How to Locate Rabbinic Information
Sources in Libraries and Archives
Since rabbinic genealogy is based primarily on books, it is
important to know which repositories contain rabbinic information
sources and how to access them. The following is a listing of libraries and archives containing significant
Judaic resources. Check for specific items in
your local public or academic
library's catalogs or ask your librarian about inter-library loan policies.
The Israeli university libraries, Jewish Theological Seminary, Ohio
State University, and University of Pennsylvania use a system called
ALEPH. This system, from an Israeli company, is a powerful library
management system that can catalog and offer public access to books
in Latin, Hebrew, Arabic and Cyrillic characters. The systems used
by the Library of Congress and OCLC enter Hebrew books in
transliteration only. Brandeis University's system over the Internet
is in transliteration only. Their local system displays Hebrew
characters. (F1) See also: Installing
Hebrew fonts on your computer (MS Windows).
||Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to read files
with this symbol. To download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat
- Bar-Ilan University
Library, Ramat Gan |
- The computerized catalog includes over 400,000
records. The Library has electronic
journals and both full-text and bibliographic databases on
CD-ROM, in various languages. The electronic database
includes some of the classical texts in the Judaic
Classics Library. In addition, one may
search the text of Jacob ben Asher's code the Tur;
Joseph Caro's Bet Yosef; and 253 books of Responsa
covering a period from the 8th century to the present. See
- Jewish National and
University Library, Hebrew
University, Givat Ram, Jerusalem | Online
- There are some 3,000,000 volumes of books and periodicals
in the Library's holdings, constituting the largest collection of printed Judaica in the world.
items in special collections include: 1) Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts, and personal archives of outstanding Jewish
persons, 2) microfilms of over 90% of known Hebrew manuscripts
from libraries throughout the world, and 3) master microfilms
of Israeli and Jewish newspapers and periodicals. See
Index of Articles on Jewish Studies.
- The Central Archives for
the History of the Jewish People, Jerusalem
- The Archives has
rescued and preserved the archival remnants of hundreds of
Jewish communities, organizations and public figures from
all over the world. The Archives carries out systematic surveys in non-Jewish archives to
locate material relating to Jews, so far uncovering millions of documents, some dating back to the
- Yad Vashem
Library and Archives, Jerusalem
- Yad Vashem is a repository for all published material
about the Holocaust and related subjects. Millions of Pages of Testimony are now available online. The Library
contains the largest collection of yizkor books. The Library
catalog is computerized but not accessible via Internet. The Israel Genealogical Society has compiled an index to their holdings
British Library -
Hebrew Collections, London, England | Online
- The Hebrew collections comprise the Library's
holdings of material written and printed in Hebrew characters, ranging
from manuscripts copied over a millennium ago to the present. The collections include around 3,000 manuscript
volumes and about 73,000 printed book titles mostly in Hebrew and related languages. There are nearly 1,000
Hebrew and Yiddish periodical and newspaper titles, and considerable
numbers of manuscripts, printed books, and periodicals in microforms.
Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Leopold Muller Memorial
Library | Online Catalog
- One of the best
collections of books and periodicals in Jewish studies in
Historical Society, New York, NY, and Waltham, Massachusetts
- Consists of approximately 50,000 volumes. The collections consist
of encyclopedias, yearbooks, genealogical reference sources,
bibliographies, biographical dictionaries, atlases, and finding aids to
AJHS archival collections. Collections include family collections with genealogies, the papers of rabbis that include ritual records and
mohel books, and records from
synagogues from large and medium-sized cities. For detailed
information, see: Researching
Rabbis at the Center for Jewish History.
Sephardi Federation Library and Archives, New York, New York | Online
- The Library contains more than 2,200 books, periodicals,
oral histories, and archival records. It offers
comprehensive documentation for the study of Jews tracing
their ancestry back to the Iberian Peninsula, or
alternatively who came from communities in North Africa, the
Middle East, or the Orient.
- Brandeis University
Libraries, Waltham, Massachusetts | LOUIS
Online Catalog (Web) | LOUIS
Online Catalog (Telnet)
History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
Salt Lake City, Utah | Online
University, Widener Library, Cambridge, Massachusetts | Online
- The Judaica Division collects materials covering
all aspects of Jewish life and culture in every place and period,
with particular comprehensive coverage of Jewish life and culture in
the State of Israel. Special emphasis is placed on materials in
Hebrew, which constitutes the
single largest component of the Judaica Collection.
College-Jewish Institute of Religions Libraries | Online
Cincinnati, Ohio. The Library is the second
largest collection of printed Judaica in the world - second only to the
Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem. It contains over
700,000 volumes, among them 150 incunabula, more than 2,000 manuscript
codices, and many thousands of pages of archival documents. It also
houses the American Jewish Periodical Center, which preserves American
Jewish periodicals and newspapers on microfilm. More than 875 titles,
with over 12,000,000 pages, are available in the Center.
Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio. Includes hundreds of archival-manuscript collections.
