By Melvyn Kohn
February 14, 2011
Yeshiva University is holding its annual seforim sale - its book sale. 150,000 new/used, 13,000 title will be on the shelves: Gilded Torah, Talmud, novels, cookbooks, biographies, humour, self help, childrens, all Jewish themed. It runs February 9-27. 15,000 people are expected, with more than $1m to be spent.
The event is managed by students, and has been on for 25 of the 125 years of YU's history. The sale is run also by its affiliate, Stern College for women. 58,000 Yeshiva alumni as well as students, will attend, along with many others. Profits go to charity and student organisations.
"Jews buy and read books, especially Jewish books. So you out a lot of books in one place,
you get a lot of Jews," Yishai Barkhodari, 23 yo grad at YU, told the New York Times. Even if that one place is way up on Amsterdam between 183/187th Streets, in the heart of a Dominican neighbourhood.
The school in some ways stands apart, but is intergrated as well; Tzvi Feifel, a 23 yo senior who is the book fair's Chief Executive, lives in the 'hood. Community events, such as swearing-in last month of State Senator Adriano Espaillat, are often held in university's theatres. Rabbi Yosef Kalinsky, an assistant dean, joined Community Board 12 in Washington Heights, he helped organise a picnic for board members in Fort Tryon.
Rabbi Haym Solovetchik, the son of Joseph Soolvetchik and a professor at YU, wrote in a 1994 essay that the current orthodox generation got its information from books that imparted information "in a self-contained, straightforward and accessible format" and "saw no reason why knowledge of Torah should not equally be available to them in so ready and serviceable a fashion." The fair makes Torah and other writings available in classical and modern ways and will attract both frum and secular Jews.
The event is a highlight of Orthodox calendar, and also a big networking shimcha here in NY. At last year's fair, Shira Sragow, 22, a Stern graduate from Teaneck, met Ari Lewis, 23, of Virginia, a Yeshiva graduate, while setting up the fair. Last month, they got engaged.
So come and get a book, or maybe a wife...