Professor Bernard Lewis Collection Inaugurated at Tel Aviv University

TAU gains valuable Middle East archive from one of the world's foremost scholars in the field
26 February 2013
From left: Prof. Asher Susser, Prof. Uzi Dayan, Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, Prof. Bernard Lewis, Prof. Eyal Zisser and Prof. Shimon Shamir

Middle Eastern studies at TAU have been significantly enriched by the donation of the personal archives of Prof. Bernard Lewis, world-renowned scholar and historian. Located on the Special Collections Floor of the Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Building, the Professor Bernard Lewis Collection comprises 18,000 items, including rare books in multiple languages, journals, documents and letters.


Named as the “doyen of Middle East Studies” by The New York Times, Prof. Lewis has been a close friend and supporter of TAU since 1971, including as a visiting lecturer at TAU’s Mortimer and Raymond Sackler Institute of Advanced Studies. “For forty years Prof. Lewis’s annual lectures have enriched our faculty, students and the general public. He has unparalleled knowledge and understanding of the Islamic world,” said former TAU President and Ambassador to the US Prof. Itamar Rabinovich at the recent plaque unveiling ceremony.


A major asset for Tel Aviv University, the private library will “help TAU maintain its leading position in Middle East studies and modern history,” said Prof. Rabinovich, adding that three generations of students have already benefited from Lewis’s wisdom, warmth, mentoring and personal friendship.


At the ceremony, TAU President Joseph Klafter said to Prof Lewis: "We are touched and grateful for this gift. Through it, your name and your immense influence on the field and on Tel Aviv University will live on for many more generations.”



Prof. Lewis’s close ties with TAU include his support for TAU’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies and for the Jenny and Harry Lewis Program in the Humanities, established in memory of his parents in 1989. 


Prof. Lewis has been awarded 15 honorary doctorates, including from TAU, among numerous other honors, and he is a member of prestigious academies in America, Europe and the Middle East. At 96 years old, he is still going strong and his memoir, Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian, was published in May 2012. He is the author and editor of 32 books translated into 29 languages.  


Prof. Lewis was recently guest of honor at a gala dinner in New York held by the American Friends of TAU in the presence of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and other dignitaries, and in benefit of the Dayan Center and the Bernard Lewis Visiting Scholar Program. 


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