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Judaic Audio Lectures, Panel Discussions, Author Talks, Workshops & More

The AJL Podcast brings you the best talks on Jewish literature and the Jewish library world, with respected experts and popular authors. Please check back periodically, as new lectures will be added to the series.


You can subscribe to the AJL Podcast via iTunes or by entering http://feeds.feedburner.com/ajlpodcast into your favorite feed reader. You can also receive new posts via email. Or listen to the latest episode by phone at (651) 925-2538.


Use the links on the left to select a category of interest or to use our index.

The staff at Sinai Temple Library in Los Angeles has developed an online catalog with many new features that are fun to use. Library director Lisa Silverman shares what they have learned about how libraries can offer tools to patrons such as e-books, Kindle books, databases and lists of "newest" or "most popular" titles that can be accessed directly from the catalog page within the Alexandria software program. Those who use other online systems will be able to adapt their catalogs to include all these features.

Presented by Lisa Silverman at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: SSC

Author Linda Glaser enjoys demystifying the writing process almost as much as she enjoys writing. She talks about her first drafts, revisions, rejections, and behind-the-scenes secrets along with some things you may be surprised to know about creating a book.

Presented by Linda Glaser at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Join EBSCO's Tim Heiges for an informative discussion on how EBSCO can help you maximize teh value and accessiblity of your library collection with EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS).

Presented by Tim Heiges at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: RAS

Ephemera have a storied and stormy history in archives and special collections: they live in a space between printed, non-unique material and unique materials, and pose preservation challenges for librarians and archivists. yet ephemera are among the most interesting materials in libraries and archives. As researchers start to utilize ephemera, catalogers must address the need for using ephemera. This presentation demonstrates challenges facing catalogers of ephemera in all types of institutions, including Judaic collections, and offers some possible solutions. While few standards are offered to catalogers, methods exist to allow users access to collections.

Presented by Dina Herbert at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: RAS

Learn how to build and develop a film collection for your library as well as the ins and outs of hosting film screenings and film-related programs and events. Find out about new Jewish interest and Israeli feature films and documentaries and tips for keeping up with the latest releases. Copyright law and licensing will also be discussed.

Presented by Rachel Kamin and Lisa Silverman at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: SSC

The Posen Library is collecting more than 3,000 years of Jewish cultural artifacts, texts, and paintings, selected by more than 120 internationally recognized scholars. One volume, covering the contemporary period, was published in 2012. This presentation discusses the philosophies, choices, and overviews of the forthcoming volumes. Attention is given to how librarians and teachers might make use of both the paper editions and the planned digital site.

Presented by Joyce Rappaport at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: RAS, SSC

Jennie Maas Flexner (1882-1944) was the first readers' advisory librarian at the New York Public Library from 1928-1944. She was a champion for immigrants to the city, an advocate for adult education, and author of books revealing a strong service philosophy to library patrons. As a pioneer in readers' advisory services, her patron-centered philosophy is inspiring and relevant, serving as  a model to librarians today.

Presented by Douglas Campbell  at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: SSC

Debra Winegarten discusses her experiences leading workshops and giving presentations on the subject of "Being Jewish in Texas" over the past year. She shares stories she's gathered from other people's experiences, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and talks about how these experiences can be used to educate others on the importance of recognizing and honoring diversity among all people.

Presented by Debra Winegarten at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Since its origins as the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) has been a leader in the documentation and interpretation of Jewish history in the American South. Josh Parshall, ISJL oral historian, will discuss the history and mission of the organization, including the Online Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities - a unique resource for learning about Jewish history in the region - and his own work conducting oral history research in Southern communities. the session will include video excerpts from the ISJL collection and tips for conducting and archiving your own oral history interviews.

Presented by Josh Parshall at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: RAS, SSC

Starting with Rosh Hashanah and looking at stories, poems and activities to use with the youngest library users, we share ideas for good books and follow-up activities that can be used in the library or classroom through the year. Library lessons introduce young children to the library, the concept of borrowing and returning, book care, parts of a book, and good listening skills. Preschool skills such as color and shape recognition, identifying sounds, counting and alphabet will also be integrated int o the storytimes.

Presented by Susan Dubin at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Connect with the 2013 winners: Linda Glaser, Adam Gustavson, Louise Borden adn Deborah Heiligman, as they provide in-depth discussion of their books and methods.

Presented by the authors at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Join us as we reveal the criteria used to evaluate books submitted to the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee. The positive merits of the winners, honors and notables will be discussed and we will divulge the exceptional qualities that made them worthy of distinction. Not only will you get insight into the work of the committee, but you can use the same criteria to evaluation books in your own collection. Practical tips to use STBA winners for programs will be shared and we will also point out books that did not measure up tot he standards of the STBA committee, but may be appropriate for individual library collections.

