Born to Kvetch Cover Image

One Book Mishkan's 14th Annual Selection:

Born to Kvetch:
Yiddish Language and Culture in All of its Moods

by Michael Wex

Born to Kvetch closely examines the Yiddish language in order to paint a deep psychological and sociological portrait of the Jewish life and culture of European Jewry. Wex examines the attitudes and experiences behind the language that most of our ancestors used for over a millennium.

In Mishkan Shalom's 30th year, our rabbis have challenged us to ReGenerate and celebrate our sacred connections to community and the world. With this selection, the Library Committee suggests we be mindful of our past – where most of us came from and how our ancestors, only a few generations ago, thought and spoke – as we consider our future.

Join us for our closing event:

An Afternoon of Yiddish Stories, Poetry and Music
Sunday, May 19, 2019   4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Delectable Reception to follow!

Scroll down for full details on our 5779 (2018 - 2019) programs.

Questions? Suggestions? Write

See you in the Library!


About the Library

Mishkan Shalom's Library holds a collection of 4,000+ books and multi-media material, lovingly tended by our Library Committee. The committee's goal is to help meet the Judaic educational and informational needs of our congregation's adult and young adult members. In addition to maintaining, enriching and circulating the collection, the committee plans the annual One Book Mishkan program series. The Library is open to the public and all are welcome to check-out books and other materials, using our self-circulation system. The Library is open whenever the building is open. To confirm building hours, contact the office at (215) 508-0226 or

Come and Visit!

We’re so proud of our beautiful library and the depth and vibrancy of our collection. Are you new to our Library? We’re on the third floor across from the Chapel. Everything you need to check-out and return items is just inside the entrance. A guide to our self-circulation system is on the bulletin board and the deposit box for book cards is right below on the circulation table. Returning books? Just put them in the blue plastic return bin under the table and we’ll get them back on the shelves for others to enjoy.

A popular spot for meetings and classes, there are many hours each day when our Library can provide a quiet haven for reading, browsing, working, writing or just contemplating. Come explore…make visiting our Library a regular part of your visits to Mishkan!

Recent Acquisitions, Suggestions & Donations

Ours is a vibrant, living library: We routinely add items to our collection and welcome suggestions for new works.

Click here to see titles, and read brief reviews, for many of our latest additions, and for information regarding donations and new title suggestions.


ONE BOOK MISHKAN: 14th Annual Program Series

Born to Kvetch:

Yiddish Language and Culture in All of its Moods

by Michael Wex

We begin with the book's themes and expand our inquiry into broader questions. We hope you'll read this excellent work and join us throughout the year. All events are open to the public. Invite friends, family and colleagues to join you for these special programs.

Programs in our 5779 Series:

One Book Mishkan Shabbos Matinee: Yidl Mitn Fidl, 1936 musical starring Molly Picon
Saturday, March 2, 1:45 - 3:30 p.m.: Chapel (3rd floor)
Following Shabbat Morning Shoah Torah Memorial Service, Kiddush Lunch, Yahrzeit Tiles Dedication and Short Neigborhood Stroll

Facilitated by Dr. Adam Blistein

Suggested donation: $5.00.
We will not collect money on Shabbat. Donations are welcome before or after the program.

Yidl Mitn Fidl (“Yiddle with his Fiddle”) – the most popular Yiddish film ever produced – is a 1936 Yiddish language musical (with subtitles), featuring an effervescent Molly Picon in the story of a young woman who dresses as a man to join her father's klezmer band. But, the film is also a window into the world of Polish Jewry that would, in a short time, virtually disappear. The first part of the movie was filmed in Kazimierz Dolny, a Polish shtetl little changed in several centuries.

During Shabbat services on this day, we remember the Jews of the small Czech city of Uherske Hradiste who perished in the Shoah, and chant the week's parasha from the 300-year-old Torah scroll rescued from its synagogue, which we are privileged to guard. While screening this light-hearted musical comedy contrasts sharply with that somber memorial, with local inhabitants of Kazimierz Dolny as extras, we see the real Jews of the town and their vibrant life, an astonishing view into the Yiddish-speaking world destroyed only a few years later by the Holocaust.

