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Association of Jewish Libraries' Vice President of Publications, Deborah Stern, attended a celebration marking Jewish Publication Society's (JPS) 120th birthday.

Here is what Deborah Stern, librarian at Mordecai M. Kaplan Memorial Library of Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, said about the event:

"Founded in 1888, The Jewish Publication Society is the oldest nonprofit, nondenominational publisher of Jewish works in English, especially well known for its English translation of the Hebrew Bible, regarded worldwide as the authoritative Jewish translation. Its publications aim to make the rich Jewish literary legacy accessible to all and run the gamut from collaborative, scholarly projects to books for youngsters to enjoy.


Recognizing that the goals of JPS and of AJL have so much in common, the organizations joined forces last year to help readers find the best Jewish resources available among JPS’ own books and those published by others. A link was placed on the JPS home page to a site displaying samples from some of AJL’s annotated bibliographies: http://www.jewishpub.org/about/bibliographies.php


This year AJL is pleased to be able to salute JPS on its 120th birthday by being an official sponsor of its birthday celebration. We look forward to continued collaboration with them in our joint efforts to bring Jewish literacy to everyone interested in learning more about the Jewish heritage. L’chaim!"

Birthday cake

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 AJL President Susan Dubin and National Convention Chair Fred Isaac traveled to Montreal to review possible sites for the 2011 Convention. SSC and local Chapter President Marsha Lustigman will act as local co-chair of the Convention. Norma Newman, a librarian who has attended many past conventions, and Marsha met Susan at the airport and took her to breakfast in the Jewish community. Both are quite well-known in the community since there were several people who stopped by the table to say hello. Everyone seemed excited about the AJL coming to Montreal!

Marsha and Norma acted as tour guides and gave Susan a driving tour of some of the city. The views from the mountain where Montreal is built were breathtakingly beautiful. All three met Fred Isaac at the hotel and walked to Old Town where they enjoyed lunch in a garden restaurant known for its soft jazz.

One of the hotels being considered is right across the street from McGill University in a quaint neighborhood walking distance from everywhere. The other hotel being considered is a few blocks away at the Place du Canada where the underground rail system can be accessed.

Marsha hosted a family Bar-B-Q in her beautiful garden. Fred and Susan took the Metro there a dn found it very easy to get around.

In such a beautiful city with so much to do and see, the 2011 Convention is definitely going to be a not-to-be-missed event!

Pictures of the trip are on Picasa at the following URL: http://picasaweb.google.com/sdubinsue/20090829AJLVisitsMontreal?feat=directlink
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There was a lot of talk at the AJL09 Convention about social media. As a good example of social media's potential for mitzvah, I want to share with you this post from the Summer of Social Good campaign. -- Heidi Estrin

This post is a collaboration between Mashable's Summer of Social Good charitable fundraiser and Max Gladwell's "10 Ways" series. The post is being simultaneously published across more than 100 blogs. summerofsocialgoodnew Social media is about connecting people and providing the tools necessary to have a conversation. That global conversation is an extremely powerful platform for spreading information and awareness about social causes and issues. That's one of the reasons charities can benefit so greatly from being active on social media channels. But you can also do a lot to help your favorite charity or causes you are passionate about through social media. Below is a list of 10 ways you can use social media to show your support for issues that are important to you. If you can think of any other ways to help charities via social web tools, please add them in the comments. If you'd like to retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.

1. Write a Blog Post

Blogging is one of the easiest ways you can help a charity or cause you feel passionate about. Almost everyone has an outlet for blogging these days -- whether that means a site running WordPress, an account at LiveJournal, or a blog on MySpace or Facebook. By writing about issues you're passionate about, you're helping to spread awareness among your social circle. Because your friends or readers already trust you, what you say is influential. Recently, a group of green bloggers banded together to raise individual $1 donations from their readers. The beneficiaries included Sustainable Harvest, Kiva, Healthy Child, Healthy World, Environmental Working Group, and Water for People. The blog-driven campaign included voting to determine how the funds would be distributed between the charities. You can read about the results here. You should also consider taking part in Blog Action Day, a once a year event in which thousands of blogs pledge to write at least one post about a specific social cause (last year it was fighting poverty). Blog Action Day will be on October 15 this year.

2. Share Stories with Friends

twitter-links Another way to spread awareness among your social graph is to share links to blog posts and news articles via sites like Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, and even through email. Your network of friends is likely interested in what you have to say, so you have influence wherever you've gathered a social network. You'll be doing charities you support a great service when you share links to their campaigns, or to articles about causes you care about.

3. Follow Charities on Social Networks

In addition to sharing links to articles about issues you come across, you should also follow charities you support on the social networks where they are active. By increasing the size of their social graph, you're increasing the size of their reach. When your charities tweet or post information about a campaign or a cause, statistics or a link to a good article, consider retweeting that post on Twitter, liking it on Facebook, or blogging about it. Following charities on social media sites is a great way to keep in the loop and get updates, and it's a great way to help the charity increase its reach by spreading information to your friends and followers. You can follow the Summer of Social Good Charities:

Oxfam America (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube) The Humane Society (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr) LIVESTRONG (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr) WWF (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr)

4. Support Causes on Awareness Hubs

change-wwf Another way you can show your support for the charities you care about is to rally around them on awareness hubs like Change.org, Care2, or the Facebook Causes application. These are social networks or applications specifically built with non-profits in mind. They offer special tools and opportunities for charities to spread awareness of issues, take action, and raise money. It's important to follow and support organizations on these sites because they're another point of access for you to gather information about a charity or cause, and because by supporting your charity you'll be increasing their overall reach. The more people they have following them and receiving their updates, the greater the chance that information they put out will spread virally.

