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Entries for 'Heidi Estrin'


The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Younger Readers:
New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story by April Halprin Wayland with illustrations by Stéphane Jorish (Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group)

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Older Readers:
The Importance of Wings by Robin Friedman
(Charlesbridge Publishing)

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Teen Readers:
Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba by Margarita Engle
(Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)

Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Younger Readers:
Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim: A Passover Story
by Deborah Bodin Cohen with illustrations by Jago
(Kar-Ben, imprint of Lerner)
Benjamin and the Silver Goblet by Jacqueline Jules with illustrations by Natascia Ugliano
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Yankee at the Seder by Elka Weber with illustrations by Adam Gustavson
(Tricycle Press)
You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? by Jonah Winter with illustrations by Andre Carrilho
(Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House)

Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Older Readers:
Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures from the Archives of the Anne Frank House
by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol, translated by Arnold J. Pomerans
(Roaring Brook Press/Flash Point, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
A Faraway Island by Annika Thor, translated by Linda Schenck
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House)

Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Teen Readers:
Lost by Jacqueline Davies
(Marshall Cavendish)
Naomi’s Song by Selma Kritzer Silverberg
(Jewish Publication Society)

Notable Books for Younger Readers:
Where Is Grandpa Dennis? by Michelle Shapiro Abraham with illustrations by Janice Fried
(URJ Press)
Around the Shabbos Table by Seryl Berman with illustrations by Ari Binus
The Secret Shofar of Barcelona by Jacqueline Dembar Greene with illustrations by Douglas Chyka
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Menorah Under the Sea by Esther Susan Heller
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Today Is the Birthday of the World by Linda Heller with illustrations by Allison Jay
(Dutton Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin)
The Waiting Wall by Leah Braunstein Levy with illustrations by Avi Katz
(Hachai Publishers)
Sukkot Treasure Hunt by Allison Ofanansky with photographs by Eliyahu Alpern
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Fox Walked Alone by Barbara Reid
(Albert Whitman & Company)

Notable Books for Older Readers:
The Champion of Children: The Story of Janusz Korczak written and illustrated by Tomek Bogacki
(Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers/Frances Foster Books, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
Guardian Angel House (A Holocaust Remembrance Book for Young Readers) by Kathy Clark
(Second Story Press)
Rebecca Series (American Girl Collection)
by Jacqueline Dembar Greene with illustrations by Robert Hunt
(American Girl)
Strawberry Hill by Mary Ann Hoberman with illustrations by Wendy Anderson Halperin
(Little Brown and Company)
The Mysteries of Beethoven’s Hair by Russell Martin and Lydia Nibley
(Charlesbridge Publishing)
The Man Who Flies with Birds by Carol Garbuny Vogel and Yossi Leshem
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Clay Man: The Golem of Prague by Irene N. Watts with illustrations by Kathryn E. Shoemaker
(Tundra Books)
Elvina’s Mirror by Sylvie Weil
(Jewish Publication Society)

Notable Books for Teens:
The Disappearing Dowry: an Ezra Melamed Mystery by Libi Astaire
(Zahav Press, an imprint of Targum)
A Family Secret/The Search by Eric Heuvel
(Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow with art by David Ostow
Cursing Columbus by Eve Goldberg Tal
(Cinco Puntos Press)
Puppet by Eva Wiseman
The Other Half of Life: Based on the True Story of the MS St. Louis
By Kim Ablon Whitney
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House)

JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible by Ellen Frankel with illustrations by Avi Katz
(Jewish Publication Society)

Posted in: Awards




(New York—January 11, 2010) April Halprin Wayland and Stéphane 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 Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series. The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle this July.

Wayland and Jorisch will receive the 2010 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Younger Readers Category for New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story, published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group. The Jewish New Year is a special time of year, with a change in seasons, symbolic foods and other traditions. It is also the time for introspection and the ritual of Tashlich, when sins are symbolically cast into a body of flowing water. Izzy thinks about things for which he is sorry. He “compares Tashlich to cleaning out his toy closet, an example of the wonderful way this story conveys to children, at their own level, a contemporary version of the healthy Jewish way we start fresh at the beginning of each new year,” commented Susan Berson, a member of the Award Committee. Incoming Committee Chair Barbara Bietz noted that the “whimsical watercolor illustrations are a perfect pairing for the delightful prose.”

Friedman will receive the 2010 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Older Readers Category for The Importance of Wings, published by Charlesbridge. Ah, the drama of being in eighth grade! There’s the boy you have a crush on who likes someone else. There’s getting dressed in gym class and being picked last for teams. There’s your parents, who are so unlike Mike and Carol Brady and not even like Ma and Pa Ingalls. And there’s your hair, that won’t go in the popular feathered back style that everyone else is wearing. When an Israeli girl moves next door, Liat “not only shows Roxanne how to give her hair ‘wings,’ but she helps her ‘wing’ her way toward maturity and self-esteem,” asserted Debbie Colodny, a member of the Award Committee. Another Award Committee member, Kathy Bloomfield, affirmed this praise: “With appealing and affecting writing, Ms. Friedman grabs the reader immediately and takes her on a journey of self-discovery, confidence building and empowerment that will leave her hoping for a sequel.” Friedman’s book about male bulimia, Nothing, was named an AJL Notable Book for Teen Readers last year.

