Skip to main content Skip to search

YU News

YU News

Leah Adler - In Memoriam and a Tribute

Leah Adler, Head Librarian, Mendel Gottesman Library

The Yeshiva University Library mourns the passing of our colleague Leah Adler, who served as Head Librarian of Hebraica and Judaica at the Mendel Gottesman Library for over thirty years. She was a scholar's librarian who ushered the library into the digital age and who played a key role in the comprehensive renovation of the library, never losing sight of the academic, historic, antiquarian, and enduring aspects of librarianship and the world of books. Leah was a rooted cosmopolitan whose life spanned three continents and countries (Israel, Switzerland, United States) and was united by her commitment to Judaism, her family, and her profession.   A respected and  beloved colleague, Leah was a source of expertise in a variety of subject areas and multiple languages who always exhibited professional and personal grace. The library staff valued her not only as a colleague but as a mentor and friend.  Leah's wisdom, knowledge, gentle counsel, generous spirit, and devotion to the welfare of the library and her colleagues will be greatly missed.  We are bereft.

A video of a memorial tribute held at the Library on June 26, 2019, may be viewed here.



A tribute from Pearl Berger, Dean of Libraries (retired)

I visited the Gottesman Library on Monday.  I felt that I must pay a condolence call to the Library itself, as well as to the people who have been working closely with Leah ז"ל  all these years.  We personally, Yeshiva University, and the profession of Judaic librarianship lost one of its stars this week.

I had the privilege of working with Leah at YU for over thirty years.  She was attending library school when she joined the staff and rose, relatively quickly, to the position of Head Librarian.  She embodied a rare combination of professional and personal qualities that enabled her to reach the top of her profession while maintaining close supportive relationships with her colleagues.  Leah was brilliant and a perfectionist.  She took time to understand and master new protocols, systems, and techniques, and proceeded to implement them with clarity and precision.  She was the library go to person with language questions as she was proficient in classical and European languages.  And let’s not take for granted her Torah knowledge, a sine qua non for the Mendel Gottesman Library.

Leah tended to be quiet and unassuming, but she showed strength when it was warranted and she inspired confidence.  Her fellow staff members sought her advice on work related as well as personal matters.

Leah was a truly refined human being – אן איידעלער מענטש   in the fullest sense.  יהי זכרה ברוך