"People of the Books" Blog

2020 Digital Conference - Update 5/27/2020


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Join the Association of Jewish Libraries Sunday, June 28 - Thursday, July 2, 2020 for the AJL 2020 Digital Conference. Sessions will take place between 11:00am-3:30pm EDT with additional programming in the evenings. All sessions will take place on Zoom and will provide participants with the opportunity to hear from outstanding scholars and award-winning authors, as well as witness our leadership transition, receive updates from our divisions, pay tribute to our Fanny Goldstein Awardee and honor all of our book award winners.  In addition, there will be optional “open rooms” for everyone to see and chat with each other. Click here to view the preliminary program. Full abstracts and presenter bios will be available soon.


The registration fee for members and library school students is $36 for the entire digital conference! We welcome non-members to register for $136 but we encourage you to join AJL to benefit from the member rate.


And did we mention the swag? Visit our store on Zazzle, to purchase your conference t-shirt, pens, notebooks and more!

Until we “meet” in June, stay safe, stay connected, and we will see you soon at the AJL 2020 Digital Conference!

Chag Sameach – Wishing you a warm, wonderful & joyous Shavuot!


Dina Herbert, AJL President, Kathy Bloomfield, AJL President-Elect, and the AJL 2020 Digital Conference Planning Team

Staying Connected: AJL's Digital Conference 2020

AJL Digital Conference 2020

We are excited to share great news about our annual conference!  Please mark your calendars for Sunday, June 28 through Thursday, July 2, 2020 to attend Staying Connected: AJL’s Digital Conference 2020.  

Of course, we do not expect you to sit in front of your computers for 5 days straight! The conference will offer approximately 4 hours of programming each day - the  opportunity to hear from outstanding scholars and award-winning authors, as well as witness our leadership transition,  receive updates from our divisions, pay tribute to  our Fanny Goldstein Awardee and honor all of our book award winners.  In addition, there will be optional evening activities and “open rooms” for everyone to see and chat with each other. 

The conference app we will be using is called "Socio."  Socio is easy to use, and you may have already used it, or something like it, at other conferences and events. We will be providing instructions on how to set up your Socio account and how to view all the conference information using either your smart phone (after downloading the app) or your computer.  Socio will replace the program book that we provided in the past. It will be loaded with all the information you will need to attend the virtual conference.

Additional information about our conference – sessions, times, speakers, etc. – can be found on the AJL website at https://jewishlibraries.org/meetinginfo.php.  The registration fee for members is $36. We welcome non-members to register for $136 but encourage them to join AJL to benefit from the member rate. 

And did we mention the swag? Visit https://www.zazzle.com/store/jewishlibraries/products, our store on Zazzle to purchase your conference T-Shirt, pens, notebooks and more! 

Until we “meet” in June, stay safe, stay connected, and we will see you soon at AJL’s Digital Conference 2020!

Dina Herbert, AJL President & Kathy Bloomfield, AJL President-Elect

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Co-editor,  Children's and Teen Literature

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Co-editor,  Children's and Teen Literature , AJL News and Reviews 

Reports to Editor-in-Chief


The AJL Newsletter was published in print until December 2010. As of January 2011, that publication was split into two separate electronic publications (in PDF format) – AJL News and AJL Reviews. All correspondence and production of the News and Reviews sections are done electronically. The News and Reviews staff consists of adult literature co-editors (2), children and teen literature co-editors (2), advertising manager, layout editor, and the editor-in-chief.


  • Recruit reviewers and assign books for review
  • Distribute review copies and guidelines to reviewers by mail
  • Receives contributions to Reviews and edits the text for grammar, style, and space
  • Edit reviews and prepare manuscript for publication
  • Correspond as needed with publishers to request review copies
  • Correspond as needed with reviewers and authors
  • Maintain a database of titles and reviewers, as well as files of other necessary records
  • Send printed reviews to publishers
  • Work closely with editor-in-chief
  • Co-editors must have an extensive knowledge of the literature reviewed in the section they edit, excellent command of written and spoken English; knowledge of written English style; familiarity with the conventions of editing and proofreading; ability to use word processing, database management, and e-mail programs; ability to meet deadlines; and good interpersonal skills
 For more information, please contact Sally Stieglitz, AJL News and Reviews, Editor-in-Chief, at [email protected] 


Sally Stieglitz
Editor-in-Chief, AJL News and Reviews
Association of Jewish Libraries 

2019 Reference and Bibliography Awards

2019 Reference and Bibliography Awards

The Association of Jewish Libraries Judaica Reference and Bibliography Awards Committee would like to announce this year's awards, given to works published during 2019. Awards are as follows:

Bibliography award:

Gross, William, Orly Tzion, and Falk Wiesemann, eds. Catalog of Catalogs: A Bibliography of Temporary Exhibition Catalogs Since 1876 that Contain Items of Judaica. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2019.

Reference award:

Sienna, Noam, and Judith Plaskow.A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts from the First Century to 1969. Philadelphia, PA: Print-O-Craft Press, 2019.

Honorary mention (Reference):

Tapper, Aaron Hahn, and Mira Sucharov, eds.Social Justice and Israel/Palestine: Foundational and Contemporary Debates. Toronto; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division, 2019.

Lifetime achievement award:

Singerman, Robert.Judaica Americana: A Bibliography of Publications to 1900. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990. Electronic edition: 2019.

Please see our press release for more information.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank committee members Haim Gottschalk, Anne Knafl, Gabriel Mordoch, and David Levy, who have worked tirelessly to put together a worthy list of candidate works and review the finalists.

