KI Library

KI Library

Our KI Library is as old as KI. The founding members began the collection over 50 years ago, and it has expanded over the years. The library is maintained by a dedicated group of KI congregants.

We have a children’s collection located in the Early Childhood Center which is supported completely by donations to the Donald Goldberg Memorial Fund and the community.

Our Adult collection is located next to the sanctuary and contains an extensive range of Judaica. It is supported by the Library Fund. Donations to these two funds are greatly appreciated and well used. We encourage you to make a donation today.

April/May 2017

A Hidden Gem: Our KI Library

By Barbara Birenbaum

The KI library is a hidden gem on the second floor of our beloved synagogue. If you’re in the sanctuary for services you’ll notice that there’s even a window into the library. The window joins the library to the sanctuary—emphasizing the connection to and importance of books and learning in our Jewish tradition.

So,the next time you’re in the building, visit our library and take home a book.  Our new books are on a specially marked shelf at the back of the library.  The library is simple to use and works on the honor system, so it’s always open whenever you come. Just pull the card out of the book you’re checking out, fill out the card with the date, your name and phone number, and leave the card in the front of the box.  The box is located on the library “book truck” (on the wall to your left as you leave the library).

Please return the book within a month by placing it on the same book truck (the library committee volunteers will take care of checking the book in and reshelving it.)

Here are a few of the new fiction books in our library:

Our KI Collections

– The Adult collection is based on the Elaza Classification system for Judaica libraries. The complete card catalog is located on the computer in the middle carrel (on your left as you enter the library).

Reference books are noted by the letter R before the call number and on the spine of the books. Reference books are at the back of the library. Please do NOT remove a reference book from the library.

The Fiction collection is listed by initials of author’s last name and is found by the door to the patio toward the back of the library.

The Non-Fiction collection is organized as follows:
001-099 Bible and Biblical Studies
100-199 Classical Judaica: Halakhah & Midrash
200-299 Jewish Observances & Practices (includes holidays, baby naming, weddings, B’nai Mitzvah)
300-399 Jewish Education
400-499 Hebrew, Jewish Languages & Sciences (includes Yiddish)
500-599 Jewish Literature
600-699 The Jewish Community: Society & Arts (including Women Studies)
700-799 Jewish History, Geography & Biography
800-899 Israel & Zionism

A complete listing of the library catalog is on the computer in the middle carrel on the left as you enter the library. Instructions for the use of the catalog are on the bulletin board above the computer. There are guides on the shelves directing you to the numbers/subjects as indicated in the catalog.

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gabriel Sanit. An interpretative odyssey of a young girl staying alive in Germany during World War II.

The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain. Winner of the 2016 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction this book delves into the strength of childhood connections in the face of the prevalent anti-semitism of the war years.

And After the Fire by Lauren Belfer. A young girl, a victim of violence, finds an old music manuscript in her uncle’s property and delves into its origins over 200 years before.  The book interweaves and melds the past and the present, reality and fantasy.

The Genius of Judaism by Bernard-Henri Levy.  A new way of looking at being a Jew by the philosopher and activist who finds an obligation to the other at the heart of our faith.

Memories and Scenes: Shtetl, Childhood, Writers by Jacob Dinezon. A new translation of a collection of works by the Yiddish writer.

Why? Explaining the Holocaust  by Peter Hayes.   A clear and concise attempt to answer the fundamental question.

Mamaleh Knows Best: What Jewish Mothers Do to Raise Successful, Creative, Empathetic, Independent Children by Marjorie Ingall.  Let go of your Jewish mother stereotypes!  Let’s face it.  They (we!) must be doing something right.  The author shares Jewish secrets for raising self-sufficient, ethical, and accomplished children.

Israel by Daniel Gordis.  A comprehensive readable history of the State of Israel from its formation to today.

New York’s Yiddish Theatrer: From the Bowery to Broadway by Edna Nahshon.  Chronicles the Yiddish theater in New York and its impact and contributions to Jewish and American culture.

The Sacred Calling: Four Decades Of Women In The Rabbinate Edited by Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr and Rabbi Alysa Mendelson Graf.  In this anthology, rabbis and scholars from across the Jewish world reflect back on the historic significance of women in the rabbinate and explore issues related to both the professional and personal lives of women rabbis.

January/February/March 2017

Exciting Books in Our KI Library

By Barbara Birenbaum

Next time you’re in the building come by the library and take something home.  Our new books are on a specially marked shelf at the back of the library.

Here are a few of the new fiction books in our library:

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer. Once again Foer brings his insight to a family in crisis in present-day Washington, DC.

They May Not Mean to But They Do by Catherine Schine. Schine explores three generations of a family dealing with aging.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This bestseller tells the story of the “women’s war” – the women who were left behind during World War II.

The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem by Sarit Yishai-Levi. A fascinating and engrossing look at generations of a Sephardic family in Jerusalem before and after statehood

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks. Brooks brings her talent for historical storytelling to a reconsideration of the story of King David

The Book of Esther by Emily Barton. Set in 1942, The Book of Esther, in its tale of a counterfactual Jewish state, has been compared to Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America.

Judenstaat by Simone Zelitch. This book also reimagines history by creating a Jewish state in Europe after World War II.

