Olin LIbrary, Local Synagogue Celebrate Historical Book Loaning Program

Wesleyan faculty, staff, students and community members celebrated a new partnership between the Adath Israel Synagogue in Middletown and Olin Library on May 11. Rare books from Adath Israel are being loaned to Special Collections & Archives for research by students in Magda Teter's Jewish history classes and others. Teter is the Jeremy Zwelling Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, associate professor of history, associate professor of medieval studies, associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies. Pictured, from left, are Pat Tully, university librarian; Suzy Taraba, university archivist and head of special collections; Suzanne O’Connell, director of the Service Learning Center, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences; community member Stephen Shapiro; Magda Teter; Seth Axelrod, president of Adath Israel; and Rabbi Seth Haaz, Rabbi of Adath Israel.

After a May 2010 meeting between Magda Teter (pictured) and Adath Israel President Seth Axelrod, and the immediate past President, Eliot Meadow, the two institutions outlined goals of their future relationship. Among goals expressed by the Congregation Adath Israel are: “to find ways the Museum can enrich the life of the Congregation,” through “providing enhanced adult education opportunities, promoting the synagogue, the museum, and its resources,” and “expanding and reinforcing our relationship with the local community, including Wesleyan, Middletown, and the greater Jewish community.” Among Wesleyan’s goals are “to find ways in which the Museum can enrich the life of Wesleyan students, in providing an educational opportunity of using artifacts and objects in hands-on learning,” “to provide access to Judaica book collection, enriching the library holdings at Wesleyan, while providing preservation service for the AIC collection,” “to open up Wesleyan programming to the local Jewish Community, and bringing the latest scholarship to the broader Jewish community.”

Jared Gimbel '11, one of Teter's former students, attended the ceremony.

Seth Axelrod and Suzy Taraba signed an agreement for a long-term loan deposit of books from Adath Israel to Olin’s Special Collections and Archives. Among the collection are rare books, including the 1675 Prague edition of "Sefer ha-magid," a Yiddish translation of the Hebrew Bible; a Yiddish paraphrase of Rashi’s commentary; a 1556 German version of "Josephus" published in Basel; and scrolls from the Middle East and North Africa.

(Photos by Cora Lautze ’11)