Dr. Arnold L. Segel Library Center

Home Adult Engagement Center for Adult Jewish Learning Dr. Arnold L. Segel Library Center

The Dr. Arnold L. Segel Library Center is a welcoming gateway to Jewish learning. With a vast collection of physical and digital resources, including books, audio- and visual-recordings, journals and newspapers, the library is open to Temple Israel members, students, staff, and residents of the Greater Boston community. Library users are welcome to borrow materials from the library or simply enjoy the space to sit, read, and discover.

Resources and Services

Connect with our librarian for personalized guidance and recommendations based on your interests and needs. Our library is a member of the Massachusetts Library System’s Interlibrary Loan program. If we do not have what you are looking for, we can obtain resources from libraries worldwide. The library also provides curricular support for faculty and students and assists in developing educational resources for all ages. 

If you need help finding an article or book on any topic, or if you are interested in contact-less, curbside pick up and return of library materials, please contact the librarian.

Access our library’s catalog. 

Upcoming Events

Online Resources

Online resources for Jewish and general research, and for finding that next great book, film, song, and more. Curated by librarians, educators, and others motivated by the desire to provide the best information and resources.

For families with children of all ages:

PJ Library  – PJ Library sends free, award-winning books that celebrate Jewish values and culture to families with children from birth through 12 years old.

Bim Bam –  Jewish videos for adults, kids and family.

Jewish e-books:

Lerner Publishing Library.  Please contact Ann Abrams for log-in info.

Research on Jewish Topics:

Jewish Book Council. Book reviews, reading lists, database of authors to invite to your book group, and more! 

Tablet. Magazine: A New Read on Jewish Life

The Jewish Encyclopedia. Published in the early 1900s, and completely online. For historical, not time-sensitive information about Judaism, this is terrific.

Jewish Virtual Library. Information from different sources on politics, history, Jewish people, and Israel.

My Jewish Learning. A great resource about anything to do with Judaism, past and present.

Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) is the website for the Reform Movement. Includes a Torah commentary section, and info about life cycle rituals and holidays.

Jewish Genealogy

Jewish Women’s Archive. Your best information destination about Jewish women, past and present.

General Research:

Digital Commonwealth of America. An online library of photographs, manuscripts, audio recordings, and other materials of historical interest from libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies from across Massachusetts.

Digital Public Library of America. The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world.

Internet Archive. Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more.

JSTOR, a full-text academic journal index. Through cooperation with the Boston Public Library (BPL), Temple Israel members may access JSTOR. Please contact the librarian for access instructions.

Worldcat is a global catalog of library collections. You can search for books, music, video, articles, and much more.

What We're Hearing

- Book group participant

“I sing the praises of the library and its wide range of books. Ann Abrams graciously helps us find the references we are seeking and runs a wonderful book group, filling us in on the authors' backgrounds, and when available, shows us slides relating to the subject and to the author. Her questions are well thought out.”

- Nicole, FJECC and Religious School parent

“We all love the Temple Israel library. Thank you for making it such a warm and welcoming place.”

- Fern , Temple Israel member

“Being here in the TI library is so conducive to getting a lot accomplished in a peaceful, inspiring environment. The librarian, Ann, is a tremendous resource and created this environment. The tea corner is very attractive, too!”

- Esti, Religious School teache

“The library at TI is an invaluable resource to my religious school class and has been extraordinarily flexible and accommodating when we shifted to remote learning.”r

- Leonie, Religious School teacher

“I use stories to help integrate and demonstrate what we learn in class. Ann is always such an incredible help with getting hold of great books (whether tangible or electronic) for this very purpose.”

- Michael, Religious School teacher

“The library is like a lifeline, keeping us connected to the stories of our ancestors and to our communal identity.”

