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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.

AJL’s 2011 Western Regional Conference on Jewish Literature for Children revolved around the theme of graphic litrature. The event was held April 3, 2011 at American Jewish University in Los Angeles, CA.

Featured Speakers:

Sid Jacobson was editor in chief at Harvey Comics, where he created Richie Rich, and was the executive editor at Marvel Comics. His collaborations with illustrator Ernie Colon include the fascinating 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, and the new illustrated biography of Anne Frank entitled, Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography.

William J. Rubin is the executive editor of Nachshon Press and the chief architect of the National Jewish Book Award winner, Homeland: The Illustrated History of the State of Israel.

Barry Deutsch is the 2011 Sydney Taylor Award winner for Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword.

Anastasia Betts is a well-known education professional with an expertise in graphic literature.

1 hr 27 min 52 sec

In this two-part presentation, we offer a virtual tour of AJL’s online presence (including the AJL website, blog, podcast, and Facebook page as well as AJL’s Jewish ValuesFinder database). Then we move beyond AJL to explore other Jewish literary websites, blogs, and podcasts. Our emphasis is on “social media” and how we can interact with these online resources rather than being passive consumers of content.

Presented by Heidi Estrin and Diane Romm at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle.

1 hr 10 min 40 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

With the new American Girl series, Rebecca Rubin, author Jacqueline Dembar Greene researched Ashkenazi Russian Jewish immigrant life in New York City during the early 1900s. Her picture book, The Secret Shofar of Barcelona, and her classic novels, Out of Many Waters and One Foot Ashore, draw on Sephardic history. Ms. Greene will talk about how the different historical events were turned into fiction for young readers, and how the books introduce readers to Jewish history.

Presented by Jacqueline Dembar Greene at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

47 min 21 sec

Panel members will discuss the Washington State Jewish Historical Society Archive (containing manuscripts, oral histories, photographs,and films), created and maintained for over 30 years by collaboration between the Washington State Jewish Historical Society and the University of Washington Libraries. The panel members are Karyl Winn, retired Curator of Manuscripts, University of Washington Libraries, who will speak about the history of the collaboration; Doris Steifel, Washington State Jewish Historical Society, will speak about the WSJHS’s experience and view of the collaboration; Nicolette Bromberg will discuss current projects to process collections and create online access to finding aids and photographs from the collections.

Presented at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

1 hr 12 min 02 sec

Posted in: RAS

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

Talk about niche! The newest kid on the literary journal block, Drash: Northwest Mosaic, tilts towards Northwest and Jewish themes. Yet, its particular bent has intrigued a growing international audience of readers and submitters, building a community of diverse religions, locations, and literary styles. Who starts a literary journal in these perilous publishing times and is this good for the Jews? Drash editor Wendy Marcus holds forth about the first three years of this literary start-up, and how and why Drash readings are life-affirming experiences, cultivating readers and writers, and providing connection in these troubled, overly technological times.

Presented by Wendy Marcus, Tom Buchanan, Michael Schein, and Mary Paynter Sherwin at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

39 min 11 sec

Posted in: SSC

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

Above: L-R Jacqueline Jules, Robin Friedman, Margarita Engle, April Halprin Wayland

Below: L-R Joan Schoettler with STMA committee chair Aileen Grossberg

The Sydney Taylor Book and Manuscript Awards are sponsored by Jo Taylor Marshall. The 2010 winners were honored at the Awards Banquet at the 45th annual AJL Convention in Seattle, WA on July 6, 2010. The winners are:

Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Younger Readers: New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story by April Halprin Wayland, with illustrations by Stéphane Jorish

Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Older Readers: The Importance of Wings by Robin Friedman

Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Teen Readers: Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba by Margarita Engle

Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Winner: On the Run by Joan Schoettler

NOTE: Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category, Jacqueline Jules (Benjamin and the Silver Goblet) was present at the banquet and was also acknowledged at that time.

32 min 46 sec

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

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