With holdings of over 95,000 volumes, the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica at the University of Florida, is considered the foremost Jewish studies research collection in the southeastern United States. In terms of many of its scarce late 19th to early 20th century imprints, it ranks among the top 20 academic libraries in the world. Furthermore, many thousands of its titles in Hebrew and Yiddish are held by less than 10 libraries in the United States.
The Library was built on the core collection of Rabbi Leonard C. Mishkin of Chicago which, at the time of its acquisition in 1977, was the largest personal library of Judaica and Hebraica in the United States. The range and depth of Mishkin's collection was described by Harvard Bibliographer Charles Berlin as "superb". The UF Libraries received the first National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant awarded to a United States Research Library in order to partially underwrite Rabbi Leonard C. Mishkin's 40,000 volume library. The NEH Grant was matched by the first State of Florida Quality Improvement Funds.
Formally dedicated in March 1981, the Library was named for Isser and Rae Price, whose sons, Jack and Samuel Price of Jacksonville, Florida, established a fund to support sustained development of its collections. The Price family gift was the largest single gift made to the libraries at that time, and it was the first time that a special collection in the University Library had been endowed.
Today library patrons will find a Jewish studies collection of notable depth, scope and singularity. Its diversified holdings of uncommon research materials in English, Hebrew, and other languages support scholarship in virtually every aspect of the Jewish experience. Materials relevant to the ancient, medieval and modern periods are available to students and researchers alike, as they are to any reader with a curiosity about the Jewish People, whose cultures, societies, and influences span over 3,000 years of recorded history.
The Price Library of Judaica was rededicated on March 6th, 2011 with an event to celebrate its 30 years of achievements and to honor the long-term support of the Price family. The special program included music by the Klezmer Katz and a range of distinguished speakers, including the President of UF, Bernie Machen.
"Hallelujah" image from the facsimile of the Rothschild Miscellany (copyright www.facsimile-editions.com)