Presented by Aimee Lurie, Chair, and the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee members at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX

Only through knowledge and understanding can another Holocaust be prevented. Dr. Babaknia's four volume work on the Holocaust in Farsi is a 2013 AJL Judaica Reference Award Honorable Mention winner.

Presented by Dr. Ardashir Babaknia at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: RAS

The "Kitab-i Qissah'namah-i Hizaro Yik Shab" is a Judeo-Persian book published in 1915 in Kokand, Uzbekistan. Princeton University Library recently acquired volume two. Yaari has no record of it, and it seems not to be represented in any other library. The book is a translation or transliteration of stories from the "Thousand and One Nights," a cultural artifact which is not indigenous to Persian, Jewish or Uzbek culture. This paper considers the conditions that made this most unlikely book possible.

Presented by James Weinberger at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: RAS

Two related sessions in one podcast recording:

Strategic Planning for AJL: Process, Methods, Timeline and Members' Participation

the world of libraries is experiencing rapid changes in technology, modes of access, costs of delivery and professional training. The world of Judaica Librarianship is also affected by the ways in which Jewish institutions change, redefine themselves, allocate resources, and reach out to constituents. The AJL has been in a state of flux over the last few years, reflecting these realities, and in order to survive and thrive, we have embarked on a strategic planning process. The process entails a review of AJL's vision, mission and all its operations, and aims to create an effective plan of action that will ensure the survival and promote the growth of the association. This presentation describes the process that begain in January 2013, what was accomplished up until June 2013, and plans for the next six months.

Presented by Dr. Yaffa Weisman at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.


What AJL Can Learn from Other Professional Organizations

These are challenging times for Judaica librarians and for AJL, but we're not alone. How are other professional library organizations dealing with the sluggish economy,membership drop-off, conferences and other issues? This panel discussion features AJL members who are active in other library organizations who will share their insights.

Presented by David Hirsch, Elliot H. Gertel and Sharon Benamou at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: RAS, SSC

While most "law" books in Hebrew characters are either Jewish, or in recent years, Israeli law, there are some odd exceptions. These are books written in a Jewish language, probably Hebrew but perhaps Yiddish, on the non-Jews' legal system. Some reflect an author trying to inform the Jews of the non-Jews' laws that might recently have become applicable to them, or to discuss their impact in a language that was more familiar and perhaps allowed more freedom than writing in a language that could easily be read by the non-Jewish population. While these books may be important for studying legal history, they are largely inaccessible to mainstream legal scholars due to being in Hevbrew script, and the context would bwe hard to appreciate by Judaica scholars lacking legal training, though their very existence is perhaps an interesting source for studying how Jews related to the non-Jewish environment.

Presented by Aaron Kuperman at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: RAS

This session explores select 20th and 21st century American publications for laypeople dealing with the observance of Jewish dietary laws, while highlighting various formats, developments and concerns.

Presented by Tina Weiss at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: RAS, SSC

The Broder singers (Yiddish: di Broder zinger) were the first professional, secular Yiddish performers, bringing Yiddish songs and short dramas into wine cellars, restaurants, and inns in Galicia, Romania and Russia, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century and later overlapping with the early Yiddish theater. The Broder repertoire was both serious and comic, influenced by Chasidism on one hand and haskole (enlightenment) on the other. This lecture explores the personalities behind this legendary movement, their performance styles, and the (often murky) provenance and content of their repertoire.

Presented by Amanda Seigel at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: RAS, SSC

We're about community! In this day of digital everything, how do we entice people to come together instead of staying at home and watching a screen? Our synagogues, centers, schools, and libraries are the only places we can truly experience programs that provide opportunities to gather together, under one roof, in one place. Thanks to the digital age, much of this can be done on a shoe-string budget. Marilyn Hassid shares tips she has gained from her 30 years of experience producing hundreds of community arts programs for the entire Houston community through the JCC and other venues. Her presentation discusses current trends in adult and children's programming, how libraries might supplement (complement) what their related schools and institutions are currently doing, or how they might launch programming these schools and institutions should and could be doing.


Presented by Marilyn Hassid at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: SSC

Bryan Stone and Rabbi Jimmy Kessler gave the Opening Plenary for the 2013 AJL conference in Houston, TX on June 17, 2013. They described the history of Jewish life in Texas through the lens of myth and misconception. When the first Jewish communities began to emerge in the 1850's, immigrants were attracted in part by a Texas mythology that emphasized individual freedom and economic opportunity. In the 20th century, Texas retained its appeal as a place of mythic opportunity, as the Galveston Movement illustrates. Even today, myths persist about Texas Jewry. The speakers provide evidence and anecdotes to show that Texas is, and has been for more than 150 years, the setting for a thriving, self-identified, and spiritually rich - if a somewhat distinctive - Jewish community.


Presented by Bryan Stone and Rabbi Jimmy Kessler at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Posted in: RAS, SSC

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