Page 23 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 30

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again confronted with what appeared to be an unsurmountable
financial crisis. The holder of the mortgage on the recently pur­
chased Library building had entered a foreclosure notice; there
was no money to pay coal or electricity bills; once more the
Library stood in imminent danger of being forced to close. At
the last moment, the director and two of the Library’s supporters
managed to enlist the aid of several business men, and happily
the Library was enabled to continue.
The Library’s guiding principle has been to participate fully
in every community cause. Between 1915-1945, it participated in
a Zionist Assembly; sent delegates to the meetings from which
evolved the Canadian Jewish Congress; cooperated with the Jewish
Immigrant Aid Society to implement immigration programs, and
inaugurated a Jewish book exhibition. This latter program, which
was a joint project of the Library, the Canadian Jewish Congress
and the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, is now an annual
event. In addition, during World War II the Library provided
books to the Jewish inmates of internment camps in Canada.
Two community services originated by the Library are the
provision of small libraries to children’s summer camps and the
circulation of books to hospital patients. Today, a further serv­
ice is provided by the branch libraries which are situated in
three Montreal suburbs3. Another program initiated by the
Library was a weekly schedule of recorded classical music and
for eight years the Library provided quarters in its building for
a drama school and theatre group.
Sundry Activities Conducted
The need to establish a separate children’s section was rec­
ognized as early as 1927 but the Library was unable to imple­
ment this plan un til 1951. In March of that year, a children's
library was organized with its own quarters in the Library
building. Regular story hours in English and Yiddish, formed
a part of the children’s program, from which evolved the present-
day Young People’s Theatre Group, one of the few Yiddish theatre
groups for young people. Directed by Mrs. Dora Wasserman from
its inception, participation in the Theatre Canada ’71 program
at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, is but one of the marks
of recognition accorded this drama group.
When reconstituted in 1914, the Library Charter stipulated
that a People’s University should be organized and conducted
— M
o n tr e a l
ew ish
u b l ic
3St. Laurent, in the Beth Ora Synagogue; Cote St. Luc, in the Beth Zion
Synagogue; Chomedy, in the Young Israel Synagogue.