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This Week in JPL History: Pierre van Paassen – The Forgotten Ally

This Week in JPL History: Pierre van Paassen – The Forgotten Ally

The name Pierre van Paassen may not be one that you are familiar with, though there was a time in Canada where he was well known in Jewish households.  van Passen was a European correspondent for a variety of American and Canadian newspapers, and who came to speak at the Jewish Public Library on November 25th in 1945. Almost 45 years later a lecture was given by David Kirk and Beverly Tansey on this forgotten ally of the Jewish people. van Paassen was born Pieter [...]



This Week in JPL History: No More Dead Dogs! Gordan Korman visits the JPL

This Week in JPL History: No More Dead Dogs! Gordan Korman visits the JPL

The Jewish Public Library has been lucky enough to host Gordon Korman twice over the years! The last time he visited was in 2000 when he came and spoke to a packed crowd of students. During his talk he gave advice to all the aspiring young authors- telling them to always carry a notebook, so that they could write about what they saw around them. He also told them to proofread, proofread, proofread, –joking that a character that’s an only-child with red hair can become [...]



This Week in JPL History: Mordecai Richler, “Jacob Twoty and fine Kosher puddings”

This Week in JPL History: Mordecai Richler, “Jacob Twoty and fine Kosher puddings”

One of the most well-known Canadian-Jewish writers, Mordecai Richler came to the Library in 1979 to deliver the Jewish Book Month Keynote Address. His topic was “Writing about Jews”, something he explored in many of his works. The Jewish Public Library recorded this lecture and through the efforts of the Yiddish Book Centre it, and another of Richler’s JPL lectures, is available online. You can access his lectures through this page. Richler begins speaking at 20:20 of part one of the lecture. As you listen, [...]



This Week in JPL History: An Evening of Russian Culture

This Week in JPL History: An Evening of Russian Culture

Bright, vibrant, emotional, talented, and elegant these are the adjectives that best describe the library’s annual Evening of Russian Culture. That this evening is always one of the best attended events held during Jewish Book Month shows just how much love is felt by our patrons for Russian culture. It is no accident that there is a strong connection between the Jewish Public Library and Russian culture, as the Library was first founded by Russian Immigrants. The evening is a chance for Russian Montrealers to [...]



This Week in JPL History: In 1990, Saul Bellow spoke at the Library on “Being A Jewish Writer.”

This Week in JPL History: In 1990, Saul Bellow spoke at the Library on “Being A Jewish Writer.”

Back in 1990 Jewish Book Month started with Nobel Laureate sized bang when it kicked off with a lecture by Saul Bellow on being “A Jewish Writer.” His lecture was followed by a cocktail reception celebrating his 75th birthday. Bellow and the library have a long history. He visited the library in 1968 as well, and in a letter to David Rome after the event expressed how deeply Bellow was touched by the visit. You may be curious as to why this is so. The [...]



This Week in JPL History: Jewish Book Month Begins!

This Week in JPL History: Jewish Book Month Begins!

What do Saul Bellow, Simon Sebag Montifiore, Nathan Englander, Amos Oz, and Cynthia Ozick all have in common? They’ve all spoken as a part of Jewish Book Month at the Library. The annual program will soon be celebrating its 70th birthday in Montreal. Its first iteration was in 1944 when a number of Jewish institutions in Montreal collaborated to hold Jewish Book Week. It was an exhibit of Jewish books from various individuals and organizations and was opened by Governor-General Award-winning poet A.M. Klein. The [...]



This Week in JPL History: The People of the Book set up a Temple of the Book… Twice

This Week in JPL History: The People of the Book set up a Temple of the Book… Twice

On October 19th, 1952 the cornerstone of what was to be the Library’s new home on 4499 Esplanade was laid. In front of a crowd of over a thousand Allan Bronfman delivered a moving speech on behalf of his brother Samuel. He spoke about the enduring Jewish spirit and traditions and the centrality of books. The speech ended with the line “Today as we dedicate this Library for its people, let us also dedicate its people for the Library.” Also within the walls of the new [...]



LES JUIFS DE QUÉBEC; QUATRE CENTS ANS D’HISTOIRE

LES JUIFS DE QUÉBEC; QUATRE CENTS ANS D’HISTOIRE

For all those with an interest in the history of the Jewish community in Quebec there is an exciting opportunity coming up in Quebec City! On November 3rd there will be be the first ever conference on this widely researched topic. You must pre-register for the conference using this form. The cost of the conference is only $20. For more information have a look at the press communique below: Le dimanche 3 novembre prochain se tiendra, au théâtre Périscope, le premier colloque universitaire au sujet [...]



This Week in JPL History: Little Libraries!

This Week in JPL History: Little Libraries!

Little libraries are a trend that has been popping up in cities the world over. Typically housed in small quarters, beloved books are taken out by anyone, no membership needed! The general rule is to leave a book for every one taken out; this ensures the little library is dynamic and diverse, able to provide something for everyone. Providing accessibility to books has always been part of the mission of the JPL. It is clearly written in our mission statement that “The Library undertakes to [...]



This Week in JPL History: Author Lawrence Hill visits the JPL in 2007.

This Week in JPL History: Author Lawrence Hill visits the JPL in 2007.

In 2007, the JPL was honoured to host Lawrence Hill for a reading of his novel The Book of Negroes. The book tells the story of a young African girl enslaved in South Carolina, who later makes her way to Nova Scotia, and finally to England at the turn at the 19th century. It was inspired by the historical Book of Negroes. This document recorded the names and descriptions of some 3,000 African-American former slaves who were evacuated from the US to Nova Scotia by the [...]