Who, What, Where, and How? Ownership and Accessibility of Rare Jewish Books

For the Public
Wednesday, February 14, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM EST

Zoom Webinar

Join a panel of three distinguished professionals to discuss challenges and best practices in managing Jewish books in libraries, archives, and collections. We will hear about a white paper being produced through a collaboration between the Association of Jewish Libraries and the National Library of Israel and open a conversation about how dealing with Jewish materials relates to wider conversations about the ethics of collecting and access.

About the Series "Books of the People"

Jews are often called the “people of the book,” but what about the books of the Jewish people? Who owns the contents of the Cairo Geniza, the books taken from Holocaust victims, or the uniquely beautiful manuscripts of major private collectors? Who can or should preserve these items and provide or prevent access to them, materially or digitally? Undeniably, Jewish books from across the world and history form a collective heritage—but they also have particular, local, and sometimes fraught histories of possession. This series offers perspectives on the management of books as Jewish cultural property, looking at past events and current practices—and the difficult questions that attend both.


Yoel Finkelman

Yoel Finkelman

National Library of Israel

Dr. Yoel Finkelman served as the curator of the Judaica Collection at the National Library of Israel until 2022 and is now managing editor at Koren-Maggid Books. He serves as co-chair of the International Forum on Judaica Provenance, and writes on Jewish book history, Jewish thought, and contemporary Jewish education.

Michelle Margolis

Michelle Margolis

Columbia University

Michelle Margolis is the Norman E. Alexander Librarian for Jewish Studies at Columbia University, the 2022–2024 President of the Association of Jewish Libraries, and the co-director of Footprints: Jewish Books through Time and Place. She is also co-leading the International Forum on Judaica Provenance (National Library of Israel/Association of Jewish Libraries).

Agnes Peresztegi

Agnes Peresztegi

Soffer Avocats

Agnes Peresztegi is a renowned attorney in the field of World War II–looted art litigation in Europe and in the United States. She has been a forceful advocate for meaningful changes in the way governments and museums identify and publicize problematic art and arrange for their return to the rightful owners.


We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Klatt Family and the Harry Stern Family Foundation.