UNO Libraries Receives Its Largest-ever Book Donation Courtesy of Jewish Federation of Omaha
The University of Nebraska at Omaha Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library has become home to the Special Kripke-Veret Collection, a hallmark selection of primarily scholarly Jewish works. The collection was donated by the Jewish Federation of Omaha (JFO).
With an estimated 36,500 volumes, the special collection is the largest donation of books ever to be received by UNO Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections.
“It is an absolute honor and privilege to preserve and provide access to the Kripke-Veret Collection of the Jewish Federation,” Library Services Dean Dave Richards said. “This hallmark collection joins other related holdings in Archives and Special Collections. This collection, developed and cherished by the Omaha Jewish community, will be available for scholars, students and the general public, and, significantly, for future generations.”
The donated volumes will be a valuable resource for UNO students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in religious studies, philosophy, Holocaust and genocide studies, history, art history, ethics, human rights, Black studies, and other majors and minors.
The materials also are a natural complement to UNO’s Judaic programs, including the Schwalb Center for Israel & Jewish Studies, the Sam & Frances Fried Holocaust & Genocide Academy, the Leonard and Shirley Goldstein Center for Human Rights and the Samuel Bak Museum: The Learning Center. Related holdings in the UNO Libraries include the Sam Fried Papers and the Shirley and Leonard Goldstein Papers.
“As UNO Libraries’ team works to add each title to the library’s catalog, we are excited to share these books with the community and researchers. The collection abounds in local Jewish histories, and there is an ample set of beautiful books on Jewish and Israeli art,” said Amy Schindler, director of Archives and Special Collections.
Donated volumes run the gamut of book genres including fiction, nonfiction, biographies, art, reference, local histories and more. Strengths of the scholarly collection include Holocaust works and works focused on Israel, Jewish and Middle Eastern studies, as well as a selection of rare books to be made available to the public for the first time.
The volumes were moved to UNO Libraries in 2020 as a result of the Jewish Federation of Omaha’s campus renovation. While the Learning Commons at the Staenberg Omaha Jewish Community Center retains a curated collection of books and DVDs, the scholarly holdings were given to the UNO Libraries to be preserved and publicly available.
The donated volumes are part of the Kripke-Veret Collection, named in honor of Rabbi Myer Kripke and his wife, Dorothy, and Paul Veret. Kripke was the rabbi of Beth El Synagogue from 1946 to 1975, and Dorothy Kripke was a respected author of Jewish family content books. Veret served in a variety of positions within the Jewish Federation from 1938 until his death in 1970 and was instrumental in the development of the federation’s library. Part of the original collection was a gift from Veret’s private collection.
“The partnership that has developed between the Jewish Federation of Omaha and the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Criss Library is a testament to our mutual commitment of not only preserving the Kripke-Veret Collection, but also of making it accessible for both academic and general use,” said Bob Goldberg, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Omaha. “It is a new page in the book that began with Paul Veret’s donation to the JFO so many years ago and enhanced by the Kripkes’ generosity to create a suitable space for the collection. The care and dedication of the people now curating these works ensures that the vision of our benefactors will endure well into the future.”
Public access to the special collection is in UNO Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections on the first floor/lower level of the Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library.
The Jewish Federation of Omaha also made a $115,000 gift to UNO through the University of Nebraska Foundation to support the cataloging and management of the donated materials.
To continue this work and preserve the scholarly collection into the future, donations may be made to the Kripke-Veret Collection of the Jewish Federation at UNO Libraries Fund through the University of Nebraska Foundation.
The gift was made as part of Only in Nebraska: A Campaign for Our University’s Future. The campaign is a historic effort to engage at least 150,000 benefactors to give $3 billion to support University of Nebraska students, faculty, academic and clinical programs and research to address the needs of the state.
About the UNO Libraries
UNO Libraries fulfill the UNO mission through dynamic services, highly qualified and adaptive personnel, unique and extensive collections, and accessible learning spaces and environments. With its two locations, Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library on UNO’s Dodge Campus and KANEKO-UNO Library located in Omaha’s Old Market, UNO Libraries provides UNO students, faculty and staff, and the Omaha community with the resources and materials needed to excel academically and professionally.
About the Jewish Federation of Omaha
The Jewish Federation of Omaha (JFO) is a full-service organization serving the Jewish and Omaha communities. It is part of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) that represents 146 independent federations and a network of 300 smaller communities across the continent. It provides services and programs for all ages — from early childhood education to a long-term, skilled care nursing home. It has one of the finest fitness centers in Omaha that features indoor and outdoor aquatic centers and a fully equipped exercise and strength facility. The JFO is home to a newly renovated theater and learning commons, a public art gallery, a weekly newspaper, meals on wheels, counseling services and community advocacy. More information is available at jewishomaha.org.
About the University of Nebraska Foundation
The University of Nebraska Foundation grows relationships and resources that enable the University of Nebraska to change lives and save lives. During the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2022, a record 60,571 donors gave $300.6 million to the foundation to aid UNK, UNO, UNL, UNMC and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine, and NCTA. The foundation raises more than $7 for every $1 spent. Only in Nebraska: A Campaign for Our University’s Future is its current campaign with a goal to raise $3 billion from 150,000 unique benefactors to support the University of Nebraska. More information is at OnlyinNebraska.org.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.