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Judaic Audio Lectures, Panel Discussions, Author Talks, Workshops & More

The AJL Podcast brings you the best talks on Jewish literature and the Jewish library world, with respected experts and popular authors. Please check back periodically, as new lectures will be added to the series.

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Entries for 'jewish-history'

Presented by Yitzhak Yudelov, retired Director of the Institute for Hebrew Bibliography at the National Library of Israel, at the AJL Regional Conference, November 3, 2010, at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.

51 min 50 sec

Posted in: RAS

A discussion of the history of Jewish businessmen in the western United States beginning in the 19th century. The presenter describes how she was able to gather all of this information.

Presented by Julia Eulenberg at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

34 min 41 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

This session on the Sephardic community of Seattle focuses on what made these people come to Seattle, what they found when they arrived, the community’s first religious leaders, interaction between the two distinct Sephardic groups, and relations between Sephardim and Ashkenazim.

Presented by Cantor Isaac Azose at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

39 min 45 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

During the two World Wars, Yiddish theater in Argentina, especially Buenos Aires, constituted a major cultural practice, thanks to the high rate of Yiddish readers in the community. Buenos Aires was considered the capital of Yiddish poetry and literature, compared only to Warsaw, Moscow and New York. This session shows “the golden age” of Yiddish theater in Argentina.

Presented by Rita Saccal at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

25 min 49 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

Award-winning author Maggie Anton will speak about the research behind her best-selling Rashi’s Daughters trilogy, set in the household of the great medieval Talmud scholar who had no sons, only daughters. Among the topics she discusses: What was life like for Jewish women in 11th century France? Were Rashi’s daughters really learned? Did they really wear tefillin? Why should a 21st century Jew want to read about Rashi and his daughters anyway?

Presented by Maggie Anton at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

38 min 37 sec

Posted in: SSC

With the new American Girl series, Rebecca Rubin, author Jacqueline Dembar Greene researched Ashkenazi Russian Jewish immigrant life in New York City during the early 1900s. Her picture book, The Secret Shofar of Barcelona, and her classic novels, Out of Many Waters and One Foot Ashore, draw on Sephardic history. Ms. Greene will talk about how the different historical events were turned into fiction for young readers, and how the books introduce readers to Jewish history.

Presented by Jacqueline Dembar Greene at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

47 min 21 sec

As part of the process of modernization, modern nation-states found it necessary to require last names for their citizens. The Jews at first resisted, which caused the government to assign names randomly. When this process was finally complete, a class of identifiable Jewish names was generated, resulting int he desire of some Jewish citizens to change their names to escape anti-Semitism.

Presented by Marlene Schiffman at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

27 min 26 sec

Posted in: RAS

In recent decades, a growing number of scholars have become interested in the economic dimensions of Judaism and Jewish life. They have introduced new, social scientific, quantitative methodologies into fields traditionally dominated by qualitative, interpretive approaches. This paper will provide a sampling of online resources that are freely available for scholars interested in analyzing the changing economic climate at the end of the first decade of the 21st century and its impact on Diaspora Jewish life, particularly in North America, and within the State of Israel.

Presented by Heidi Lerner at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

23 min 37 sec

Posted in: RAS

This session on electronic resources has three parts:

C.O.T.A.R., Collection of Torah Articles: The Evolution of a Database and its Uses, presented by Yaakov Aronson of Bar Ilan University

COTAR is a DVD database containing the full texts of articles in the field of Jewish law published in journals not readily available to the general public. The material chosen for scanning was chosen from the yearly bibliographies of outstanding articles in this field prepared by Rabbi Meir Wunder of the Jewish National and University Library (now National Library of Israel) and published in the annual Tehumin over a period of 20 years. The presentation discusses the preparations necessary before scanning could begin, permissions from authors and publications, etc, and the challenges presented by the project. Though the articles in the database are from the field of Jewish Law, their use as primary sources for political, cultural, social and economic history is discussed.

Creating a Bibliography and Catalog of All Hebrew Writings for the Future National Library of Israel, presented by Donald Goldman, publisher and producer

With the acceptance of using the MARBI Model B structure for Name Authority Files, and the linking together of all the various international formats with a VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) type server, and the experience gained in using these tools with Arabic, Goldman explains how it is now possible to create a cohesive bio-bibliographical unit.