Engle will receive the 2010 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Teen Readers Category for Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba, published by Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. After Kristallnacht, many Jews tried to leave Germany, but other countries refused the refugees. Cuba agreed to take in some of these people, but at a price. The tension of this era is seen through the eyes of several of the people affected: Daniel, a thirteen-year-old German boy whose parents put him on a boat to “the Americas,” hoping to save his life; Paloma, the daughter of a Cuban official who prefers a dovecote to her home; David, who escaped the pogroms of Russia, sells ice creams, and helps the new refugees; and Gordo, Paloma’s father, who is profiting by charging exorbitant fees for visas to stay in Cuba. “The verse and the different perspectives make the history of Cuba during the Nazi era accessible while illustrating the complicated situations and the twists and turns of political interactions,” noted Kathe Pinchuck, Committee Chair. Ms. Engle is known to readers for her Newbery-Honor book The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom, for which she also won the Pura Belpre Award.

Eight Sydney Taylor Honor Books were named for 2010. For Younger Readers, Honor Books are: Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim by Deborah Bodin Cohen with illustrations by Jago (Kar-Ben), Benjamin and the Silver Goblet by Jacqueline Jules with illustrations by Natascia Ugliano (Kar-Ben), Yankee at the Seder by Elka Weber with illustrations by Adam Gustavson (Tricycle Press) and You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? by Jonah Winter with illustrations and an amazing lenticular cover by Andre Carrilho (Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House). Two works in translation were named Honor Books for Older Readers: Anne Frank: Her Life in Worlds and Pictures by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol (translated by Arnold J. Pomerans) (Roaring Brook Press/Flash Point, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group) and A Faraway Island by Annika Thor (translated by Linda Schenck) (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House). Lost, a historical novel by Jacqueline Davies (Marshall Cavendish) and Naomi’s Song, a biblical fiction by Selma Kritzer Silverberg (JPS) were named Honor Books in the Teen Reader Category.

The JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible by Ellen Frankel with illustrations by Avi Katz (JPS) was named a Notable Book for All Ages. The Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee was very impressed Ms. Frankel’s retelling of biblical stories. “She succeeds in creating an age-appropriate interpretation of the most intriguing and familiar stories that allow families to gleen the essence of Jewish teachings, ethics, and history,” commented Rita Soltan, Award Committee member. “Readability, faithfulness to ‘idiomatic nuances of biblical Hebrew,’ and softly rendered color illustrations are the main features of this compilation,” noted Susan Berson, Award Committee member.

We will be promoting an author and illustrator blog tour as a way to spread the word and generate interest in these books. The tour will take place February 1st – February 5th, and the schedule will be posted at here on the People of the Books blog at

In addition to the medal-winners, the Award Committee designated twenty-two Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2010: eight in the Younger Readers Category, eight in the Older Readers Category, and six for Teens. Notable titles, and more information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award, may be found online at A blog about the awards can be found at
Posted in: Awards
The Association of Jewish Libraries will hold its annual Midwinter Board and Council meetings January 10 and 11 in New York at the Affinia Hotel Manhattan. All Board and Council members are asked to attend. It is during these meetings that new business is discussed and policy decisions are made. This year's Sydney Taylor Award winners will be announced at the Council meeting on Monday.

In addition, plans for the upcoming annual convention in Seattle will be shared. Since the convention is being planned by a national as well as a local committee, the Council meeting should be a roll-up-your-sleeves and get busy work session. Other business to be discussed is the idea of giving an award to a publisher or bookseller who has benefited Judaica Librarianship. The idea voted on at the last Council meeting is to change the Doris Orenstein Fund to this award since Doris was a vendor at early AJL programs. The money in the Orenstein Fund which had formerly been earmarked for newcomers to convention would be mingled with other funds in the Convention stipend account. Last Council meeting it was decided that all first time convention attendees should get a stipend to encourage their attendance.

AJL has applied to ALA for affiliate status. Hopefully, we will hear after ALA Midwinter whether it has been approved. Once we are an ALA affiliate, we can announce our awards on the ALA page. This should give AJL much more visibility.

Plans are moving ahead to hire an administrative consultant. We are also looking for someone or some company to help with a redesign of our webpage. Many thanks to our hardworking Task Force members and the Technology Chairs for helping with this important move in moving our organization forward.

Here's wishing everyone a happy, healthy, successful, and peaceful 2010!


