We are so fortunate to receive donations from people across Montana and out of state. Our growing library is stocked entirely with books for children and adults that several of you have donated. Our Judaica collection is also growing—again all from your generous donations. We
now have some beautiful artwork and items needed for Jewish ritual observance and prayer.
Judaism is a tradition in which history and memory are central. Knowing something about the person’s life whose book we hold, whose kippa we use, or whose shofar we will blow during the High Holy Days makes using them all the more special. This is especially true for items donated in someone’s memory.
Recently, Jim Gray of Missoula, donated several boxes of books and Judaica from his mother, Shirle Gray, who passed away in April. She was 96. Born in 1926, Shirle and her late husband, Gene Gray, raised their family in Pennsylvania. Later the couple lived in Scottsdale. Shirle moved to Missoula in 2007. In addition to raising her family, Shirle was successful in real estate.
Shirle also lived a rich Jewish life. We are so honored to have her prayerbooks, decorative Jewish items and art, as well as the Seder plates she used at Passover. Shirle’s Seder plates were on our tables when we celebrated our first Passover back in historic Temple Emanu-El since
1934. Knowing a little about Shirle’s life made using them even more meaningful.
Shirle lived her Jewish values—sharing her talent and knowledge. She was a theater lover. For years, she toured synagogue performing Fiddler on the Roof. She also spearheaded productions in Yiddish. When she moved into a house with a smaller kitchen in Missoula, she downsized her cookware. 20 refugee families were able to stock their own homes thanks to her generosity.
Thank you, Jim, for trusting us with your mother’s books and beautiful Judaica. We believe that in using them, we are helping keep her memory and legacy alive. We hope that like Shirle and you, all of us at MJP can share our Jewish traditions and values.