Looking for the Library Committee’s favorite Passover dishes along with the recipes? Click here for the 2018 recipe booklet.   Past years’ booklets are here:  Passover 2017, Passover 2016, Passover 2015, Passover 2014, Passover Recipes 2013, Passover Recipes 2012


The library was thrilled to welcome back Joel Ives as an expert on genealogy. His presentation, How Researching Your Past Changes Your Future stems from a recent event in his life. While preparing an essay on why he “does genealogy,” he experienced a eureka moment. lt became apparent to him that family research changes lives. For Joel, his passion has led to a new and constantly evolving family focus. As always, his presentation was a crowd-pleaser!

Ronald Balson has done it again. He has written a sterling novel, The Girl from Berlin. And even better news is that it is now in our library and available for takeout. In his novel, Balson creates two important characters, Liam and Catherine, who come to the aid of an old friend. Quickly, they soon find themselves drawn into a property dispute in Tuscany that unearths long-buried secrets. These secrets return the reader to an earlier period where Ada Baumgarten, a Jewish child violin prodigy, survived an unravelling society. Her story was vested in layers of lies, corruption, deceit, and human evil. It is today still an unfinished story. Currently, this book is the #1 recommendation of our library volunteers. After you read this novel, please share your thoughts and perhaps critique with a library friend.

PJ Library produces outstanding books for young people.  Try A Concert in the Sand.  A grandma and her grandson take a walk along a Tel Aviv street and encounter the conductor and musicians of the Israel  Philharmonic gathering for their first performance. This story is based on the true story of the creation of the Israel Philharmonic, just after 1948. Besides a good story, the illustrations are absolutely COOL!

New from the Sifriyah

The One Book One Community program from Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey has chosen their selection for this year: Among the Living by Jonathan Rabb. Thirty-one-year-old Yitzhak Goldah, a Holocaust survivor, arrives in Savannah late in the summer of 1947 to live with his only remaining relatives. Abe and Pearl Jesler are older and childless and play integral roles in Georgia’s historic thriving Jewish community. Among the Living contains many themes, including Jews in the South during the Jim Crow era, Jewish relations between Reform and Conservative, Sephardis and Ashkenazim, life after the Holocaust, and, a good love story.


The Library Ladies would like to share their favorite books, all available from the Sifriyah.

For January: The Woman Who Heard Color by Kelly Jones. Hanna would do anything to prevent the destruction of art. Did that mean collaboration with the Nazis during WWII? Art detective Lauren O’Farrell is determined to find out. Her journey to discover and retrieve art stolen by the Nazis leads to her search of the apartment of Isabella Fletcher, whose mother, Hanna, was rumored to be a collaborator. Read this historical fiction with its unique twists and turns and perhaps learn about art in Germany during this time. For all of you who have read a lot about the Holocaust, this novel, based on true stories, provides a unique eye into this period of history, not one usually discussed and not one emphasizing physical abuse.

For December: A best-selling author (Kristin Hannah)  wrote an extraordinary historical fiction, The Nightingale. Her opening lines are “If I have learned anything in this long life of mine; it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”  These opening sentences really summarize the novel, the story of 2 sisters, very different, living in France under the thumb of Nazi occupation.  Each sister must make horrendous choices.  This book sits in our library.  Grab it.

For November: Jephte’s Daughter, by Naomi Ragen. A secret vow made years ago becomes the backdrop for confrontation in the ultra-Orthodox world of arranged marriages and honoring thy father. In gratitude that the 300-year-old Chasidic dynasty survived the Holocaust, a wealthy businessman makes a solemn vow to God: that his only child, beautiful Batsheva, will carry on the lineage through an arranged marriage to an ultra-Orthodox Talmudic scholar. Batsheva is torn between her own desires and honoring her father. But all is not what it seems. Rigidity, piety, abuse, fanaticism all make for an interesting glimpse into the inner workings of the Orthodox world.

For September: In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume is a moving story of three generations of families, friends and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed by unexpected events.  Set in the early 1950s in Elizabeth, New Jersey, this book is full of memorable characters, especially Uncle Henry who is much more than an uncle to Miri. He is her hero.

The Library Ladies recommend City of Thieves, by David Benioff. From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival — and a remarkable friendship. During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

The Bus On Jaffa Road: A Story of Middle East Terrorism and the Search for Justice, by Mike Kelly. After their children are killed in a terrorist bombing, three American families attempt to find out who was responsible. After winning a judgment in a U.S. court, the families encountered an unforeseen enemy – their own government.


If you would like to know more about this committee or would like to get involved,  contact co-chair Jane Simon or co-chair Ruth Turner.