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With best wishes for Shana Tova,

Uri Kolodney

AJL News / AJL Reviews editor-in-chief  

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Posted in: News
I did an informal survey of AJL librarians recently, asking them for their favorite Jewish books of 2010. They gave me some great responses! Here they are:

Barbara Bibel says her favorites are
Kenneth Wishnia. The Fifth Servant (Morrow)
Julie Orringer. The Invisible Bridge (Knopf/Random House)

Margot Lurie of Jewish Ideas Daily forwarded a link to an article by critic D.G. Myers, A Year in Books.

Gil Rosen, librarian at the Rabbi Marshall R. Lifson Library of Temple Emanuel in Newton Centre, MA lists his favorites, "in no particular order":

97 Orchard: an edible history of five immigrant families in one New York tenement by Jan Ziegelman. Cultural anthropology about food-educational and enlightening.

The kosher baker : over 160 dairy-free desserts from traditional to trendy by Paula Shoyer. An easy to use cookbook for both the amateur and expert baker.

The Settlers: and the struggle over the meaning of Zionism by Gadi Taub. This book, from a left-wing Israeli academic, was a real eye opener for me regarding the ideology behind settlements. I knew nothing about this subject.

Yehuda Halevi by Hillel Halkin. A short well written biography for laypeople about a person whose name we hear a lot but do not know much about.

Jackie’s Gift by Sharon Robinson 1) is a wonderful Hanukkah story about tolerance and 2) acquaints a new generation with a Jackie Robinson.

Hereville: How Mirka got her sword by Barry Deutsch. Great book-I hope it wins awards.

Beautiful Yetta by Daniel Pinkwater. A real favorite of my readers,  both funny and lovely to look at. Trilingual too!

How to understand Israel in 60 days or less by Sarah Glidden. Expressive of Sarah’s uncertainty through both text and illustration. The drawings take me back to Israel. Another book that should win awards.

Enid Sperber, librarian at Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles says,
"I would like to submit the stunning novel Homesick by Eshkol Nevo as one of my favorite books of this year.  It is an Israeli book in translation published as part of a new Hebrew Literature series by Dalkey Press.  It is a "kaleidoscopic" novel about a group of the people living in a community called Ma'oz Zion just outside of Jerusalem in 1995. The writer makes it possible for the reader to inhabit  each character in a very unusual way and the overall portrait of the contemporary Israeli psyche is compelling."

Tsipi Wexler, librarian at Henry Koor Judaica Library and librarian, Orot Yisrael College, recommends
From the Four Winds, by Haim Sabato

On Twitter, @JewishLibraries followers chimed in too.  Author Laurel Snyder (@LaurelSnyder) seconds Hereville, editor David Levy (@itsdlevy) also liked Sarah Glidden's How to Understand Israel in 60 Days and liked Sarah Silverman's Bedwetter, and author Carol Gordon Ekster (@cekster) liked Richard Michelson's As Good As Anybody.

Thanks to all who submitted favorites! It's quite a list!

What are your favorite Jewish books of 2010? Leave a comment and let us know!
Posted by Marie.

Posted in: News
An anti-Semitic incident at Indiana University, Bloomington in November included not only rock-throwing, but defilement of Jewish texts from the shelves of the library. In support of IU's Jewish Studies program, our AJL member librarian at IU, and the university's efforts to combat prejudice, AJL President James Rosenbloom sent the following letter to IU President Dr. Michael A. McRobbie.
Dear Dr. McRobbie:

Recent anti-Semitic acts on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington are of great concern to the Association of Jewish Libraries, of which librarian Noa Wahrman is a member. Rock throwing at a Chabad House, at a church where synagogue services are held, and at a Hillel Center are shocking acts of anti-Semitic vandalism. The vandal or vandals also struck at the cultural heart of Judaism by taking eight volumes of Hebrew commentaries on the Talmud from the Library’s shelves and defiling them in bathrooms. We are not dealing with someone ignorant of Judaism. This act is a deliberate effort to insult and hurt Jews.

The Association of Jewish Libraries condemns these vicious acts. We are pleased to hear that the FBI and police are actively seeking to apprehend the individual or individuals responsible for this hate crime. We commend your administration’s and community’s quick and strong response to these acts. This is an appropriate moment to educate everyone in your community about the evils of prejudice and hatred in general, and about anti-Semitism in particular.

The members of the Association of Jewish Libraries stand in solidarity with you in your fight against anti-Semitism, and will support you in your efforts to combat this evil, which has unfortunately appeared on some campuses.

Yours truly,

James P. Rosenbloom
President, Association of Jewish Libraries

To read more about the incident itself in Jweekly, click here.

To read about Indiana University's response to the incident, click here.