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Unpacking My Library: A Collection of Jewish Heritage

Wed August 2 @ 19:00 - 20:30

I’ve often felt that my library explained who I was, gave me a shifting self that transformed itself constantly throughout the years.” Alberto Mangel – Packing my Library


“Unpacking My Library: A Collection of Jewish Heritage” is an oral history project designed by Wanessa Cardoso that investigates the role of personal libraries in preserving Jewish culture, identity and heritage.

During World War II, tens of millions of books disappeared in the Nazi plundering operations, which destroyed not only public libraries and archives all over Europe but also personal libraries built up over generations to depict the cultural and linguistic aspects of people as individuals and communities.

In this event, the public will have the opportunity to watch part of the interviews undertaken during this project and discuss with some of the participants how preserving certain documents in personal libraries (newly established or passed over generations) can contribute to safeguarding Jewish culture. This event will be a space for bibliophiles to meet and exchange personal experiences about the subject.


Meet the interviewees that will participate in the event:


Cesario Lavery is an illustrator, comics-maker, writer, textile dabbler and outdoor educator. Der Eydes (“The Witness”) is his ongoing serialized comic about Dr. Chaim Shatan, Kafka, finding treasure, and family history/mystery. Cesario’s interests include intergenerational and mixed-level learning, emergent pedagogy, learning Yiddish and Judeo-Italian, crafts of all kinds, and storytelling in its myriad forms.


Claire Sigal is a Master’s Student at McGill University in Library Sciences, having completed her BFA in Art History at Concordia University. When she is not researching the history of Jewish garment work in Montreal, she is writing, reading Yiddish poetry, or Jewish folk dancing.


daph is a public school educator, community organizer, and performing arts professional. They have been working on their home library/community project for the past few years, to share access to books they couldn’t find in Montreal’s libraries or bookstores. Part political education, part spiritual sustenance, they read and share books about queer and trans-Jews, anti-colonial Arab-Jewish histories, and Jewish sacred texts, among many other things.


Sarah Deshaies is a lifelong reader and radio-maker based in Montreal. She produced an audio documentary about Chrismukkah through the support of the Museum’s micrograntee program.


Thank you to the Jewish Public Library for providing their space for the filming of Unpacking My Library.


Unpacking My Library was produced under the Museum of Jewish Montreal’s Microgrants for Creative or Cultural Exploration program, with support from the Community Innovation Fund and the Betty Averbach Family Foundation. The views and opinions expressed in this project and/or event are those of the creator(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Museum of Jewish Montreal.

The Community Innovation Fund is financed in part by the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnerships Program – Children and Families Component and is part of the Action Plan for Official Languages – 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future. The fund is managed by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).


Wed August 2
19:00 - 20:30


Musée du Montréal juif | Museum of Jewish Montreal
5220 St. Laurent blvd.
Montréal, Québec H2T 1S1 Canada
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