On the Jewish Community Library | Andrew Elias Ramer

Photo by Janet Sheard

Photo by Janet Sheard

Andrew Elias Ramer is an Oakland based writer, presenter, maggid and author of Queering the Text, Torah Told Different, and the newly released Deathless.  He is a dedicated patron of the Jewish Community Library. 

The absolute heart of Jewish LearningWorks is the Library -  it’s the center. There are classes, meetings, a revolving menu of programs and an ongoing art gallery with amazing shows on the walls - and the people who work there are extraordinary.

When I moved back to CA from NY in 1994, I was living on the Peninsula.  There weren’t many Jewish resources there back then so I would take the train up to the Jewish Community Library. As a writer and a teacher it was (and remains) a critical resource for me. When I taught in the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice at USF and also in my work as a conversion mentor, I brought and sent my students there. In the years that I have known Howard [JCL's Director], there has only ever been one time that I witnessed someone ask him a question that he could not answer immediately, and this level of knowledge and attention is true of everyone who works there.

We live in a time when more and more bookstores are closing, when people have shortening attention spans. That’s one of the reasons that I love the Book-Club-in-a-box program.  The Library is a valuable wonderful access point for learning, sharing, and for participating in intelligent community.

The Jewish Community Library is a treasure. When I encounter Jews who don’t know about it, I am shocked and saddened. It’s such a vibrant and vital part of our community, with opportunities for all ages to connect, grow and learn.