David Stern

A copy of the 1556 Prague Haggadah.

A Great Jewish Library's Uncertain Future: What Will Happen to the Valmadonna?

All of a sudden, the future of one of the great contemporary treasures of Jewish culture is clouded with uncertainty. The treasure in question is the Valmadonna Trust Library, a collection of some 13,000 Hebrew books that had been systematically and assiduously assembled over the last 50 years by a relentless English businessman named Jack Lunzer. This library — the world’s most important private collection of Jewish manuscripts and printed books — was sold on December 16 at Sotheby’s in a sealed-bid auction to an unknown buyer. While we do not yet know what will happen to the library, its possible disappearance as an integral collection would be a colossal loss to Jewish culture.