5. Find Volunteer Opportunities

Using social media online can help connect you with volunteer opportunities offline, and according to web analytics firm Compete, traffic to volunteering sites is actually up sharply in 2009. Two of the biggest sites for locating volunteer opportunities are VolunteerMatch, which has almost 60,000 opportunities listed, and Idealist.org, which also lists paying jobs in the non-profit sector, in addition to maintaining databases of both volunteer jobs and willing volunteers. For those who are interested in helping out when volunteers are urgently needed in crisis situations, check out HelpInDisaster.org, a site which helps register and educate those who want to help during disasters so that local resources are not tied up directing the calls of eager volunteers. Teenagers, meanwhile, should check out DoSomething.org, a site targeted at young adults seeking volunteer opportunities in their communities.

6. Embed a Widget on Your Site

Many charities offer embeddable widgets or badges that you can use on your social networking profiles or blogs to show your support. These badges generally serve one of two purposes (or both). They raise awareness of an issue and offer up a link or links to additional information. And very often they are used to raise money. Mashable's Summer of Social Good campaign, for example, has a widget that does both. The embeddable widget, which was custom built using Sprout (the creators of ChipIn), can both collect funds and offer information about the four charities the campaign supports.

7. Organize a Tweetup

You can use online social media tools to organize offline events, which are a great way to gather together like-minded people to raise awareness, raise money, or just discuss an issue that's important to you. Getting people together offline to learn about an important issue can really kick start the conversation and make supporting the cause seem more real. Be sure to check out Mashable's guide to organizing a tweetup to make sure yours goes off without a hitch, or check to see if there are any tweetups in your area to attend that are already organized.

8. Express Yourself Using Video

As mentioned, blog posts are great, but a picture really says a thousand words. The web has become a lot more visual in recent years and there are now a large number of social tools to help you express yourself using video. When you record a video plea or call to action about your issue or charity, you can make your message sound more authentic and real. You can use sites like 12seconds.tv, Vimeo, and YouTube to easily record and spread your video message. Last week, the Summer of Social Good campaign encouraged people to use video to show support for charity. The #12forGood campaign challenged people to submit a 12 second video of themselves doing something for the Summer of Social Good. That could be anything, from singing a song to reciting a poem to just dancing around like a maniac -- the idea was to use the power of video to spread awareness about the campaign and the charities it supports. If you're more into watching videos than recording them, Givzy.com enables you to raise funds for charities like Unicef and St. Jude's Children's Hospital by sharing viral videos by e-mail.

9. Sign or Start a Petition

twitition There aren't many more powerful ways to support a cause than to sign your name to a petition. Petitions spread awareness and, when successfully carried out, can demonstrate massive support for an issue. By making petitions viral, the social web has arguably made them even more powerful tools for social change. There are a large number of petition creation and hosting web sites out there. One of the biggest is The Petition Site, which is operated by the social awareness network Care2, or PetitionOnline.com, which has collected more than 79 million signatures over the years. Petitions are extremely powerful, because they can strike a chord, spread virally, and serve as a visual demonstration of the support that an issue has gathered. Social media fans will want to check out a fairly new option for creating and spreading petitions: Twitition, an application that allows people to create, spread, and sign petitions via Twitter.

10. Organize an Online Event

Social media is a great way to organize offline, but you can also use online tools to organize effective online events. That can mean free form fund raising drives, like the Twitter-and-blog-powered campaign to raise money for a crisis center in Illinois last month that took in over $130,000 in just two weeks. Or it could mean an organized "tweet-a-thon" like the ones run by the 12for12k group, which aims to raise $12,000 each month for a different charity. In March, 12for12k ran a 12-hour tweet-a-thon, in which any donation of at least $12 over a 12 hour period gained the person donating an entry into a drawing for prizes like an iPod Touch or a Nintendo Wii Fit. Last month, 12for12k took a different approach to an online event by holding a more ambitious 24-hour live video-a-thon, which included video interviews, music and sketch comedy performances, call-ins, and drawings for a large number of prizes given out to anyone who donated $12 or more.

Bonus: Think Outside the Box

blamedrewscancerSocial media provides almost limitless opportunity for being creative. You can think outside the box to come up with all sorts of innovative ways to raise money or awareness for a charity or cause. When Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with cancer, for example, he created Blame Drew's Cancer, a campaign that encourages people to blow off steam by blaming his cancer for bad things in their lives using the Twitter hashtag #BlameDrewsCancer. Over 16,000 things have been blamed on Drew's cancer, and he intends to find sponsors to turn those tweets into donations to LIVESTRONG once he beats the disease. Or check out Nathan Winters, who is biking across the United States and documenting the entire trip using social media tools, in order to raise money and awareness for The Nature Conservancy. The number of innovative things you can do using social media to support a charity or spread information about an issue is nearly endless. Can you think of any others? Please share them in the comments.

Special thanks to VPS.net

vpsnet logoA special thanks to VPS.net, who are donating $100 to the Summer of Social Good for every signup they receive this week. Sign up at VPS.net and use the coupon code "SOSG"to receive 3 Months of FREE hosting on top of your purchased term. VPS.net honors a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee so there's no risk.

