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Schocken Institute


SCHOCKEN INSTITUTE , scholarly institute in Jerusalem which houses the Schocken Library and the Research Institute for Medieval Hebrew Poetry. The Schocken Library was started in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century by Salman *Schocken and grew into one of the largest and most important collections of early Hebraica in the world. In 1934 the library was moved to Jerusalem, to a building especially constructed for its purposes by Eric *Mendelsohn. The collection includes 60,000 volumes, among them several thousand first and early editions and incunabula (books printed before 1501; the incunabula are held at the Jewish National and University Library).

Starting in the early 1930s, the Research Institute for Hebrew Poetry collected photographs of poetic *Genizah fragments from the major libraries of the world. Under the direction of H. *Brody, with A.M. *Habermann, J. *Schirmann and M. *Zulay, the Institute issued publications in the field of medieval Hebrew poetry, and seven volumes of studies (Yedi'ot ha-Makhon le-Ḥeker ha-Shirah ha-Ivrit, 1–7 (1933–58)). Of special note are M. Zulay's edition of the piyyutim of *Yannai (1938); Ḥ. Brody's edition of Moses *Ibn Ezra's Diwan (2 vols., 1935–42); A.M. Habermann's edition of the piyyutim of *Simeon b. Isaac (1938); and J. Schirmann's anthology of Italian Hebrew poetry, Mivḥar ha-Shirah ha-Ivrit be-Italyah (1934).

In 1961 the Schocken Institute became associated with the *Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In 1964 E.S. Rosenthal became research director of the Institute, and its activities were gradually enlarged. An institute for Talmud was added, which prepares critical editions of talmudic texts and their commentaries. The Institute published a yearbook, Perakim. Renewing its activities in the field of medieval poetry under the directorship of J. Schirmann, the Institute published M. Zulay's Ha-Askolah ha-Payytanit shel Rav Sa'adyah Ga'on (1964); Sh. Abramson's Bi-Leshon Kodemim (1965); and J. Schirmann's Shemu'el Romanelli (1969).

Later activities included the acquisition of the Rabbi Moses Nahum Yerushalimsky Collection, consisting of more than 25,000 archival items, including more than 6,000 letters and 4,000 postcards. The archive contains a wealth of raw material on public issues, Jewish education, Jewish law and customs, and numerous communal problems of Russian and Polish Jewry in the late 19th century. The library of Saul Liebermann, one of the leading Jewish scholars of our generation, was brought to Israel in the 1989. It consists of over 10,000 volumes of unique rabbinic and research reference material, including many first editions. Liebermann's notes and glosses are to be found among many of the book leaves.


Ḥ. Brody, in: ymḤsi, 1 (1933), ix–xvi; 3 (1936), vii–xii.

[H. Jacob Katzenstein]

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