"People of the Books" Blog

Judaica Reference & Bibliography Award Winners Announced

April 2015
For immediate release



The Association of Jewish Libraries Announces the
2014 Judaica Reference and Bibliography Award Winners

The Association of Jewish Libraries encourages the publication of outstanding works of Judaica reference and bibliography through its annual awards. We are pleased to announce the award winners for titles published in 2014.

Outside the Bible: Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture, edited by Louis H. Feldman, James L. Kugel and Lawrence H. Schiffman, and published by the Jewish Publication Society, was chosen for the AJL Judaica Reference Award. This monumental three-volume work, comprising over 3,000 pages, includes new and revised translations of almost every surviving Jewish text produced in the period after the Bible and before the Talmud. Each text is accompanied by detailed introductions, commentaries and notes. The work as a whole is supplied with a general introduction and opening essays; the volumes conclude with appendixes, a timeline and subject index.

Outside the Bible is remarkable achievement. The clarity of the translations and the contextualizing of the texts provide broad access to an otherwise complex field of study. With significant contributions from leading experts in the field of Jewish and Christian studies and edited by distinguished scholars, Outside the Bible represents a landmark in its field and will become essential reference for students, scholars and researchers.

An Honorable Mention in the Judaica Reference category has been awarded to Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950, edited by Julia Cohen and Sarah Stein, and published by Stanford University Press. Sephardi Lives comprises over 150 primary sources derived from a wide variety of sources, from historical accounts to personal memoirs and including well-known personalities alongside glimpses of everyday lives. The book provides a tremendously comprehensive view of the Sephardi world (which, in its various forms, encompasses much of the world). The Honorable Mention award thus recognizes the editors of this work for their role in showcasing new and under-represented material and for opening paths to new research, scholarship and education in the field of Sephardic studies.

The AJL Bibliography Award has been given to Vera Basch Moreen’s Catalog of the Judeo-Persian Manuscripts in the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, published by Brill. The Catalog of Judeo-Persian Manuscripts provides an important bibliographical tool for scholars researching in the field of Jewish Iranian studies across a range of diverse subject areas. The collection of Judeo-Persian manuscripts at the Jewish Theological Seminary Library is the third largest such collection in the world. The study of its contents are crucial to understanding the deep impact that the ancient Iranian Jewish community made on Jewish intellectual life and thought. Moreen’s meticulous bibliographical research has resulted in an outstanding catalog, with a range of indexes providing multiple access points into the collection. The product of many years of research, the Catalog of Judeo-Persian Manuscripts will significantly ease the path for future researchers of the Judeo-Persian experience.


Rebecca Jefferson, Chair
Judaica Reference and Bibliography Awards Committee
Association of Jewish Libraries

Openings on the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Committee

The Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Committee has two openings beginning in June 2015. The term is for five years. Duties include reading unpublished manuscripts for ages 8 to 13, writing evaluations based on specific criteria, and conferencing via email with the other judges to choose the recipient of the Award.

Important qualifications for committee members include experience with children’s literature, ability to adhere to deadlines, cogent writing, and a desire to discover the next best book. All committee work is done via email or occasionally telephone. There are no expenses involved. It is hoped, but not required, that members of the committee attend the annual AJL conference.

Interested members of AJL should forward a resume, background statement, and sample reviews to committee chair, Aileen Grossberg, STMACAJL@aol.com by May 15, 2015.

Every effort will be made to create a committee that is balanced geographically and philosophically and includes members from a variety of professional and Judaic backgrounds.

More information about the award is available on the AJL website, here.

Aileen Grossberg, Chair
Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Committee

2015 Conference Preliminary Program

Please note that this is a work in progress and is subject to change. A more detailed list of panels, participants, and paper titles may be found here.


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