About the "10 Ways" Series

The "10 Ways" Series was originated by Max Gladwell. This is the second simultaneous blog post in the series. The first ran on more than 80 blogs, including Mashable. Among other things, it is a social media experiment and the exploration of a new content distribution model. You can follow Max Gladwell on Twitter. This content was originally written by Mashable's Josh Catone.

Posted via web from The AJL Convention Blog

Posted in: Uncategorized
            Thanks to the tremendous efforts of the Chicago Convention Committee and the co-chairs Shoshanah Seidman, Cheryl Banks, and Rose Novil, the annual AJL convention was a huge success. From the keynote speaker to the last vote at the general membership meeting, everything was perfect. The hotel was well-located just a few blocks from Navy Pier and downtown Chicago and an easy walk to the Art Institute and Grant Park. The weather was comfortable although we did get a few sprinkles. The food was delicious. But most important, the sessions were outstanding!

Most of the sessions were recorded and will be uploaded to the AJL web site as podcasts. Speakers were asked to give their handouts and papers to Leah Moskovits, our Proceedings Chair. She will gather everything and post the official proceedings on the Members Only web page soon. Meanwhile, people have been blogging about the convention through the Convention blog set up by Heidi Estrin. Blog posts can be seen at ajl09.posterous.com. Thank you to all our "on-the-spot" reporters.

New initiatives passed by Council and the membership include continued support for convention attendance through convention stipends, an increase in the AJL scholarship for library students from $500 to $1000, hiring a web design service to revitalize our web presence, hiring a consultant to help put AJL in social media sites, a plan to affiliate with ALA, and updates to our Constitution and by-laws.

New chapters were formed in the Pacific Northwest and Atlanta, and chapters are looking toward chapter status recognition in Austin, Sacramento, and Israel. A one day conference in Israel this fall will draw attention to new efforts to connect to librarians there.

To get a taste of the excitement, check out the Convention pictures posted on Flckr.


Susan Dubin

AJL President
Posted in: Uncategorized

Posted by  Heidi Estrin to The AJL Convention Blog

Our "Social Media" speaker, Mark Blevis, hosts a podcast about children's literature called Just One More Book. If you take a look at his website, you'll see that he's posted a message especially for us! It's entitled "A little Book List: For 2009 AJL Convention Wannabes" and it provides links to past podcast episodes of Just One More Book that feature Jewish books. Visit http://www.justonemorebook.com/2009/07/07/a-little-book-list-for-2009-ajl-convention-wannabes/ to learn more.
Also, AJL's own Abigail Yasgur has scored an interview on Just One More Book about her new children's book Max Said "Yes!" (The Woodstock Story). You can hear Abigail at http://www.justonemorebook.com/2009/07/10/max-said-yes-the-woodstock-story/.

Professor Peter Hayes (Northwestern U.) specializes in thehistory of Germany in the 20th century, particularly the Nazi period. He did an admirable speaking job, presenting a dark and serious topic while dealing gracefully with the challenges of a late evening audience digesting its dinner and a very noisy, joyful event happening in the room next door. Learn more about Peter Hayes at http://www.history.northwestern.edu/people/hayes.html.

Professor Hayes challenged eight widely-believed "facts" about the Holocaust, pointing out that when the public thinks it knows something, scholarship often has trouble making itself heard. His hope was that the audience at AJL might be more receptive than many others, and allow new ideas to penetrate. Here are the eight misconceptions that, when examined more closely, turn out to be untrue. (From notes scribbled during the keynote address, please forgive any errors.)

1. Anti-semitism played a major role in bringing Hitler to power.

Apparently we've put the cart before the horse. "More Germans became anti-semites because they became Nazis, than became Nazis because they were anti-semites."

2. Killing Jews was Hitler's goal from the beginning.

The original intention seems to have been to remove the Jews from German-held territory, but it soon became apparent that by gaining territory they were gaining Jewish residents. The more practical way to remove them was to kill them, but the Nazis realized this only after they started taking over other countries.

3. TheAllies could have saved many more Jews than they did.

Anti-immigrant sentiment was very strong at the time, and politicians who pushed for bringing in more Jews would have been voted out of office. Also, 3/4 of the six million were killed out of reach of Allied intervention in northeastern Europe, in a short period of time, while the Germans seemed to be winning the war.

4. Jews could have done more to save themselves.

Jews were a tiny percent of the population in all the countries where they lived, and being more assertive wouldn't have had much impact on the larger population's opinions/actions. The Jewish ghetto uprisings that did happen were quickly squashed and didn't really save lives, so more uprisings probably wouldn't have saved more lives.

5. Greater solidarity with or sympathy for Jews in Europe would have saved more Jews.

Individual people saved other individual people, but to really raise the numbers you would have needed institutions or governments working to save Jews. More Jews were saved by the collaborating French government than by individual righteous gentiles, just because governments have more power than individuals. But most of the governments in Europe had been taken over by the Nazis.

6. Killing Jews diverted resources and weakened the German war effort.

It didn't take large numbers of guards or even trains to deal with imprisoning/killing Jews, compared to the number of soldiers overall.

7. Persecution of Jews was driven by greed (ie the desire to take the Jews' possessions).

Taking Jewish possessions was a side benefit for the Nazis, not their main goal. They got more money by taking over banks in the countries they invaded than by taking Jewish possessions.