Donate online: One Book Mishkan Shabbos Matinee: Yidl Mitn Fidl

An Afternoon of Yiddish Stories, Poetry and Music
Sunday, May 19, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.: Social Hall (1st floor)
Eilen Levinson, Producer
Delectible reception to follow!

Suggested donation: $10.00.

The Library Committee of Mishkan Shalom is delighted to bring back a springtime favorite, an arts event to celebrate our 5779 One Book Mishkan selection, Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of its Moods, by Michael Wex, and draw our 14th annual program series to a close.

We’ll bring the rich world of Yiddish culture to life with staged readings of classic Yiddish tales, in English, and poetry read in Yiddish, then English. The highly evocative world of Yiddish song and klezmer will be highlighted in musical interludes, featuring Makhel’at Michael, the Mishkan Community Choir (Miriam Davidson, Director), sharing songs from their deep Yiddish repertoire. Klezmer musicians Judy Kleppel (clarinet) and Adlai Waksman (keyboard) will regale us with the lively and plaintive sounds of the klezmorim.

Selected and staged by members of the Library Committee, these classic Yiddish stories will be read by Mishkan members and friends:

The New World, by Esther Singer Kreitman

Hodel, by Sholem Aleichem

Yente and Mendel and Mendel Beilis, by B. Kovner

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Library event if there weren’t a delightful – and delectable! – reception to follow! Members of the Library Committee will provide refreshments. And, just to add some spice to the proceedings, members of the Choir will offer a cash bar before and after the program, as a fundraiser for Mishkan!

Eilen Levinson, longtime Producer of our Arts programs, invites you to join us for a gliklech tseit -- “a happy time” -- and says:Don’t miss this uplifting visit to our past!”

Donate online: One Book Mishkan: An Afternoon of Yiddish Stories, Poetry and Music

Prior Year Program Series

Waveland: One Woman's Story of Freedom Summer, by Simone Zelitch
A Guide for the Perplexed
by Dara Horn

The Golem and the Jinni,
by Helene Wecher

Previous One Book Mishkan titles:

The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth
Betraying Spinoza, by Rebecca Goldstein
Who Wrote the Bible, by Richard Elliott Friedman
The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew and the Heart of the Middle East, by Sandy Tolan
Call It Sleep, by Henry Roth
Sweet and Low: A Family Story, by Rich Cohen
As A Driven Leaf, by Rabbi Milton Steinberg
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, by Nathan Englander
The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker
A Guide for the Perplexed, by Dara Horn
Waveland: One Woman's Story of Freedom Summer, by Simone Zelitch

One Book, One Jewish Community

The Library Committee is so pleased to continue our association with the city-wide OBOJC program. A national model for community building and Jewish literacy, the OBOJC program has touched thousands of individuals throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. Synagogues, agencies and other Jewish communal organizations and institutions explore not only the book itself but also the values and issues raised within.

5777's OBOJC Selection: Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook

Join others throughout the region as we read this year's selection. The city-wide program offers many opportunities to attend book discussions and programs created by OBOJC partners. For event listings, a reader’s guide and other resources and to sign-up to receive regular e-mails, be sure to visit the OBOJC webpage.

OUR MEMOIR COOKBOOK: Writings & Recipes

Indeed, our longtime delightful, delectable community project continues, and is nearing completion! Members and friends of Mishkan Shalom are still warmly welcomed to make submissions. Learn Everything You Need To Know Right Here.

Suggestions, Donations, Questions

The Library Committee welcomes all suggestions for the improvement of our Library and programs, including title suggestions for new acquisitions.

Donations of new or used books must be pre-approved, as our shelves are bursting at the seams! To confirm we can accept your donation, please contact Eileen Levinson.

If you’re a reader, booklover, lover of libraries or want to deepen your knowledge of Jewish subject matter, the Library Committee could be a great fit for you. We'd love to have you join our committee! We also welcome volunteers who can help us maintain the collection. Contact Lillian Sigal, Chair.

We look forward to hearing from you:

See you in the Library!

4101 Freeland Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19128 - ph: (215) 508-0226 / Site map