June 13, 2005 Oldest Jewish Library in the World Is Topic of Lecture To Be Held on June 28
Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Gail Shirazi (202) 707-9897
Abraham Rosenberg, director of Ets Haim (tree of life) Library and Museum in Amsterdam, will deliver a lecture titled “Ets Haim Livraria Montezinos (1616): An Old Library Bearing New Fruits” at noon on Tuesday, June 28, in the Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building of the Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, which is sponsored jointly by the European Division and the Hebrew Language Table, is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.
Founded in 1616, Ets Haim is the oldest functioning Jewish library in the world. Since 1675 it has been housed in the Esnoga complex of the Portuguese-Jewish community of Amsterdam. Its 30,000 printed works and 500 manuscripts encompass all aspects of Jewish scholarship and many aspects of literature, history and the natural sciences. The library’s collections provide a detailed picture of Sephardic culture as it emerged from its roots in the Iberian Peninsula. In 1998 the Dutch Department of Culture placed the library’s holdings on the list of protected Dutch National Cultural Heritage. In October 2003 UNESCO recognized the collections’ universal importance by including Ets Haim on the Memory of the World Register.
Abraham Rosenberg was born in 1943 and lived in hiding with a Dutch family during World War II. His family perished at the hands of the Nazis. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Amsterdam and a master’s degree in library science from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He began his career as a classification librarian in the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem and subsequently became the institution’s curator of Western early and rare printed books. He later worked in the Department of Rare and Early Printed Books in the Birmingham University Library in the United Kingdomand in the Goldsmith Library at London University. He was appointed to his current position as director of Ets Haim in 1993.