Susan Dubin

AJL President
Posted in: Uncategorized
The Association of Jewish Libraries is seeking a consultant who can help on a part time basis with administrative and web 2.0 tasks.
Some sample duties would be:
1. Create an AJL presence on appropriate social networking sites such as Twittter, LinkedIn,\nShmooze, LibraryThing, SecondLife.
2. Establish a mechanism for the ongoing maintenance of these sites.\n3. Work with a professional web design service to enhance the AJL website.\n4. Advise officers and committee chairs on the creation and maintenance of Judaica information\nservices and resources that demonstrate AJL's knowledge and leadership.\n5. Advise the president on the creation of a system for responding quickly and effectively to\nrelevant issues raised on AJL's listserv and in other online and print media.\n6. Implement plans to promote AJL in additional ways. Some examples are: creating AJL-sponsored exhibits, either actual traveling exhibits or virtual exhibits; establishing a supportive\nadministrator's award to strengthen contacts between AJL and the Jewish community.\n7. Investigate external resources and the use of already established AJL committees to maintain\nthese activities on an ongoing basis.
--College degree, preferably with graduate MLS degree or business-related degree
--Extensive knowledge of and experience with libraries\n--Familiarity and skill with relevant computer applications and Web 2.0 technologies\n--Excellent interpersonal, communication, organizational and analytical skills
All applications will be reviewed by a committee and the two top candidates will be asked to interview in person at the AJL Midwinter Board and Council meeting January 10-11, 2010 in New York City. AJL wil cover the expense of travel to New York.
Please write for more information or submit resume or CV and a cover letter to Susan Dubin at

AJL Regional Conference in Israel

AJL presented a regional conference in Israel at Bar Ilan University on November 5, 2009. On the program were four speakers:  

Shmuel Har Noy, Administrative Director of  the
National Library of Israel, whose topic was Challenges of the New National Library of Israel.

Professor Aaron Demsky from
Bar Ilan University, spoke on The Cultural Significance of Jewish Names.

Professor Elhanan Adler, Deputy Director for Information Technology of the NLI,  reported on
Ten Years of Digitization at NLI .

Moshe Rosenfeld, talked about Discoveries of Hebrew Materials in Christian Repositories.

Some of the sessions at the conference were recorded and will be posted as podcasts on the
AJL website.

According to Ya'akov Aronson, the organizer of this event, there were more than 50 participants from 12 different institutions. At the conference, Shmuel Har Noy, the Administrative Director of the National Library, invited the group to plan the next program at NLI. Seven people from five institutions volunteered to be on a steering committee to plan future events.

Hopefully, this is the beginning of a new branch of AJL in Israel. We are also planning to hold two simultaneous sessions in Israel and Seattle during our 2010 Annual Convention.


Susan Dubin

AJL President


Posted in: Uncategorized
Thanks to the hard work of Ya'Akov Aaronson, we will have a regional conference in Israel on November 5, 2010. We have 4 speakers, Shmuel Har Noy, Administrative Director of  NLI on the Challenges of the New National Library of Israel, a professor from Bar Ilan on The cultural significance of Jewish names, Elhanan Adler on 10 years of digitization at NLI and the last one on Discoveries of Hebrew materials in Christian locations.  This is about discovering Hebrew manuscripts in monasteries in Europe. The fellow, Moshe Rosenfeld, is authorized by the Catholic Church to search in monasteries for Hebrew materials.  He has found some amazing things.

Sessions at the conference will be recorded to post as a podcast on the AJL website.

At the conference, Ya'Akov will also look for people who would like to help organize an AJL group in Israel.

 For information about the conference, contact Ya'Akov Aaronson.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Now that the fall holidays are over, we have a lot to do! I hope that everyone had a happy Sukkot and a sweet and meaningful Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. Since this week we read B'resheet, it is appropriate to begin on our new tasks.

Several of our committees need help --

Mentoring needs volunteers to help organize the mentor program as well as to be mentors. If you would like to find a mentor to help with a new job, different responsibilities, or some as pect of librarianship, contact Stephanie (Sara Leah) Gross. The information is on the AJL web page.

Accreditation Committee is looking for a co-chair who lives in the New York City area. Michal is the Chai and she can use some help with some of the tasks. If you would like to be considered for co-chair, contact AJL President Susan Dubin. If you would like to serve on the committee, contact Michal.

All the AJL committees are open to participation by our members. Look at the AJL web page to see which committee you would like to work with. We welcome your participation and help!

Our new Technology Committee is working with our Professional Development and Continuing Education Committee to prepare a webinar on using wikis. The webinar will be free to our members. We are asking all Committee Chairs and Co-Chairs to sign up for the webinar . We would like to encourage our committees to use wikis to facilitate communication between members. It is an easy way to stay in touch over the miles and ime differences! Watch for information on the webinar on HaSafran and through this blog.

Many thanks to our hard-working PR CHair, Heidi, who has mounted several of our convention podcasts on the website. Take advantage of this opportunity to share in the tremendous amount of learning that takes place at our conventions. It is one of the many reasons to be an AJL member!

