The Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies is to sell its historic premises at Yarnton Manor for a new home in the city.
Next year’s planned relocation would bring the centre’s academic activities closer to the heart of Oxford University, with which it has close ties, and would mark “a coming of age”, said acting president Professor Martin Goodman,
He added that the sale of the 400-year-old Jacobean manor house and its country estate, five miles outside the city, would create “an endowment fund large enough to do all our academic activities”.
As well as making its programmes more accessible to students and academics, he said, the new location would also make it more practical for carrying out research at the Bodleian Library with its historic collections of Jewish literature.
“Everything will be much more straightforward if the premises are in the centre of the town,” said Professor Goodman.
Yarnton was gifted to the centre by the philanthropist Felix Posen in 1974, two years after the founding of the centre. As well as accommodating students, it has served as a pastoral retreat over the years for visiting scholars and writers, including leading Israeli novelist A B Yehoshua.
Its library houses collections of papers from leading figures in British Jewry, including Sir Moses Montefiore and rabbis Hugo Gryn and Louis Jacobs.
Although the centre is formally independent of the university, it supplies most of the tutors for Hebrew and Jewish studies degree courses and most of its staff have university posts.