8. The Holocaust represents modernity and its dangers.

The image of mechanized murder has been overblown. "Auschwitz was a dis-assembly line, but more like a 19th century slaughterhouse than a modern factory." Most killing was done with simple tools: a gun, carbon dioxide from a car. And cultural genocide is certainly not a new idea.

Conclusion: the common denominator of all 8 myths is the desire to shield ourselves from the horror, to think that thinks could have been better or to find a place to lay blame. But these are prettifications of history.

--Heidi Estrin

Posted via web from The AJL Convention Blog

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If you use Twitter, and you'd like to tweet about the AJL convention, please use the hashtag #AJL09 when doing so. This will allow readers to find all the AJL convention related tweets more easily.

If you don't even know what I'm talking about, you might enjoy this simple video, "Twitter in Plain English."


Heidi Estrin

Posted via web from The AJL Convention Blog

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The New England regional conference brought together librarians from all over the Northeast. Sessions about social networking helped to expand the topic of maximizing library services through resource sharing. An excellent article highlighting the conference appeared in the Jewish Ledger. Read it at http://www.jewishledger.com/articles/2009/06/24/news/news12.prt.
Posted in: Uncategorized
Heidi Estrin, AJL Public Relations Chair, has established a new blog for people to use at Convention. The blog is very easy to use. The subject of your email becomes the title of your post, and the body and attachments of the email become the content of your post. You can post text, photos, music, video, documents and all kinds of files, emailing it to post@ajl09.posterous.com. The blog can be read at ajl09.posterous.com.

Please look at the blog for a post about a podcast with Convention speaker Mark Blevis about social media. The podcast is also on Book of Life podcast site.

See you in Chicago!


Susan Dubin

AJL President
Posted in: Uncategorized
The annual AJL Convention will begin on July 5th in Chicago at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers. With almost 200 registrants despite the economy and a terrific program thanks to our hard-working Chicago team, it should prove to be a memorable few days. Here are some highlights that should not be missed:

The CEU this year is entitled: “Promoting Digital Research in the Jewish Library: Resources and Strategies” with  instructor  Michael Kay.

Jewish Authors Luncheon features over 35 authors including several Sydney Tayor Award Winners.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Peter Hayes will speak at Sunday dinner on "The Holocaust: Myths and Misconceptions"

Special Plenary Session Monday at 5:15: Barbara Schneider-Kempf, the Director General of the Berlin State Library in Germany, speaking on:"Stolen books: The Third Reich's Exchange Center and the Prussian State Library in the years 1933 till 1945. Aspects of the supply with literature under the control of National Socialism"

Mentor Mingle: Here is the "official" invitation:

You are cordially invited

TO:  Mentor Mingle for all prospective mentors and mentees

When:  Sunday, July 5th, 2009 at 5:00 PM 

Where:  Parlor C

 Are you a seasoned librarian, library student, or newcomer to a library position? You'll find that the Mentor Mingle is a golden opportunity to meet new friends, share ideas, and participate in the zeitgeist of the times.  Full-year commitments are not mandatory.  This year we're inviting members to step forward and be mentors to newcomers for the duration of the Convention.  We'll pair you with a new member if you haven't met one already on your own. Are you interested in a greater challenge? Why not consider guiding a new professional throughout the coming year to establish contacts, learn about available resources, and build a long-lasting relationship?  Stephanie (Sara Leah) Gross, Chair of AJL Mentoring, will be on hand with a short presentation about the process, what it entails and some of the benefits of the program.  If you'd like to know more before the event, you may contact her directly at: ajlmentoring@gmail.com.  However, reservations are not required.  Please note: This year we're hoping to establish mentoring leaders at the local chapter or regional level in order to improve our effectiveness.  Your participation can make a great difference in someone's career!



Next year's Convention in Seattle July 4-7, 2010!

Check out all the programmed events and look for new and exciting ways that AJL can help you!

See you in CHICAGO!


Susan Dubin

AJL President

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MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger

 The only national Jewish organization whose sole focus is hunger relief, Mazon helps to provide nourishment and promote self-sufficiency for hundreds of thousands of people at risk of hunger in America, Israel and around the world.

 Mazon is a leader in the global anti-hunger movement. Since 1985 Mazon has granted tens of millions of dollars to emergency food providers, food banks, multi-service organizations and advocacy groups that seek solutions to the problem of hunger.

 Our support makes it possible!

 The AJL’s convention started a tradition of its own:  we have generously given to MAZON in Cambridge, Scottsdale, and Cleveland, and we want to make Chicago as memorable!

 We will be placing Mazon envelopes on the tables at the banquet, and ask you to give from the heart.

 Thank you

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Over Passover, I traveled to Israel to meet with AJL members, authors, illustrators, and publishers to see if we could reorganize a group there. My first day in Jerusalem, I met with Elhanan Adler at the National Library.

Israel 09 Elhanan Adler by you. The library was very exciting. Israel 09 National Library4 by you.They are working on digitizing some of their collection to make it accessible to more people.

I stayed with Anna Levine, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Regional Advisor for the Middle East and Sydney Taylor honoree for her Young Adult novel Freefall . We went to the once in every 28 years Blessing of the Sun at the Kotel.

Israel 09 00127 by you. When in Jerusalem, I also met with Jeff at Jerusalem Books.Israel 09 00026 He is looking forward to seeing everyone in Chicago where Jerusalem Books will be exhibiting.

