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This Week in JPL History: The Oral History Project

This Week in JPL History: The Oral History Project

The mandate of the Jewish Public Library Archives is to preserve and make accessible the social history and cultural heritage of Jewish Montreal. It does this not only through the preservation of the tangible remnants of this history, but also by recording the memories and anecdotes of those in the community. The Oral History Project was designed to record this aspect of the history of Jewish Montreal through interviews with community members and some its well-known personalities. During this week in 1996 Archivist Emeritius Eiran Harris sat down [...]



Hidden Ephemera Discovered

Hidden Ephemera Discovered

Written by Eiran Harris Hidden and forgotten for 100 years, special newspaper issues describing the beginning of the First World War were recently discovered. Eiran Harris, Archivist Emeritus of Montreal’s Jewish Public Library was carefully perusing bound volumes of extremely fragile issues of Montreal’s Yiddish newspaper, the Keneder Adler (Jewish Daily Eagle) piled up at the National Archives of the Canadian Jewish Congress. Suddenly, unfamiliar pages were revealed. Commencing on July 31st, 1914 the Adler published daily “Extra” issues, ranging in length from four to [...]



Bel Kaufman, 1911-2014

The past Friday, the literary world lost author and lecturer Bel Kaufman.  The Jewish Public Library was lucky enough to host Kaufman in 1976 as part that year’s Jewish Book Month.  Her lecture was entitled, “Survival Through Humour”. Bel Kaufman was born in Germany in 1911 but spent her formative years in Kiev and Odessa.  At age 12 she moved with her parents to New York.  She went on to earn a Bachelor degree from Hunter College and later a Master’s degree in literature from [...]



This Week in JPL History: Here and Now, Irving Layton

This Week in JPL History: Here and Now,  Irving Layton

It was during this week in 1995 that the original submission date was set for the Jerusalem 3000 poetry anthology, which was published in honour of Jerusalem’s tri-millenium. Run under the auspices of the Consul General of Israel in Montreal, El Al Israel Airlines, and with the National Committee of Jerusalem 3000, Irving Layton acted as the Honorary Chairman of the anthology and he and André Chouraqui read their own poems at the event. The anthology was not the first JPL project in which Layton [...]



This Week in JPL History: Tur Malka

This Week in JPL History: Tur Malka

The Library is currently presenting an exhibit on the 100 years of the Library’s history. This exhibit has been displayed at Montreal’s Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec and will soon open here at the Library. This is not the first travelling exhibit put on by the Library. In 1992, as a part of the 350th anniversary celebration of the city of Montreal, the Archives spearheaded the exhibit “Tur Malka.” The exhibit was a collaboration with the Canadian Jewish Congress National Archives, CSUQ, Congregation Shaar [...]



This Week in JPL History: Your Library History

This Week in JPL History: Your Library History

While the history of the Library covers literary and educational events, technological changes and an ever-diversifying bookshelf, a century’s worth of community building has fundamentally shaped the Library and its many activities. We have asked our readers to submit anecdotes about their own history of the Library, one of which you can read below. When I came to Canada from Mexico many winters ago, the first place where I felt home away from home was in the Jewish Public Library. I used to come every [...]



This Week in JPL History: It’s all Greek to me!

This Week in JPL History: It’s all Greek to me!

For many years the Jewish Public Library offered a translation service for organizations needing text translated into Yiddish. A wide variety of organizations used this service including hospitals, and other Jewish institutions. By translating information for other organizations the Library supported outreach to the community as well as helping ensure the accessibility of these services. Yiddish played an integral role to the founding of the Library. It was the language of communication for many of the Jewish immigrants who arrived in Montreal in the early [...]



This Week in JPL History: The JPL – Hostess with the Mostest

This Week in JPL History: The JPL – Hostess with the Mostest

In additional to the many symposia and colloquia the Library has hosted over the years, it has also participated in international conferences. During this week in 1986 the JPL hosted the 21st Conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries. The Conference included a Yiddish theatre performance, as well as panels and sessions on a number of topics. In 1982 the JPL hosted a number of delegates from the 48th The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Conference for a tour. Over 1500 delegates [...]



This Week in JPL History: Le cercle juif

This Week in JPL History: Le cercle juif

The Montreal Jewish Forums, which were run in partnership by the Jewish Public Library and the Jewish Immigrant Aid Services were proud to host le Cercle Juif for an evening entitled ‘les juifs face a la nouveau realite du quebec”. The evening featured Naim Kattan, Dr. J. Mackay, Joseph Gallay, and Gerard Pelletier. Le Cercle Juif was founded in the late 1940s by the Canadian Jewish Congress and was staffed, and managed by that same organization. It continued until the early 1980s. Le Cercle Juif [...]



This Week in JPL History: Opening Day!

This Week in JPL History: Opening Day!

As this post goes live it has been 36521 days since the JPL opened its doors… according to one source. On May 1st, 1919 the Jewish People’s Library and People’s University was officially constituted as a corporation. This official constitution came five years to the day after the Library was officially launched at a May Day rally on May 1st, 1914. The document contains 23 signatures, and next to each signature, the person’s address. While the Library had been officially opened during that May Day [...]