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About the library
The Saul Brodsky Jewish Community Library is the St. Louis community's central and comprehensive source for Judaica. Established in 1983 through the generosityof the Saul Brodsky family and with the continued support of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis and the St. Louis community, the Brodsky Library has become one of the finest Judaic libraries in the midwest and an invaluable Jewish resource for the community.

The more than 22,000 volume collection of the Brodsky Library covers every aspect of Judaism.  The library also has large collections of cds, dvds and periodicals and houses the St. Louis Jewish Community Archives.

January/February Friends Newsletter (Download pdf)

As we begin this New Year, I wanted to take the time to share with you the events that are planned for the first quarter of the year and to highlight several new books and films that have recently been added to the collection.  Please come by to read a journal, check out a new book or DVD, and have a cup of coffee.  We’d love to see you!

On behalf of the Brodsky library, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to each and every Friend of the Brodsky Library.  Your ongoing support and generous contributions throughout this past year have had significant impact in our daily operations.   Financial support provided through the Friends organization has allowed us to enhance our collection, maintain annual subscriptions, and provide programming. 

Cyndee Levy
Director of the Center for Jewish Learning
St Louis Jewish Federation

Please save the date…Plan to join us for the following events at the Brodsky Library.

 Wednesday, February 3, 2016, 7 - 8:30 p.m.
in the Brodsky Library

“What’s So Golden?” with Dr. Joshua Holo

We’ve all heard about the grandeur of the Golden Age of Spain, but where does the mystique come from?  The great ideas of Jewish poetry and philosophy, which shaped our history so indelibly, emerged from a complicated and often contentious world of religious communities and ideas.  Dr. Holo will share his insights into this incredibly interesting and unique world.

Since 2010, Dr. Joshua Holo has served as the Dean and Associate Professor of Jewish History at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles.  Prior to the Deanship, he directed the Louchheim School of Judaic Studies, through which HUC-JIR serves as the Jewish Studies Program for its neighbor and partner institution, the University of Southern California. Dr. Holo’s teaching spans the Bible as literature and medieval Jewish history, particularly the great Biblical commentators; his publications focus on Medieval Jews of the Mediterranean.  His book, Byzantine Jewry in the Mediterranean Economy, was published in 2009.

Co-sponsored by the Brodsky Library and the Jewish Federation’s Center for Jewish Learning Shma Listen Speakers Series. 

This program is free and open to the public.  To register, please call the Brodsky Library at


Sunday, March 6, 2016, 1 - 3 p.m.
in the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center

Book Signing and Dessert Reception to Follow
in the Brodsky Library

“Hell Before Their Very Eyes” with John McManus

Military Historian and author John McManus, Curators’ Professor of history and political science at Missouri University of Science and Technology, examines one of the least-studied aspects of World War II, the physical and psychological impact of liberating a concentration camp. His book, Hell Before Their Very Eyes, published by Johns Hopkins Press, was released in October 2015The book unfolds chronologically, covering the liberation of the Ohrdruf, Buchenwald and Dachau camps.  First-hand accounts of soldiers are included.  John C. McManus sheds new light on this often-overlooked aspect of the Holocaust. Drawing on a rich blend of archival sources and thousands of firsthand accounts - including unit journals, interviews, oral histories, memoirs, diaries, letters, and published recollections - Hell Before Their Very Eyes focuses on the experiences of the soldiers who liberated Ohrdruf, Buchenwald, and Dachau and their determination to bear witness to this horrific history.

John McManus is an internationally recognized expert in U.S. Military history.  He joined the Missouri S&T faculty as a lecturer in 2000 and was named assistant professor in 2003, associate professor in 2007 and professor in 2012.  In 2014, he was named Curators’ Professor.  He was the first Missouri S&T faculty member in humanities or social sciences field to be named Curators’ Professor. 

To read more about Hell Before Their Very Eyes go to:

Co-sponsored by Brodsky Library, St Louis Jewish Archives, The Rubin z”l and Gloria Feldman Family Institute of the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center.  This program is free and open to the public.  To register, please call the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center at 314-442-3711.


The Thirty-Six Unknown
Exhibit of Photography by artist Todd Weinstein

Opening Event:  Morris and Ann Lazaroff Lecture

Sunday, April 3, 2016, 2 - 4 p.m.
in the Jewish Federation Atrium

Introduction to given by Todd Weinstein

Musical Presentation by
Rabbi James Stone Goodman and friends

Dessert Reception to follow in the Brodsky Library

Child, Berlin

Artist Todd Weinstein writes: 

In 1995, while traveling in Poland, with stops at Cracow and Auschwitz, I began working outside the photo-journalistic conventions of documentation. I started photographing abstract faces that I saw hiding in the shadows and light of different locations. From these 'ghost' pictures, these re-readings of found objects, came a set of thirty-six photos titled "The Thirty-Six Unknown," a reference to the idea in the Talmud, the oral tradition of Judaism, that the world requires a minimum of thirty six righteous individuals in order to exist. In later lore, the thirty-six hidden ones have the power to save the world.  They arrive at times of great peril. Finding their images in Cracow, Auschwitz, and elsewhere, continued my search for wholeness. Once again, I was forced to examine my life as a Jewish man at the end of the twentieth century as well as the tolls of history, both communal and personal, on our society at large.

My "Thirty-Six Unknown" brought personal healing. From a pilgrimage starting in 1983 in Washington, D.C. through the Jewish renaissance in Germany and working with Holocaust victims as well as visiting the camps, I moved from sharing the horror to recovering from it.  "The Thirty Six Unknown" was my attempt to restore and update the rich Jewish lore and to help deepen the context of a renewed society.