Jewish Theological Seminary
Library, New York, New York | Online
- The holdings consist of 375,000 volumes representing all
areas of Judaica, Hebraica and related subjects. As the largest repository of Hebrew manuscripts in the
Western Hemisphere, the Library serves as a worldwide center for
Leo Baeck Institute,
New York, New York | Online
- The Institute is a research, study, and lecture center whose
archives offer the most comprehensive documentation for the study of
German Jewish history and includes more than 10,000
archival records, 1,250 memoirs, 60,000 books, and 750 periodicals.
Search the Online Catalog by typing the family name or town name
into the subject category or browse listings under the subject
"rabbis." For detailed information, see: Researching
Rabbis at the Center for Jewish History.
Library of Congress, The Hebraic Section, Washington, D.C.
| Online Catalog
- The Hebraic holdings include all books of research value in Hebrew and related languages, and a copy of
virtually every book and journal of research value published in Israel.
Almost 150,000 items are available for examination by researchers and
scholars. The collection includes an extensive range of monographs;
a broad selection of Hebrew periodicals; and a variety of Yiddish and Hebrew
particular interest to genealogists is the Library's comprehensive
collection of Holocaust memorial volumes documenting Jewish life in
Eastern Europe before the Second World War, as well as a large
collection of rabbinic bio-bibliographical works in Hebrew.
- NUCMC, or
the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, is a
free-of-charge cooperative cataloging program operated by the
Library of Congress. This page contains a link to the searchable
York Public Library - Dorot Jewish Division, New York, New York | Online
forty percent of the Division's holdings are in Hebrew characters and
the remainder are in other languages, primarily English, German,
Russian, and French. The Division is made up of bibliographies
and reference works, Jewish Americana, history and social studies,
Kabbalistic and Hasidic works, texts by Christian Hebraists, rabbinic
responsa, Hebrew and Yiddish literature, and periodicals and newspapers.
It contains over 250,000 books, microforms, manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals,
and ephemera from all over the world.
Spertus Institute of
Jewish Studies Library Chicago, Illinois | Online
- The Library contains more than 105,000
books on virtually every Jewish topic in nearly a dozen different languages.
United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum Library and Archive, Washington, D.C. | Online
University of Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia - Center for Judaic Studies Library | Online
Catalog (Web) | Online
- The Center for Judaic Studies is the former Annenberg Research
Institute, which used to be Dropsie University and Dropsie College.
Yale University Library, New Haven, Connecticut
- The focus of the 95,000 volume collection
includes manuscripts and rare books, covering biblical, classical, medieval,
and modern periods of Jewish literature and history.
Library, New York, New York | Online
- The Mendel Gottesman Library of Hebraica/Judaica houses
collections including the fields of Rabbinics, Bible, Jewish
history, Jewish philosophy, and Hebrew language. The collection consists of more
than 200,000 printed volumes in a variety of languages, dating from the
15th century to the present day. More than 11,000 microform units contain copies of
journals, dissertations, rare books, volumes, and several collections of manuscripts
Institute for Jewish Research Library and Archive, New York, New York
- The Library has information regarding specific
cities and towns in Eastern Europe, including encyclopedias,
gazetteers, and over 600 yizkor books. The Library owns many biographical directories and
will be helpful if your ancestor was fairly well known. The Archives has a collection of thousands of Eastern European
photographs on a videodisc, indexed by town and searchable on a
computer. It also holds the records of hundreds of landsmanshaftn (Jewish
immigrant mutual aid societies based on towns of origin). For
detailed information, see: Researching
Rabbis at the Center for Jewish History.
- Rabbinical Manuscripts: The Library has a large
collection of rabbinical manuscripts in Hebrew, some of which
date to the 16th century.
- Samuel Ephraim Tiktin Papers: It includes several
hundred biographies of rabbis compiled for a Universal
Rabbinical Biographical Encyclopedia, which was never
published. Biographies include rabbis from the United States,
Palestine, Poland, Germany, and other countries. (Record Group
Studies Internet Directory - links to world-wide Academic
Associations, Libraries, Archives, Universities, Research Institutes,
and other Internet Resources
listing of Judaic libraries and archives on the web, world wide
Libraries, Archives, and Research Centers, by Princeton University
of Judaica library web sites
Libweb with links to
libraries world wide
- Useful Links
to Books and Libraries, by Bar-Ilan University
HebrewBooks.org: Many American
Rabbis wrote seforim (Hebrew books) in the early part of the 20th
century. More than 700 entire seforim, including hakdomos
(introductions), are available to view and print online.
a non-profit, preservation and access program of Machon Mekorot
Institute, dedicated to preserving Sifrei Kodesh (Rabbinics).
MALMAD, Israel Center for Digital Information,
(including links to Israeli libraries and OPACs, to the
Israel union lists, etc.).
OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) is a nonprofit membership
organization serving 41,000 libraries in 82 countries and territories
around the world. It provides access to:
containing the merged catalogs of libraries around the world, making
it the world's largest database of bibliographic information. Access
to WorldCat via OCLC FirstSearch is through libraries only.
Ask your local librarian for assistance in accessing WorldCat.
RAMBI, the index
to articles on Jewish studies.
Shirley Rotbein Flaum
Houston, Texas, USA
Lobby," by Daniel D. Stuhlman, December 1997. (return)