Gift to Establish Samuel Friedman Library in UB's Institute for Jewish Thought and Heritage

By Mary Cochrane

Release Date: December 2, 2010 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A generous gift from the foundation of a late Western New York businessman has established the Samuel Friedman Library in the Institute for Jewish Thought and Heritage (IJTH) at the University at Buffalo.

Samuel Friedman, who owned several restaurants in Niagara Falls, was very dedicated to his Jewish faith, according to his attorney, Don Day. He established the Samuel Friedman Foundation to support and strengthen Jewish educational initiatives and programs.

"Samuel was extremely generous, but shied away from publicity," Day recalled. "He would be absolutely thrilled to know of this gift to UB because he believed very strongly in supporting educational causes."

The foundation has given $100,000 to name the library, as well as purchase books, journals, electronic media and other materials, and to equip workspaces, storage and archival areas. Day said the foundation hopes to promote awareness of Jewish history and perspective through its gift, and hopes the initial funding of the library will help encourage continued growth and enrichment of this scholarly collection in years to come.

"We are giving to support UB's excellence in research, teaching and outreach that will result in the IJTH becoming a world-class center of scholarly activity," Day said.

Established in 2009, the IJTH is a multidisciplinary research and academic degree-granting center that focuses on teaching and scholarship on the critical role of the Jewish tradition within the development of Western civilization. Three full professors, along with adjunct and affiliated faculty members, teach an undergraduate curriculum and a minor in Judaic studies.

"Books and exegesis are central to Judaism, from its sacred texts to commentaries to contemporary academic scholarship," said Richard Cohen, IJTH director. "We are very grateful for the Friedman Foundation grant and welcome additional contributions and library donations to strengthen our Judaica collection."

The Samuel Friedman Library collection will add to the UB Libraries' already impressive collection of materials that are of value to institute scholars and visitors. For example, Special Collections houses the Jewish Archives of Greater Buffalo, containing synagogue records, local community records and the personal papers of notable leaders of the Buffalo Jewish community, including Donald S. Day, Dorothy Goldberg, Bernard Mandelkern, Morton Merowitz, Haskell Penn and Milton Plesur. This material is being collected and organized by the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project, a collaborative effort of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Buffalo and UB Libraries. The UB Libraries also house several Jewish book collections of note, among them a 1,800-item Holocaust collection.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.