The multilingual Jewish and Israel Studies collection at the University of Maryland is one of the jewels in the Libraries, research and teaching tool for students and faculty, built through patient planning, steady work, and close cooperation between campus units. Thanks to fundraising and collecting efforts by faculty and the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies, as well as special efforts by the Libraries’ staff, the collection is now one of the strongest in the mid-Atlantic region and the country as a whole.
The Jewish and Israel Studies collection is spread through almost every one of the libraries on campus. There are books, journals, periodicals and newspapers, music scores, video, and audio recordings, microform collections of primary sources, facsimile copies of historical documents, manuscripts, and pamphlets. Holdings are strong in most of the core areas of Jewish and Israel Studies: religion, biblical studies, Talmud, halakha (law) and rabbinic thought, philosophy and kabbalah, Jewish and Israeli history, the history of the Holocaust, literature and criticism, music and performing arts, film studies, linguistics, the culture and politics of Israel and so on. Materials in many languages— English, Hebrew, Aramaic, Yiddish, Ladino, Russian, Polish, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and even Bukharin—provide direct access to the broad cultural product of Jewish life in many different lands over the millennia. Musical, literary, and dramatic creativity are represented in collections devoted to Yiddish and Israeli theater, Israeli cinema, literature, music, philosophy, linguistics, the Holocaust, and the state of Israel, just to name a few.
Materials from all over the world—the U.S., Israel, all the countries of Europe as well as most of Latin America, and even northern and South Africa are to be found in McKeldin, the branch libraries, and Hornbake Special Collections. Much of the materials, including primary source collections, journals, and books, are available in electronic format. The strengths of the collection are in general collections, although there are some rare and archival materials. The Libraries are open to the general public for in-house use.
In 1996 the University of Maryland Libraries received a donation of books collected by the celebrated Yiddishist - journalist, poet, and essayist - S.L. Shneiderman. Nearly half of these books bore the autographs of prominent Yiddish writers from Russia and France, Israel, Canada, and the United States. Many of these books are also rarely available. This collection of 395 Yiddish books was incorporated into the University Libraries collections. The University of Maryland does not have any personal papers or archival materials of S.L. Shneiderman.