Travelling north to Tsfat, I met with Esther Heller from Targum Press.Israel 09 00338 by you.

In Tel Aviv, I met Peninah Moed Koss, who is known in Israel for her picture books about Berale, a lovable snail. In the U.S. her young adult novel Real Time gives teens a thought provoking look at a suicide bomber and his victims. Peninah will be joining us in Chicago this summer and sent a present to each traveler to Convention-- a prayer to recite upon arriving safely.

David Elazar and Ya'akov Aronson were also very helpful in making suggestions about how to organize a group in Israel. Many thanks to everyone who met with me and offered me their hospitality and time and ideas. I hope to explore this in more detail when we all meet at Convention.


Susan Dubin

AJL President
Posted in: Uncategorized

On Tuesday, May 5, 2009, Heidi Estrin shared the following:

The Association of Jewish Libraries is the "parent organization" that administers the Sydney Taylor Book Award. If you would like to communicate with the librarians and book-lovers who care about the award and about Jewish literature, this is a great publicity opportunity for you.

2009 AJL Convention Ads, Exhibits & Sponsorships


44th Annual Association of Jewish Libraries Convention
Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers
301 E. North Water Street Chicago, IL 60611
July 5-8, 2009


Would you like to reach hundreds of Judaica professionals from around the world? Join us as the Association of Jewish Libraries presents its 44nd annual convention in Chicago July 5-8, 2009.

Our members represent synagogues and schools, major universities, research centers, and other settings. You can participate in a number of ways

  • Exhibit products and/or services in the Convention Exhibit Hall

  • Advertise in the convention program book

  • Sponsor a convention event, with recognition at the event and in the program book

  • Congratulate the organization, or members you know, with a message in the program book

You can support the work of this respected and successful organization, while bringing your own work or good wishes to the members’ attention. Information about Advertising, Exhibits, and Sponsorships may be found here.

The deadline for these opportunities is MAY 27, 2009.

Credit card payments will be processed via PayPal.

A preview of some of the info you'll find at the AJL website...


All single booths will be set with (1) 6 x 30 table and (2) chairs.
Cost = $300 per table
Half-table price = $175
Table with no sales rep [books only] = $125
Double booth (2) tables = $500
Larger booths will be individually priced: contact ajlchicagoexhibits@gmail.com


Click here for full ad specs. Please note the special discount on full page ads available to exhibitors.

Page size


Full page

Exhibitors $400, Non-exhibitors $450

Half page


Quarter page


Eighth page (business card)


Web ad
placement on AJL Convention web page (to run May 1- July 10, 2009)



Please note we have a new discount offer! If you also purchase advertising for 1 year in the AJL Newsletter (4 issues, beginning in Fall 2009), you can receive a 5%-15% discount on your Convention Program Ad.

Please contact Shoshanah Seidman at (847) 491-7585 or sseidman@northwestern.edu if you are interested in any of the following sponsorship opportunities.





Keynote speaker: Peter Hayes, Prof. Northwestern University

Sunday, July 5


Exhibit Hall Coffee Break

July 6 (am)
July 6 (pm)
July 7 (am)
July 7 (pm)

$3,000 each

Awards Luncheon

July 6


Pre-Banquet Reception

July 7



July 7


Special sessions: Israel, Yiddish & Israeli Theater, Music, Jewish Art

July 5-6-7


Complimentary Meals for Speakers and Volunteers



Authors Program

July 7


Hospitality Suite



Reception in honor of Mrs. Barbara Schneider-Kempf, General Direktor, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

July 6




July 5-6-7-8


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On behalf of the Research Libraries, Archives, and Special Collections Division of the Association of Jewish Libraries, I am pleased to announce the winners of the 2008 Judaica Reference and Bibliography Awards:

Reference Award: Hundert, Gershon David. 2008. The YIVO encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe . New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press.

Bibliography Award : Richler, Binyamin, Malachi Beit-Arie, and Nurit Pasternak. 2008. Hebrew manuscripts in the Vatican Library: catalogue. Citta del Vaticano: Biblioteca apostolica Vaticana.

Bibliography Honorable Mention: Lubetski, Edith, and Meir Lubetski. 2008. The book of Esther: a classified bibliography. Bible bibliographies. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press.

I would like to thank the Judaica Reference and Bibliography Awards committee for their hard work: Jim Rosenbloom, Barry Walfish, Daniel Rettberg, Rachel Simon, Philip Miller, and Rachel Ariel.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Gershon Hundert and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research; Benjamin Richler, Malachi Beit-Arie, Nurit Pasternak, and the Staff of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts at the Jewish National and University Library (National Library of Israel); and our association member Edith Lubetski, and her spouse Meir Lubetski.

Rachel Leket-Mor

Chair of Judaica Reference and Bibliography Award Committee

Association of Jewish Libraries

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 Click here for a larger view. The first AJL Northwest Regional Conference took place February 15th in Seattle. The event was organized to generate interest in the upcoming annual convention being planned for July , 2010. The regional conference had teachers, librarians and others interested in children's literature for a full day workshop featuring guest speakers Lisa Silverman and Rivy Poupko Kletenik. The conference was titled "From Word to Deed: Teaching Our Children Through Literature." AJL Chapter Relations Chair represented the National Association of Jewish Libraries Council at the conference.

