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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.

In these times, where technology goes so fast and helps librarians to develop their work in the most efficient way, Rita Saccal shows how it is possible to manage a library without all the advantages of modern technology.

Presented by Rita Saccal at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

21 min 24 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC
Representatives from the Israel and Judaica Section at the Library of Congress discuss developments in aquisitions and cataloging during the past year and address questions submitted in advance by AJL members.

A panel presentation by Joan Biella, Marina Korenberg, Gail Shirazi, Aaron Taub and Galina Teverovsky at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

1 hr 26 min 26 sec

Posted in: RAS
The shealot ve-teshuvot, Responsa genre draws Jewish law from the past by analogizing halakhicprinciples that apply to questions regarding the new technologies. We will identify some of these ethical concerns and classify them. Some of the many halakhic issues treated include: (1) invading privacy rights in 4 categories: (a) . Hezeq re’iyya, (b) privacy of one’s residence against tresspassers i.e., אִם-בַּמַּחְתֶּרֶת יִמָּצֵא הַגַּנָּב (c) prohibition of disclosure of nistarot and tailbearing, הוֹלֵךְ רָכִיל, מְגַלֶּה-סּוֹד; וְנֶאֱמַן-רוּחַ, מְכַסֶּה דָבָר[ thereby transgressing against the Chofetz Chaim’s laws of shemirat loshon (lashon harah, and motzhi shem rah) (d) privacy of one’s emails a warning against which can include the phrase: בחדר"גמה בחרם ד,רבננו גרשום מאור הגולה meaning herem d’rabbeinu Gershom, or pagi’in פג,ין an acronymn forפורץ גדד י-שכנו נחש (2) The sanctity of Hashem’s name and the prohibitions of erasing the name (mechikat Hashem) based on Devarim 12:2-3, and does this apply on a computer screen i.e. lo ta’asum ken is an issur chaftza, a prohibition pivoting around a physical object (a) sefer torah with a specific halakhic status, written by a sofer who has teveled in a mikvah and written the name with yirat shamayim (haikkar ve-takhlit ha-adam) and kavanah (3) internet commerce on Shabbat, (4) social network listserves, blogs, wikis, etc. by which Orthodox Jews can construct "cyber" communities (5) employing filters for screening out “pritzus,narishkeit, and stius,(6) spyware and cookies that marketers use to target consumer groups, who may not wish these marketing techniques be used to waste their time, bitul zeman; (7) davoningfrom a kindle or ipod obviously not on Shabbos, (8) cyber minyanim and mizumem?, (9) permissibility of censoring hate literature on the web, (10) computer crimes of abuse and fraud by which one piggy-backs on another’s Wi-fi unsecured signals without authorization or permission to access to a computer network, contracted by others, possibly harming the network and damaging others’ data, and also diminishing bandwidth which can effect speed of connection for the paying subscriber, ergo constituting geneiva , (11) illegal film and music downloading causing financial loss to royalties of copyrighted works, despite minhago shel olam (normative practice) and hamotzi l’or yodeah mizeh (the author knew full well upon making the work public how it might be abused, i.e. umdenah (common assumption) (12) ethical concern with author copyright within 5 categories: A. Hasagat gevul -- unfair competition:B. Haskamot -- approbations; C. Dina d’malkhuta dina (based on Shmuel )--secular law; D. Shiur b’kinyan-- witholding the right to copy.and copyright- E. sighting a law in the name of one’s Rebbe who learned it from his Rebbe, a reason Rabbi Yosef Karo wrote the pirush Kesef Mishnahon Rambam’s Sefer Mishnah Torah, MT. see: Megilah 15a explicating Esther 2:22וַיִּוָּדַע הַדָּבָר לְמָרְדֳּכַי , וַיַּגֵּד לְאֶסְתֵּר הַמַּלְכָּה ; וַתֹּאמֶר אֶסְתֵּר לַמֶּלֶךְ , בְּשֵׁם מָרְדֳּכָי and P.A 6:6משנה מסכת אבות פרק This presentation attempts to outline and gather some of the basic frameworks of the halakhic approaches and principles to online ethical issues, for practical guidance please consult a qualified halakhic authority credentialed to field sheolos.