Our Newsletter just arrived at my house on Saturday. (California is a little slow.) What a fabulous resource. I found at least 15 new books we need to buy for our library. The articles were outstanding and I love the new column about Israeli authors! Great job Libby, Nancy, and review editors!

Watch this space for more AJL news and thoughts...


Susan Dubin

AJL President


Kathe Pinchuck, Chair

Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee



The Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee appointed three new members.  Their four-year terms will begin in January 2010. The committee benefits from the diverse membership of AJL, and with the unique talents and experience of the incoming members, we are confident the high standards of the committee will continue.




Debbie Feder is the Director of the Library Resource Center at Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago. An active member of the Chicago AJL Chapter, Debbie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and earned her MLS from Dominican University. Debbie, who also worked at the Skokie Public Library, is a lover of children’s literature, first enthralled by All-of-a-Kind-Family.


Aimee Lurie comes to the committee with experience in a variety of Jewish libraries, including the Temple-Tifereth Israel, the Fairmount Temple and the Agnon School, as well as public libraries. Amy has reviewed books for the AJL Newsletter and VOYA and feels that “reviewing books is every librarian’s professional responsibility and it has always played a critical role in my personal professional development.  Not only does it play an invaluable role in collection development, I have found it is the best way to keep your finger on the pulse of publishing trends.” Aimee is active in the Cleveland chapter of AJL and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Ohio State and an MLS from Kent State University.


Nancy Silverrod is a librarian at San Francisco Public Library. Nancy graduated summa cum laude from Eastern Michigan University and earned her MILS at the University of Michigan. Nancy states that “My reading over the years led me to a deeper connection and involvement with Judaism, and the opportunity to recommend high quality books to interested readers is one of the things I most enjoy about my work” – a great combination.



Barbara Bietz of Oak Park, California will assume the chairmanship. She is the author of Like a Maccabee (Yaldah Publishing, 2006).  As a freelance writer, her work has appeared in numerous publications, and she is a frequent reviewer for Jewish Book World and the AJL Newsletter. 



The 2009-2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee will also include Debbie Colodny (Libertyville, Illinois), Rita Soltan (West Bloomfield, Michigan); Kathe Pinchuck (Clifton, New Jersey), past chair; and Rachel Kamin (Chicago, Illinois), compiler. Heidi Estrin (Boca Raton, Florida) will assist the committee as AJL Public Relations Liason.


Tremendous Harkaras Hatov (appreciation) to Susan Berson (Denver, Colorado and Kathy Bloomfield (Wellesley, Massachusetts)  who have served their four-year terms on the committee with distinction.  

Posted for Kathe Pinchuk, outgoing Chair by

Susan Dubin

AJL President

Posted in: Authors, Awards

"Why Be Social?" Launches Podcast
on Jewish Social Media

September, 2009 -

"Why Be Social?" is a four-part podcast mini-series created to encourage lovers of Jewish literature to engage in social media in order to promote and support the genre. The project was inspired by a social media workshop at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in June 2009 in Chicago, arranged by podcaster Heidi Estrin ( and led by podcaster Mark Blevis (,

"Mark's session at the convention opened the floodgates of attendees' curiosity about blogs and podcasts, and how these websites can be used to promote Jewish publishing, library use, and reading. I created the 'Why Be Social?' podcast as a way to continue the conversation beyond the convention," says Estrin.

Part 1 of "Why Be Social?" addresses philosophical aspects of the human relationship with technology. Part 2 offers definitions for "blogging" and "podcasting." In Part 3, host Heidi Estrin and guest Alx Block of the Jewish Publication Society suggest relevant blogs and podcasts for Jewish book lovers. Part 4 wraps up by bringing back Mark Blevis to discuss social media participation, or as he calls it, "create, consume, contribute." All four podcast episodes offer extensive show notes, and the series is an excellent resource on getting started in social media engagement.

The four episodes of "Why Be Social?" were posted to Estrin's regular podcast, The Book of Life, a show about Jewish books, music, film and web that has been online since 2005. Visit to listen to the "Why Be Social?" series, and to check out earlier episodes featuring interviews with Jewish authors, musicians, and other creative people.

About The Book of Life

The Book of Life ( has been bringing Jewish arts and culture to a self-selected audience of Judaica lovers since 2005, with regular podcasts covering Jewish books, music, film and web. The Book of Life is a service of Congregation B'nai Israel of Boca Raton, Florida and is supported in part by the Association of Jewish Libraries.


About the Association of Jewish Libraries

The Association of Jewish Libraries ( promotes Jewish literacy through enhancement of libraries and library resources and through leadership for the profession and practitioners of Judaica librarianship. AJL fosters access to information, learning, teaching and research relating to Jews, Judaism, the Jewish experience and Israel.

Heidi Estrin
Host, The Book of Life
PR Chair, Association of Jewish Libraries


Posted in: Uncategorized
Association of Jewish Libraries' Vice President of Publications, Deborah Stern, attended a celebration marking Jewish Publication Society's (JPS) 120th birthday.

