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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.


As part of the process of modernization, modern nation-states found it necessary to require last names for their citizens. The Jews at first resisted, which caused the government to assign names randomly. When this process was finally complete, a class of identifiable Jewish names was generated, resulting int he desire of some Jewish citizens to change their names to escape anti-Semitism.

Presented by Marlene Schiffman at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

27 min 26 sec

Posted in: RAS

Working in a Judaica library, whether in a synagogue, a day school, or a school of higher learning, requires special knowledge and skills in addition to those offered in library school. Where does one acquire those special skills in Judaica Librarianship? One would imagine in a graduate program in library science. However, such is not the case. Over the years, there have been attempts to teach a course or two in Judaica Librarianship in various library schools. Unfortunately, in every case, the course offerings did not go beyond the pilot program stage. Why? Through interviews with librarians in the field, literature review, informal discussions, and through feedback on Ha-safran (AJL’s listserv), this roundtable attempts to offer several ideas for professional development in Judaica Librarianship, as well as present a short history of Judaica Librarianship course work. We also see this as a means to stimulate interest in Judaica and Jewish libraries for our non-Jewish colleagues.

Presented by Haim Gottschalk and Nancy Poole at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

25 min 42 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

Nathan Friend, a Carbon Coach from Seattle Climate Action Now, calculates our carbon footprints and helps us put together a carbon reduction plan for home, work and on the road. Seattle Climate Action Now is a City-led effort grounded in partnerships with businesses, organizations and individuals throughout Seattle, who recognize that global warming isn’t just a problem for future generations to worry about.

Nathan Friend gave this presentation at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

20 min 26 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

By now, many catalogers have some understanding of the general principles and structure of RDA. However, what is lesser known is how the new code will affect catalogers in their day-to-day work. Using concrete examples, Adam Schiff, who chaired one of the two JSC RDA Examples Groups, will provide side-by-side comparison and contrast of how certain works will be cataloged and headings established under AACR2 and RDA.

Presented by Adam Schiff with Joan Biella and Heidi Lerner at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

1 hr 19 min 40 sec

Posted in: RAS

This talk includes an offering of examples from Jewish law, history, and Biblical Exegesis, etc., to illustrate research strategies, techniques, and methodologies. We discuss how to conduct research using (1) online catalogs of Judaica, (2) Judaica databases (i.e. Bar Ilan Responsa, Otzar HaHokmah, RAMBI, etc.), digitized archival historical collections, (3) digitized archival historical collections (i.e. Cairo Geniza, JNUL illuminated Kettuboth, JTSA wedding poems, etc.), (4) ebooks (i.e. HebrewBooks.org) and eReference encyclopedias (i.e.e Encyclopedia Talmudit via Bar Ilan, EJ, JE, etc.), (5) Judaica websites (i.e.e WebShas), and (6) some key print sources. Chosen topics for illustration may include (1) asseret ha-debrot (2) Jewish business ethics and (3) Jewish matrimonial texts.

Presented by David Levy at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

44 min 52 sec

Posted in: RAS

Barak Gale shares some stories about Jews taking stands for the Earth and will discuss some of the profound texts in our Torah, Midrash, and Kabbalistic literature that speak to our current environmental crisis. The impacts of global warming and why wilderness preservation is critical will also be discussed. Where are we as a Torah-centered community, and what sustainable actions can we commit to in order to support our age-old yearning for tikkun olam?

Barak Gale made this presentation at the Association of Jewish Libraries 2010 convention in Seattle, WA.

36 min 26 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

In recent decades, a growing number of scholars have become interested in the economic dimensions of Judaism and Jewish life. They have introduced new, social scientific, quantitative methodologies into fields traditionally dominated by qualitative, interpretive approaches. This paper will provide a sampling of online resources that are freely available for scholars interested in analyzing the changing economic climate at the end of the first decade of the 21st century and its impact on Diaspora Jewish life, particularly in North America, and within the State of Israel.

Presented by Heidi Lerner at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

23 min 37 sec

Posted in: RAS

Reference services at McGill University Libraries in Montreal, Quebec, have seen a lot of chanes in the last few years: a change in title from “Reference Librarian” to “Liaison Libraian,” new ways to reach faculty and users, and new technologies such as chat services, Twitter and Meebo. Reference services are moving out of the library walls, andbest of all, students and faculty are embracing the changes.