Presented by David B. Levy at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

40 min 44 sec]

Posted in: RAS
While hip-hop is a uniquely American musical genre, its influence has spread all over the world. In recent years, Israeli hip-hop has come into its own, developing recognizable Israeli sounds and themes. Hip-hop has permeated nearly all the existing genres of Israeli music and cuts a wide swath across Israeli culture. With their inimitable wit and charm, Sharon Benamou and Daniel Scheide explore the musical, political and sociological dimensions of this music.

Presented by Sharon Benamou and Daniel Scheide at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

22 min 31 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC
It is not unheard of for a webcomic to be published in a print edition (e.g. the Eisner award-winning Cancer Mom). It is not unprecedented for a graphic novel to be published which features a young Jewish girl (e.g. Token). However, it is rare to find a graphic novel that stars an 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl who aspires to fight dragons. Author-illustrator Barry Deutsch discusses his literary influences, the experience of self-publishing a serialized webcomic, the process of creating Hereville, and future plans for Hereville - a book described by School Library Journal blogger Elizabeth Bird as "the best graphic novel of 2010 for kids. Bar none."

Presented by Barry Deutsch at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

30 min

While the names of two Major League Baseball Hall of Famers, Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax, easily spring to mind even for those impervious tot he US national pastime, according to baseball "halakhah," over 150 Jews have swung bats, tossed balls, and wielded leather in the North American major leagues. Many others were minor leaguers, executives, sportscasters, sportswriters, and authors. There is even a new baseball league in Israel. We examine a number of Web resources dealing with the abundant Jewish participation in the grand old game.

Presented by Elliot H. Gertel at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

37 min 02 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC
Modern Judaica librarianship is not very different from general librarianship in that it concentrates more and more on the integration of digital presentations into the facilities offered to all users. A fast-growing corpus of Hebrew manuscripts and printed books are offered online in many different formats, in many different selections, and with greatly varying usefulness. This presentation concentrates on the digital presentation of Hebrew manuscripts and printed books on various websites, both from the professional librarian's perspective, with its natural concentration on best practices, international standards and sustainability, and from the researcher's perspective, with a far more limited perspective: usefulness. The presentation also includes an overview of new initiatives for international cooperation in the field of digitization of Jewish collections.

Presented by Dr. Emile G.L. Schrijver at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

37 min 18 sec

Posted in: RAS
This paper describes and analyzes three library classification schemes for Judaica in their historical context and discusses how the libraries for which they were originally designed, and the interests and background of their compilers, shaped the design of each scheme. The three schemes in question are the Freidus, Scholem and Elazar classifications. An outline is given of how each scheme has continued to develop since its first publication and how they have been adapted by other libraries to suit their particular collections.

Presented by Vanessa Freedman at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

30 min 30 sec

Posted in: RAS
Mordecai Richler famously said that he did not consider himself a "Jewish writer." What is the value/importance of writing about a certain cultural tradition? can we identify a Montreal-Jewish or Canadian-Jewish literary tradition? Are there writers actively continuing these traditions? Responding to it? Taking it in new directions? Meet four Montreal Jewish writers, hear them read from their recent works, and hear discussion on the value of writing within a Jewish tradition.

Presented as a panel by Ami Sands Brodoff, Bevery Akerman, Joel Yanofsky, and Glen Rotchin.

1 hr 18 min 38 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC
This presentation highlights a unique digitization project being undertaken by the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica at the University of Florida. The library will digitize an important collection of over 200 anniversary editions of Jewish newspapers held at the University of Florida. These jubilee issues have never been catalogued and until now have remained "hidden" from its patrons. Anniversary issues of newspaper titles contain a great deal of information about the history of the particular newspaper in question. Together, as a large and varied collection, they provide a key resource for research into the  history of the Jewish press. The presentation includes a slide show featuring images of some of the newly digitized newspapers. Particular focus is given to the Canadian issue.

[Note: Powerpoint presentation is available in the AJL Convention Proceedings members-only section of the website. Click here to become a member.]

