Dear HaSafranians --

Thank you so much for the kind words about my mom, Sylvia Firschein. 
I remember the first time she went to an AJL convention, about 30 
years ago. My mom loved being a part of AJL and loved being the 
newcomer's point-person. She wholeheartedly believed in the mission 
and raison d'etre of AJL and supported it with her whole being.

My mom was so excited to plan her trip to this year's convention in 
Montreal. She was thrilled to be attending again after being away 
last year. It's a great sadness that she won't be there with you all 
this year.

I wrote my mother's eulogy and included her thoughts about Jewish 
librarians and libraries. Perhaps you also might find it meaningful:

When people think of Sylvia, her name is attached to "Jewish 
librarian" and that's how she was identified by so many.  My mother 
believed that a Jewish education, even as informal as reading a 
Jewish book, would help keep the Jewish community engaged.  That 
there was always something to learn about the Jewish experience in 
America, in history, the future of the Jews.  She felt very strongly 
about the Jewish communities of Wayne and Sarasota, that she was 
giving of herself to help people learn about themselves, their 
history, their culture.  She was bringing people together to talk 
about their commonalities and experiences.  She was expressing the 
idea that being Jewish wasn't only about prayers.  That being Jewish 
could be about books and film and discussions -- and that the power 
of Judaism didn't only reside in the religious part, that it resides 
in our shared and different experiences as Jews.

Next month my mother was going to the annual meeting of the 
Association of Jewish Libraries.  She started going to those in the 
early 1980s.  She was the founder of the West Coast Chapter, in 1997. 
She couldn't wait to go to Montreal.  Her passing is a loss to not 
only everyone who knew her, but to the field of Jewish librarianship 
and the work the librarians do in strengthening the Jewish community.

With best regards,
Merry Firschein
merika (at) aol (dot) com


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