As the new president of the JPL I am honored to follow in the footsteps of renowned leaders, from founders Yehuda Kaufman and Reuben Brainin to my predecessors Claire Berger-Fagen and Peter Jacobs.
Montreal’s Jewish Public Library responds to a centuries long demand among our people for access to knowledge, culture, and ideas – not just for men of means or a learned elite – but for people of all ages, backgrounds and economic status. It was born as a place for creative people workers, and activists for social justice to meet, to read and write in a safe space, to debate, argue, and grow
The idea for a Jewish Public Library came to Montreal with our displaced Yiddish speaking grandparents and great-grandparents in the first decades of the 20th century. They had seen Jewish public libraries spring up all over the Russian Empire in the 1890’s, spreading knowledge and fomenting social change in the Jewish world.
Because they created the Jewish Public Library, we have been here to welcome later waves of refugees and immigrants - Holocaust survivors, Sephardim, Russian, and more recently French Jews. The JPL has always been at the very heart of building a strong, diverse, and healthy Jewish community.
For generations this library’s development has responded to the needs of the Jewish people of Montreal. We have been charged to make the treasures of the written and spoken word available to all; to make books available in five languages; to present courses and programs where we can hear the great thinkers and writers of our times, and engage in debate on the great issues.
We are driven to enchant and excite our children about the universes that exist within the covers of books, and to inspire them to become lifelong readers, learners and storytellers. We are here to promote literacy and creativity in all our generations.
Not least of our missions is the work of memory. We Jews will have no future if we do not preserve our heritage, tell stories of our past, and keep the great works of our thinkers and writers alive.
Over the past two years we have engaged in a deep process of honest self-examination that resulted in an ambitious plan for improvement and innovation to fulfill the expectations of our community. Over the next two years it is our challenge to put that plan into action.
I want to keep you informed about how we are doing, and to ask for your feedback and ideas. The JPL will only thrive with your wholehearted support. Be a member volunteer, donate books, attend events, explore our archives, introduce a friend, child or grandchild to the JPL, consider charitable gifts to help us assure our sustainability for the next hundred years.
Most of all I encourage you to be an advocate for the JPL and always hold us to the highest levels of excellence in everything we do. I’m interested in hearing from you. Please write me an email