LIBRARY

The Garry and Klee Benveniste Community Library at Adelaide Hebrew Congregation is an extensive collection of books, journals, tapes, videos and games housed at South Australia's only orthodox synagogue.

The library began as a small original synagogue collection with encyclopedias, Talmud Babli and reference books and has more than tripled in size, expanded by substantial material obtained by Dr. Klee Benveniste. Growth of the library collection was inspired by a visit in the 1980's to the Jewish library originally housed in Kimberley Gardens in East St Kilda, developed by Rabbi Joseph Gutnick for the Machon Chaim rabbinical training program and Chabad House of Caulfield. It was the largest Jewish library in the southern hemisphere.

Rabbi Joseph Gutnick saved the Adelaide Jewish school Massada College twice in 1995 and 2010 with generous donations of $100,000 on each occasion, before the school eventually went into liquidation after 35 years and closed in 2011 due to lack of enrolments. Dr. Klee Benveniste was inspired by Rabbi Joseph Gutnick's example and philanthropy to create a community library for Adelaide like that seen and visited many times in Melbourne.

A substantial proportion of the congregation are Jews from Egypt of sephardic background, many of them arriving from 1947 to 1956 so there are also books on sephardic traditions and history.

The library has material for all ages. The children's collection contains all the Jewish religious study materials, children's Jewish fiction, books about Israel, Hebrew teaching materials and Jewish games purchased by the couple at the College's liquidation auction and gifted to the synagogue for the community. Filing boxes of all the Jewish studies teaching material have also been saved. There are also personal gifts of many religious study books, as well as substantial material donated by other Adelaide scholars including Peter Yudkin, and study volumes of Talmud Yerushalmi, Midrash and Prophets donated by Asher Milstein to small communities.

Inside the synagogue are more Benveniste collection books including Artscroll machzorim for Yom Kippur, Chabad siddurim for visitors and a book for the Torah Reader on the bima, inscribed simply 'Yeshivah Adelaide'.

For videos about the importance of Jewish libraries, follow the links:
Torah to the People - in Hebrew with subtitles
and People of the Book - Rebbe Schneerson 1972 on libraries, in Yiddish with subtitles