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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.

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.)

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.

books On Social Justice, As Recommended By Rabbi Reuben


If you attended or are attending the Social Justice Book Club on March 4 for its discussion of The Common Good by Robert B. Reich, you may be inspired to explore the topics discussed in greater depth on your own.  If so, Rabbi Reuben has assembled the following list of books in the KI Library which can deepen your understanding and knowledge of the issues discussed.  The library has many more books on ethics and social justice, so be sure to explore the collection while you’re there.

Righteous Indignation, A Call for Justice 

Rabbis, intellectuals and activists discuss the relationship between Judaism and social justice and argue that American Jewry must move beyond "mitzvah days" and other occasional service programs and dedicate itself to systemic change in the United States, Israel and throughout the world.  (136.4)

Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices: Power edited by Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff and Louis E. Newman

This volume in this ethics series deals with one of the most critical moral issues of our time: how do we use power once we’ve gained it? The book includes essays by contributor, including former U.S. Representative Henry Waxman, NBC Universal Television-West Coast President Marc Graboff and author and scholar James Diamond. (136.4/Dorff) 

Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices: War and National Security by Eliot N. Dorff and Dany Ruttenberg

This volume in this ethics series deals with one of the most critical moral issues of our time: what is morally acceptable in times of war and the nation’s defense?  Contributors include Noam Chomsky, Lt. Col. Seth Milstein and political philosopher Michael Walzer. (136.4/Dorff) 

Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices: Social Justice edited by Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff and Dany Ruttenberg

This volume in this ethics series deals with our current social justice issues, including expanding healthcare coverage, the death penalty and affirmative action issues. Contributors include Jill Jacobs of Jewish Funds for Justice, Arthur Waskow, director of The Shalom Center, and TV commentator and UCLA law professor Laurie Levenson.  (136.4/Dorff) 

Moral Resistance and Spiritual Authority edited by Seth M. Limmer and Jonah Dov Posner

In the This 2018 book explores the Jewish obligation to bring justice to the world. The essays in this collection use Jewish text and tradition to explore women's health, LGBTQ rights, healthcare, racial justice, speaking truth to power and community organizing. (136.4/Lim)

Organizational Ethics and Economic Justice by David A. Teutsch

This volume in the Guide to Jewish Practice series looks at business ethics, not-for-profit ethics and economic justice. It covers topics such as the meaning of work, obligations of employers and employees and of buyers and sellers and competition and cooperation. (220/Teu)

Community, Gemilut Hesed and Tikun Olam by David A. Teutsch

This book provides a fresh exploration of community, interpersonal caring and acts for the betterment of the world and looks at how simple acts help change the world. (220/Teu)

Bioethics by David A. Teutsch 

Another volume in this series by David Teutsch explores current medical ethical issues and asks the question: how much can society intrude on an individual’s own health autonomy? (136.75/Teu)

Ethics of Speech by David A. Teutsch

InThis book explores language’s enormous power – how it shapes every individual’s life and its capacity to build and destroy trust, create and devastate relationships, fuel rivalry and bring peace. It also looks at ways we use speech – oral, written and digital – and how that speech can build or destroy our communities. (136.75/Teu)

January- June 2019


There are a lot of things going on in the United States now. Perhaps this is a good time to figure out our Jewish history and place in this country.  This has been a subject of ongoing scrutiny since Jews first arrived in the U.S. Below are some books from the KI Library that might help with your study:

Volume I: A Time for Planting: The First Migration, 1654-1820 by Eli Faber.

In the autumn of 1654, 23 Jews aboard the bark Sainte Catherine landed at the town of New Amsterdam to establish the first permanent Jewish settlement in North America. In A Time for Planting, Eli Faber recounts these earliest days of Jewish life in America, as Jews from Lisbon to Amsterdam to London extended the wanderings of their centuries-old diaspora.  This is the first volume in a series we have in the library.  Read them all. (771.1 FAB)

The Jews in America by Arthur Hertzberg. 

A controversial examination of the Jewish ''success story" in American that questions notions of identity, assimilation and ethnicity. (771 HER)

The American Jewish Album 1654 to the Present by Allon Schoener 

Over 500 illustrations document the Jewish contribution to American politics, commerce, industry, finance, labor, and the arts and highlight this survey of daily life and great Jewish personalities. (770)

The Secret War Against the Jews by John Loftus and Mark Aarons. 

