The Klau Libraries of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion contains one of the most comprehensive Judaica collections in the world, with over three quarters of a million volumes and more than 3,000 Hebrew manuscripts alone. Between the Cincinnati and New York campuses, these collections span more than a millennium, from the tenth to the twentieth centuries, and cover a vast array of topics from across the Jewish world.


The musical holdings of the Libraries constitute one of the preeminent collections of Jewish music in the world. These comprise books and manuscripts of synagogue and cantorial music from around the globe. Among its most significant holdings is the Eduard Birnbaum Collection. Eduard Birnbaum (1855-1920) was a renowned cantor and ethnomusicologist. Born in Kraków, Birnbaum would receive a comprehensive Jewish education and become a leading cantor in Eastern Europe. He succeeded to the cantorship of Königsberg in 1879, where he continued till his death. He planned a comprehensive history of Jewish music, and over the course of his research and travels he amassed an immense number of liturgical manuscripts and other materials, making it one of the largest collections of Jewish music prior to 1840. The breadth of its tens of thousands of items makes the Birnbaum Collection what Adolph Oko called “a library within a library.”

The Libraries also house the Offenbach Collection. Isaac Offenbach (1779-1850)—father of composer Jacques Offenbach—was a musician, cantor, and prolific composer of liturgical music. The majority of his manuscript compositions are housed in the Klau Library, New York.


The materials on this website represent only a small fraction of the musical holdings of the Klau Libraries. The Libraries plan to continue to add materials from their various collections to this website.