To honor the local Jewish community and provide special presentation, reflection and quiet study space for the UofL campus, The Susan and William Yarmuth Jewish Studies Reading Room officially opened on Ekstrom Library’s 3rd Floor with a ceremony on March 20.
The new space showcases the Libraries’ Jewish Studies collection, and features the Deborah and Rabbi Robert Slosberg Collection, which consists of the personal library the couple amassed over decades of serving and leading Jewish congregations.
Libraries Dean Bob Fox, UofL President Lori Gonzalez, William Yarmuth, Sue Yarmuth, Deborah Slosberg and Rabbi Slossberg at a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the new Jewish Studies Reading Room.
“We are excited to open the new Jewish Studies Reading Room and are grateful for the generous donations that allowed us to fully complete the room and open it to the public,” said Libraries Dean Bob Fox. “We hope that the room will serve to inspire future generations of scholars to greater success.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony and room dedication included remarks from Interim President Lori Gonzalez, William and Susan Yarmuth, Rabbi Slosberg and Libraries Dean Fox before closing with a mezuzah dedication. A mezuzah is a small scroll inscribed with prayers and verses from the Torah and attached in a case near the opening of a home or building as a sign of faith as a constant reminder of God’s presence. As instructed in the Torah, Jews will often touch the mezuzah as they go through the door. In the Yarmuth Reading Room, it is located on the wall to the right upon entry.
The 2,600-square-foot space features floor-to-ceiling windows and offers one of the most scenic views on campus. Along with the Deborah and Rabbi Robert Slosberg Collection, the space features a drop-down screen, a built-in projection and sound system and Wi-Fi. It also includes a glass wall, which includes display cases for UofL’s Jewish Studies Program, part of the Department of Comparative Humanities, to use to highlight its collections.
The Susan and William Yarmuth Jewish Studies Reading Room will be used for reflection, study space, public events and guest speakers. The newly designed room can seat up to 42.