"People of the Books" Blog

2018 Reference and Bibliography Awards

The Judaica Reference and Bibliography Awards Committee decided as following regarding the Judaica Reference and Bibliography 2018 awards:

Bibliography

David Hollander, Legal Scholarship in Jewish Law : an Annotated Bibliography of Journal Articles (Getzville, New York : William S. Hein & Co., 2017)

Honorable Mention: Steven J. Weiss, Pirke Avot: a Thesaurus : an Annotated Bibliography of Printed Hebrew Commentaries, 1485-2015 (Los Angeles & Jerusalem : The Dr. Steven J. Weiss Collection, 2016)

Reference

Paul R Bartrop & Michael Dickerman The Holocaust: An Encyclopedia and Document Collection (Santa Barbara, CA : ABC-CLIO, 2017)

Honorable mention: Zachary M. Baker, “Resources in Yiddish Studies” published in: In Geveb : A Journal of Yiddish Studies https://ingeveb.org/tags/Resources%20in%20Yiddish%20Studies )

I would like to thank the awards’ sponsors: Dr. Greta Silver of New York City, who established the AJL Judaica Reference Award, to encourage the publication of outstanding Judaica reference works, and Eric Chaim Kline of Los Angeles, who established the AJL Judaica Bibliography Award,  to encourage the publication of outstanding Judaica bibliographies.


I would also like to thank the Committee members Amalia S. Levi, David B. Levy, Michelle Chesner and Shulamith Z Berger for their enthusiastic and thoughtful input.

Rachel Simon

2018 Winners of Jewish Fiction Award

The Association of Jewish Libraries Announces 2018 Winners of Jewish Fiction Award

Rachel Kadish is the inaugural winner of the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) Jewish Fiction Award for her novel The Weight of Ink, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The award includes a $1,000 cash prize as well as support to attend the 53rd Annual Conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries in Boston, MA, June 18-20, 2018. Two honor books were also recognized: Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan by Ruth Gilligan, published by Tin House Books, and A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert, published by Pantheon Books, part of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. The Committee received over 50 works of fiction with significant Jewish thematic content, written in English and available in the United States in 2017, and thanks all those who submitted entries for consideration. The wide array of books published this year is a testament to the vibrant state of contemporary Jewish fiction.

“Rachel Kadish has crafted an extraordinary cast of characters who speak to each other within and across the divides of centuries as well as those of age, religion, and class and come vividly to life under her empathic touch,” notes Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, Chairperson of the Award Committee. “This is a book that honors learning, libraries, archivists and librarians, and the Association of Jewish Libraries Jewish Fiction Award Committee is delighted to present Kadish with the 2018 AJL Jewish Fiction Award.”

Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan gives serious depth to the little-known story of Jewish life in Ireland. Weaving a complex story, Ruth Gilligan uses the specifics of Irish lore and history woven with the Jewish experience to illuminate the stories of a young girl and her family who emigrate from eastern Europe, a suddenly mute boy incarcerated in a home for the mentally disabled, and a woman who considers the implications of converting to Judaism. According to Taub, “Gilligan's expert twists of plot, exploration of historical themes, and her gift of word play and dark humor” impressed the Committee.

Rachel Seiffert's A Boy in Winter works on a small canvas and creates a searing emotional impact. As the Nazis invade a small Ukrainian town, a variety of characters are forced to face the invasion's terrible consequences and quickly make life-altering decisions. Taub comments: “Seiffert writes with spareness, a plain-hewn power that draws the reader on a journey of suspense in a time and place of limited possibility.”

The Association of Jewish Libraries gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Dan Wyman Books for underwriting the Award. Submissions for the 2019 AJL Fiction Award are now being accepted. For more information, please visit www.jewishlibraries.org.

Member Spotlight with Esther van Haaren-Hart

Our Member of the Month is Esther van Haaren-Hart of Curaçao.

Amalia Warshenbrot and Esther van Haaren-Hart

Amalia Warshenbrot and Esther van Haaren-Hart, 2017.

Esther van Haaren-Hart is the librarian and general manager of the Foundation at the Maduro Library and Museum housed in the plantation house at Rooi Catootje in Curaçao, Dutch Caribbean.

The foundation is named after Salomon Abraham (Mongui) Levy Maduro (1891-1967) who started collecting documents, books, manuscripts, archivalia and periodicals relating to Curaçao, the Dutch West Indies and his Sephardic Jewish community which goes back to the 17th century. One of the goals of the foundation is to preserve historical collections on subjects of Sephardic Jewish and Dutch Caribbean interest for future research.

The library collection consists of more than 10,000 books, 450 documentation files by subject, containing newspaper clippings and more than one thousand Antillean and Jewish periodicals, collected over a period of more than 100 years. Due to the growth of the collection, the library collection was moved to a state of the art new building, the Ena Dankmeijer-Maduro Pavilion, in 2010. Throughout the years, a wide variety of writers, historians, elementary school students and researchers have consulted the library collection. The library cooperates closely with other academic libraries, both in Curaçao and abroad.

Mrs. van Haaren-Hart is a mother of three and grandmother of one.  She attended the 2017 AJL conference, commenting:

“I enjoyed this well organized 52nd conference. There was a great variety in themes, the sessions were well planned and well prepared by the speakers. Networking with participants of so many countries and places in the USA was one of the highlights of the conference. I was very pleased to meet some old library friends and to make new ones. In general I consider the information about digitized materials, many of them online available, as another highlight of the conference.”

Esther plans to continue to communicate with AJL in the future to exchange ideas and information on a global scale and to be able to access information through application of advanced technologies

Esther welcomes AJL members and friends to visit her library’s website at www.madurolibrary.org to get acquainted with the library and the museum collection. Esther encourages all to visit the island and the facilities in person, like so many Jewish groups have done in the past and are still doing.

Webinar redux with discount!

We forgot to let you know that any AJL member in good standing is eligible for a 10% discount on any/all of the AJL/ALA webinars coming up.  Contact Sharon Benamou or Nancy Sack to get the discount code.

AJL/ALA Webinars

As you may know, AJL partnered with ALA last year to deliver a series of webinars. ALA/AJL Cataloging Sacred texts webinarThe first three webinars, to be held November 16, December 14, and mid-January, cover collection development and cataloging of Judaica resources for non-specialist librarians. The webinars are aimed primarily at librarians in school, public, and academic libraries whose responsibilities include collection development and cataloging of Judaica but who are not subject specialists. The webinars may also offer some tips and tricks to subject specialists who are new to the field of librarianship.
AJL/ALA webinar collection development
Registration is now open for the first 90-minute workshop, which will be held Thursday, November 16, 2017, starting at 2:30 pm Eastern time. For more information please contact Sharon Benamou or Nancy Sack.