jcl-events

To download the Library's catalog of events for spring/summer 2017, click here.
To request a copy in the mail, please email Andy at
amuchin@jewishlearningworks.org or call 415-567-3327 x 703. Click here to sign up for the Library's e-newsletter, with news of upcoming programs, community events, and new titles.

All events take place at the Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis Street in San Francisco, unless indicated. Free garage parking is available on Pierce between Ellis and Eddy (click here for a map).


Tree Diaries: Writing with a Knife

ART EXHIBIT ON DISPLAY THROUGH AUGUST 27

Memory is the source of Jewish self-knowledge and renewal, but is history lost to us if it remains unrecorded? Our stories must be cherished and preserved if they are to sustain us in the present. Trees, long seen as models of steadfast strength and endurance, bear silent witness to the past. In this exhibition of work by Jane Rice, imaginary diaries give voice to the trees’ silence. Their eloquent words and organic beauty awaken us to a deeper appreciation of the role of stories in our own lives.

Jane Rice is a San Francisco artist and poet. Her hand-made books have been exhibited at the Mendocino Art Center, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Jewish Community Library, and her collection of poems, Portrait Sitters, was printed in a limited edition by Propolis Press.


Musical Tribute to Howard Freedman plus Friends of the Library Annual Meeting

THURSDAY, JUNE 8, 6:30 P.M. RECEPTION AND ANNUAL MEETING, 7 P.M. CONCERT

We hope you will join us for a special musical tribute to Jewish Community Library Director Howard Freedman. Leading Bay Area Jewish singers will perform at this memorable event. The occasion will offer opportunities to personally thank Howard for his years of dedication to the community.

This is also an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to the Library’s future and Howard’s leadership by making a tax-deductible donation to the Library. Please call 415.567.3327 x 703 during regular Library hours, or make a secure donation online at www.friendsofthejcl.org.

Donations to the Friends of the Jewish Community Library in honor of Howard will be
listed on the Friends’ website. A contribution to the Library in Howard’s name is a most
appropriate way to recognize his 25 years of devotion to Jewish learning.


Drop-In Book Club: 'The Life Before Us' by Romain Gary

SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 2 P.M.

Momo, an orphaned Arab teen, is taking care of his ailing surrogate mother, Madame Rosa, an Auschwitz survivor and former lady of the night. He narrates his life in a Paris slum, a world filled with pimps, prostitutes and witch doctors. This moving story won the Prix Goncourt, France’s premier literary prize, and was the basis for Madame Rosa, a 1977 film. 

Book discussion facilitated by Jim Van Buskirk. Pick up a copy of the book at the Library or at a Pushcart branch at the Palo Alto or San Francisco JCC.


Film: 'The Broken Sound'

THURSDAY, JUNE 15, 7 P.M.

Spearheaded by Alan Bern of the band Brave Old World, the Other Europeans project was a collaborative effort of fourteen lăutari (professional Roma musicians) and klezmer musicians from eight countries who came together to study and perform the interconnected musical traditions of the Jewish and Roma communities of Bessarabia.  This documentary film, shot over two years in Moldova, Hungary, Israel, Germany, and the United States, follows the musicians as they explore Roma and Jewish musical traditions, develop relationships across national and cultural boundaries, and perform extraordinary music. 2012, 125 minutes, in English, German, Yiddish, and Romanian with English subtitles. The film will be shown in video projection.

Co-presented by KlezCalifornia, Lehrhaus Judaica, and the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California.


Film Class: 'The Jazz Singer'

THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 7 P.M.

In the film that marked the transition from silent films to talkies (although it is largely silent), Al Jolson stars as Jakie Rabinowitz, a gifted singer whose desire to perform popular music conflicts with his father’s expectation that he become a cantor. Following Rabinowitz as he anglicizes his name, adopts blackface for his performances, and struggles with his family and tradition, this film would be the most explicit cinematic representation of a Jewish identity crisis for decades. 1927, 89 minutes, in English.


As the centrality of immigration in American history and identity has been at the forefront in recent months, we will examine films made during an era when most American Jews were immigrants themselves or the children of immigrants.

Taught by Library Director Howard Freedman. Films will be shown in video projection.


Drop-In Book Club: Roz Chast's graphic memoir

SUNDAY, JULY 9, 2 P.M.

The New Yorker cartoonist describes the last several years of her aging parents’ lives, told through colorful cartoons and family photos in the graphic memoir Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? With her signature wit she offers laughs, tears, comfort and profound insight. “By turns grim and absurd, deeply poignant and laugh-out-loud funny,” writes The New York Times.

Book discussion facilitated by Jim Van Buskirk. Pick up a copy of the book at the Library or at a Pushcart branch at the Palo Alto or San Francisco JCC.


Film Class: 'Counsellor-At-Law'

THURSDAY, JULY 20, 7 P.M.

In an unlikely bit of casting reflecting the studios’ distaste for Jewish actors playing Jewish roles, John Barrymore portrays a Jewish immigrant who has risen from the East Side slums to a high-powered law practice, but suddenly faces the possible collapse of both his career and his marriage. William Wyler directed this engaging portrait of a man caught between his roots and his aspirations, between the law and the real world’s slippery ethics. 1933, 82 minutes, in English.

As the centrality of immigration in American history and identity has been at the forefront in recent months, we will examine films made during an era when most American Jews were immigrants themselves or the children of immigrants.

Taught by Library Director Howard Freedman. Films will be shown in video projection.