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 12,000 volumes for adults and children, the Miller Reading Room, the Abraham J. Feldman Museum, and the Marjorie L. Rafal Archives. Our librarian is Rima Yashgur and she can be contacted at ryashgur@cbict.org.

Learning Center Hours

Visit us at the following times this summer (self-checkout is also available whenever the building is open):
Tuesdays: 10:00am to 2:00pm
Sundays: 9:00am to 12:00pm

Library Registration for Non-CBI Members

Please click HERE to complete a registration form if you are not currently a CBI member (all CBI members are automatically registered). Submitting a registration form will allow you to borrow books from our library. You can also visit us and complete a hard copy in the library.

Online Catalog

NEW! Check-out our online catalog by clicking on the link below. Our library includes materials related to the history, beliefs, and practices of the Jewish faith, with a focus on Reform Judaism.
https://www.librarycat.org/lib/cbict

Current & Rotating Exhibits:

The Latest Award-Winning Books Added to Our Collection

“Time’s Echo: The Second World War, the Holocaust, and the Music of Remembrance” by Jeremy Eichler
Winner of three 2023 National Jewish Book Awards, Winner of History Book of the Year by The Sunday Times of London, and Jewish Book of the Year. In Time’s Echo, music critic Jeremy Eichler has brought together his deep appreciation for classical music and his scholarship as a cultural historian to reflect on one of the darkest periods in world history. Eichler closely examines the lives and work of four of Europe’s preeminent composers: Benjamin Britten, Arnold Schoenberg, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Richard Strauss. Their music tells the tragic story of how their lives were disrupted by the rise of Nazism. It also touches on the victimization of the arts and the destruction of Enlightenment ideals and European Jewry as a whole. Focusing specifically on Britten’s War Requiem, Strauss’s Metamorphosen, Schoenberg’s Survivor from Warsaw, and Shostakovitch’s “Babi Yar” symphony, Eichler’s book attempts to open up new perspectives on the wartime past.

AND DON’T MISS…

“The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store” by James McBride, winner of two National Jewish Book Awards

“Kantika” by Elizabeth Graver, winner of the National Jewish Book Award

“Loving Our Own Bones: Disability Wisdom and the Spiritual Subversiveness of Knowing Ourselves Whole” by Julia Watts Belser, winner of the National Jewish Book Award

For Children & Teens

The Sydney Taylor Book Award recognizes titles for children and teens that exemplify high literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience.

“Two New Years” by Richard Ho is the Picture Book winner. Follow a Chinese Jewish family as they celebrate not one, but two new years: Rosh Hashanah in fall, and Lunar New Year in early spring.

The Dubious Pranks of Shaindy Goodman”by Mari Lowe is the winner in the Middle Grade category. A subtly thrilling story of friendship, consequences, and forgiveness.

“The Blood Years” by Elana K. Arnold is the winner in the Young Adult category. Growing up in Czernowitz with a protective grandfather and an unstable mother, teenage Frederieke (Rieke) Teitler and her older sister Astra struggle to survive when war breaks out and their beloved community is invaded by the Russian and German armies.

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 archive@cbict.org.

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 kbeyard@cbict.org 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. Most recently we had a "Standing with Ukraine" exhibit and "120 Books for Every Age".

Current Exhibit: Celebrating 75 Years of Israeli Independence

This display features books from our extensive collection on the history of the creation and building of the State of Israel, highlighting Israel's history, culture, the diversity of people and their achievements and challenges. We also included many recent books of contemporary Israeli writers. Whether you are interested in borrowing a book on Israel's founding fathers, the Independence war, great oversized photography albums, the latest Israeli novel or mouth-watering Israeli cookbooks, please stop by and help us celebrate Israel's 75th birthday.

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 Rima Yashgur 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.

Volunteer

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

Sue Fulleton, Chair
Lynn Newman, Treasurer
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!