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Center for Israel Studies to Present on Birnbaum Family Archive on November 10

Dr. Jess Olson, associate director of the Center for Israel Studies at Yeshiva University and author of Nathan Birnbaum and Jewish Modernity: Architect of  Zionism, Yiddishism and Orthodoxy (forthcoming from Stanford University Press), and Shulamith Berger, curator of special collections for the Yeshiva University Libraries, will address The Nathan and Solomon Birnbaum Family Archive: A Treasure Trove for the Study of Modern Judaism on Thursday, November 10, 2011, from 2:45 – 4 p.m.  in Furst Hall, Room 535, 500 West 185th Street, New York, NY on YU’s Wilf Campus in Washington Heights.

Nathan Birnbaum

Nathan Birnbaum

In the presentation, which is open to the public at no cost, Dr. Olson will discuss the place of Birnbaum as a major figure in Jewish political and intellectual history and the role of the archive in bringing his life and work to life. Berger will discuss the uniqueness of the archive as one of the last independent repositories of Jewish documentary history.

The Nathan and Solomon Birnbaum Family Archive: A Treasure Trove for the Study of Modern Judaism is the single greatest archival collection to document the history of Jewish nationalism still held in private hands. Composed of tens of thousands of documents and images, it offers an unparalleled window into the world of Jewish politics in Europe from the 1880s until the eve of the Holocaust.

Just before his death in 1937, Nathan Birnbaum, a founder of Zionism, leader in Yiddishism, later ba’al teshuva and leader in the inter-war Agudath Israel, instructed in his will that his papers be taken to safety in England with his eldest son, Solomon. This collection of manuscripts, letters and publications traveled with Solomon and his family as they made their way across the Atlantic from postwar England to Toronto. The archive includes thousands of letters from luminaries such as Theodor Herzl, Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Jacob Rosenheim, Judah Magnes and many others, as well as an extensive collection of Jewish periodicals, many of them not found in other collections.