Presented by Sonia Smith at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

29 min 15 sec

Posted in: RAS

Author Pnina Moed Kass lives and writes in Israel. In this presentation she provides a writer’s overview of the current literary scene in Israel and discusses books as creative reflections and expressions of the cultural life in Israel. Her talk focuses on adult books written in Hebrew and translated into English.

Pnina Moed Kass gave this presentation at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

43 min 31 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

The 2010 Judaica Reference and Bibliography Awards were presented at the awards banquet at the 45th annual AJL convention in Seattle, WA on July 6, 2010.  The winners are:

Reference Award, sponsored by Greta Silver: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945, accepted by Dr. Geoffrey Megargee, encyclopedia project director (left image).

Bibliography Award, sponsored by Eric Chaim Kline: A Body-of-Work Award goes to Joseph (Yossi) Galron-Goldschlaeger, head of the Hebraica and Jewish Studies Library at the Ohio State University Libraries, in recognition of his life-long contributions to the field of Hebrew bibliography (right image).

Posted in: RAS

As we’ve all made the transition into an increasingly digital world, we’ve developed new practice, updated some old favorites, and perhaps bid farewell to some tools and ideas we no longer find useful. Let’s spend a little while thinking about how library work has changed, how it hasn’t, and maybe what comes next.

Joseph Janes is Associate Professor at the Information School of the University of Washington. A frequent speaker in the US and abroad, he was the Founding Director of the Internet Public Library and the co-author of eight books on librarianship, technology, and their relationship, and he writes the “Internet Librarian” column for American Libraries magazine. He gave this presentation as the keynote address at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

33 min 25 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

Forty librarians from all over the country gathered at the National Library of Israel on 28 April, 2010 to participate in the Spring Study Day of the Judaica Librarians’ Group. The event took place in the newly renovated lecture hall of the National Library’s Music and Sound Archives Collection.

Project Europeana Judaica, a part of the larger Europeana project to create a multi-lingual online collection of millions of digitized items from European museums, libraries, and archives, was described by the Director of the Israeli section of the project, Dov Weiner. The Israel National Library has recently joined the project and will provide important items for the collection.

This presentation is in Hebrew.

Posted in: RAS

This session highlights ways in which Jewish children’s books and their authors and illustrators are being promoted using the Internet, and how communities of people are engaging in the conversation about Jewish literature. It will demystify social media and identify ways in which real people, particularly the Digital Natives (people that have grown up not knowing a time before the Internet) are talking, sharing, and making a difference for Judaica using the Internet. Presented by blogger, podcaster, and digital public affairs strategist Mark Blevis.

1 hr 4 min 50 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

This talk was presented by Shmuel Har Noy, Administrative Director of  the National Library of Israel, at the AJL Regional conference at Bar Ilan University on November 5, 2009. The talk is presented in Hebrew.

34 min 13 sec

Tags: Israel
Posted in: RAS

This talk was presented by Professor Elhanan Adler, Deputy Director for Information Technology of the National Library of Israel at the AJL Regional conference at Bar Ilan University on November 5, 2009. The talk is presented in Hebrew.

44 min 04 sec

Posted in: RAS

This session on electronic resources has three parts:

C.O.T.A.R., Collection of Torah Articles: The Evolution of a Database and its Uses, presented by Yaakov Aronson of Bar Ilan University

COTAR is a DVD database containing the full texts of articles in the field of Jewish law published in journals not readily available to the general public. The material chosen for scanning was chosen from the yearly bibliographies of outstanding articles in this field prepared by Rabbi Meir Wunder of the Jewish National and University Library (now National Library of Israel) and published in the annual Tehumin over a period of 20 years. The presentation discusses the preparations necessary before scanning could begin, permissions from authors and publications, etc, and the challenges presented by the project. Though the articles in the database are from the field of Jewish Law, their use as primary sources for political, cultural, social and economic history is discussed.

