Thrity Years of the Price Library Treasures from the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica

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Newspaper Clippings About the Price Family Gift

In 1979, two University of Florida alumni, Jack and Samuel Price, decided to endow the University's Judaica Collection. The endowment, the largest bestowed on a special collection at UF, was given in honor of their parents, Isser and Rae Price.

Isser and Rae Price were two outstanding members of the Jewish community who helped establish the Jacksonville Jewish Center in the 1920s. Isser and Rae had raised their children with a deep commitment to the Jewish community, a love of philanthropy and a profound sense of the importance of education.

Bookplate for the Price Library of Judaica

The newly endowed Judaica Library was named for Isser and Rae at a special dedication ceremony at the University of Florida in March 1981. The ceremony was held in the University Auditorium: a speech was delivered by President Marston, and a special lecture was given by the renowned Jewish historian, Nahum Glatzer.

The Price Library was expanded from 55,000 volumes housed initially in Library East to a collection of over 85,000 by its librarian Robert Singerman with technical assistance from Yael Herbsman, Joy Funk, Carol Bird and Emily Madden. Located in Norman Hall from 1995, the Collection finally found a permanent home in Library West in 2006.

For the past 30 years, Jack and Samuel Price have continued to back the development of the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica. Their interest in this important educational resource has filtered through to other generations of the Price family who are also lending their support to the Collection.

A special event to thank the Price family for their ongoing commitment to the Judaica library was held on March 6th, 2011 to coincide with the Library's 30th anniversary. The special program included music by the Klezmer Katz and a range of distinguished speakers, including the UF President, Bernie Machen.

The event also enabled the UF libraries to officially accept the donation of a Torah scroll from the Beth Shalom Synagogue in Jacksonville. The scroll was originally purchased by Rae Price in memory of her husband, Isser and given to the Beth Shalom synagogue in Jacksonville. The scroll is believed to have been produced in the United States before the Second World War, and it was personally escorted to Jacksonville from Chicago. The imminent closure of the Beth Shalom synagogue, however, necessitated a decision about the future of the scroll. Thanks to encouragement from Isser and Rae's children (Eunice, Florence, Jack and Samuel) together with their spouses, the Synagogue Board members and Rabbi Martin Sandberg kindly agreed to donate the Torah scroll to the Price Library of Judaica. The scroll is now housed in the Smathers Library Special Collections Department.

The Price Library of Judaica, when located in Norman Hall

The Price Library, 30 years on, is a wonderful collection of over 95,000 fully cataloged volumes. The broad range and depth of its Judaic materials have established its rank as the foremost Judaica research collection in the Southeastern United States. Many of its scarce holdings from the late 19th and early 20th century place it among the top 20 academic libraries in the world.