Montreal’s Jewish Heritage Organizations

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: Walking Tours with Stan Asher

This Week in JPL History: Walking Tours with Stan Asher

Stan Asher is shown in the middle of this photo leading one of his walking tours[/caption] For many years a fixture of the JPL’s summer programming was Stan Asher’s walking tours of historic Montreal. It was during this week in 1991 that Asher gave a walking tour entitled “From St. Louise Square to Baron Byng.” Offered in the 1990′s and 2000′s on Sundays these tours gave participants the opportunity to learn about the history of ethnic and cultural Montreal often through the lens of its authors, like [...]



This Week in JPL History: Circulation, Automation, and… FRBRization?

This Week in JPL History: Circulation, Automation, and… FRBRization?

During this week in 1991 Zipporah Shnay, the then Executive Director, submitted a report to Bryna Garmaise, then President of the JPL regarding the automation of the Library. This proposal would lead to a massive project which spanned from 1991 to 1993. Throughout the implementation of the project the Library kept its doors open. A major component of the automation was the use of Radio Frequency ID (RFID) tags. These days the tags are commonplace in libraries everywhere, however back in the day the JPL [...]



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 [...]