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Hevesi Jewish Heritage Library

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Public library specializing in Jewish culture

Place Details

Borough : Queens
Neighborhood : Forest Hills
Institution, Education

Place Matters Profile


Anonymous Nominator

The Hevesi Library collection is a free public library of Jewish culture of academic quality, the only non-denominational library of Jewish culture in Queens that is completely open to the general public for borrowing, free of charge. Founded by Queens College in 1979 as an off-campus community project, the library has for many years been a part of the Central Queens Y.

Since 1982 the library has been housed in the Central Queens YM & YWHA in Forest Hills. Open to the public free of charge, the library covers the range of Jewish subjects, in English and in Hebrew, from history, literature and languages, philosophy and religion, children's books, and an outstanding film collection. All of this circulates, most for free.

In addition to its excellent collection in English and Hebrew, the library is known for its very popular public programs. For over 15 years, the library has brought world class authors to the Jewish community of Queens. Over the years, special events, with audiences ranging from 200 to 650, have brought to this community such renowned authors as Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, Meir Shalev, and Aharon Appelfeld, four of Israel’s top authors; as well as noted American Jewish author Grace Paley, U.S. Mideast Negotiator Dennis Ross, Ruth Gruber, and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Recent highlights from our series include International Court of Justice Judge Thomas Buergenthal; and Robert Meeropol, son of Julius & Ethel Rosenberg; as well as award-winning journalists, historians, professors, as well as some of the most interesting young Jewish novelists writing today. In addition, the library hosts programs with independent filmmakers and author programs on topics such as family issues, twice-monthly film discussion series, and an unusually fine book discussion group, as well as occasional children’s programs.

What’s unique about the Library is not just that it has been able to attract world class authors, but rather the commitment to bring to a general audience extraordinary programs that are truly affordable and accessible, to connect them with authors and filmmakers representing an exciting breadth of points of view, across the range of Jewish orientations.

We believe it is no exaggeration to say that library programs enrich the cultural life of the Jewish community. While other larger institutions in the city offer fine programs of Jewish interest, the Library and the Y are places that help to create community, places where participants connect with others with similar interest and feeling for Jewish culture, and from a wide range of backgrounds.

For 31 years, the library has been open to the public free of charge, and in this age of budget cutbacks, has been able to stay open all five days a week, supported through grants, donations, and modest program fees. But recent funding cuts have put the library in jeopardy. (December 2010)

For more info :, or (718) 268-5011, ext. 151

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