Library news

Library News:
About 35 years ago, Rabbi Phillip Sigal proposed a library endowment fund. While his specific proposal didn’t garner as many gifts as he envisioned, a single $10,000 gift, along with additional small donations over the years, has grown manyfold. The original gift came with a provision for modifying the use of the money as needs changed.  Over time, it became apparent that the money was growing faster than it could be spent.  Because of this, we have gone back to the Wapner family with requests to broaden the use of the money.
In March, the Board approved the latest change to the structure of the fund. First, we formally changed the name of the fund to the Jacob and Fannie Wapner Library, Information, and Technology Endowment fund. We can now use the fund for any and all synagogue related technology needs, such as equipment, internet connectivity and communication, and for the purchase of resources of any kind or any topic appropriate to a synagogue library.
In addition, at the family’s suggestion, the board transferred $25,000 of the Wapner fund to the parking lot reconstruction fund. Normally, funds given to the synagogue for a limited purpose may not legally be used for any other purpose. In this case, the initial gift gave the synagogue permission, as long as we had the family’s consent, to use the money for a different purpose. 
The board also decided to close the separate Library Fund and move the money into the Wapner Library IT Endowment fund. After the transfer of the $25,000 to the parking lot reconstruction project, the fund will contain approximately $46,700, and continue to be invested with the Jewish community endowment. It should generate approximately $2,300 in income each year, more than enough to buy as many books as we want, and with careful planning, keep the synagogue’s hardware, software, and internet up to date.

Library Report


Aronoff, Yael.  The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers-When Hard-Liners Opt for Peace

Yael Aronoff was our recent Scholar-in-Residence speaker.  Her comments addressed  governance in Israel and the recent Israeli-Gaza conflict.  Her 2005 book (listed above) is now included in our library.  It deals with aspects of Israeli history focusing on international relations, with a particular look at the internal governance modalities shown by six Israeli leaders. 

Library Acquisitions-June 2012


Nelson, Rabbi David W. Nelson.  Judaism, Physics and God

This book attempts to explain the findings of contemporary physics, including those of Einstein, in terms of the message of the Bible, so as to bridge the gap between the religious believer and the skeptic.  The author uses his thorough knowledge of Tenakh and Midrash to accomplish his aim.  This is a truly amazing book, written for the scientific layman in very clear terms.

Shulevitz, Judith.  The Sabbath World

The author appeared at the recent symposium in literature at Calvin and during her visit to Grand Rapids presented her thesis on the Sabbath to our Jewish community at a special outside dinner.  Her book explores the Jewish and Christian day of rest from Biblical times to the present, and indicates her personal struggle to observe this very rewarding day.  She is a talented writer who offers a “beautifully written, consistently engaging reflection…part history part meditation,”  as she explains the “morality of time.”

Feldman, Deborah.  Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots-A Memoir

Against a background in Satmar Hasidism, Ms. Feldman, aided in her youth by her reading of the literary classics of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott, explains how she was able to escape from her tradition of “suffering and silence.”

Library Aquisitions - May 2012

Shoyer, Paula.  The Kosher Baker  Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy.

The author appeared in person last month (March) to a very positive audience, as part of the Jewish Cultural Council series.  Included in her talk, as well as in her book, Ms. Shoyer presents a section on foolproof techniques for a successful outcome.  The book includes a presentation on utensils for her baking , also a listing of certified kosher pareve (as are all ingredients used) for these recipes. The photo illustrations, in brilliant color, are especially tantalizing.


Steinsalz, Adin.  The Thirteen Petalled Rose   A Discourse on the Essence of Jewish Existence and Belief

The book, translated from the Hebrew by Yehuda Hanebi, is a modern classic in Jewish cabala.  It describes the ten Sefirot or emanations of G-d, and how we might relate to them.  The title “The Thirteen Petalled Rose” is taken from the introduction given in the Zohar, which is a landmark set of volumes in Jewish cabala from the year 1300.  “…Just as a rose has thirteen petals, so does Knesset Yisrael (the Jewish people) have thirteen measures  of compassion encompassing it on all its sides…”  The thirteen measures of compassion concept refers to the attributes of G-d as related to Moses in the book of Exodus.

We are holding two books for the library, a hard cover one and the other a soft cover volume.  The hard cover volume will be held on the Reserve shelf, the other on the general shelf for circulation.  The letter R appears after the library identification number (which is otherwise the same), on the library reserve copy.


Weiss-Rosmarin, Trude.  Judaism and Christianity  The Difference

The book is a succinct statement of the major differences between Judaism and Christianity, stating the boundaries of each.

Library Acquisitions - March, 2012

Giller, Pinchas    Kabbalah: A Guide for the Perplexed

( 3 copies, one for reserve shelf)

A concise overview of the major trends in Jewish Kabbalah, with an excellent index.  Pinchas Giller is the son of Marshall and Ruth Giller, long time members of Ahavas Israel and now living in California.  Pinchas is Professor of Medieval Jewish Thought at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.

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