The Reverend Katz Library
The Reverend Katz Library is one of the largest libraries of books on Jewish topics in Sydney. It is open to the public during Synagogue office hours and may be used by congregants and anyone from the wider community with most books available for borrowing. It is professionally catalogued and maintained for easy access. New books are regularly purchased for the collection.
Our Judaic collection covers all aspects of Jewish interest, non-fiction and fiction, plus books on various topics written by Australian Jewish writers. There is also a separate children’s library shelved in the Wilson Hall.
We have over 5,000 books, journals & audio visual items from ART to ZIONISM, including an extensive reference section of encyclopaedias, dictionaries, Talmud etc. We also have some very old & rare volumes. About one third of the collection is held in archives, being older unused books.
The library’s particular strengths are sections on Holocaust and Genealogy. The Australian Jewish Genealogy Society, which meets regularly in the library, also keeps its private collection there. In addition, we cover many subjects such as Biography, Jewish Cookery, History, Humour, Israel, Judaism, Middle East Conflict, Music and the Greta Bernard collection of Judaic Needlecraft books.
New Books and Reviews
The library produces book reviews of our latest monthly acquisitions to help with your selections. There is an archive of older reviews.
Days of Awe by S.Y. Agnon
I highly recommend S.Y. Agnon’s Days of Awe, a marvelous compendium of stories, commentaries, legends, and more, about the High Holidays. Structured according to the holidays’ chronology, this timeless classic is a book I return to every year, and that accompanies me throughout the holidays alongside my machzor.
Except for reference books, most items may be borrowed for one month. Please record your loans in the red 'LOANS RECORD BOOK” on the shelf under the air conditioner and return items to the special 'BOOK RETURNS” box outside the library. Click here to view the library catalogue.
The library produces book reviews of our latest monthly acquisitions (with an archive of older reviews) to help with your selections.
To view the catalogue for the Reverend Katz Library, please click on one of the links below and then press CTRL-F to open a search box. To check that your book is currently available, please contact the Librarian via the Synagogue office (02) 9416 3710.
Reverend Katz Library Committee
The Rev Katz Library Committee headed by Jan Goldman (Librarian), consists of:
Marilyn Bark, Marianne Erder, Sara Hudson Lavy, Rachelle Lever, Clara Stein, Adrienne Swarts and Queenie Weiner.
At our monthly hands on meetings on the first Monday of the month at 7:30pm, we develop and maintain the library collection of over five thousand items of Judaica and Jewish interest for adults and children.
The library serves our synagogue community as well as the general public.
If you'd like any more information about the Reverend Katz Library, please contact the Librarian via the Synagogue office (02) 9416 3710.
When the North Shore Synagogue was completed in Sept 1957, the Board of Management envisaged that when funds became available, a Judaic library would be incorporated into the building. It was to be named after Rev. William Katz as a lasting tribute to the work and devotion he put into the development of the North Shore Community.
Mr. L Klein, the first Chairman of a small Committee to establish the library wrote:
“It is envisaged that the Library will be for reference, as it is felt that a community of our size should have at it’s disposal, a wide selection of literary work dealing with the various aspects of our faith, which can be used by students young and old, either for specific student projects and needs or for the interest and enjoyment of members”.
With donations of money and books from generous members of the congregation, the library was on its way. Rev. Katz gave his large personal library as the backbone of the collection and the library was officially opened on 16th September 1973. Rev. Katz himself set up his own classification system and ran the library for many years, and Marianne Erder assisted him from 1980.
Before Rev. Katz’s retirement, a permanent library committee was formed, chaired by then Board Member, Rosa Joseph, with an eager band of helpers. We wish to acknowledge the following people who have worked on this committee over the years:
Diane Alperstein, Marilyn Bark. Rita Baynash, Greta Bernard (dec’d), Les Bernard, Adele Bernard, Carole Blackman, Valerie Coppel, Marianne Erder, Marianne Feher, Jan Goldman, Joyce Goldstein (dec’d), Lola Janks (dec’d), Rosa Joseph (dec’d), Susan Koenig (dec’d) Monica Lewis, Shirley Myers, Rieke Nash (dec’d), Lorraine Reso, Ros Shofer, Clara Stein, Adrienne Swarts, Barbara Swartz, and Queenie Wiener. The committee was also ably supported for several years by Phillip Snoyman who developed and maintained our first library programme and Diane Rozenman, the Synagogue Archivist. Peter Gorfinkel is our current computer and network support.
Our modern computerized library now has over 5,000 books and audio visual items which are widely used by our own congregants, the broader Jewish community and the general public as well. There is also a children’s library collection shelved in the Wilson Hall.
The library is housed in what was the original Synagogue, with its beautiful Ark. The room is still used as our smaller Synagogue for regular services. Many other organizations, including the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society, make use of the facilities. The library today is a flourishing entity in beautiful surroundings.