A celebration of books – and the rooms that house them

A celebration of books – and the rooms that house them

Temple Emanu-el of Closter has refurbished and expanded its library to provide ‘a warm and inviting atmosphere.’ photo courtesy of Temple Emanu-El

Libraries should be inviting places, said Ruth Pomerantz, chair of the newly refurbished library at Temple Emanu-El of Closter.

“To provide a warm and inviting atmosphere, we have created a cozy and comfortable space, not only for browsing but also for relaxing and reading,” she said, adding that as part of this effort, well-lit window seats have been situated “in a beautiful décor.”

“Our library is a tremendous asset, where we can share a broad range of materials suitable for congregants of all ages,” said Pomerantz, explaining that not only has the shul tried to created a special library experience for children in a Judaic setting, “but it is a great place for parents to hang out while the children are in class or during their bar/bat mitzvah lessons, instead of waiting for them in the hallway.”

According to Pomerantz, the library has obtained “a wealth of new acquisitions” for both children and adults and has also expanded its classical Judaica collection. In addition, she said, the shul’s “state-of-the-art” computer system allows members to access the library from their home computers, searching the data base and requesting books.

“We have a wonderful book dedication program,” said Pomerantz. “Members can memorialize or honor someone, [or they can] celebrate a special occasion, such as a bar/bat mitzvah, an anniversary, a birthday, or ‘just because.'”

Pomerantz said she hopes the “new, beautiful library” will draw people into the synagogue. “We have given a great deal of time, effort, patience, and love to make the Temple Emanu-El library the best Judaica library in New Jersey,” she said.

On Nov. 2, the congregation will celebrate its new library, hosting a day devoted to books, authors, and reading.

“Celebrating S’farim” – which will include a ribbon-cutting and tour of the library – will also feature a presentation by MAD Magazine writer Arie Kaplan (whose résumé includes additional titles such as comedy writer, animation writer, screenwriter, lecturer, and pop-culture expert). Kaplan will speak about his recent book “From Krypton to Krakow: Jews and Comic Books” (Jewish Publication Society, 2008), showcasing the significant contribution Jews have made to the art form (see related story).

In addition, through “A Book and a Buck,” the event will link to Mitzvah Day, a community outreach project of UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey, said Tammy Ween, the shul’s youth and family programs director.

The book drive, for which donors are invited to “drop off gently used or new children’s books – including, for example, dictionaries, thesauruses, easy readers, and books about teens” – will also ask contributors for “some bucks to cover the shipping charges” to two schools in Israel. According to Ween, “students will have an opportunity to create book plates and write letters to the Israeli students at the two schools, one near Safed and the other outside Netanya.

For more information, call (201) 750-9997.

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