Here is what Deborah Stern, librarian at Mordecai M. Kaplan Memorial Library of Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, said about the event:

"Founded in 1888, The Jewish Publication Society is the oldest nonprofit, nondenominational publisher of Jewish works in English, especially well known for its English translation of the Hebrew Bible, regarded worldwide as the authoritative Jewish translation. Its publications aim to make the rich Jewish literary legacy accessible to all and run the gamut from collaborative, scholarly projects to books for youngsters to enjoy.


Recognizing that the goals of JPS and of AJL have so much in common, the organizations joined forces last year to help readers find the best Jewish resources available among JPS’ own books and those published by others. A link was placed on the JPS home page to a site displaying samples from some of AJL’s annotated bibliographies:


This year AJL is pleased to be able to salute JPS on its 120th birthday by being an official sponsor of its birthday celebration. We look forward to continued collaboration with them in our joint efforts to bring Jewish literacy to everyone interested in learning more about the Jewish heritage. L’chaim!"

Birthday cake

Posted in: Uncategorized
 AJL President Susan Dubin and National Convention Chair Fred Isaac traveled to Montreal to review possible sites for the 2011 Convention. SSC and local Chapter President Marsha Lustigman will act as local co-chair of the Convention. Norma Newman, a librarian who has attended many past conventions, and Marsha met Susan at the airport and took her to breakfast in the Jewish community. Both are quite well-known in the community since there were several people who stopped by the table to say hello. Everyone seemed excited about the AJL coming to Montreal!

Marsha and Norma acted as tour guides and gave Susan a driving tour of some of the city. The views from the mountain where Montreal is built were breathtakingly beautiful. All three met Fred Isaac at the hotel and walked to Old Town where they enjoyed lunch in a garden restaurant known for its soft jazz.

One of the hotels being considered is right across the street from McGill University in a quaint neighborhood walking distance from everywhere. The other hotel being considered is a few blocks away at the Place du Canada where the underground rail system can be accessed.

Marsha hosted a family Bar-B-Q in her beautiful garden. Fred and Susan took the Metro there a dn found it very easy to get around.

In such a beautiful city with so much to do and see, the 2011 Convention is definitely going to be a not-to-be-missed event!

Pictures of the trip are on Picasa at the following URL:
Posted in: Uncategorized

There was a lot of talk at the AJL09 Convention about social media. As a good example of social media's potential for mitzvah, I want to share with you this post from the Summer of Social Good campaign. -- Heidi Estrin

This post is a collaboration between Mashable's Summer of Social Good charitable fundraiser and Max Gladwell's "10 Ways" series. The post is being simultaneously published across more than 100 blogs. summerofsocialgoodnew Social media is about connecting people and providing the tools necessary to have a conversation. That global conversation is an extremely powerful platform for spreading information and awareness about social causes and issues. That's one of the reasons charities can benefit so greatly from being active on social media channels. But you can also do a lot to help your favorite charity or causes you are passionate about through social media. Below is a list of 10 ways you can use social media to show your support for issues that are important to you. If you can think of any other ways to help charities via social web tools, please add them in the comments. If you'd like to retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.

1. Write a Blog Post

Blogging is one of the easiest ways you can help a charity or cause you feel passionate about. Almost everyone has an outlet for blogging these days -- whether that means a site running WordPress, an account at LiveJournal, or a blog on MySpace or Facebook. By writing about issues you're passionate about, you're helping to spread awareness among your social circle. Because your friends or readers already trust you, what you say is influential. Recently, a group of green bloggers banded together to raise individual $1 donations from their readers. The beneficiaries included Sustainable Harvest, Kiva, Healthy Child, Healthy World, Environmental Working Group, and Water for People. The blog-driven campaign included voting to determine how the funds would be distributed between the charities. You can read about the results here. You should also consider taking part in Blog Action Day, a once a year event in which thousands of blogs pledge to write at least one post about a specific social cause (last year it was fighting poverty). Blog Action Day will be on October 15 this year.

2. Share Stories with Friends

twitter-links Another way to spread awareness among your social graph is to share links to blog posts and news articles via sites like Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, and even through email. Your network of friends is likely interested in what you have to say, so you have influence wherever you've gathered a social network. You'll be doing charities you support a great service when you share links to their campaigns, or to articles about causes you care about.

3. Follow Charities on Social Networks

In addition to sharing links to articles about issues you come across, you should also follow charities you support on the social networks where they are active. By increasing the size of their social graph, you're increasing the size of their reach. When your charities tweet or post information about a campaign or a cause, statistics or a link to a good article, consider retweeting that post on Twitter, liking it on Facebook, or blogging about it. Following charities on social media sites is a great way to keep in the loop and get updates, and it's a great way to help the charity increase its reach by spreading information to your friends and followers. You can follow the Summer of Social Good Charities:

Oxfam America (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube) The Humane Society (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr) LIVESTRONG (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr) WWF (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr)

4. Support Causes on Awareness Hubs

change-wwf Another way you can show your support for the charities you care about is to rally around them on awareness hubs like, Care2, or the Facebook Causes application. These are social networks or applications specifically built with non-profits in mind. They offer special tools and opportunities for charities to spread awareness of issues, take action, and raise money. It's important to follow and support organizations on these sites because they're another point of access for you to gather information about a charity or cause, and because by supporting your charity you'll be increasing their overall reach. The more people they have following them and receiving their updates, the greater the chance that information they put out will spread virally.