The ‘Voices of the Holocaust’ Project at the Illinois Institute of Technology presented by Christopher Stewart, Ralph Pugh and Eben English, all three from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)

In 1946, IIT psychology professor David P. BOder travelled to Europe to document the traumas suffered by persons displaced by the recent world war, including many survivors of the Holocaust. As his interviews progressed, Boder (armed with a wire recorder) soon abandoned his pre-planned structure interview questions and let his interviewees tell their personal narratives with as little hindrance as possible. His interviews contain much of the earliest extant Holocaust testimony anbd convey what scholar Donald Niewyk aptly describes as “fresh wounds.” In 1999, IIT’s Galvin Library launched its “Voices of the Holocaust” website, which features Boder’s translations of 70 of his 124 interviews. Galvin Library is currently coordinating the original language transcription of all the interviews, along with the translation of those that Boder was unable to complete himself. The augmented website, which will include many search  capabilities for students and scholars, will be unveiled during 2009. IIT Dean of Libraries Christopher Stewart, Galvin Library Digital Services Librarian Eben English, and IIT Assistant University Archivist Ralph Pugh discuss David Boder’s life and work, the scope of his 1946 interviews, and the challenges facing IIT as it seeks to promote the widest possible sue of this invaluable resource.

See the Voices of the Holocaust website at http://voices.iit.edu.

These presentations were given at the 2009 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago, IL.

1 hr 6 min 59 sec

Posted in: RAS

This session included two sections by two speakers.

Groshn-bibliotek – Popular Reading of Polish Jews in the 1930′s, presented by Lyudmila Sholokhova of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Groshn-bibliotek (Penny-Library) is a series of over 200 popular biographies and other historical brochures that were published in Yiddish in Warsaw during the years 1930-1936. It includes essays about outstanding personalities, Jewish and non-Jewish, stories on major events in world history with special attention to famous Jewish individuals, and stories about the recent Russian revolution and its protagonists. Groshn-bibliotek was a Bundist edition. Its aim was to educate the Yiddish reading masses about Jewish and world history. Most secular Jews in pre-WWII Poland did not have formal high school education, but many were self educated through avid reading. The series reflects the high intellectual interests and the broad outlook of its authors and editors.

Yiddish Publishing in Argentina presented by Rita Saccal of the Seminario Rabinicio Latinoamericano “Marshall T. Meyer”

Rita Saccal focuses on the “Golden Age” of Yiddish literature in Argentina. She presents a very brief introduction to Yiddish literature inthe colonies, continuing witht he period between the late 19th centuray to the late 1950′s, when Argentina, or better said Buenos Aires, was considered the capital of Yiddish poetry and literature, compared only to Varshaw, Moskow and New York.

This session was presented at the 2009 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago, IL.

1 hr 2 min 10 sec

Posted in: RAS

Stanford University Libraries acquired the papers of Eisig Silberschlag (1903-1988) in 2003. Silberschlag was recognized as an authority in the field of Hebrew literary criticism and won prizes for his translations of Aristophanes and Menander from Greek into Hebrew as well as for a book of his poems. He was much beloved as a teacher, served as Dean and later President of Hebrew Teachers College in Boston, and ended his career as a visiting professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Texas, Austin.

What makes this collection unique and valuable to researchers? Silberschlag never moved beyond second-tier status in academia nor did he succeed in having his plays produced by any of the leading theater companies in Israel or the U.S. Yet his correspondence files, which comprise the bulk of the collection, reveal that he was highly regarded by many of the literary and academic luminaries in the world of Hebrew letters and scholarship. The collection contains correspondence from writers S.Y. Agnon and David Vogel; historian Salo Baro; and publisher Avraham Stybel, among many others, and offers glimpses of the 20th century Jewish academic experience in Europe, Palestine and post-1948 Israel; and North America. This guided tour, illustrated by slides, includes excerpts from the collection’s many highlights.

Anna Levia is Assistant to the Curator for Judaica & Hebraica Collections at Stanford University. She presented this paper at the 2009 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago, IL.

