The University of Pennsylvania's Judaica Collections constitute one of the world's largest and richest resources on the history and culture of Jews. The collections are dispersed, mainly, among five library locations: the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Library, the Fisher Fine Arts Library, the University Museum Library, and the Biddle Law Library.
The combined holdings currently total between 350,000-400,000 volumes in 24 languages and dialects and in a range of formats from manuscripts to electronic resources. Quantitatively, this amounts to one the largest Judaica collections in the world. Qualitatively, these holdings cover almost every period and area of Jewish life from the Biblical era to contemporary America and support both undergraduate education and advanced research.
In October 2007, Dr. Arthur Kiron was named the first Schottenstein-Jesselson Curator of Judaica Collections. The Schottenstein and Jesselson families generously provided the endowment for this permanent named librarianship. The two families also jointly contributed to the endowment of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. In recognition of this gift, the main library reading room at the Center has been named in their honor.
Dr. Kiron oversees the Penn Libraries' extensive Judaica Collections, as well as programs of education and outreach, such as exhibits, concerts, workshops, and national and international partnerships to digitize significant collections of Judaica. He also serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Kiron received his Ph.D. in Jewish history from Columbia University. He also holds an M.A. in religious studies from Stanford University, where he focused on the history of Biblical interpretation. His B.A. is from Brandeis University, where he graduated magna cum laude in Political Theory and Women's Studies and was the recipient of the Giller-Sagan Prize in Women's Studies. Dr. Kiron specializes in the history of the Jewish book as well as the history of Jews in the Atlantic world. He previously served as Manuscripts Curator and Assistant Archivist at the Annenberg Research Institute, now the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at Penn.