Welcome to 2019! The weather is hot, the sea is sparkling, and long balmy evenings lend to relaxed dining outside.

Summer here means winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and the time when the Jewish Book Council (US based) and Jewish Book Week (UK / London based) are both busy with events.

In the case of the Jewish Book Council, it’s their annual Jewish Book Awards. Looking across the list of finalists and winners, the range of writing about the Jewish experience is extensive, covering ethics, history, fiction and culture. If there’s something you’d like me to get in for the Library, let me know.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic in London, Jewish Book Week is ramping up for their annual Book Week in March that operates much like Auckland Writers Festival does in Auckland; live conversations with authors in front of an audience. This format enables Jewish Book Week to traverse a greater range of topics while using Jewish authors and texts as a departure point.

For example, this discussion about faith and doubt will be interesting to listen to, featuring two strong women – Elif Shafak and Alice Shalvi, though personally, I’d be thrilled to attend this talk by Claudia Roden, about her recent cookbook (and of course we have several of her cookbooks in the Library). And riding on the increased interest in all things Yiddish, a discussion about the East End of London and the Yiddish culture that flourished there.

Hannukah in the Bays 2018

As part of a move to reach out to a wider audience, the annual public Hanukkah celebration became Hanukkah in the Bays, and moved from Albert Park to Orakei Domain, in Okahu Bay.

A few months of planning by a small committed group, mostly volunteers, saw a successful outcome on the night! A good section of the community came, along with members of the public, and several hundred people came for the duration of the event. There were a number of food stalls that did roaring trade, and the sufiganyot stall ran out early.

But the big surprise on the night was the Israeli Dancing! Organised by Debbie Miller from Beth Shalom, the dancers took to the grass in front of the stage, and went through one song before inviting people from the audience, and a good number of people joined in. It was lovely to watch the large crowd doing a few dances, enjoying the actions and being part of a larger group.

Photo: Perry Trotter. Check out his other photos of the event here .

So mazel tov to Debbie, and watch out for Israeli Dancing at the next Hannukah in the Bays event!


LIMMUD is an annual festival of Jewish Learning. I’ve been twice, and loved it both times! It’s one time in the year, in August, where people can come together to share Jewish Learning from a variety of speakers and presenters, sharing knowledge and life experiences over kosher food.

The festival relies on volunteers to help over a period of time to bring together all the different aspects of putting on the Festival, for example, organising the food, or helping with programming. If you are interested, please do consider helping out! You can find more information here.

Sunday Schools

There are two Hebrew Schools in Auckland – Raye Freedman Library and Beth Shalom.

Details about Beth Shalom’s Sunday School is here. Note that the School starts 17th February, and if you need more information, please email Debbie Miller

Here at the Library we operate Auckland Hebrew School. It also starts on the 17th February, and details are below.

Auckland Hebrew School is open now for registrations for Term One 2019

Classes are available for beginners and advanced (able to read in Hebrew) for school years from Y1 to Y8.

We offer small classes with a warm, friendly, fun and caring environment where your child/children would love to learn Hebrew.

Additional Hebrew classes available for children with special needs after the regular school program on a one on one basis (with an additional cost).


Shelly Tenembaum                  Yael Hacohen

A new optional program at Auckland Hebrew School

Jewish Studies

Auckland Hebrew School prides itself with an approach in educating Jewish values to the children by teaching the Jewish traditions throughout the year.

The program is built in a way that a child’s Jewish learning must be creative, memorable and fun. Through stories, songs and creative art and crafts, your child/children will love the ideas and ideals they study each week.


Term 1 dates: Sunday 17th of February – Sunday 7th of April 2019

Hebrew classes from: 10:30am to 12pm

Jewish studies from: 12:15pm to 1pm

Location: Raye Freedman Library, 788 Remuera Rd, Remuera, Auckland 1050

Register your child/children at: https://goo.gl/forms/kfvI92OhLSAXukoB2

For queries email: aucklandhebrewschool@gmail.com

Cost for Hebrew classes: $80

Cost for Jewish studies: $50


I’ve (re)discovered podcasts. Podcasting is maturing, with newer and better equipment to record podcasts and stable playback access. Thanks to an active Library member I was introduced to the Unorthodox podcasts from Tablet magazine. I’ve listened to a few Unorthodox podcasts which are smart, funny and cover a range of topics, alongside discussion with introduced guests.

Recently Keveller introduced a Parenting podcast – Call your Mother!.

“Hosted by all-star Kveller contributors Jordana Horn and Shannon Sarna, Call Your Mother offers a weekly deep dive into the beautiful hot mess that is parenting while Jewish.

Each episode includes an interview with a notable Jewish mom, shedding new light (and hot takes) on everything from addiction and anti-Semitism to sex and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Nothing’s sacred. Nothing’s taboo.

Closer to home, Radio Shalom, based in Auckland, don’t have podcasts as such, but do put their radio programs online here. Deb Levy from AHC recently spoke about her family’s journey from Nazi Germany, which was illuminating.

Well, that’s about it for now. Wishing you days of beach swims, cold salads, and the odd podcast or two!

Raye Freedman Library.