Rare Books Collections 

Items in the Rare Books & Special Collection in University of Haifa Library date from the medieval period to the present time, and cover a wide range of subject areas. Highlights include: Books on Judaica, Spinoza's book: Tractatus theologico-politicus with his handwritten remarks, Encyclopedie Ou Dictionnaire Raisonne des Sciences (Encyc. Diderot), Turkish collection - a large collection of "Salnameh" yearbooks of the Ottoman Empire, pages from the "Geniza". More details on items in the collection can be found in the Library
The mission of the Rare Books & Special Collection is to promote access to these resources by preserving them in a safe and secure environment, and to help researchers locate and use this rare and valuable material. The Rare Book Room is specially designed to ensure optimum security, lighting and atmospheric conditions. The materials may be used only under staff supervision. catalog. 

Digital Rare Books Collection

A selection from the University of Haifa library's rare books collection. The collection includes books in various languages, including Hebrew, and in various fields.

Fragments of the Cairo Genizah

The library stores 23 fragmented manuscripts of the Cairo Genizah in 53 pages altogether. All the fragments were scanned in 1997 as part of the Friedberg Genizah Project's efforts to facilitate Genizah research. They are categorized in the library's catalogue and accessible in full text.

The University of Haifa Library got the Genizah fragments from the Pevzner public library of Haifa. Pevzner had stored for many years a collection of manuscripts and among them, the ones from the Genizah. This collection they had goes back to the years of the Society for Advanced Studies in Science's library ("HaAguda Le'Hishtalmut Bamada") - a society that was founded in 1919 by graduate students of the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium in Tel Aviv. The Society moved its bureau to Haifa four years later, together with its own library, and this collection of books and manuscripts turned to be the roots of the Pevzner public library. The Genizah fragments were donated by Mr. Benjamin Ben-Israel Berstein (also known as "Benjamin Ivri"), who immigrated to Palestine from Italy during the 1920s. According to pencil notes in Russian, written on nine of the fragments we have in the library, the assumption is that these manuscripts somehow arrived from Russia or where once in the hands of a researcher or librarian of a Russian ethnicity.

The content on the fragments is divided to several fields: Biblical texts, Haftarot, Targum Onkelos, Mishnah, segments of the Babylonian Talmud, prayers, the Passover Haggadah, Piyyut, Midrashim in Judeo-Arabic languages and dictionaries. The library started a preservation process of these fragments. As part of the process, tiny pieces from the manuscripts were sent to the Sorbonne University of Paris preservation lab for examination.

Usage Policy for Rare Book

Users must show an ID card, or any other document confirming their identity, that shall be hold by the librarian as long as the user stays in the Rare Books and Manuscripts area.
Upon entering the reading hall at the Rare Books and Manuscripts area, users should register and fill their details in a special form. Personal belongings have to be placed on one of the shelves in the cupboard at the entrance to the Rare Books and Manuscripts area.
Items from the Rare Books Collection cannot be borrowed, and any research of the books can be made only inside the room.
The use of any writing implement but pencils is restricted in this area.
Never mark any page in the rare books or write on a paper placed on top of a book.
All manuscripts in the room should be used with cautiousness by the researcher/student. Most of the material is old and unique. As such, it might be damaged easily. 

Making photocopies of the rare manuscripts pages is acceptable under the following conditions:
The Rare Books and Manuscripts Section librarian is making the photocopies at the expanse of the user.
One cannot make photocopies of more than 10 pages in one session (the heat from the photocopy machine creates a chemical reaction that damages the papers). In certain conditions, due to deteriorated state of a rare book, a photocopy of its pages is not applicable.
We will all be grateful if a user turn the attention of a librarian to any damaged material, so that we can work on fixing it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Rare books in the library

© 2024 University of Haifa - the Library, all rights reserved / 199 Aba Khoushy Ave., Mt. Carmel, Haifa. POB 3338, 3103301 / Contact us / 972-4-8240289
Live chat