The Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) is proud to announce that longtime member Rachel Leket-Mor has been named the 2023 Fanny Goldstein Merit Award Winner. The award, named for the librarian, social activist, and founder of National Jewish Book Month, is bestowed in recognition of loyal and ongoing contributions to the AJL and to the profession of Judaica librarianship.
Rachel Leket-Mor began her career as a Hebrew language editor at publishing houses in Israel. She edited translated fiction, scholarly articles, and monographs, mostly related to Jewish history, political science, and holocaust studies, in collaboration with authors, translators, and in-house editors. She began at Arizona State University (ASU) Library in 2002, first as the Jewish studies bibliographer, building collections, supporting curriculum and research, and providing specialized reference assistance. After two years in this position, she worked as a subject librarian for Jewish studies, religious studies, philosophy, and medieval and Renaissance studies until 2017 and is currently the open stack collections curator. In this role, she provides leadership for the selection, management, and disposition of print collections and openly accessible resources. She also works with, trains, and guides selectors on purchasing materials. She holds two master’s degrees, a Master in Information Resources and Library Science from University of Arizona and an MA in Translation Studies from Tel Aviv University.
Rachel’s involvement with the AJL began when she joined the Association in 2003 as a new Judaica librarian. Her professional involvement in the Association began in 2007, when she co-chaired that year’s annual conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, with Haim Gottschalk. The following year, she was elected vice president of AJL’s Research, Archives, and Special Collections Division (RAS), serving alongside RAS President Jim Rosenbloom (2008–2010). As RAS president (2010–2012), she collaborated with Schools, Synagogues, and Centers Division President Joyce Levine to conduct a member survey to study trends in Judaica libraries and anticipate future developments across the AJL divisions. The survey results, including the number of librarians in AJL libraries, their educational level, age and years of service, and retirement plans, were used in AJL strategic and leadership organizational planning. Rachel served on several AJL strategic planning committees, from 2008 to 2010 and from 2013 to 2016, and has served on the AJL Council since 2007 and on the Association’s Constitution and Bylaws Committee since 2022.
In 2012, Rachel became the editor of Judaica Librarianship, AJL’s peer-reviewed journal. A year later, she transferred the print-only publication to electronic publishing, set up the electronic platform and a new peer-review process, designed a new textual “nusaḥ,” and acquired the Adobe InDesign skills needed for the production of scholarly works. She arranged for each issue to become open access 12 months after publication and moved the journal to complete open access when shifting it to a new electronic platform with the Open Journal Systems in early 2020. Opening the journal to all resulted in a significantly increased number of readers and better exposure to AJL. For the journal’s fortieth anniversary this year, she has led an AJL volunteer team in a project to upload the remainder of the journal’s back issues, following prior success with making volumes 9–16/17 available online.
Lisa Silverman, award committee chair, commented, “On behalf of the Fanny Goldstein Merit Award committee, we are proud to have the opportunity to honor Rachel Leket-Mor as this year’s recipient of the Award. Rachel has contributed so much to AJL, to the field of Judaica librarianship, and to librarianship as a profession overall. Her work on the AJL journal Judaica Librarianship has been invaluable to the organization. Rachel personifies the values and legacy of the Award’s namesake, Fanny Goldstein, who devoted her life to books and her community.” Rachel will receive her award on Monday, June 19, 2023, at the Annual Conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries, which will be held virtually this year. Information about the conference is available at https://jewishlibraries.org/2023-digital-conference/.
Members of the 2023 Fanny Goldstein Merit Award committee are Lisa Silverman, Jackie Ben-Efraim, and Elliot H. Gertel.