Montreal’s Jewish Heritage Organizations

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 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: 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: 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: “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: 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 [...]