The event was planned by Toby Harris, Janet Heineck, Rita Frischer, and Tessa Benion, Publicity was sent to local schools, synagogues, and libraries and attendees received credit from the Bureau of Jewish Education.

To see pictures of the event, click here.

Congratulations to everyone invloved in planning this outstanding event!


Susan Dubin

AJL President
Posted in: Uncategorized

Seattle is the Evergreen State. AJL is starting to plan our 2010 Convention in this beautiful Northwest location. Consequently, David Hirsch, AJL Vice President/President-Elect, and I traveled up the coast to meet with our local Seattle committee, Janet Heineck, Toby Harris, and Rita Frischer, to check out hotels and lay some groundwork. We stayed at the Seattle Marriott Waterfront and the Fairmont Olympic. Both hotels are downtown, in easy walking distance of many classic Seattle sights. Both hotels are gorgeous and elegant and have great meeting space. We are waiting for the proposals and will go with the one that gives us the best rates (of course!). But either hotel will be a dynamite spot for the Convention and family vacations. Both hotels treated us royally and bent over backwards to impress--- the Fairmont even copied our AJL logo in chocolate as a welcome dessert! Check out the photos to whet your appetite for Seattle in 2010...

While in Seattle, I spoke at the public library in North East Seattle about "Libraries as Bridges." We were able to generate some interest in the Association of Jewish Libraries and to encourage some of the local Seattle people to participate in helping to plan the Convention (and be involved before and after!). Many thanks to Rita Frischer for arranging the program and to Marion Scichilone, Seattle Public Library Branch Manager  of

the North East Branch for making space available. Meeting in this location emphasized the broad application of this program to anyone interested in  books and libraries.

A very special treat at the program was a visit by an icon of Jewish Children's literature -- Chaya Burstein. She is now living in Seattle and still writing!

"til Next Time,

Susan Dubin

AJL President

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(New York—January 7, 2009) Richard Michelson and Raul Colon, author and illustrator of As Good As Anybody: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Amazing March Toward Freedom, Karen Hesse, author of Brooklyn Bridge, and Valerie Zenatti, author of A Bottle in the Gaza Sea, are the 2009 winners of the prestigious Sydney Taylor Book Award. 


The Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series. The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago this July.


Michelson and Colon will receive the 2009 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Younger Readers Category for As Good As Anybody: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Amazing March Toward Freedom, published by Alfred A. Knopf.  Two very special clergymen, one a rabbi, the other an African-American reverend are raised in divergently different countries yet experience similar levels of persecution and bigotry that will one day bring them together. As colleagues in America’s struggle for civil rights, they march together from Selma to Montgomery in March 1965. Colon’s colored pencil and watercolor illustrations “offer a beautiful complement to the text, describing two unique paths from childhood to adult life – Martin’s in the rich, warm brown-tones of the American south and Abraham’s in cool blues and grays that reminded the illustrator of old World War II movies.  When the two exemplary men join in their march for tolerance, the palettes merge in full color harmony,” comments Debbie Colodny, a member of the Award Committee. This book is recommended for grades 2-5.


Hesse will receive the 2009 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Older Readers Category for Brooklyn Bridge, published by Feiwel & Friends. While his family left the anti-Semitism of Russia to build the American dream, Joey Michtom’s dream is to visit the glittering Coney Island.Crafting a story from the spark of a true event, the invention of the Teddy Bear in 1903, Hesse masterfully weaves multiple themes of hard-work, survival, homelessness, and familial dedication with interlocking and parallel stories of families who live reasonably well opposite those less fortunate living in the shadows below the imposing Brooklyn Bridge,” comments Rita Soltan, a member of the Award Committee. This book is recommended for grades 5-8. Hesse also won the 1992 Award for Older Readers for Letters from Rifka, and a 2004 Honor Award for Older Readers for The Cats in Kransinski Square.



Zenatti will receive the 2009 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Teen Readers Category for A Bottle in the Gaza Sea, published by Bloomsbury.  This story about the relationship between an Israeli girl, Tal, and a Palestinian boy, Naim, via e-mail and instant messaging, is honest but hopeful.  Well-written and compelling, the tale of their relationship conveys the confusion, anger, exhaustion, and depression felt by many young people during the 2003 intifada,” comments Susan Berson, a member of the Award Committee. Zenatti’s memoir, When I Was a Soldier, was a 2005-6 AJL Notable Book for Older Readers.


Six Sydney Taylor Honor Books were named for 2009.  For Younger Readers, Honor Books are: Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride by Deborah Bodin Cohen with illustrations by Shahar Kober (Kar-Ben), Sarah Laughs by Jacqueline Jules with illustrations by Natascia Ugliano (Kar-Ben), A is for Abraham: A Jewish Family Alphabet by Richard Michelson with illustrations by Ron Mazellan (Sleeping Bear Press) and Naming Liberty by Jane Yolen with paintings by Jim Burke (Philomel Books).   Aranka Siegal’s Memories of Babi (Farrar Straus and Giroux) was named an Honor Book for Older Readers, and Freefall by Anna Levine (Greenwillow Books) was named an Honor Book in the Teen Reader Category.