- Amy, Lunch with the Librarian participant

“Just when I felt that my pandemic-dampened spirits were reaching a new low, I found the Lunch with the Librarian to help bolster them! Ann always has a wealth of suggestions - books, television shows, movies, comedy, music (even an original song) and more. She makes sure that all participants feel welcome and included in the conversation. By the hour's end, my spirits have most definitely been lifted.”

- Nancy, Lunch with the Librarian participant

“Lunch with the Librarian was a highlight for me during the pandemic. To gather with a cross section of our community to share 'good reads', author presentations, and Ann's rich commentary on so many diverse subjects has been just a delight and an anchor of sanity during a most difficult time for all of us. I have loved all TI offers but this one is at the top of my list!”

Library Committee

The Library Committee is a very congenial group of book lovers. Together with the TI librarian, the committee reviews library activities, resources, and services. The committee meets two to four times each year. New committee members are always welcome. If you are interested in joining us or would like more information, please contact Library Committee Chair, Beth Monaco.

History of Our Library  

The Temple Israel Library was originally established in the 1930s as the Waterman Memorial Library by Dr. and Mrs. Albert Ehrenfried in memory of Julius and Rosa Waterman, the parents of Mrs. Ehrenfried. Its goal was to provide “a library suitable to the needs of a Metropolitan congregation with an extensive educational program.” Today, the beautiful Dr. Arnold L. Segel Library Center, named in memory of Temple member Dr. Arnold L. Segel, consists of: The Waterman Adult Library, the Ellen and Harold Wald Children’s Library, and the David and Leona F. Karp Audio-Visual Center. Our collection has over 16,000 books, as well as audio and visual recordings relating to the Jewish holidays and Jewish topics.

We are very fortunate to have on display inside the library, a letter from Dr. Arnold L. Segel, z”l, in whose memory our library is named. Dr. Segel sent this letter to his parents when he was the commanding officer liberating the Ebensee Concentration Camp in 1945. We thank the Segel family for this very moving and educational gift.

Dr. Arnold L. Segel’s Letter

Dear Father,

Sorry I have not had a chance to write in the past few days but again we have been on the move. We were sort of numbed by the news of the capitulation. We first looked around, smiled, and then kept saying to each other that we could hardly believe it. I still cannot believe that every loud noise does not mean a shell or bomb and most of all we find it difficult to believe we can put lights on at night. It will take months for us to adjust. At the moment our unit is caring for 16,000 prisoners in a notorious concentration camp at Ebensee, right in the heart of the Austrian Alps. It is a grim irony that the Germans should place such a festering sore right in the midst of the beautiful Austrian Tyrol. The job is enormous. When we arrived the inmates were dying at the rate of … (letter is cut off). They are nothing but living skeletons. They lasted on the average 3 weeks if they were Jewish and 3 months if they were Russians, Poles Chechs (sic. Czechs) or French. They were required to work 12-14 hours a day on a bowl of thin soup and one loaf of bread for each five men. The hospital has 3,000 patients with four to five in each bed and many lying on the floor. The dead are not moved for days so that the living and dead share the same beds. It is difficult to tell who is alive. Men lay down on the ground to rest and never get up. They have no shoes or clothing. There are no toilet facilities and most are too weak to go outside so that they just remain lying in their own feces and urine. The crematory could only handle 80 a day so that there were dead stacked like cord- wood lying all over the camp. It is revolting, disgusting and so pitiful that all of us had tears streaming down our faces. There are no words or pictures to describe the horror. General Patton was so incensed that he ordered all cremations stopped. Now all 600 to 1,000 dead are being buried by the German civilians – one for each grave. The bodies are carried exposed thru (sic. Through) the streets of the town and the cemetery is in a public place. A sign saying “German Atrocity Cemetery” is to be erected. Pits holding thousands of dead are to be cleaned out – by hand – by the Germans and each person buried properly. I could go on for hours but it is enough. There is no propaganda, no picture, no nightmare horrible enough to let you know what savage beasts these people were. No news about going home yet. Until I see you, Love, Arnie