Once upon a time, it was almost impossible to find English books in Safed. When Edyth Geiger moved into an apartment on Jerusalem Street in 1970, she brought with her a collection of books. Other English speakers in the area came by to borrow them and Edyth's home soon became a library. She announced opening hours and let people browse through and check out their choices from the thousands of books that filled her bedroom, kitchen, and living room. Every possible space was filled with books - aside from the places that held her giraffe collection. When the book collection passed the 6,000 mark, Edyth raised the money to rent a small space below her house.
The books from a private children's library, which had been started by Rachel Ben-Zev in a different location, were added to Edyth's collection. People were told to look for Edyth's purple door, go down five steps and around the corner to find the hidden door to the library.
Books were stacked three deep. As Edyth reached her 90s she was determined to move the library into a more suitable and permanent setting. She raised money to buy and refurbish several rooms on street level. She set up a non-profit organization, hired a manager and by the time
Edyth passed away shortly after her 94th birthday the library was functioning formally as a free lending library spread over five rooms.
The library is not funded by any government institution and is maintained solely by donations from the Geiger family, and our readers and supporters. Donate here.