In addition to the medal-winners, the Award Committee designated twenty-two Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2009: six in the Younger Readers Category, ten in the Older Readers Category, and four for Teens.  Genesis—the Book with Seventy Faces: A Guide for the Family by Esther Takac with illustrations by Anna Pignataro (Pitspopany Press) and Celebrating with Jewish Crafts by Rebecca Edid Ruzansky with photographs by Roberto Zeballos-Peralta (self-published) impressed the Award Committee with their uniqueness and range. They have been designated Notable Books for all ages. Notable titles, and more information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award, may be found online at www.SydneyTaylorBookAward.org. Interviews with winning authors will be posted on prominent children’s literature blogs as part of a “blog tour” beginning on January 18, 2009; details will be posted on the Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog at www.sydneytaylorbookaward.blogspot.com.




The Sydney Taylor Book Award, AJL's annual prize for Jewish children's and teen literature, will be celebrating and showcasing its 2009 gold and silver medalists with a Blog Tour! Here is the preliminary schedule:

Sunday, January 18, 2009
Karen Hesse, author of Brooklyn Bridge
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers Category
at Jewish Books for Children

Monday, January 19, 2009
Richard Michelson
Author of As Good As Anybody, Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
Author of A is for Abraham, Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at The Well-Read Child

Monday, January 19, 2009
Ron Mazellan, illustrator of A is for Abraham
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at Tales from the Rushmore Kid

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Jane Yolen, author of Naming Liberty
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at The Boston Bibliophile

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Anna Levine
Author of Freefall, Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Teen Readers Category
Author of Jodie's Hanukkah Dig, Notable Book in the Younger Readers Category
at Abby (the) Librarian

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Jim Burke, illustrator of Naming Liberty
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at The Page Flipper

Thursday, January 22, 2009
Jacqueline Jules, author of Sarah Laughs
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at Chicken Spaghetti

Friday, January 23, 2009
Deborah Bodin Cohen, author of Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at Becky's Book Reviews

Friday, January 23, 2009
Shahar Kober, illustrator of Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category
at Into the Wardrobe
Please be sure to visit these blogs on and after these dates to read interviews with these amazing authors and illustrators.



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REgional Conference2009 by you.   Panel Lisa Hamida Eric Talma

On Sunday, February 1, 2009, seventy-seven people gave up watching part of the Superbowl to attend the 7th annual AJL Western Regional Conference on Jewish Literature for Children. This year the conference focused on using literature to teach about the Holocaust.

The morning started with coffee and rugellah. After all, what's a Jewish event without good food? Everyone registered in the library at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance and then heard a panel discussing using Holocaust literature. The panel was moderated by Adaire Klein, library director of the Wiesenthal Center. Other panelists were Lisa SIlverman from Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, Hamida Bosmajian from the University of Seattle, Talma Shultz from Facing History and Ourselves, and Eric Sundquist from UCLA. Each panelists shared some information and then answered questions from the floor.

Everyone then toured the Museum of Tolerance exhibit on the Holocaust including a look at some of the archival materials and primary documents.

After lunch, attendees chose to go to one of the small group sessions:

Viewing the Holocaust Through the Lens of Literature with Hamida Basmajian and Eric Sundquist

or Holocaust Literature as Part of the Curriculum in Elementary, Middle, and High School with Lisa Silverman, Talma Shultz, and Adaire Klein.


The day concluded with an autograph and dessert party. Authors in attendance were Sonia Levitin, Susan Goldman Rubin, April Halprin Wayland, Sylvia Rouss, Gretchen Woelfle, Ann Stampler, Joan Stuchner, Karen Winnick, Erica Silverman, and Barbara Bietz.


A copy of the full program is below. The panel and one of the sessions was taped and will be available as a podcast shortly on the AJL web page.



Susan Dubin

AJL President


Jewish Literature for Children

Western Regional Conference

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sponsored by Sinai Temple Blumenthal Library, Association of Jewish Libraries,

          Association of Jewish Libraries of Southern California, Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance,

UCLA Department of Jewish Studies




9:00 – 4:00                  Manuscript Consultations


9:00 – 9:30                  Registration and coffee


9:30 – 9:35                  Greetings and Introduction


9:35 – 10:45                Panel on Teaching the Holocaust through Literature

Adaire Klein, Moderator, is the founding Director of Library and Archival Services at the Simon Wiesenthal Center-Museum of Tolerance. She holds a B.A. in Hebrew Literature and a M.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic studies from Brandeis University.


Hamida Bosmajian, Professor Emerita of the English Department at Seattle University, is the author of  Sparing the Child. Grief and the Unspeakable in Youth Literature about Nazism and the Holocaust  (Routledge , 2002) and Metaphors of Evil. Contemporary German Literature and the Shadow of Nazism (U. of Iowa Press, 1979). The Children’s Literature Association honored Sparing the Child with the ChLA Book Award in 2004.


Talma Shultz is an instructor and lecturer with Facing History and Ourselves, a nonprofit organization that offers teacher training programs for Middle School and High School Holocaust Education.


Lisa Silverman is the director of the Sinai Temple Blumenthal Library at Sinai Temple. She leads classes and book groups, along with organizing community programs on literature. She is the children’s editor of Jewish Book World magazine and also a reviewer of children’s literature for various other publications. She has often been a featured speaker at library conventions or literary conferences. She serves as a judge for the children’s division of the National Jewish Book Award and also for the “Once Upon a World” Book Award.


Eric J. Sundquist is the UCLA Foundation Professor of Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles.  Professor Sundquist received his B.A. from the University of Kansas and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.  He has also taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and Vanderbilt University and is the author or editor of twelve books, the most recent of which are King’s Dream (2009); Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews, Post-Holocaust America (2005), which received the Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute Book Award.


