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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.


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

Entries for 'fiction'

The presentation analyzes contemporary evangelic apocalyptic fiction with respect to the portrayal of Jews and Judaism. It examines 38 novels published in the United States between 1991 and 2009. These novels, which includes themes of Christian triumphalism, conversion to Christianity, and horrific Jewish suffering in the final days of mankind on earth, are consistent with theological principles of evangelical premillenial dispensationalism in that Jews are seen as apocalyptic agents both in suffering as well as in conversion.

Presentation by Mark Stover at he 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

1 hr 15 min 47 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

Award-winning author Maggie Anton will speak about the research behind her best-selling Rashi’s Daughters trilogy, set in the household of the great medieval Talmud scholar who had no sons, only daughters. Among the topics she discusses: What was life like for Jewish women in 11th century France? Were Rashi’s daughters really learned? Did they really wear tefillin? Why should a 21st century Jew want to read about Rashi and his daughters anyway?

Presented by Maggie Anton at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

38 min 37 sec

Posted in: SSC

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

Author Karen Hesse won the 2009 Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Older Readers category for Brooklyn Bridge. She had the opportunity to present her book to an appreciative audience at the Association of Jewish Libraries annual convention on July 7, 2009 in Chicago, IL.

29 min 10 sec

Judaism has a built-in mechanism for coming-of-age, but are there ways that contemporary books for middle and high school readers deal with Jewish girls’ development in addition to or beyond the Bat Mitzvah ceremony? How has the Bat Mitzvah been positively and negatively portrayed in recent books? What are the pressures that Jewish tweens, teens, and young women face and how does the current body of literature address or contribute to the conflicting messages about beauty, body image, and self-esteem that are prevalent in our society?

June Cummins is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University, where she specializes in children’s literature and Jewish-American Literature. She gave this presentation at the 2009 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago.

32 min 20 sec

In the last several years, the world of Jewish literature has flourished with the publication of many novels, short stories, and highly readable non-fiction. In this session we survey the field, looking at books by both established authors and interesting new writers. From the off-beat to the mainstream, learn where to best use your budget dollars to ensure happy reading for your library patrons.

Nancy Rivin is the library director at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, TX. She gave this presentation at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention on July 6, 2009 in Chicago, IL.


39 min 50 sec

Posted in: SSC

Dina Rosenfeld, Hara Person & Claudia Valas

Representatives from URJ Press, Hachai Publishing, and EKS Publishing discuss each publisher’s unique approach to Jewish children’s literature. Topics include a brief history of each house, some classics, and current trends. They gave this presentation at the Association of Jewish Libraries’ Celebration of Jewish Children’s Literature, in honor of the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s 40th Anniversary, held on June 25, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Rabbi Hara E. Person was the Editor-in-Chief of URJ Press at the time of this panel, but is now the Publisher and Director of Press at CCAR

Dina Rosenfeld is the Editor-in-Chief at Hachai Publishing and has written 18 children’s books of her own.

Claudia Valas is the President of EKS Publishing, a company created for the development of Hebrew educational matierals.

76 min 0 sec

Successful books for teen readers combine authentic voice and personal conflict, as well as relevant issues. These three prolific YA authors continue to deliver! In a dynamic panel presentation, Margo, Carol, and Sonia explain their personal histories and react to each other’s stories in ways that are both fascinating and touching. They gave this presentation at the Association of Jewish Libraries’ Celebration of Jewish Children’s Literature, in honor of the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s 40th Anniversary, held on June 25, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Sonia Levitin is the author of Strange Relations, the 2008 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Teen Readers.

Carol Matas is the author of The Whirlwind, a 2008 AJL Notable Children’s Book of Jewish Content.

Margo Rabb is the author of Cures for Heartbreak, a 2008 AJL Notable Teen Book of Jewish Content.

72 min 31 sec

Swarner, Gershman, Levitin & Fleischman

Swarner, Gershman, Levitin & Fleischman

The Sydney Taylor Awards are sponsored by Jo Taylor Marshall, daughter of Sydney Taylor, and are administered by the Synagogue, School, and Centers Division of the Association of Jewish Libraries. The 2008 awards were presented at the Association of Jewish Libraries annual convention on June 24, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The winners of the Sydney Taylor Book Award were:

For Younger Readers: The Bedtime Sh’ma: A Good Night Book by Sarah Gershman, illustrated by Kristina Swarner, EKS Publishing, 2007

For Older Readers: The Entertainer and the Dybbuk by Sid Fleischman, Greenwillow Books, 2007

For Teen Readers: Strange Relations by Sonia Levitin, Knopf, 2007

The winner of the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award was:

Stealing the Show by Margaret Chaikin

40 min 25 sec