We would also like to recognize and thank Dr. Greta Silver of New York (Reference Award) and Mr. Eric Kline of Santa Monica (Bibliography Award) for their commitment and continuing support of these awards.


Amalia S. Levi
AJL Reference and Bibliography Committee Chair

"Love Your Neighbor" for Passover

The Association of Jewish Libraries is pleased to present a new booklist for youth in the Love Your Neighbor series: List #6 Passover.

The Love Your Neighbor series recommends Jewish books for ALL readers. Books read in youth impact future outlooks, and it is our hope that meeting Jews on the page will inspire friendship when readers meet Jews in real life. Passover in particular has a history fraught with tension between Christians and Jews, so it is important to give readers a deeper understanding of the holiday.

This list includes fiction, nonfiction, history, haggadot, and even a cookbook. Titles are linked to Indiebound or other booksellers for your convenience, and this is a good time to remember that independent bookstores not only need our support, but can deliver books more quickly than Amazon, which is currently prioritizing delivery of "essentials." (Whether books should be considered essential is an argument for another day!)

We may not be able to gather in person to celebrate this year, but we can still enjoy reading about Passover, discussing these books online, and perhaps even using a recommended haggadah if your family decides to hold a virtual seder. Happy Passover, and stay healthy!

Love Your Neighbor

In response to rising antisemitism in the United States, the Association of Jewish Libraries offers the Love Your Neighbor series of book lists for all young readers. Books read in youth impact future outlooks, and it is our hope that meeting Jews on the page will inspire friendship when readers meet Jews in real life.

This is the sixth in a series of book lists intended to provide children and their families with a greater understanding of the Jewish religion and its people. This sixth list features books about the eight-day springtime festival of Passover, a major Jewish holiday that is one of the most widely celebrated of the year.

Passover and the Christian holiday of Easter, both springtime holidays, are connected. The historical setting of Easter is Jerusalem at Passover, and some think the Last Supper was a Passover seder meal. Yet, as the website My Jewish Learning explains in their article “Passover and Easter,” the holidays are quite different. The website tells us “Passover
summons Jews collectively into the world to repair it; Easter proffers a way out of a world beyond repair.”

The relationship between the two holidays hasn’t always been congenial. For centuries, an ancient conspiracy theory called “the blood libel” —a bizarre accusation of ritual murder—was used as a pretext for deadly attacks on Jewish communities during the Passover season. Today, relations have greatly improved, and non-Jewish friends are welcome
at many Passover seders.

We present to you these Passover titles, available in libraries, bookstores, and online.

The entire Love Your Neighbor series of book lists can be found at JewishLibraries.org/Love_Your_Neighbor.

Book List #6: Passover


The Story of Passover by David A. Adler (ages 5-10)
Passover commemorates the Jews’ escape from slavery in the land of Egypt. The complex Biblical story of Moses and the Exodus is laid out in simple terms in this lovely picture book.

The Best Four Questions by Rachelle Burk (ages 3-8)
The youngest child at the seder always asks four traditional questions about what makes Passover unique. It’s a technique meant to keep the whole family engaged. In this humorous tale, Marcy makes up her own questions and learns a lot more than she expected to.

Celebrate Passover with Matzah, Maror, and Memories by Deborah Heiligman (ages 5-9)
Gorgeous National Geographic photos show Jews around the world celebrating Passover. Extensive back matter includes further information, recipes, map and a glossary.

The Mouse in the Matzah Factory by Francine Medoff (ages 3-8)
From wheatfield to box, every stage of the creation of matzah, Passover’s ritual bread, is watched by a curious mouse.

Sammy Spider’s First Haggadah by Sylvia Rouss (ages 3-8)
“Haggadah” means “order” - it’s a step by step guidebook to a seder, meant to be used at the table during the festive meal. This haggadah is aimed at younger kids, and will
keep them engaged with brightly colored collage art and interactive text.

More Than Enough by April Halprin Wayland (ages 3-8)
The traditional Passover song “Dayenu” means “it would have been enough for us.” This gentle story demonstrates mindfulness and gratitude during the holiday. A glossary
and author’s note round out the book.

Miriam at the River by Jane Yolen (ages 4-8)
At Passover we retell the biblical story of Moses, including his babyhood rescue by his sister Miriam the prophet. This lovely volume focuses on Miriam’s experience.


Let My Children Cook! By Tamar Ansh (ages 8+)
Over 80 easy Passover recipes that kids can cook with help or on their own, accompanied by humorous illustrations and bonus craft activities.

Wonders and Miracles: A Passover Companion by Eric A. Kimmel (ages 6+)
A gorgeous compilation of history, stories, songs, poetry, and seder customs, illustrated with art spanning 3000 years.

Passover Around the World by Tami Lehman-Wilzig (ages 7-11)
A comprehensive tour of Passover customs from across the globe, accompanied by stories, recipes, maps, and fun facts.

Penina Levine Is a Hard-Boiled Egg by Rebecca O’Connell (ages 9-12)
In this middle grade novel, Jewish Penina’s public school class is assigned an Easter Bunny project, but she stands up for her beliefs and schools her teachers on diversity.

Welcome to the Seder: A Passover Haggadah for Everyone by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky (ages 12+)
This Haggadah, with its lively art and its universal message on the value of freedom, is welcoming, inclusive, and easy to understand, for first timers and old timers alike.

Puppet by Eva Wiseman (ages 12+)
The blood libel is an ancient lie that Jews ritually murder Christian children and use their blood to make matzah, used as a pretext for violence against Jews. This dark story is a fictionalized account of the last blood libel trial in Europe in 1883. Not easy reading, but an important story.