The National Library of Israel website uses cookies to improve your browsing experience. Continued use of the website constitutes consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our privacy policy

  1. Home
  2. At Your Service
  3. Who We Are
  4. The Library Collections
  5. The Music Collection and Sound Archive
  6. The Legacy Heritage Fund Project for the rescue, preservation and digitization of the Sound Archive recordings at the NLI
The Legacy Heritage Fund Project for the rescue, preservation and digitization of the Sound Archive recordings at the NLI

The Legacy Heritage Fund Project for the rescue, preservation and digitization of the Sound Archive recordings at the NLI

Legacy Heritage Fund

The Legacy Heritage Fund has facilitated a project to preserve and provide access to the treasures of Israel’s National Sound Archives. As part of this project, the BELLA AND HARRY WEXNER LIBRARIES OF SOUND AND SONG, a state of the art facility located within the National Library of Israel, was established. These libraries will leverage the rich resources rescued and preserved with the Legacy Heritage Fund support.

The Goal

Rescuing and digitally preserving tens of thousands of hours of precious and historically significant sound materials of the myriad cultures and time periods of Jewish people, for the use and enjoyment of generations to come.

The Vision

Bringing this unparalleled music heritage to life through the rescue and digital preservation of the historical material, and the promotion of access through a newly established website and a state of the art physical facility. The precious material to be preserved entails the largest collection of Jewish and Israeli music in recorded sound. These recordings, together with music manuscripts, printed material and personal archives of composers and performers – all located in the Wexner Libraries – will enhance Jewish and Israeli cultural awareness within Israel the Jewish world, and internationally.


The Plan

We will present a program of lectures, workshops, conferences, exhibitions and concerts, and create new research, compositions, and various usages generated by the newly digitized body of material enabled through a grant from the Legacy Heritage Fund for the rescue, preservation and dissemination of national music treasures and the National Sound Archive. Patrons of the physical facility will read and review printed materials, enriched by consultation with our staff of experts. Users across the globe will be able to access the recorded material and understand its historical context and significance on the comprehensive website. Through these strategically planned activities, we will engage an ever-expanding public in the music and cultural heritage reflected in our comprehensive collections and the culture they represent.


The BELLA AND HARRY WEXNER LIBRARIES OF SOUND AND SONG will make use of three central channels to realize the above vision, provide maximum access, and cultivate the broadest possible audience: the website, educational programming, conferences and live performances. Our plan will focus on access and exposure, to take place in tandem with the ongoing digitization and preservation process supported by the generous grant from Legacy Heritage Fund.

The Website will provide access to digitized music recordings, comprehensive catalogue information in Hebrew and English about the myriad music resources available and their context, including sound recordings, books, and archives. In addition, information will be displayed on cultural events taking place at the Wexner Libraries, and links to relevant musical events taking place in Israel and throughout the world.

Educational Programs will include presentation of a roster of programs targeting the public, scholars and students, some of which also involve the cooperation of music institutions and professionals. We will also present programs to be integrated with the formal and informal educational systems, designed to generate interest and foment musical creativity and production.

The BELLA AND HARRY WEXNER LIBRARIES OF SOUND AND SONG will serve as a forum and conduit for cross-border research, joint initiatives and building international relationships for future cooperation and exchanges of information. The Wexner Libraries will conduct exhibitions, symposia and research seminars focusing primarily on music and sound rescued and preserved.

The BELLA AND HARRY WEXNER LIBRARIES OF SOUND AND SONG will host performance contexts designed to attract audiences from a broad swath of disciplines, engaging these audiences with the music and its historical and cultural content. In addition, special outdoor patio events will be held, including Jewish dance, music, and poetry on the large patio/courtyard space adjoining the WEXNER LIBRARIES. Planned performances, all of which will begin with a lecture presented by scholars, composers or performers include the following:

  • ​Tribute to the Composer Joachim Stuchevsky
    In honor of the 120th birthday of the composer and cellist. Performance of cello works.
  • Tribute to Israeli Composer Rachel Galline, with her participation.
    Commemorating the incorporation of her collection into the Music Department, with the performance of chamber pieces and a premier of a piece composed for this event.
  • Yiddish songs from the Repertoire of Leybo Levin
    Selection from the last troubadour of Yiddish song; performed by the daughter of the composer Ruth Levin, in honor of a book of his songs and recently discovered additional recordings of Leybo Levin that were donated to the Sound Archive.
  • Music from the Ottoman Period, performed by a singer, kamanche, harp, percussions and piano. Songs and liturgical poems of the Jews from Turkey and the Balkans, in Judeo
    Spanish and Hebrew.
  • Piano Recital of Composers who were imprisoned in Terezin Ghetto.
  • Music in the Jewish Language Hikitiyya (from North Africa) performed by a singer, oud and percussion.