Co-sponsored by and Generously Supported by:
Morris and Ann Lazaroff Endowment for the Brodsky Library
The Rubin and Gloria Feldman Family Institute of the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center.

This program is free and open to the public.  Please register by calling the Brodsky Library at
314-442-3720 or the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center at 314-442-3711.

To learn more about artist Todd Weinstein visit


New Additions to Our Brodsky Collection
Featured at the St Louis Jewish Book Festival:

Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food - by Aaron Rezny

Eating Delancey is a compilation of gorgeous photographs of classic Jewish food, with profiles and recipes from classic LES Jewish eateries such as Sammy's Roumanian Steakhouse, Russ & Daughters Appetizers, Katz's Delicatessen, Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, and Ratner's. These are complimented by celebrity reminiscences from Bette Midler, Jackie Mason, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Don Rickles, Fyvush Finkel, Isaac Mizrahi, Lou Reed, Arthur Schwartz and Milton Glaser.

How’s Your Faith? An unlikely Spiritual Journey - by David Gregory

Join former NBC newsman and Meet the Press moderator David Gregory as he probes various religious traditions to better understand his own faith and answer life’s most important questions: who do we want to be and what do we believe?  While David was covering the White House, he had the unusual experience of being asked by President George W. Bush “How’s your faith?”  David’s answer was just emerging. Raised by a Catholic mother and a Jewish dad, he had a strong sense of Jewish cultural and ethnic identity, but no real belief - until his marriage to a Protestant woman of strong faith inspired him to explore his spirituality for himself and his growing family.  David approaches his faith with the curiosity and dedication you would expect from a journalist accustomed to holding politicians and Presidents accountable. But he also comes as a seeker, one just discovering why spiritual journeys are always worthwhile.

Saving Sophie – a novel by Ronald Balson

From Ronald H. Balson, author of Once We Were Brothers, Saving Sophie is the powerful story of the lengths a father will go through to protect his daughter and an action-packed thriller that will take you on an unforgettable journey of murder and deception, testing the bonds of family and love.

Does the Soul Survive? A Jewish Journey to Belief in Afterlife - 2nd ed. By Rabbi Elie Kaplan

With candor, questioning and sharp-eyed scholarship, Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz recounts personal experiences and the firsthand accounts others have shared with him, which propelled his own journey from skeptic to believer that, indeed, the soul does survive bodily death. From near-death experiences to reincarnation, past-life memory to the work of mediums, Rabbi Spitz explores what we are really able to know about the afterlife, and draws on Jewish texts to share that belief in these concepts - so often approached with reluctance - is in fact true to Jewish tradition.  In this updated second edition, Rabbi Spitz looks squarely at both sides of the issues, addressing, for example, the discrepancies in afterlife and reincarnation accounts. A new preface explains the impact the book had when first published and the ongoing conversation about the nature of our existence that has resulted

Devil in Jerusalem: A Novel - by Naomi Regan

Two brothers are admitted to Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital with horrific injuries. Their mother, a young American, devoutly recites Psalms at the bedside, refusing to answer any questions. Brought in to investigate, Detective Bina Tzedek follows a winding path that takes her through Jerusalem's Old City, kabbalists, mystical ancient texts, and terrifying cult rituals, until she finally uncovers the shocking truth.  From internationally bestselling author Naomi Ragen, THE DEVIL IN JERUSALEM is a chilling tale of the paths that so easily lead us astray, and the darkness within us all.


Other New Titles:

Mystics of Mile End - a novel by Sigal Samuel

Sigal Samuel’s debut novel, in the vein of Nicole Krauss’s bestselling The History of Love, is an imaginative story that delves into the heart of Jewish mysticism, faith, and family.

The Orpheus Clock: the search for my family’s art treasures stolen by the Nazis - by Simon Goodman

The passionate, gripping, true story of one man’s single-minded quest to reclaim what the Nazis stole from his family, their beloved art collection, and to restore their legacy.  Simon Goodman’s grandparents came from German-Jewish banking dynasties and perished in concentration camps. And that’s almost all he knew about them - his father rarely spoke of their family history or heritage. But when he passed away, and Simon received his father’s old papers, a story began to emerge.  With the help of his family, Simon initiated the first Nazi looting case to be settled in the United States. They also brought about the first major restitution in The Netherlands since the post-war era. Goodman’s dramatic story, told with great heart, reveals a rich family history almost obliterated by the Nazis. It is not only the account of a twenty-year long detective hunt for family treasure, but an unforgettable tale of redemption and restoration.

Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned about Life - by Harold Kushner

From the beloved author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, deeply moving and illuminating reflections on what it means to live a good life.  With fresh, vital insight into belief (“there is no commandment in Judaism to believe in God”), conscience (the Garden of Eden story as you’ve never heard it), and mercy (forgiveness is “a favor you do yourself, not an undeserved gesture to the person who hurt you”), grounded in Kushner's brilliant readings of Scripture, history, and popular culture, Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life is compulsory reading from one of modern Judaism’s foremost sages.  Distilling the wisdom of an extraordinary career, this profoundly inspiring yet practical guide to well-being is truly the capstone to Kushner’s luminous oeuvre.

The Girl from the Garden - a novel by Parnaz Foroutan

The redemptive journey of a young woman unsure of her engagement, who revisits in memory the events of one scorching childhood summer when her beautiful yet troubled mother spirits her away from her home to an Indian village untouched by time, where she discovers in the jungle behind her ancestral house a spellbinding garden that harbors a terrifying secret.


Join us this summer for the
Brodsky Summer Reading Club



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