטרוס צילום אוויר/cc-by-3.0 Facade is partly made of Jerusalem stone © ברוך ניב/cc-by-2.5
<
>
National Library of Israel during construction © Hagai Agmon-Snir حچاي اچمون-سنير חגי אגמון-שניר/cc-by-sa-4.0
In 2014, the project for a new home of the Library in Jerusalem was unveiled. The 34,000 square meters building, was designed by the Basel-based architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron. The cornerstone laying ceremony took place in 2016. The facade of the new National Library building is in parts made of Jerusalem stone. The completion date was postponed a number of times and the old library building at Givat Ram continued to be used till September 2023. The grand opening events planned for the week of the 22nd October were cancelled due to the terrorist organization Hamas committed massacre/Pogrom on 7 October 2023 and the following 2023 Israel–Hamas war. The new building is expected to open on 29th October 2023.

The library’s mission is to secure copies of all material published in Israel, in any language; all publications on the subject of Israel, the Land of Israel, Judaism and the Jewish people, published in any language, in any country in the world; and all material published in Hebrew or any of the languages spoken in the Jewish Diaspora (such as Yiddish and Ladino). By law, two copies of all printed matter published in Israel must be deposited in the National Library. In 2001, the law was amended to include audio and video recordings, and other non-print media. Many manuscripts, including some of the library’s unique volumes such the 13th century Worms Mahzor, have been scanned and are available on the library’s website. Due to be completed in 2023, the National Library of Israel is digitizing over 2,500 rare manuscripts and books which will be available online for free. The works are written in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Urdu and date from the 9th to 20th Centuries.

Among the library’s special collections are the personal papers of hundreds of outstanding Jewish figures, the National Sound Archives, the Eran Laor Cartographic Collection, The Sidney Edelstein Collection (for the history of science) and numerous other collections of Hebraica and Judaica. The library also possesses some of Isaac Newton‘s manuscripts dealing with theological subjects. The collection, donated by the family of the collector Abraham Yahuda, includes many works by Newton about mysticism, analyses of holy books, predictions about the end of days and the appearance of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. It also contains maps that Newton sketched about mythical events to assist him in his end of days calculations. The library houses the personal archives of Martin Buber and Gershom Scholem. Additionally the library houses the Gershom Scholem Collection for the Research of Kabbalah and Hasidism, including Scholem’s personal library and items added since his death in 1982. Following the occupation of West Jerusalem by Haganah forces in May 1948, the libraries of a number Palestinians who fled the country as well as of other well-to-do Palestinians were transferred to the National Library. These collections included those of Henry Cattan, Khalil Beidas, Khalil al-Sakakini and Aref Hikmet Nashashibi. About 30,000 books were removed from homes in West Jerusalem, with another 40,000 taken from other cities in Mandatory Palestine. It is unclear whether the books were being kept and protected or if they were looted from the abandoned houses of their owners. About 6,000 of these books are in the library today indexed with the label AP – “Abandoned Property”. The books are cataloged, can be viewed from the Library’s general catalog and are regularly consulted by the public. The National Library of Israel completed its collection of the Max Brod archive in August 2019. Indeed, the Israel Supreme Court in a highly controversial decision ordered the papers including the Franz Kafka papers to be deposited here although Max Brod had expressly left the ultimate decision to the daughters of his secretary and heir Ester Hoffe providing that they were to hand them over to the “Bibliothek der Hebräischen Universität Jerusalem oder der Städtischen Bibliothek Tel Aviv oder einem anderen öffentlichen Archiv im Inland oder Ausland” [library of the Hebrew university Jerusalem or the City Library Tel Aviv or another domestic or foreign public archive]. On 19 December 2022, Irishman Stuart Rosenblatt, President of the Genealogical Society of Ireland, donated his 22 volume collection, being the Genealogical History of the Irish Jewish Communities, to the National Library of Israel, in the presence of the Irish Ambassador to Israel.

Read more on The National Library of Israel and Wikipedia National Library of Israel (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




Recommended posts:

Share this post: (Please note data protection regulations before using buttons)

Theme Week New England - Vermont

Theme Week New England - Vermont

[caption id="attachment_165807" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Stowe © flickr.com - Patrick/cc-by-2.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Vermont borders Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, New York to the west, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. Lake Champlain forms half of Vermont's western border with the state of New York and the Green Mountains run north–south the length of the state. Vermont is the 2nd-least populous of the U.S. states, with nearly 50,000 more residents than Wyoming. The capita...

[ read more ]

The Shard in London

The Shard in London

[caption id="attachment_153910" align="aligncenter" width="590"] The Shard in April 2012 © Cmglee/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Shard (also referred to as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge or the London Bridge Tower) is a skyscraper in London. Standing 309.6 metres (1,016 ft) high, it was topped out on 30 March 2012 and opened on 5 July 2012. The Shard is the tallest completed building in Europe, and is also the tallest free-standing structure in London, after the 330-metre (1,083 ft) concrete tower at the Em...

