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This Week in JPL History: Way Back Play Back – the Norman Berman Children’s Library.

This Week in JPL History: Way Back Play Back – the Norman Berman Children’s Library.

One of the true treasures of the Library has always been its Children’s library. Through there wasn’t a formal space dedicated to children in the Library until 1951, children’s books were always present. In 1919 made up 10% of the Library’s overall collection. Today, the Norman Berman Children’s Library boasts over 30,000 titles. A long cherished program of the Children’s library has been Storytime. Running consistently through many of the years that the JPL has been open, the program has long encouraged keen readers and introduced them to new authors and [...]



This Week in JPL History: The Roots of First Fruits

This Week in JPL History: The Roots of  First Fruits

The phrase “First Fruits” has many meanings to many different people. In Montreal the phrase took on a special connotation as it was the name given to the annual young adult writing anthology published by the JPL for 25 years. Each year the Library would gather entries from over 20 high schools around the city. The anthology contained a wide range of pieces from poetry, to prose, to opinion pieces and short stories. As the years passed artwork was added, as well as a musical [...]



This Week in JPL History: The Dreyfus Collection

This Week in JPL History: The Dreyfus Collection

One of the many interesting collections that the JPL-A holds is the Dreyfus Postcard Collection. The collection consists of a number of postcards illustrated with images related to the Dreyfus Affair, a divisive political scandal that rocked France for over a decade. from 1894-1906. The affair led to the downfall of three French governments and gained press worldwide. The Queen of England even pulled strings to have her legal counsel present at the trials. It began with the wrongful conviction of Captain Alfred Dreyfus for [...]



This Week in JPL History: The Bronfman Collection of Jewish Canadiana

This Week in JPL History: The Bronfman Collection of Jewish Canadiana

Dedicated on June 13th, 1954 the Bronfman Collection of Jewish Canadiana is a reference collection intended to represent the Jewish community in Canada as a whole. Currently, the collection is held with the Jewish Public Library Archives. Sections of the collection are devoted to a spectrum of topics including Hebrew literature, Canadian Jewish history, travellers accounts, press reports, Jewish Americana of Canadian interest, Canadian synagogues, and more. Within it there is a large section of material relating to Yiddish literature, which includes copies of works [...]



This Week in JPL History: Sholom Alecheim visits!

This Week in JPL History: Sholom Alecheim visits!

In early days of its existence the Jewish Public Library was fortunate to host one the greatest of Yiddish literary figures, Sholem Aleichem. In June 1915 Aleichem visited Montreal during what was to be his last tour and gave a reading-concert to a jam-packed crowd at the Princess Theatre. He also met with members of the Library’s Board at the home of Reuben Brainin. Born Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich on March 2, 1859 in Pereyaslav, Ukraine, Sholem Aleichem was the author of numerous plays and stories. [...]



This Week in JPL History: Come on, let’s celebrate

This Week in JPL History: Come on, let’s celebrate

For many years the JPL hosted an annual Gala fundraising event. Each Gala would feature a performer who would host the evening and would be held in honour of a supporter or supporters of the Library. The evening would be an opportunity for the Library to publically thank its supporters for their work in ensuring the continuation of the Library. In 2008 the Gala was hosted by Rick Mercer, the best-known Canadian political satirist, and honoured Rosalind and Morris Goodman. The event was a smashing [...]



This Week in JPL History: Break a leg!

This Week in JPL History: Break a leg!

Theatre has long been a part of the JPL. We have partnered with Montreal institutions such as the Centaur Theatre and the Saidye Bronfman Theatre, as well as to staged our own productions directed by seasoned professionals. Over the years, we have had dozens of Hebrew and Russian play readings directed by people such as Dr. Aviva Ravel and Gregory Ziskin. Dr. Ravel is the author of more than twenty-five plays, numerous short stories, and works of non-fiction. Her plays touch on Jewish life throughout [...]



This Week in JPL History: “Ladies and Gentleman: Leonard Cohen”

This Week in JPL History: “Ladies and Gentleman: Leonard Cohen”

On May 7th, the JPL hosted a live radio interview with Sam Gesser and Stanley Asher. The interview followed a screening of Gesser`s documentary Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Leonard Cohen. Gesser was a well-known figure in Montreal who played an integral role in the development and distribution of Canadian folk music and culture. Growing up in Montreal, Gesser claimed to have learnt much about the entertainment industry by working at His Majesty`s Theatre. In the 1940’s Gesser became the Canadian representative of the Folksways record [...]



This Week in JPL History: The Yiddish Symposium

This Week in JPL History: The Yiddish Symposium

From March 12-14, 1988 the JPL held a symposium on Yiddish Montreal. The Symposium saw 19 speakers including Irving Massey, Pierre Anctil, Zachery Baker, David Rome, Eugene Orenstein, Brad Sabin Hill, Leo Davids, Felix Lazarus, Marie Poirier, and David Roskies. It covered a breadth of topics from Massey’s lecture on the poetry of his mother, Ida Maze, to the politics of Montreal’s Yiddish literary community. The keynote address was given by David Roskies on the topic of “Yiddish Montreal and the Tradition of Internal Jewish [...]



This Week in JPL History: Jacob Zipper speaks at the Jewish Public Library in 1974.

This Week in JPL History: Jacob Zipper speaks at the Jewish Public Library in 1974.

Yaacov Zipper is a name synonymous with Montreal Jewish education, with steadfastness, and drive. In addition to his long career as principal of Jewish Peretz Schools, Zipper was also a celebrated author who was awarded the Manger Prize for Yiddish Literature. Born Yaacov Shtern, he changed his name to Zipper in honour of the woman who sheltered him from being arrested during his youth in Poland. He arrived in Montreal in 1925 and quickly became involved in Montreal’s burgeoning Jewish school system. On February 9th [...]