Presented by Dr. Rebecca J.W. Jefferson

18 min 55 sec

Posted in: RAS
RDA, Resource Description and Access, is the proposed content standard for cataloging that would supersede the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules. The Library of Congress, National Agricultural Library, National Library of Medicine and 23 partnering institutions joined together to test RDA as a first step to determine whether or not the standard should be adopted. Joan Biella of the Library of Congress and Heidi Lerner of Stanford University Libraries were the only two Hebraica catalogers to participate in the test. Heidi was not able to attend the convention, but Joan spoke about their experiences as official participants in the test and focus on how what they learned and experienced through the test can impact future Hebraica cataloging.

Presented by Joan Biella at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

56 min 25 sec

Posted in: RAS
It can be argued that the Holocaust is the most published-about event in history. The Yad Vashem Library holds some 125,000 titles in 54 languages about the Holocaust and related events. Although we know a great deal about the Holocaust, new issues, sometimes of major importance, still arise. Over the last few years, one of those issues is where the Holocaust should stand in relation to wider contexts. There is much importance in anchoring the Holocaust in wider contexts, especially to counter the idea that it is some aberration in human history. Nonetheless, some of this discussion has become problematic and some of the problematic aspects have begun to surface in serious academic works. Perhaps most salient are the works of Timothy Snyder (Bloodlands) and Donald Bloxham (The Final Solution: A Genocide), which are being discussed widely and are deeply flawed. Perhaps unwittingly, such studies provide fodder to people who would like to manipulate the memory and history of the Holocaust for their own ends.

Presented by Rob Rozett at the 2011 AJL Convention, Montreal, Quebec.

35 min 17 sec

Posted in: RAS
This presentation shows how to use Judaic resources to teach students about the different types of books in the reference section. Library standards are addressed and specific lesson plans shared.

Presented by Susan Dubin at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

1 hr 4 min 19 sec

Posted in: SSC
Joni Sussman of Kar-Ben Books led this panel of authors for ounger readers who represent a wide range of contemporary Jewish experience. The authors shared their own understanding of how "Jewish" informs their writing and introduced us to their latest titles.

Presented by Joni Sussman, Anna Levine, Alan Silberberg and Sara Mlynowski at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

1 hr 19 min 19 sec

The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jewish in Eastern Europe (edited by Prof. Gershon Hudert of McGill University) was published in two volumes in 2008. Two years later, the enhanced digitized version was finalized and made accessible on the Web. As copy chief of this unparalleled project, which covers the history and culture of Jews in the region from Renaissance times until the early 21st century, Joyce Rappaport describes the process of compiling, editing, and transitioning to its Web-based mode. She shows how both versions are valuable resources for librarians, scholars, and the general reader.

Presented by Joyce Rappaport at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

20 min 50 sec

Posted in: RAS
This keynote presentation was given by Ruth R. Wisse, Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, and a former director of its Center for Jewish Studies.

Presented at the 2011 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Montreal, Quebec.

51 min 15 sec

Posted in: RAS

At each year’s AJL convention, members of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee participate in a panel presentation to discuss the best and worst of recent Jewish literature for children and teens. In this podcast, you can hear members Susan Berson, Barbara Bietz, Kathy Bloomfield, Debbie Colodny, and Kathe Pinchuck sharing their delight and dismay over juvenile Judaica published during 2009, reviewed while seeking the winners of the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award.

This panel was presented at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA

1 hr 38 min 53 sec

A panel of experienced book reviewers share their views on the craft of constructing a useful review, on differences between reviewing for children and or adults, on unique issues in reviewing Judaica, and more.

Presented by Ellen Cole, Heidi Estrin, Kathe Pinchuck, and Lisa Silverman at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

1 hr 29 min 53 sec

In this highly interactive workshop, we think dynamically about the role of the library in your synagogue and learn how to demonstrate to your lay leadership that the synagogue library is an asset in their efforts to draw in members, bring in revenue, and create a focal point for community involvement.

Presented by Kathy Bloomfield at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

1 hr 1 min 57 sec

Posted in: SSC

The best memoirs provide the same pleasures as novel reading: fascinating characters, riveting stories, interesting settings, and of course, great writing. Jewish memoirs are no exception! In this presentation you’ll hear about great Jewish memoirs for your library, for book discussion groups, and for your own reading.

Presented by Roz Reisner at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

41 min 05 sec

Posted in: SSC

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