[ read more ]

Wolfenbüttel - Ernst August Library and Jägermeister

Wolfenbüttel - Ernst August Library and Jägermeister

[caption id="attachment_160227" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Wolfenbuettel Palace © Brunswyk[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Wolfenbüttel is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany, located on the Oker river about 13 kilometres south of Brunswick. It is the seat of the District of (Landkreis) Wolfenbüttel and of the bishop of the Protestant Lutheran State Church of Brunswick. It is also the southernmost of the 172 towns in northern Germany whose names end in büttel, meaning "residence" or "settlement." Wolfenbüttel became the...

[ read more ]

Theme Week China - Tianjin

Theme Week China - Tianjin

[caption id="attachment_200959" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Ancient Culture Street entrance © William M Benson[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Tianjin, alternately romanized as Tientsin, is a coastal metropolis in northern China and one of the nine national central cities of the People's Republic of China (PRC), with a total population of 15,621,200 as of 2016 estimation. Its built-up (or metro) area, made up of 12 central districts (all but Baodi, Jizhou, Jinghai and Ninghe), was home to 12,491,300 inhabitants in 2016 and is al...

[ read more ]

Theme Week Corsica - Porto-Vecchio

Theme Week Corsica - Porto-Vecchio

[caption id="attachment_160201" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Nerijp[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Porto-Vecchio is a commune in the Corse-du-Sud department of France on the island of Corsica. It is the seat of the canton of Porto-Vecchio, which it shares with Sari-Solenzara, Conca and Lecci. Port-Vecchio is a medium-sized port city placed on a good harbor, the southernmost of the marshy and alluvial east side of Corsica. The inhabitants are called Porto-Vecchiais in French, and Portivechjacciu in Corsican.[gallery siz...

[ read more ]

Bergerac on the Dordogne river

Bergerac on the Dordogne river

[caption id="attachment_154269" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Bergerac on the Dordogne river © Swanzack[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Bergerac is a commune and a sub-prefecture of the Dordogne department in southwestern France. Bergerac offers some of the finest wines in the Bordeaux region. It has 12 recognized wine AOCs (Appellations d'origine contrôlée) The drainage is excellent as a result of its proximity to the Dordogne River. The town has an important tourist industry and features a tobacco museum, in which, unlike in a...

[ read more ]

Dumbo in Brooklyn

Dumbo in Brooklyn

[caption id="attachment_193078" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Empire State Building framed by Manhattan Bridge, as seen from Washington Street © MusikAnimal/cc-by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Dumbo (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is a neighborhood in the ...

[ read more ]

The Bahamas

The Bahamas

[caption id="attachment_152620" align="aligncenter" width="590"] The Abaco Islands - Hope Town Lighthouse © bahamas.com[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Bahamas officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets (rocks). It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States (nearest to the state of Florida). Its land area is 13,939 km2 (5,382 sq mi), with...

[ read more ]

Tulle in central France

Tulle in central France

[caption id="attachment_153557" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Tulle Prefecture © F. Lavie[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Tulle is a commune and capital of the Corrèze département in the Limousin region in central France on the west side of the Massif Central. It is also the episcopal see of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulle. It is the third-largest town in the Limousin region, after Limoges and Brive-la-Gaillarde. Known sometimes as "the town on the seven hills", Tulle rose to prominence through the development of its manufac...

[ read more ]

Rijeka on the Kvarner Bay

Rijeka on the Kvarner Bay

[caption id="attachment_153807" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Croation National Theatre © Djoko/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Rijeka is the principal seaport and the third-largest city in Croatia (after Zagreb and Split). It is located on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea and has a population of 129,000 inhabitants. Rijeka is the center of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. The city's economy largely depends on shipbuilding (shipyards "3. Maj" and "Viktor Lenac Shipyard") and maritime transport. Rijeka hosts the ...

[ read more ]

Return to TopReturn to Top
© US Fish & Wildlife Service
Theme Week Puerto Rico – Desecheo Island

Desecheo (Spanish: Isla Desecheo) is a small uninhabited island of the archipelago of Puerto Rico located in the northeast of...

© McKaby/cc-by-sa-4.0
Rockefeller Archeological Museum in East Jerusalem

The Rockefeller Archeological Museum, formerly the Palestine Archaeological Museum ("PAM"; 1938–1967), is an archaeology museum located in East Jerusalem, next...

Pajaros Beach © Serge Aucoin/cc-by-sa-4.0
Theme Week Puerto Rico – Mona Island

Mona (Spanish: Isla de Mona) is the third-largest island of the Puerto Rican archipelago, after the main island of Puerto...

Schließen