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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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Once upon a time there were librarians who could really make Jewish stories come alive for the yeladim (children) in their libraries; they could “lift the story off the page.” They could read books as well as tell stories with skill, passion and joy, making children want to read and learn MORE. This workshop, presented by storyteller Susan Stone, has the happy ending of bringing these joyful skills to your own library!

1 hr 10 min 16 sec

Presented at the 2009 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago, IL by Anna Levine, author of numerous Jewish books for children and teens, including the 2009 Sydney Taylor Honor Book for Teen Readers, Freefall, and the 2009 Notable Book for Younger Readers, Jodie’s Hanukkah Dig.

44 min 47 sec

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

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.

April Halprin Wayland and Stephane Jorisch, author and illustrator of New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story, Robin Friedman, author of The Importance of Wings, and Margarita Engle, author of Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba, are the 2010 winners of the prestigious Sydney Taylor Book Award.

The winners were revealed at the 2010 council meeting of the Association of Jewish Libraries in January, 2010 in Manhattan, NY. Awards chair Kathe Pinchuck made the official announcement, and then shared her thoughts on this year’s winners.

Click here for the press release about the 2010 winners.

Click here for the complete list of 2010 awards, honors, and notable books.

17 min 02 sec

Tags: Awards

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.

The Power of the Buzz: Libraries and Word of Mouth Marketing, presented by Peggy Barber of Library Communication Strategies and Judy Hoffman, Marketing Specialist at North Suburban Library System.

Learn how to harness the power of personal communication to raise your library’s profile to new heights. The tols for success won’t cost you a dime: a good plan, responsive customer service and simple well-crafted messages.

From Wish List to Reality: Preparations for Library Fundraising, presented by Barbara Kemmis of the American Theological Library Association and Lorraine H. Olley of the Univeristy of Saint Mary of the Lake

Librarians almost always have a longer list of projects to fun, as well as collections and other things to buy, than annual budgets can cover. Participants will learn the skills and processes necessary to move from wish lists to securing special funds.

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

1 hr 6 min 47 sec

Posted in: SSC

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

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, Rachel Kamin, and Kathe Pinchuck sharing their delight and dismay over juvenile Judaica published during 2008, reviewed while seeking the winners of the 2009 Sydney Taylor Book Award.

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

1 hr 33 min 02 sec

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

Author Richard Michelson and illustrator Raul Colon won the 2009 Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Younger Readers category for As Good As Anybody: Martin Luther King and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Amazing March Toward Freedom. They had the opportunity to present their book to an appreciative audience at the Association of Jewish Libraries annual convention on July 7, 2009 in Chicago, IL.

46 min 30 sec

Stanford University Libraries acquired the papers of Eisig Silberschlag (1903-1988) in 2003. Silberschlag was recognized as an authority in the field of Hebrew literary criticism and won prizes for his translations of Aristophanes and Menander from Greek into Hebrew as well as for a book of his poems. He was much beloved as a teacher, served as Dean and later President of Hebrew Teachers College in Boston, and ended his career as a visiting professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Texas, Austin.

What makes this collection unique and valuable to researchers? Silberschlag never moved beyond second-tier status in academia nor did he succeed in having his plays produced by any of the leading theater companies in Israel or the U.S. Yet his correspondence files, which comprise the bulk of the collection, reveal that he was highly regarded by many of the literary and academic luminaries in the world of Hebrew letters and scholarship. The collection contains correspondence from writers S.Y. Agnon and David Vogel; historian Salo Baro; and publisher Avraham Stybel, among many others, and offers glimpses of the 20th century Jewish academic experience in Europe, Palestine and post-1948 Israel; and North America. This guided tour, illustrated by slides, includes excerpts from the collection’s many highlights.

Anna Levia is Assistant to the Curator for Judaica & Hebraica Collections at Stanford University. She presented this paper at the 2009 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago, IL.

24 min 14 sec

Posted in: RAS

From the beginnings of intensive study of Jewish music over 100 years ago by A.Z. Idelsohn, approaches have changed significantly. Idelsohn provided the first comparative study of Jewish music comparing various traditions in Europe, the Middle East, to Yemen and beyond. His goal was to explain and define the essence of “Jewish music.” As the field of ethnomusicology developed, scholars asked different questions looking more at the complexities of single traditions with less emphasis on larger comparative approaches. This presentation shows how the developments of the field of ethnomusicology, a discipline to look at the connection of music and culture, during the 20th century has impacted studies of Jewish music and offer examples of various approaches. Kligman also shares his research of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn with audio and visual material to demonstrate a particular connection of Jewish culture with Arab music.

Mark Kligman, PhD, is Professor of Jewish Musicology at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.

Click for the text and images from this presentation.

40 min 20 sec

Posted in: RAS

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

Cellist Joachim Stutschewsky (1891-1982) is perhaps best remembered as a founding member of the Viennese String Quartet, the ensemble that premiered important works by Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg. Stutschewsky was also at the forefront of contemporary Jewish art music. He left behind a rich compositional legacy that has yet to have been explored. His compositions, articles, books, and concert activity represent forms of musical expression that for him were closely connected with his socio-political ideals. In all these media his works chronicle the life of a conscientious Jewish musician creating music during a time of contending ideologies, two World Wars, and the establishment of the State of Israel.

Racheli Galay-Altman is a cellist and conductor, and Assistant Professor of Cello at VanderCook College of Music.

33 min 20 sec

Posted in: RAS

This lecture addresses how terrorists use the Internet to carry out their deadly plans on a daily basis and threats posed to our civil liberties by government efforts to constrain cyberterror.

Presented by Dr. Gabriel Weimann at the 2009 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago, IL.

Click here for Dr. Weiman’s handout on The Dark Side of the Web.

1 hr 6 min 50 sec

Posted in: RAS

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

The focus of this session will be “personal narratives” and “oral tradition and folklore.” Beatriz Gomez-Acuna presents a video montage including highlights from interviews and may invite some of the informants. “These people are fascinating as they have a very rich personal history and most of them are elderly (one of the men is 98). They recall with great affection and nostalgia their childhood and youth in places like Smyrna, Salonica, etc.”

Presented by Beatriz Gomez-Acuna, Assistant Professor of Spanish at Elmhurst College, specializes on the folklore and oral traditions of Spain and especially the study of Hispanic Balladry.

59 min 32 sec

Posted in: RAS

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