The Extra by A.B. Yehoshua. The story of a musician’s homecoming to Israel.

November/December 2016

What to Eat!?

Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) by Roger Horowitz

The time of eating is approaching.  Studies show that right now is when you weigh the least all year.  It’s all downhill from here.  But while you’re eating, reconnect with your roots.  The KI library has a lot of good holiday cookbooks and we recently purchased books on our culinary heritage.   Come in and grab some delicious books.

book 3

Pastrami on Rye by Ted Merwin


book 2

Rhapsody in Schmaltz by Michael Wex

These books, and more new books are in the “New Books” section at the back of the library.  Check out our cookbooks, too, in the 200’s on the right side of the library as you enter.

The library works on the honor system so you don’t have to worry about whether we’re open when you come.  Just pull the card out of the book you’re checking out, fill out the card with the date and your name and phone number and leave the card in the front of the box on the library “book truck” (the book truck is on your left as you leave the library). Please return the book within a month by placing it on the same book truck (the library committee volunteers will take care of checking the book in and reshelving it.)

October 2016

Holiday Meal Ideas in the KI Library!

HHD 5777 iconThe holidays are fast approaching!  If you need some suggestions for a holiday meal browse the 200’s area of the KI library shelves to find cookbooks and books on holiday eating.  Also, if you want to prepare for the holidays, look at some of the books we have about the Jewish Holidays and the rituals of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The library works on the honor system so you don’t have to worry about whether we’re open when you come.  Just pull the card out of the book you’re checking out, fill out the card with the date and your name and phone number and leave the card in the front of the box on the library “book truck” (located on the wall to your right as you leave the library). Please return the book within a month by placing it on the same book truck (the library committee volunteers will take care of checking the book in and reshelving it.)

Barbra Streisand

Were you one of the lucky people who saw Barbra Streisand this month? Come in and pick up her biography written by Neal Gabler who writes well-researched and fascinating best sellers about Hollywood.

The KI library has added two new important works on the Holocaust to the collection:


KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps
, by Nikolaus Wachsmann (736.1/Wach)

This work delves into life in the camps and how they were created and operated in ways which have not been explored in all the abundance of material on the Holocaust. In its review, the New York Times said that the author “makes the unimaginable palpable.” Instead of criticizing Jews who put up little resistance, he prefers to believe that they simply couldn’t believe what would happen to them. One heart-breaking story is of a mother who lied and said her 14 year old boy was only 13, thinking that would save him. But instead he was sent immediately to his death since the Nazis had no use for children. The author says that the mother wrote later, “in despair, ‘How should I have known?’ How indeed could anyone.” 

Black Earth The Holocaust as History and Warning, by Timothy Snyder (736/Sny)

This history of the Holocaust and its origins has stirred controversy among Holocaust scholars. Chief among the controversial ideas is that anti-Semitism was not the driving force in the genocide. Mr. Snyder believes that “states, institutions, micro-level sociological explanations, economic behavior” are more the causes and that these causes are present in destabilized areas today.

Come in and check these books out. See what the controversy is about.

Comics and the Jews

For once and current comic book lovers, the KI library has From Krakow to Krypton by Arie Kaplan.
Many of the creators of the most famous comic books, such as Superman, Spiderman, X-Men, and Batman, as well as the founders of MAD Magazine, were Jewish. This book reveals the Jewish subtexts of these comics and demonstrates how the creators brought a uniquely Jewish perspective to their work and to the comics industry as a whole. If you enjoyed the exhibit at the Skirball, this book will let you plunge even deeper into the subject.

Books for Stamp and Coin Collectors

If you’re a coin or stamp collector, you may be interested in these books in the KI Library:

The Story of Israel in Stamps by Maxim and Gabriel Shamir 682.9 S
Great Jews in Stamps by Arieh Lindenbaum 682.9 L
The Bible Through Stamps by Ord Matek 682.9 M
Coins of the Land of Israel – the Collection of the Bank of Israel 676 K

New Books in the Library

The library has a copy of the Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman author of the recent book, One Hundred Names for Love. The Zookeeper’s Wife is the true story of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, Christian zookeepers who were horrified by Nazi racism and used the Nazis’ obsession with pureblood animals in order to save over 300 doomed people by hiding them in the bombed-out cages at the Warsaw Zoo.

The library has also acquired these books:

The Book of the Unknown: Tales of the Thirty-six by Jonathon Keats

Jewish folklore is reimagined in this collection of stories about the Talmudic idea of the Lamedh-Vov, 36 righteous souls who must exist at all times in order for humanity, and the world, to sustain itself.

Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter by Peter Manseau

Fictional Yiddish poet Itzik Malpesh, now 90, employs a 21-year-old religious scholar to translate his memoirs into English. A sustaining memory is the story of his birth during a pogrom, when Sasha, the ritual butcher’s daughter, just four years old, chased away the killers and saved his life. Ever since being told of the girl’s courageous feat, his romantic obsession has been to find Sasha.

Dancing on the Edge of the World : Jewish Stories of Love, Faith, and Inspiration by Miriyam Glazer

This collection of ancient and contemporary stories provides a glimpse into the Jewish spirit that has been “dancing on the edge of the world” for two thousand years.

Come in to the library and Check them out!