Library on modern Judaica donated 

The Concordia Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies inaugurated the Avriel Butovsky Research Library on April 9.

Mervin Butovsky in the library named to commemorate his son. Magnifying glass

Mervin Butovsky in the library named to commemorate his son.

Rivka and Mervin Butovsky, a Concordia University professor emeritus of English literature, donated over 3,000 books on modern Judaica in memory of their son, Avriel Butovsky (1959-1993), who was a devoted student of Islamic history and culture.

Most of the titles range over religion, philosophy, Zionism, literature, Bible studies, North American Jewish writing, and the history of 20th century Jewish culture.

More than 100 community and university members attended the inauguration. They heard presentations by Yaron, Avrielís brother, his mother Rivka, and by Howie Gold, a friend of Avriel at high school, now a professor of political science at Smith College. They all spoke about the intellectual interests of Avriel and his father.

Mia Barsheshet described a fund that supports an annual activity aimed at enriching the school curriculum at Bialik, Avrielís former high school. Matthew Ellis, a PhD candidate in Middle East Studies at Princeton University, talked about the common elements of his and Avrielís research pursuits and Avrielís achievements at Oxford and Harvard, and in Cairo.

Norman Ravvin, Chair of the Institute, expressed his thanks for the generous donation. He explained aspects of the library, and said he welcomed the respite from the technological world with good old-fashioned reading in a library. The evening concluded with a reception and a library tour.

The library is housed at the Concordia Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies in SB-219 at 1590 Dr. Penfield Ave., and is now open to academics and students for research. Appointments and questions can be directed to Olivia Ward at or by calling 514-848-2424, ext. 8760.

Further information on Institute initiatives, including the Student Journal of Canadian Jewish Studies, fellowships and awards, and the online library catalogue, are available on the Instituteís website:


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