Fan and Hyman Jacobs Library

The Fan and Hyman Jacobs Library is a treasure trove hidden in plain sight, just a few steps off the main floor of Oheb Shalom. 

With over 5,000 items, there is something for everyone.  Books on philosophy, biography, history, and holidays fill the shelves.  The fiction, selected for all age levels, includes both modern and classic works by Jewish and Israeli authors.  There are special areas for graphic novels and for parenting advice.  A collection of DVDs is growing. 

Borrowing is simple, and there is never a late fee.  The catalog is available online.  Our librarian, Aileen Grossberg, is on site Sunday and Wednesday mornings, but you are welcome any time. 

View website
Oheb Shalom Online Catalog

THIS WEEK'S Message From Our Librarian

Gold Medal Reading, with a little silver thrown in

The book award year has finally come to an end with the presentation of the Association of Jewish Libraries Literary Awards. They complement the National Jewish Book Awards from the Jewish Book Council and the Sami Rohr Award for an emerging writer.

Here are the best of the best from 2017, a selection of winners and honorable mention from the Jewish book world.

We truly are The People of the Book in the quality and variety of books of Jewish interest.

The winner of the Sophie Brody Medal for Achievement in Jewish Literature awarded by the American Library Association is Ilana Kurshan for If All the Seas Were Ink. ALA said that “this engaging memoir chronicles the author’s experience with Daf Yomi, the practice of studying a page of Talmud daily. Contemporary life and Jewish learning intersect as Kurshan searches for answers to the changes and challenges of her own life. The cycle of Daf Yomi provides a map for the author’s journey.”  Kurshan’s book was also received the Sami Rohr Prize.

Association of Jewish Libraries presents the Sydney Book Awards annually for outstanding books for young readers. Named after the author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series, the awards celebrate books that have both literary merit and show the Jewish experience.

The gold medal book for younger readers is The Language of Angels: A Story About the Reinvention of Hebrew by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Karla Gudeon. According to AJL” this beautiful picture book tells the story of how Hebrew became an everyday language in Israel, after being out of use for two thousand years. The folk art illustrations are an illuminating match.” Michelson and Gudeon also won the National Jewish Book Award in the Children’s Literature category.

The gold medal for older readers went to Refugee by Alan Gratz. This book tells of the journeys of three different young refugees: one from Nazi Germany, a second from Castro’s Cuba and the third from present day Syria. The three narratives come together to form an emotional and timely narrative about the refugee experience. This book was also cited by the National Book Awards.

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe and translated from Spanish by Lilit Thwaites was awarded the gold medal in the young adult category.   In fictional form, this book, which tells the powerful story of Dita Kraus and her protection of a handful of books in the Auschwitz concentration camp, shows the importance of hope in the darkest of times.

The gold medal for fiction, given out for the first time this year, went to Rachel Kadish for The Weight if Ink. Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, chairperson of the award committee, stated that “Rachel Kadish has crafted an extraordinary cast of characters who speak to each other within and across the divides of centuries as well as those of age, religion, and class and come vividly to life under her empathic touch. This is a book that honors learning, libraries, archivists and librarians. “Kadish also received the National Jewish Book Award in the Book Club category.

In addition to the categories mentioned above, the Jewish Book Council cites books in other categories including the following:

Jewish Book of the Year: Lionness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel by Francine Klagsbrun is an exhaustive biography of Israel’s only female prime minister.

Fiction: A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman chronicle one night as a stand-up comedian recalls some of his darkest moments and traumatic memories from childhood on stage in front of a live audience

Other books cited and worth reading include

A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seifert is a multi-level story of survival in World War II.

Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan by Ruth Gilligan the multi-generation story of an Irish Jewish family.

Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen is a story of moral choices set against the current African immigrant dilemma in Israel.

The Story of Hebrew by Lewis Glinert traces the history and influence of the Hebrew language from Biblical times through its revival as the language of the Jewish state.


Aileen Grossberg, Librarian

Librarian Hours: Wednesdays & Sundays from 9 am to 12 pm. The library is open daily.