Library swamped with Jewish books; seeks good homes for the tomes

Library swamped with Jewish books; seeks good homes for the tomes

The Friends of Jefferson Hills Library have found themselves with hundreds of Jewish books, and need someone to take them off their hands.
While accepting book donations for its annual spring book sale, the Friends of Jefferson Hills Library were given boxes and boxes of “Jewish and Jewish culture books,” by the owner of a used bookstore, said Gil Smith, a member of the Friends of Jefferson Hills Library that runs the sale.
Books that do not sell at the sale, which will be held at the end of March, are donated to Goodwill. If Goodwill cannot sell the books, it destroys them, Smith said.
As the Friends do not expect to be able to sell that many Jewish-themed books, they hope some Jewish organization will pick them up, so they are not destroyed.
“I hate to destroy books,” Smith said. “And it really doesn’t suit me well when I’m tearing the covers off Christian books and throwing them away.”
Smith contacted several congregations in the area, he said, inquiring as to whether any would be interested in taking the books. Only Beth Israel Center in Pleasant Hills responded, and two representatives from the congregation came and picked up a few volumes. Hundreds, however, remain.
Shirley Ravets, the executive secretary of Beth Israel Center, along with Carolee Burach, have looked at some of the books. “We couldn’t go through all the boxes,” Ravets said. “It was too time-consuming.”
Jewish books at the library include those by Harold Kushner, humorous books and nonfiction, according to Ravets. “Some dated back to the early 1900s, according to their book plates,” she said.
Ravets believes the books originally came from a synagogue’s library, and ended up in a used bookstore.
“I was astounded by the amount of books,” she said. “They are old, but they are in excellent condition.”

(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at or 412-687-1263.)

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