24 min 14 sec

Posted in: RAS

From the beginnings of intensive study of Jewish music over 100 years ago by A.Z. Idelsohn, approaches have changed significantly. Idelsohn provided the first comparative study of Jewish music comparing various traditions in Europe, the Middle East, to Yemen and beyond. His goal was to explain and define the essence of “Jewish music.” As the field of ethnomusicology developed, scholars asked different questions looking more at the complexities of single traditions with less emphasis on larger comparative approaches. This presentation shows how the developments of the field of ethnomusicology, a discipline to look at the connection of music and culture, during the 20th century has impacted studies of Jewish music and offer examples of various approaches. Kligman also shares his research of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn with audio and visual material to demonstrate a particular connection of Jewish culture with Arab music.

Mark Kligman, PhD, is Professor of Jewish Musicology at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.

Click for the text and images from this presentation.

40 min 20 sec

Posted in: RAS

The focus of this session will be “personal narratives” and “oral tradition and folklore.” Beatriz Gomez-Acuna presents a video montage including highlights from interviews and may invite some of the informants. “These people are fascinating as they have a very rich personal history and most of them are elderly (one of the men is 98). They recall with great affection and nostalgia their childhood and youth in places like Smyrna, Salonica, etc.”

Presented by Beatriz Gomez-Acuna, Assistant Professor of Spanish at Elmhurst College, specializes on the folklore and oral traditions of Spain and especially the study of Hispanic Balladry.

59 min 32 sec

Posted in: RAS

Established in 1903 by Moshe Beinkinstadt, Cape Town’s oldest Jewish book store remained in the hands of his descendants for 105 years. Situated in District Six, the district closest to the original harbour, not far from the castle built by the Dutch East India Company, the shop reflects the history of Cape Town’s Jewish community. Suppliers of seforim, taleysim, tefilin, and even of herrings, all imported from Latvia in the very earliest days, the shop also served as a meeting place for Yiddish speaking intellectuals. Among some 3000 Yiddish and Hebrew books on its shelves were titles as diverse as the luried early 20th century Yiddish novels of Shmoer and bloyshteyn, information about birth control from 1930 Warsaw, translations of Goethe, Balzac, Ibsen, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Dickens, Marx and Kropotkin, Darwin’s Ascent of Man, and Jean Meslier, the 17th century Catholic priest’s philosophical essay promoting atheism! In the context of the social history of Cape Town’s Jewish community, this paper will consider what this diverse collection reflects about the world of Yiddish speaking Jews in the first half of the 20th century.

Presented by Veronica Belling, Jewish Studies Librarian, Jewish Studies Library of the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research and  University of Cape Town Libraries.

23 min

Posted in: RAS

The Jewish community of northeastern Ohio, or more simply, “Jewish Cleveland,” has played an important role in the region’s development since the first group of Jews to settle in the area arrived in 1839. This presentation will offer an overview of the growth and development of the region’s Jewish community after World War II, drawing attention to the community’s response to the arrival of Holocaust survivors, the move to the eastern suburbs, the role of Jewish leaders in the civil rights movement, and the local campaign on behalf of Soviet Jewry. The aim is to present a series of questions within a presentation on the community’s development, questions which the presentation can only begin to address: How has the community’s relationship to Jews outside the US affected local leaders and organizations? Why and how did Jews move to the eastern suburbs and how has the suburbanization of the community affected their concerns? How has the Jewish community forged alliances with non-Jews, and how have conflicts with other communities been handled? How has the community remained so vibrant, in spite of increasing urban sprawl and persistent demographic challenges? Posing the questions may lead to a new awareness of this more recent period of history. Special attention will also be given to the types of resources available in the Cleveland Jewish Archives to answer these questions.

Sean Martin is Associate Curator for Jewish History in the Cleveland Jewish Archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio. Martin’s academic interests focus on modern Jewish and Polish history. He has written articles and book reviews for several journals in these fields, conducted extensive research in Poland, Ukraine, and Lithuania, and given talks on the Holocaust and Jewish history in the US and Poland. He is the author of Jewish Life in Cracow 1918-1939 (Vallentine Mitchell 2004).

26 min 33 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

Information about information books: do “they” pick out the pictures and write the narrative? Or do “they” write the text and find pictures to match? Find out as three recognized authors, Deborah Heiligman, Christos Nicola, and Bill Rubin, talk about the cahllenges of this genre.

