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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 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.


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

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

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

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

The 2012 Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee introduced its award winning authors. Susan Goldman Rubin, gold medalist in the Older Readers Category, started off the session with a discussion of Music Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein. She was followed by Rob Sharenow, gold medalist in the Teen Readers Category, discussing The Berlin Boxing Club.

Presented at the 2012 AJL Conference in Pasadena, CA.

1 hr 1 min 58 sec

With intermarriage hovering at 50% and diminishing rates of Jewish affiliation, Jewish community leadership has been concerned about how to reach and engage young families while they are in the critical stage of exploring how they want to raise their children. Ms. Eisen shows how the JP Library, founded in 2005, helps address these issues  by offering the gift of free, high-quality Jewish books and music each month, sent directly to families' homes, making resources accessible for making Jewish choices and establishing Jewish connections.

Presented by Rosalie Eisen at the 2012 AJL Conference in Pasadena, CA.

36 min 14 sec

Aimee Lurie, Chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee, announces the 2013 winners during the AJL Midwinter Council meeting, January 2013 in Manhattan, NY.

10 min 15 sec

In the fast-changing world of e-books, how do you determine what the best product is for your school or institution and which vendors do you use? Three experienced librarians from the Los Angeles area will introduce youto some of the different publishers, vendors and platforms entering the e-book market and discuss the main questions to be considered as schools and institutions move forward into this volatile area.

Presented by Shannon Acedo, Cathy Leverkus and Lisa Silverman at the 2012 AJL Conference in Pasadena, CA.

1 hr 12 min 40 sec

Posted in: SSC

Which children's books with significant Jewish content are among the winners of the two most important US awards for translated books? Goldsmith describes the Mildred L. Batchelder Award and the Outstanding International Books (OIB) List, analyzes editors' decision-making processes and discusses the modest number of winners with Jewish content. Findings from her dissertation research outlines editors' motivations for and barriers to publishing translations, as well as editors' awareness of helpful resources that are available to them.

Presented by Annette Goldsmith at the 2012 AJL Conference in Pasadena, CA.

42 min 13 sec

The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series.

Michael J. Rosen and Robert Sabuda, author and artist of Chanukah Lights, Susan Goldman Rubin, author of Music Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein, and Robert Sharenow, author of The Berlin Boxing Club, are the 2012 winners of the prestigious Sydney Taylor Book Award. The awards were announced at the mid-winter meeting of the Association of Jewish Libraries.

The winners were revealed at the 2012 council meeting of the Association of Jewish Libraries in January, 2012 in Manhattan, NY. Awards chair Barbara Bietz made the official announcement, and shared her thoughts on this year’s winners in this interview, originally recorded for The Book of Life at and cross-posted here by permission.

Click here for the 2012 press release and full list of award, honor and notable books.

13 min 11 sec

At the annual awards banquet, authors, illustrators and publishers are recognized for their excellent work. This presentation includes acceptance speeches by the 2011 winners of the RAS Bibliography and Reference Awards, the Sydney Taylor Book Awards, and the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award.

Presented at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

56 min 38 sec

The Sydney Taylor Book Award committee shares insights of the many books received in 2010, from picture boooks to young adult novels, as they worked to select the 2011 winners. Categories of books discussed include: "Chickens and Roosters and Hens, Oy Vey!" "Learning About Our Neighbors and Ourselves," "Woulda Coulda Shoulda," "Sneak Peaks," "Teen Picks," "Holocaust books/series for Libraries," "WWII Perspectives," and "Hot/Not Books."

Presented by members of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

1 hr 39 min 50 sec

Author Howard Schwartz discusses his book Gathering Sparks, illustrated by Kristina Swarner, the 2011 gold medal winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Younger Readers category.

Presented by Howard Schwartz at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

28 min 07 sec

Author Dana Reinhardt discusses her book, The Things a Brother Knows, the 2011 gold medal winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Teen Readers Category.

Presented by Dana Reinhardt at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

24 min 35 sec

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