The Ellen Jeanne Goldfarb Community Learning Center provides a welcoming space for Jewish learning.

Whether you’re looking to dive into the latest Jewish publications, relax with a great novel, or find inspiration in one of our rotating displays, our Learning Center provides the resources and guidance you’ll need to get started. The two-story facility includes the Deborah Library, a collection of 15,000 volumes for adults and children, the Miller Reading Room, the Abraham J. Feldman Museum, and the Marjorie L. Rafal Archives.

Learning Center Hours

Visit us at the following times (self-checkout is also available whenever the building is open):

Sundays: 8:45 – 11:30am

NEW EXHIBIT: 120 Jewish Books for Every Age

Be sure to visit “120 Jewish Books for Every Age” this fall! This is a wise, witty, whimsical exhibit of books recommended by The exhibit was inspired by Rabbi Pincus, supported by the Friends of the Learning Center and other congregants, and put together by retired librarian Karen Beyard as her last project for the Learning Center. From, “These books are recommended as the best that Jewish literature has to offer, a book for every age, from birth to 120.” You are welcome to check out books anytime the building is open. We ask that you do your best to return all materials after two weeks so other patrons can enjoy them!

Resource Highlights

Located in the historic 1934 former library room, our museum’s collections hold dozens of pieces of Judaica, spanning three millennia and coming from five continents. Additionally, the collections holds two centuries of Congregation Beth Israel’s history, with many artifacts from one of New England’s oldest and largest Jewish communities. The museum, at the intersection of Hartford history and Jewish heritage, is a must-see for anyone interested in either or both. The Museum is open during synagogue hours. Guided tours of the Museum and the Sanctuary can be arranged by emailing

Our CBI Library @ Home program continues under Karen Beyard's direction! If you or someone you know is not able to get to the CBI library and browse through new books and classics in our 15,000 book collection, Karen and her volunteers will arrange delivery and return of lovingly selected books to browse at home. Email Karen at for more information or to arrange for a book bag drop-off.

Enjoy current issues of The Forward, a provocative and entertaining Jewish newspaper, International Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem Report, and the Ledger. We keep back issues for several months. We also subscribe to several other excellent Jewish periodicals including Lilith (a feminist perspective), Moment (insightful commentary), and Eretz (the Israeli magazine in English that comes closest to National Geographic). Current issues are in the reading room; back issues are saved in the library stacks.

You will find the Plaut Torah commentary and Torah: A Woman’s Commentary open to the week’s portion. Books elaborating the themes of the Torah reading or providing additional context are available for check-out. The study table also includes children’s books related to the weekly readings and the holidays.

Past exhibits have highlighted Jews and baseball, Jewish art and artists, cookbooks and food memories, graphic novels and comics, and our commitment to social justice. We also have a permanent display of books related to our Congregation’s history. Currently we have a "Standing with Ukraine" exhibit which features books for all ages. We provide reliable sources of information about the situation in Ukraine, like the's "Who are Ukraine's Jews and how is Russia's invasion affecting them?" During November, 2017, we featured books about children in the Holocaust and Anne Frank in conjunction with the Park Road Playhouse production of The Diary of Anne Frank and the 70th anniversary of the diary’s publication.

Current Exhibit: Israel

This year we are featuring Israel, starting with translations and books in English by Israeli authors, coffee table books for arm chair travelers, and our children’s Israel collection.

We try to collect books listed as “Jewish Best Sellers” by Hadassah Magazine, National Jewish Book and other award winners, and Jewish books receiving attention in the American press. We buy popular and literary fiction about Jewish themes or by Jewish authors, and interesting new non-fiction about a broad range of topics of Jewish interest. We also have a collection of Jewish-themed and Israeli films.

Our collection has many important Jewish books on a wide range of topics. While our mission is more community-oriented than academic, we can help most people make progress in their quest for Jewish learning.  Learning Center Director Karen Beyard can help find information online if needed.

This beautiful space provides a large collection of children’s books for check-out, games and toys, and space for parents and their little ones to enjoy a little quiet time. Tot Shabbat takes place in the children’s room, and young congregants and their teachers visit frequently when YEP is in session.


Those who can reach top and bottom shelves in the stacks can help with shelving and collection maintenance. Computer skills, library background, or a willingness to develop new skills are also helpful.

Become a Friend of the Library

Friends actively support the Learning Center and library collections and sponsor great programs. The Friends Advisory Committee, which includes several professional librarians among its members, provide advice and consent about the director’s plans and library operations.  Join today!