Creating a Bibliography and Catalog of All Hebrew Writings for the Future National Library of Israel, presented by Donald Goldman, publisher and producer

With the acceptance of using the MARBI Model B structure for Name Authority Files, and the linking together of all the various international formats with a VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) type server, and the experience gained in using these tools with Arabic, Goldman explains how it is now possible to create a cohesive bio-bibliographical unit.

The ‘Voices of the Holocaust’ Project at the Illinois Institute of Technology presented by Christopher Stewart, Ralph Pugh and Eben English, all three from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)

In 1946, IIT psychology professor David P. BOder travelled to Europe to document the traumas suffered by persons displaced by the recent world war, including many survivors of the Holocaust. As his interviews progressed, Boder (armed with a wire recorder) soon abandoned his pre-planned structure interview questions and let his interviewees tell their personal narratives with as little hindrance as possible. His interviews contain much of the earliest extant Holocaust testimony anbd convey what scholar Donald Niewyk aptly describes as “fresh wounds.” In 1999, IIT’s Galvin Library launched its “Voices of the Holocaust” website, which features Boder’s translations of 70 of his 124 interviews. Galvin Library is currently coordinating the original language transcription of all the interviews, along with the translation of those that Boder was unable to complete himself. The augmented website, which will include many search  capabilities for students and scholars, will be unveiled during 2009. IIT Dean of Libraries Christopher Stewart, Galvin Library Digital Services Librarian Eben English, and IIT Assistant University Archivist Ralph Pugh discuss David Boder’s life and work, the scope of his 1946 interviews, and the challenges facing IIT as it seeks to promote the widest possible sue of this invaluable resource.

See the Voices of the Holocaust website at http://voices.iit.edu.

These presentations were given at the 2009 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago, IL.

1 hr 6 min 59 sec

Posted in: RAS

The Feinstein Lecture at the 2009 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago, IL was presented by Michael Grunberger of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

38 min 40 sec

Posted in: RAS

This session included two sections by two speakers.

Groshn-bibliotek – Popular Reading of Polish Jews in the 1930′s, presented by Lyudmila Sholokhova of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Groshn-bibliotek (Penny-Library) is a series of over 200 popular biographies and other historical brochures that were published in Yiddish in Warsaw during the years 1930-1936. It includes essays about outstanding personalities, Jewish and non-Jewish, stories on major events in world history with special attention to famous Jewish individuals, and stories about the recent Russian revolution and its protagonists. Groshn-bibliotek was a Bundist edition. Its aim was to educate the Yiddish reading masses about Jewish and world history. Most secular Jews in pre-WWII Poland did not have formal high school education, but many were self educated through avid reading. The series reflects the high intellectual interests and the broad outlook of its authors and editors.

Yiddish Publishing in Argentina presented by Rita Saccal of the Seminario Rabinicio Latinoamericano “Marshall T. Meyer”

Rita Saccal focuses on the “Golden Age” of Yiddish literature in Argentina. She presents a very brief introduction to Yiddish literature inthe colonies, continuing witht he period between the late 19th centuray to the late 1950′s, when Argentina, or better said Buenos Aires, was considered the capital of Yiddish poetry and literature, compared only to Varshaw, Moskow and New York.

This session was presented at the 2009 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago, IL.

1 hr 2 min 10 sec

Posted in: RAS

Avraham Rosenberg presents a report and evaluation of the conservation of the collection and the restoration of over 1,500 items at the Ets Haim Library in Amsterdam. This paper was presented at the 2009 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago, IL.

28 min 54 sec

Posted in: RAS

Two Judaica collections at the University of Chicago Library illustrate the role of private collectors in developing unique resources for research and teaching in Jewish Studies. Although they never met, Ludwig Rosenberger and Harry Sondheim had much in common: both were born in Germany and immigrated to the United States, each had a successful professional career, and both formed unusual and highly important Judaica collections. The works in both collections are chiefly secular, since the aim of the collectors was to understand their own and their family’s history in the broader context of Jewish history and culture. Lastly, both decided to donate their collections to the University of Chicago’s Special Collections Research Center.

Alice Schreyer is Assistant Director for Special Collections and Preservation and Director of the Special Collections Research Center at the University of Chicago Library. She presented this paper at the 2009 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago, IL.

19 min 39 sec

Posted in: RAS

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