5. Find Volunteer Opportunities

Using social media online can help connect you with volunteer opportunities offline, and according to web analytics firm Compete, traffic to volunteering sites is actually up sharply in 2009. Two of the biggest sites for locating volunteer opportunities are VolunteerMatch, which has almost 60,000 opportunities listed, and, which also lists paying jobs in the non-profit sector, in addition to maintaining databases of both volunteer jobs and willing volunteers. For those who are interested in helping out when volunteers are urgently needed in crisis situations, check out, a site which helps register and educate those who want to help during disasters so that local resources are not tied up directing the calls of eager volunteers. Teenagers, meanwhile, should check out, a site targeted at young adults seeking volunteer opportunities in their communities.

6. Embed a Widget on Your Site

Many charities offer embeddable widgets or badges that you can use on your social networking profiles or blogs to show your support. These badges generally serve one of two purposes (or both). They raise awareness of an issue and offer up a link or links to additional information. And very often they are used to raise money. Mashable's Summer of Social Good campaign, for example, has a widget that does both. The embeddable widget, which was custom built using Sprout (the creators of ChipIn), can both collect funds and offer information about the four charities the campaign supports.

7. Organize a Tweetup

You can use online social media tools to organize offline events, which are a great way to gather together like-minded people to raise awareness, raise money, or just discuss an issue that's important to you. Getting people together offline to learn about an important issue can really kick start the conversation and make supporting the cause seem more real. Be sure to check out Mashable's guide to organizing a tweetup to make sure yours goes off without a hitch, or check to see if there are any tweetups in your area to attend that are already organized.

8. Express Yourself Using Video

As mentioned, blog posts are great, but a picture really says a thousand words. The web has become a lot more visual in recent years and there are now a large number of social tools to help you express yourself using video. When you record a video plea or call to action about your issue or charity, you can make your message sound more authentic and real. You can use sites like, Vimeo, and YouTube to easily record and spread your video message. Last week, the Summer of Social Good campaign encouraged people to use video to show support for charity. The #12forGood campaign challenged people to submit a 12 second video of themselves doing something for the Summer of Social Good. That could be anything, from singing a song to reciting a poem to just dancing around like a maniac -- the idea was to use the power of video to spread awareness about the campaign and the charities it supports. If you're more into watching videos than recording them, enables you to raise funds for charities like Unicef and St. Jude's Children's Hospital by sharing viral videos by e-mail.

9. Sign or Start a Petition

twitition There aren't many more powerful ways to support a cause than to sign your name to a petition. Petitions spread awareness and, when successfully carried out, can demonstrate massive support for an issue. By making petitions viral, the social web has arguably made them even more powerful tools for social change. There are a large number of petition creation and hosting web sites out there. One of the biggest is The Petition Site, which is operated by the social awareness network Care2, or, which has collected more than 79 million signatures over the years. Petitions are extremely powerful, because they can strike a chord, spread virally, and serve as a visual demonstration of the support that an issue has gathered. Social media fans will want to check out a fairly new option for creating and spreading petitions: Twitition, an application that allows people to create, spread, and sign petitions via Twitter.

10. Organize an Online Event

Social media is a great way to organize offline, but you can also use online tools to organize effective online events. That can mean free form fund raising drives, like the Twitter-and-blog-powered campaign to raise money for a crisis center in Illinois last month that took in over $130,000 in just two weeks. Or it could mean an organized "tweet-a-thon" like the ones run by the 12for12k group, which aims to raise $12,000 each month for a different charity. In March, 12for12k ran a 12-hour tweet-a-thon, in which any donation of at least $12 over a 12 hour period gained the person donating an entry into a drawing for prizes like an iPod Touch or a Nintendo Wii Fit. Last month, 12for12k took a different approach to an online event by holding a more ambitious 24-hour live video-a-thon, which included video interviews, music and sketch comedy performances, call-ins, and drawings for a large number of prizes given out to anyone who donated $12 or more.

Bonus: Think Outside the Box

blamedrewscancerSocial media provides almost limitless opportunity for being creative. You can think outside the box to come up with all sorts of innovative ways to raise money or awareness for a charity or cause. When Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with cancer, for example, he created Blame Drew's Cancer, a campaign that encourages people to blow off steam by blaming his cancer for bad things in their lives using the Twitter hashtag #BlameDrewsCancer. Over 16,000 things have been blamed on Drew's cancer, and he intends to find sponsors to turn those tweets into donations to LIVESTRONG once he beats the disease. Or check out Nathan Winters, who is biking across the United States and documenting the entire trip using social media tools, in order to raise money and awareness for The Nature Conservancy. The number of innovative things you can do using social media to support a charity or spread information about an issue is nearly endless. Can you think of any others? Please share them in the comments.

