On Feb. 9, the first Judaic lending library in Fountain Hills had its grand opening. The Zaidy Lipskier Library opened its doors in honor of the 25th yahrzeit of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Lipskier. It’s just one of many in the United States dedicated to his memory.
Rabbi Fitzy, as he preferred to be called, was one of the most influential and well known rabbis at the Chabad-Lubavitch yeshiva Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, New Jersey. Ten years ago, for his 15th yahrzeit, Rabbi Fitzy’s family members sent out a request for photos, videos and anecdotes related to the rabbi. Dozens of stories from his students and friends arrived, each explaining the tremendous impact he had on their lives. He was a father not only to his own children, but to people around the world.
“The reason we named the library after him is because of his love of learning,” said Tzipi Lipskier, Rabbi Fitzy’s daughter-in-law and the library’s curator. “He had hundreds of students worldwide.”
In addition to teaching at the Rabbinical College, he opened his own Judaic lending library in Morristown and counseled students over the phone. Years before the internet, he created “dial a story” program, where children could call in and hear one of his pre-recorded tales.
In tribute to his passion for Torah study and Jewish education, the Zaidy Lipskier Library will have singular volumes on Judaism that can’t be easily found elsewhere. Hundreds of different books, with subjects ranging from Jewish history to fiction and cooking, will be available to any interested community members. In fact, the library itself is a community project; many of the books are donations from the Maricopa Jewish community.
Tzipi Lipskier said that Fountain Hills is the perfect place for the library, as it’s home to a multigenerational community, which will allow for spreading knowledge to the younger generation, one of Rabbi Fitzy’s priorities, and bridge the gap between young and old. The library will have a special children’s section, as well as a lounge area for kids and teens. There are also a number of events being planned, such as readings for children, lectures for adults and Jewish movie nights.
Beginning Sunday, Feb. 23, the hours of operation will be Sundays 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Tuesdays 1-3 p.m. and Wednesdays 6-8:30 p.m.
“We hope it will be a place where my father-in-law would be proud to visit,” said Tzipi Lipskier. “We hope that the community at large will feel at home here.” JN