Category Archives: Book Displays

Launch of The Weisz Western Sephardi Collection

Thanks to the generosity of the Joir and Kato Weisz Foundation, which acquired the collection from the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation of London and donated it to the Centre, the Leopold Muller Memorial Library has been privileged to receive the Weisz Western Sephardi Collection.

The collection was assembled mainly by the late Dr Richard Barnett, the Honorary Archivist of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation. It comprises over 500 items, including books, manuscripts, sermons, rabbinic responsa and commentaries, as well as letters by Sephardi Jews, some of them rabbis or members of the Congregation or of the mother congregation in Amsterdam; there are also works by Christian Hebraists which witness to the continued exchange of opinions and knowledge between the members of Jewish communities and their host nations. There are many examples of printed ephemera, including notably prayers for special occasions and calendars, and also printed and other material for the internal use of the communities, such as community and philanthropic societies’ byelaws, ordinances and lists of members. Notable is the only known copy of the first edition of the Prayer Book for Sephardi usage printed in England, in 1721.

There is a rich trove of works in Spanish and Portuguese, including both translations from the Hebrew and original works, all aimed at making it possible for newly arrived Crypto-Jews, also known as marranos, to acquire a functioning knowledge of Judaism. The works encompass Bible, prayer books, apologetic treatises and practical manuals of kashrut and purity; in short, manuals for people who had all but forgotten everything about Judaism but who knew that their families had once been Jewish.

Most of the printed material comes from Amsterdam and some is from London. There are also works printed in Alexandria, Algiers, Altona-Hamburg, Barbados, Basel, Bordeaux, Corfu, Curaçao, Florence, Gibraltar, The Hague, Livorno, Madrid, Naples, Oporto, Paris, Nice, Utrecht, Verona and Venice – a true atlas of the Sephardi Diaspora.


The Centre is grateful to the Weisz Foundation for the donation, to Mr Edgar Samuel for initiating the transfer of the collection and to Dr Jeremy Schonfield for facilitating the process.


Tuesday 15th November 2016, 6pm
at the Clarendon Institute

Professor David Abulafia
The first Sephardim in the Atlantic Islands

Refreshments will follow

Hermann Kallenbach (1871 –1945)

The ex libris belonging to Hermann Kallenbach (1871 –1945) a German-Jewish architect designing hotels and departmental stores in South Africa. He became one of Mahatma Gandhi’s closest friends and supporters while both were working in South Africa. He was a devoted Zionist and was a member of the Executive Board of the South African Zionist Federation.Kallenbach_Hermann

In the Coppenhagen Collection of Dutch Jewish material we have a large collection of ex libris. Some of which will be on display from Monday in the Clarendon Institute.

Louis Jacobs Exhibition Closing Soon

Louis Jacobs exhibition, ‘We Have Reason to Inquire’, at the Leopold Muller Memorial Library  will be closing soon. Visit during library opening hours until the end of term to see an insight into the range of material in Louis Jacobs’ personal archive.

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The Exhibition was also launched digitally and can be viewed online:

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Highlights include Family photographs and memorabilia. This a picture of Louis Jacob’s on his wedding day.

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BookShop Telephone Box

The Oxford Hebrew and Jewish studies Library has a range of books for sale. Including new and second hand books, each individually priced.

 These books are in English, Hebrew and other European languages and cover a range of topics about Jewish Studies, as well as Jewish and Hebrew fiction. These can be browsed in The Library and We also have an Online Store.

 Our beautiful book shop

As well as the Bookshop in the Library we now have a book shop inside the wooden telephone box in Yarnton manor, all of these are under £5. There are also Journals and Yearbooks for sale.

    Yarnton Manor Phone Box

We were inspired by other pop-up libraries, including some in phone boxes! Here are some of our favourite pop up libraries and book displays:

Pop-up Libraries including phone boxes

Beautiful Book Displays

Christmas Tree made of Books

Circle of knowledge