Deborah Heiligman is the author of 25 books for children, including the AJL Notable books Celebrate Hanukkah, Celebrate Passover, and Celebrate Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur.

Christos Nicola has devoted over 30 years to the study and exploration of caves in the former Soviet Union, as well as the Caribbean, Europe, and the Americas. He is the founder of the nonprofit Ukranian American Youth Caver Exchange Foundation. His book, The Secret of Priest’s Grotto: A Holocaust Survival Story, received a 2008 Sydney Taylor Honor Award for Older Readers.

William J. Rubin is the Executive Director/COO of the Community Foundation for Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago and the driving force behind the graphic novel HOMELAND: An Illustrated History of the State of Israel.

They presented this session at the Celebration of Jewish Children’s Literature that was held in honor of the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s 40th anniversary, as part of the Association of Jewish Libraries annual convention, on June 25, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.

1 hr 10 min 52 sec

One of the most active and dynamic groups of Sephardim today are the Syrian Jews living in Brooklyn, New York. An extremely tight-knit community, they began moving from Syria at the beginning of the 20th centuray. Subjected to terrible persecution, a major wave of them came to New York in the 1920′s, and another group came when they were released by the government in the 1990′s. In New York they became a highly insular group, with a major edict that prevented almost any conversion into their community. This was intended to prevent dilution of the traditional community and has resulted in a highly homogeneous, close-knit group of jews whose numbers now exceed 75,000. Two scholars, Dr. Walter Zenner and Joseph A.D. Sutton, have carried out extensive studies of this gropu, with articles, oral histories, and other documentary evidence. The papers of both of these scholars are held in the archives of the American Sephardi Federation. In this presentation, we examine those papers and attempt to learn a little more about this fascinating group of Sephardim.

Randall Belinfante is the Librarian/Archivist of the American Sephardi Federation. Over the past seven years, he has expanded this Library/Archives from a small collection of 200 odd books and 20 boxes of papers to a collection that now exceeds 6,000 catalogued items and some 300 linear feet of archives. Randy is fascinated by all aspects of the Sephardim, with papers and articles dealing with communities from Brooklyn to Burma.

23 min 24 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

As well as a brief general overview of the DSS library, the differences revelaed by the contents of DSS texts in theology between Essenes, Sadducess and Pharisees is illustrated by looking at the topics of predestination, immortality, dualism, apocalyptic messianism, and angelology. Differences in halakhah are illustrated by touching on the laws regarding halah, peru u-revu, pikuah nefesh, li-fenim mi-shurat ha-din, oils, mikvaot immersions, harvesting the omer, tevel yom relating to the parah adumah, and some differences in Shabbat observances. The method of approach is to compare DSS theology, politics and halakhah with the evolution of mainstream Rabbinic traditions across history in order to illuminate, enhance, and increase our knowledge about Rabbinic observances, history and practices.

David B. Levy received a Ph.D. in Jewish philosophy, rabbinics and biblical studies in 2002. In 1994, he received an MLS from UMCP. He previously served as a librarian and taught in thehigh school at Ner Israel.

25 min 36 sec

Posted in: RAS

The Klezmer Company Orchestra with author Heidi Smith Hyde

Author Heidi Smith Hyde’s picture book, Mendel’s Accordion, was named a 2008 Notable Book by the Association of Jewish Libraries. It tells a story of klezmer music, immigration, and the passing on of tradition from one generation to the next. Ms. Hyde did a live reading of Mendel’s Accordion accompanied by members of the Klezmer Company Orchestra at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida on February 25, 2009. For full information about the event and links to resources on the story, visit klez4kids.blogspot.com.

31 min 30 sec

The field of Qumran Studies underwent a dramatic shift in 1990 with the expansion of access to the thousands of fragments previously unavailable to the majority of scholars. This talk summarizes the developments in our understanding of the meaning and significance of these materials for the study of Second Temple Judaism and identifies important issues in the ongoing academic work of Qumran scholars.

Dr. John Kampen is the Academic Dean and Professor of New Testament at Methodist Theological School in Delaware, OH. He gave this presentation at the Association of Jewish Libraries annual convention on June 24, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.

28 min 14 sec

Posted in: RAS