What once was a proper Jewish library at the Gerson Katz Chabad Center in Metaire has recently been displaced and uprooted. What once were organized and catalogued rows of reference books, prayerbooks and tractates of the Mishnah and Gemorah now lay strewn atop tables along the back hallway and in a rear room of the center.
This state of disarray is temporary, though, as the center’s director, Rabbi Yossi Nemes, awaits the transformation from chaos into a much-needed upgrade of the center’s library. According to Nemes, one of the members there – Susan Marpurry – was inspired to donate a large number of wall shelves for that very purpose. The shelves were measured and designed by another member, Kotel Sandrusi, whom Rabbi Mendel Ceitlin credits with the lion’s share of the rehabilitation. At his father-in-law Nemes’ direction, Caitlin has been overseeing the project. On Sunday before rainstorms came into the area, Fellipe Baptista was busy staining some of these new shelves prior to their installation into the wall units.
The shelves and storage space beneath them will significantly increase the number of books that can be housed in the library and will also serve to store away the Machzorim (High Holiday prayerbooks) when not needed. The rate of progress has been steady and it is hoped that only a few more days will be needed before the final phase of the library upgrade will be completed. When done, the new library will boast a large table for study as well as a smaller table for computer access. Plans also call for a coffee maker to be installed in the new library, Caitlin said. A media presentation showing progress being made is hosted on their website here.