You walk past it every day and probably don’t realize it’s there. It is on the bottom floor of Library West, in the northwest corner. It holds stories, ideas, and art of a prolific people. The Price Judaica Library. The Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica is known to be the greatest collection of Jewish literature and other materials in the southeastern United States. I have the honor of being the intern for the head librarian, Rebecca Jefferson. I have held some of the most rare Jewish books in the world. I have learned more about the history of the Jewish people just by working with these books than I have in a number of my classes.
Jewish history is filled with stories of exiles, pogroms, and conversions. These books hold the history of Jews before, after, and during these events. While the people who wrote them are no longer alive, the stories they tell are just as pertinent. One day while I was determining the rarity of a collection of books, I discovered a haggadah. We, the Price library, were the only library that had this haggadah in the world. It dawned on me that some family, 100 years ago, had sat around a table and read this personally-made haggadah. While this was only one family, it shows how all the way in Gainesville, Florida we can still appreciate it.
I invite you to come to the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica and see how it can inspire you.
This post was written by MANOA Shabbat and Holidays director, Andrea James.