11:00 – 12:30              Museum Tour

Everyone will go through a metal detector when entering the Museum.  All bags and purses will be x-rayed.  We ask that the following items not be brought to the Museum: cameras, food, candy, gum, beverages, sharp objects, mace and electronic devices.


12:45 – 1:45                Lunch


2:00 – 3:30                  Small Group Sessions with Panel Members


                                    I. Viewing the Holocaust Through the Lens of Literature: Hamida                                                  Basmajian and Eric Sundquist



o        Perception of “Children’s Literature” as an academic field of study.

o        Authorial motivation to write Holocaust narratives as children’s literature.

o        Contexts and readers of Holocaust narratives for North American children and youths. The aim of testimony in the context of children’s literature.


o        Structures, Conventions, Genres—

§         The survivor journal, memoir, or autobiography as privileged form –ethos of the survivor as hero, the testimony of the survivor as victim.

§         Fictionalized autobiographies based on authorial childhood memory.

§         Fictional Holocaust narratives and acquired memory—possibilities and limitations.

The following narratives will be referred to as examples during this session: The Diary of Anne Frank, Ruth Minsky Sender The Cage and The Holocaust Lady, Carol Matas Daniel’s Story, Gudrun Pausewang, The Final Journey, John Boyne, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Doris Orgel, The Devil in Vienna, Jane Yolen, The Devil’s Arithmetic and Briar Rose. There will also be some handouts helpful to teachers and librarians.



o        Early responses, before “the Holocaust.”  Hersey, Uris, and others.

o        Priority of testimony and its relation to fiction.  Elie Wiesel and others.


The problem of authenticity and hoaxes.  Kosinski, Wilkomirski and others.

o        The Americanization of the Holocaust.  Anne Frank’s Diary and others.

o        Second-generation approaches.  Philip Roth, Thane Rosenbaum, and others.

Eric Sundquist will discuss the evolution of Holocaust literature, particularly from the American perspective, from the immediate aftermath of the war through late-twentieth-century responses by those of the second generation, including children of survivors.  Issues to consider include the priority of testimony and its relation to fiction; the problem of authenticity and hoaxes; the “Americanization” of the Holocaust; and the self-reflexive and sometimes postmodern strategies of some second-generation writers.


II. Holocaust Literature as Part of the Curriculum in Elementary, Middle,  

     and High School: Lisa Silverman, Talma Shultz, and Adaire Klein



Lisa Silverman has prepared an extensive annotated bibliography of illustrated books dealing with the Holocaust and will present a PowerPoint presentation examining the good and not-so-good literature of the genre. Grade appropriateness and literary value will be discussed.




3:30 – 4:00                  Autograph Party and Dessert




Please visit our Jewish Children’s Literature Marketplace and the Museum of Tolerance Gift Shop!





This conference has been made possible through the generous donations of Sinai Temple Blumenthal Library, The Association of Jewish Libraries , the Simon Wiesenthal Center-Museum of Tolerance, UCLA Department of Jewish Studies, and the authors, professors, and editors who have contributed their time and expertise.



**Manuscript Consultations available**

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Last Sunday I attended the Once Upon a World Award ceremony at the Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance. This award is funded by Sonia and Lloyd Levitin and presented through the Museum of Tolerance to promote literature for children and teens that exemplify courage, tolerance, and understanding. This year the two award winners were Gretchen Woelfle for her biography Jeanette Rankin:Political Pioneer and Ellie Crowe for her picture book Surfer of the Century: Duke Kahanamoku  On Monday, fourth grade students from two local elementary schools participated in a video conference with the author and a school in Hawaii to talk about Duke . On Tuesday, two high school classes video-conferenced with the author and a school in Missoula, Montana where Jeanette Rankin was from. What a great experience for all!

It seemed especially appropriate to be discussing Jeanette Rankin, the first woman to be elected to Congress (even before women were granted the right to vote in the greater United States) on a day when the first African American was elected President.


Susan Dubin, President

Association of Jewish Libraries
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Heidi Estrin, Association of Jewish Libraries' Public Relations Chair has issued the following press release:

                         NEWS RELEASE


November, 2008 

The Association of Jewish Libraries has released its new "Israel@60" suggested reading list, with over thirty titles on Israel for adults and children. The list includes fiction and non-fiction, and offers a brief description of each book. Websites and videos on Israel for adults and children are listed as well.The Israel@60 reading list is available in pdf format on the Association of Jewish Libraries website at www.jewishlibraries.org."Books about Israel are written from so many points of view, some friendly, some not," said Susan Dubin, President of the Association of Jewish Libraries. "With the sixtieth birthday of the state of Israel being celebrated this year, we felt the time was right to showcase books with a positive view of the country's history and achievements."

The Israel@60 reading list was compiled by Association of Jewish Libraries member Andrea Rapp, librarian at the Isaac M. Wise Temple in Cincinnati, Ohio, and an expert on the topic of Israel. A Judaica librarian for over twenty years, Andrea holds a Bachelor's and a Master's Degree in History from Northwestern University, and a Master's in Library Science from the University of Minnesota. Her article on  Israel-related literature, "Lies in the Library," was published in Reform Jewish Magazine (summer 2005).

This is an outstanding resource to learn more about Israel!


Susan Dubin

AJL President

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