Special thanks to

vpsnet logoA special thanks to, who are donating $100 to the Summer of Social Good for every signup they receive this week. Sign up at and use the coupon code "SOSG"to receive 3 Months of FREE hosting on top of your purchased term. honors a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee so there's no risk.

About the "10 Ways" Series

The "10 Ways" Series was originated by Max Gladwell. This is the second simultaneous blog post in the series. The first ran on more than 80 blogs, including Mashable. Among other things, it is a social media experiment and the exploration of a new content distribution model. You can follow Max Gladwell on Twitter. This content was originally written by Mashable's Josh Catone.

Posted via web from The AJL Convention Blog

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            Thanks to the tremendous efforts of the Chicago Convention Committee and the co-chairs Shoshanah Seidman, Cheryl Banks, and Rose Novil, the annual AJL convention was a huge success. From the keynote speaker to the last vote at the general membership meeting, everything was perfect. The hotel was well-located just a few blocks from Navy Pier and downtown Chicago and an easy walk to the Art Institute and Grant Park. The weather was comfortable although we did get a few sprinkles. The food was delicious. But most important, the sessions were outstanding!

Most of the sessions were recorded and will be uploaded to the AJL web site as podcasts. Speakers were asked to give their handouts and papers to Leah Moskovits, our Proceedings Chair. She will gather everything and post the official proceedings on the Members Only web page soon. Meanwhile, people have been blogging about the convention through the Convention blog set up by Heidi Estrin. Blog posts can be seen at Thank you to all our "on-the-spot" reporters.

New initiatives passed by Council and the membership include continued support for convention attendance through convention stipends, an increase in the AJL scholarship for library students from $500 to $1000, hiring a web design service to revitalize our web presence, hiring a consultant to help put AJL in social media sites, a plan to affiliate with ALA, and updates to our Constitution and by-laws.

New chapters were formed in the Pacific Northwest and Atlanta, and chapters are looking toward chapter status recognition in Austin, Sacramento, and Israel. A one day conference in Israel this fall will draw attention to new efforts to connect to librarians there.

To get a taste of the excitement, check out the Convention pictures posted on Flckr.


Susan Dubin

AJL President
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Posted by  Heidi Estrin to The AJL Convention Blog

Our "Social Media" speaker, Mark Blevis, hosts a podcast about children's literature called Just One More Book. If you take a look at his website, you'll see that he's posted a message especially for us! It's entitled "A little Book List: For 2009 AJL Convention Wannabes" and it provides links to past podcast episodes of Just One More Book that feature Jewish books. Visit to learn more.
Also, AJL's own Abigail Yasgur has scored an interview on Just One More Book about her new children's book Max Said "Yes!" (The Woodstock Story). You can hear Abigail at

Professor Peter Hayes (Northwestern U.) specializes in thehistory of Germany in the 20th century, particularly the Nazi period. He did an admirable speaking job, presenting a dark and serious topic while dealing gracefully with the challenges of a late evening audience digesting its dinner and a very noisy, joyful event happening in the room next door. Learn more about Peter Hayes at

Professor Hayes challenged eight widely-believed "facts" about the Holocaust, pointing out that when the public thinks it knows something, scholarship often has trouble making itself heard. His hope was that the audience at AJL might be more receptive than many others, and allow new ideas to penetrate. Here are the eight misconceptions that, when examined more closely, turn out to be untrue. (From notes scribbled during the keynote address, please forgive any errors.)

1. Anti-semitism played a major role in bringing Hitler to power.

Apparently we've put the cart before the horse. "More Germans became anti-semites because they became Nazis, than became Nazis because they were anti-semites."

2. Killing Jews was Hitler's goal from the beginning.

The original intention seems to have been to remove the Jews from German-held territory, but it soon became apparent that by gaining territory they were gaining Jewish residents. The more practical way to remove them was to kill them, but the Nazis realized this only after they started taking over other countries.

3. TheAllies could have saved many more Jews than they did.

Anti-immigrant sentiment was very strong at the time, and politicians who pushed for bringing in more Jews would have been voted out of office. Also, 3/4 of the six million were killed out of reach of Allied intervention in northeastern Europe, in a short period of time, while the Germans seemed to be winning the war.

4. Jews could have done more to save themselves.

Jews were a tiny percent of the population in all the countries where they lived, and being more assertive wouldn't have had much impact on the larger population's opinions/actions. The Jewish ghetto uprisings that did happen were quickly squashed and didn't really save lives, so more uprisings probably wouldn't have saved more lives.

5. Greater solidarity with or sympathy for Jews in Europe would have saved more Jews.

Individual people saved other individual people, but to really raise the numbers you would have needed institutions or governments working to save Jews. More Jews were saved by the collaborating French government than by individual righteous gentiles, just because governments have more power than individuals. But most of the governments in Europe had been taken over by the Nazis.

