From Torah to Diaspora:
Highlights of the UCSC Library's Jewish Studies Collections
McHenry Library University of California, Santa Cruz
Winter Quarter 2007
Created by Lee Jaffe & Molly Jaffe
"Scattered among the nations of the world" (Ezekiel 6:8) for 2,000 years, the Jewish people have not just survived but in many cases have flourished and subsequently made significant contributions to the world at large. Adapting to local cultures has made the Jewish experience remarkably diverse and vital. At the same time Jews have maintained their integrity as a people and remain connected through the shared values and traditions embodied in the Torah--the Five Books of Moses--and subsequent teachings.
The Torah was meant to provide a framework for a people living in their own homeland but became instead the means of holding together a community spread across the world. The survival of the Jews as a people within the Diaspora is due to the role the Torah has played as a portable homeland.
Through selections from the UC Santa Cruz Library's Jewish Studies collections this exhibit explores both the diversity of the Jewish experience--over distance, time and ideology--and the common threads of traditions and values that animate Jewish lives. To highlight this relationship we have included a relevant quotation from the Torah and related texts.