Using thousands of previously top-secret documents and interviews with hundreds of current and former spies, Loftus and Aarons, both veteran investigators, Nazi-hunters and authors, present a compelling case that numerous Western countries, especially the United States and Great Britain, have conducted repeated and willful spying missions on Palestine and, later, Israel over many decades. (772 LOF)

HThThe Rest of Us by Stephen Birmingham.  Birmingham, better known for Our Crowd about the arrival of German Jews in New York, writes now about the wave of Eastern European Jewish immigrants who swept into New York in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by way of Ellis Island.  Not welcomed by the settled German Jews, the new arrivals were tough, passionate, and determined, and in no time they were moving up from the ghetto tenements of New York’s Lower East Side to make their marks and their fortunes across the country in a variety of fields, from media and popular music to fashion, motion pictures, and even organized crime. (771.5  BIR)

The Downtown Jews by Ronald Sanders.  A history of the 1880s through World War II told mostly from the standpoint of the Jewish Forward. (771.5 SAN)

Tough Jews by Rich Cohen.  Tough Jews traces a generation of Jewish gangsters from New York City’s Lower East Side to its Upper East Side. This is a (sometimes) gruesome but funny history of the Jewish gangster. You can almost hear the squeal of tires and the rattle of gunfire as you read. (770.9  COH)

The Deadliest Lies by Abraham H. Foxman.  The former head of the Anti-Defamation League shows how old stereotypes associated with the most virulent forms of bigotry have been resurfacing and taking subtle new forms, particularly around Israel and the so-called “Jewish Lobby.” (770.9 FOX)

HTJews and the New American Scene by Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab.  The authors discuss the Jewish success and acceptance in the United States, as well as the problems of assimilation and the erosion of Jewish identity. (770.9 LIP)

The New Country: Jewish Immigrants in America by Abraham Shulman.  Over a period of 20 years around the turn of the century, over 2 million Jews left Eastern Europe to come to the United States.  This book gives a picture of what they did when they got here and how they adapted to their new country. (771.5 SH)

Number Our Days by Barbara Myerhoff.  When noted anthropologist Myerhoff received a grant to explore the process of aging, she decided to study some elderly Jews from Venice, California, rather than to report on a more exotic people. The story of the rituals and lives of these remarkable old people will enthrall you. (777.1 Myerhoff)

Profiles in American Judaism by Marc Lee Raphael.  This book provides perspective on the historical development of the different branches of American Judaism. (770 RA)

HThe TaChutzpah by Alan M. DershowitzDershowitz wrestles with the ideas of what it means to be a Jew in America today. (770.9 DER)

Philadelphia Jewish Life 1940-1985 edited by Murray Friedman.  This book contains over 250 illustrations - from the Urban Archives at Temple University and the Philadelphia Jewish archives at the Balch Institute – and 14 essays on Jewish life in the urban Eastern city of Philadelphia from 1940-1985. (774.3 Fr)



We are at the end of summer, and fall is the season of important Jewish holidays, starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Hanukkah.  Here are some books to help you learn about and celebrate the joyous New Year:

HThe Tapestry of Jewish Time: A Spiritual Guide to Holidays and Life-Cycle Events by Nina Beth Cardin.  This guide to Jewish living likens the fabric of Judaism to a tapestry woven of communal celebration and personal spirit. Part I features 14 Jewish holidays, including Shabbat and Rosh Hodesh (the New Month). (236.1 Car)

Living a Jewish Life: Jewish Traditions, Customs, and Values for Today's Families by Anita Diamant.  The author of The Red Tent  explains the traditions and beliefs of Judaism in the context of real life. Discover the meaning and significance of lighting Sabbath candles, and learn the full and complex meanings of words and concepts such as "Shabbat," "Torah," "kosher," and "mitzvah." (221 di)

Why Be Jewish? By Edgar M. Bronfman.  Something to think about when celebrating the holidays.  Bronfman directs the book to secular, disaffected, and unaffiliated Jews, and discusses the most critical question confronting Judaism worldwide. (221 Bro)

Jewish Cooking In America by Joan Nathan.  What’s a Jewish holiday without a food component?  The expert on Jewish cooking looks at its development in the United States and provides delicious recipes for all the holidays. (699 Nat)

AnnaThe Art of Jewish Cooking by Jennie Grossinger.  The woman who put Grossinger’s in the Catskills on the map.  Jennie said that she learned her traditional recipes in her mother’s kitchen.  Her mother always told her: “No one must ever go away hungry!” (699 Grossinger)

Festival Days: A History of Jewish Celebrations by Chaim Raphael.  This book offers some context and history for the Jewish holidays. (236.7 Rap)

The Cycle of the Jewish Year by Yaacov Vainstein.  Another book to help you understand the annual cycle of the festivals and the liturgy that goes with them. (236.2 Vai)

The Jewish Book of Why by Alfred Kolatch.  If you have any questions this is the book with the answers.  Enter the holiday cycle with more understanding about what is done and why. (221)

MemThe Book of Jewish Customs by Harvey Lutske. Like the “Jewish Book of Why” this book explains Jewish customs and practices. (221 Lut)

From My Mother’s Kitchen by Mimi Sheraton.  More traditional recipes for holidays and every day from the former New York Times restaurant critic and food writer. (699 Sh)

The Hanukkah Book by Mae Shafter Rockland.  Prepare for Hanukkah by learning about its origins and its customs and practices.  This book also contains recipes for traditional Hanukkah foods (latkes!), games and other pastimes. (247 Rockland)


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 Doby 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?!

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.

Pastrami on Rye by Ted Merwin

Rhapsody in Schmaltz by Michael Wex

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

October 2016

The 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.

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.


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.


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.


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


The library has a copy of the Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman author of the recent book, One Hundred Names for LoveThe 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!

Fri, August 23 2019 22 Av 5779