6. Killing Jews diverted resources and weakened the German war effort.

It didn't take large numbers of guards or even trains to deal with imprisoning/killing Jews, compared to the number of soldiers overall.

7. Persecution of Jews was driven by greed (ie the desire to take the Jews' possessions).

Taking Jewish possessions was a side benefit for the Nazis, not their main goal. They got more money by taking over banks in the countries they invaded than by taking Jewish possessions.

8. The Holocaust represents modernity and its dangers.

The image of mechanized murder has been overblown. "Auschwitz was a dis-assembly line, but more like a 19th century slaughterhouse than a modern factory." Most killing was done with simple tools: a gun, carbon dioxide from a car. And cultural genocide is certainly not a new idea.

Conclusion: the common denominator of all 8 myths is the desire to shield ourselves from the horror, to think that thinks could have been better or to find a place to lay blame. But these are prettifications of history.

--Heidi Estrin

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If you use Twitter, and you'd like to tweet about the AJL convention, please use the hashtag #AJL09 when doing so. This will allow readers to find all the AJL convention related tweets more easily.

If you don't even know what I'm talking about, you might enjoy this simple video, "Twitter in Plain English."


Heidi Estrin

Posted via web from The AJL Convention Blog

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The New England regional conference brought together librarians from all over the Northeast. Sessions about social networking helped to expand the topic of maximizing library services through resource sharing. An excellent article highlighting the conference appeared in the Jewish Ledger. Read it at
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Heidi Estrin, AJL Public Relations Chair, has established a new blog for people to use at Convention. The blog is very easy to use. The subject of your email becomes the title of your post, and the body and attachments of the email become the content of your post. You can post text, photos, music, video, documents and all kinds of files, emailing it to The blog can be read at

Please look at the blog for a post about a podcast with Convention speaker Mark Blevis about social media. The podcast is also on Book of Life podcast site.

See you in Chicago!


Susan Dubin

AJL President
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The annual AJL Convention will begin on July 5th in Chicago at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers. With almost 200 registrants despite the economy and a terrific program thanks to our hard-working Chicago team, it should prove to be a memorable few days. Here are some highlights that should not be missed:

The CEU this year is entitled: “Promoting Digital Research in the Jewish Library: Resources and Strategies” with  instructor  Michael Kay.

Jewish Authors Luncheon features over 35 authors including several Sydney Tayor Award Winners.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Peter Hayes will speak at Sunday dinner on "The Holocaust: Myths and Misconceptions"

Special Plenary Session Monday at 5:15: Barbara Schneider-Kempf, the Director General of the Berlin State Library in Germany, speaking on:"Stolen books: The Third Reich's Exchange Center and the Prussian State Library in the years 1933 till 1945. Aspects of the supply with literature under the control of National Socialism"

Mentor Mingle: Here is the "official" invitation:

You are cordially invited

TO:  Mentor Mingle for all prospective mentors and mentees

When:  Sunday, July 5th, 2009 at 5:00 PM 

Where:  Parlor C

 Are you a seasoned librarian, library student, or newcomer to a library position? You'll find that the Mentor Mingle is a golden opportunity to meet new friends, share ideas, and participate in the zeitgeist of the times.  Full-year commitments are not mandatory.  This year we're inviting members to step forward and be mentors to newcomers for the duration of the Convention.  We'll pair you with a new member if you haven't met one already on your own. Are you interested in a greater challenge? Why not consider guiding a new professional throughout the coming year to establish contacts, learn about available resources, and build a long-lasting relationship?  Stephanie (Sara Leah) Gross, Chair of AJL Mentoring, will be on hand with a short presentation about the process, what it entails and some of the benefits of the program.  If you'd like to know more before the event, you may contact her directly at:  However, reservations are not required.  Please note: This year we're hoping to establish mentoring leaders at the local chapter or regional level in order to improve our effectiveness.  Your participation can make a great difference in someone's career!



Next year's Convention in Seattle July 4-7, 2010!

Check out all the programmed events and look for new and exciting ways that AJL can help you!

See you in CHICAGO!


Susan Dubin

AJL President

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MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger

 The only national Jewish organization whose sole focus is hunger relief, Mazon helps to provide nourishment and promote self-sufficiency for hundreds of thousands of people at risk of hunger in America, Israel and around the world.

 Mazon is a leader in the global anti-hunger movement. Since 1985 Mazon has granted tens of millions of dollars to emergency food providers, food banks, multi-service organizations and advocacy groups that seek solutions to the problem of hunger.

 Our support makes it possible!

 The AJL’s convention started a tradition of its own:  we have generously given to MAZON in Cambridge, Scottsdale, and Cleveland, and we want to make Chicago as memorable!

 We will be placing Mazon envelopes on the tables at the banquet, and ask you to give from the heart.

 Thank you

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