Conference: 2016 Conference Proceedings

The 51 Annual AJL Conference was held at the Charleston Marriott in Charleston, SC, June 19-22, 2016
The descriptions for the sessions are listed below. Proceedings may not be available for all sessions.

Charleston, SC

Proceedings

Shabbetai Bass, the first Jewish bibliographer, proposes a unique reward for those who study Jewish bibliography.

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This presentation will deal with Jewish involvement in the history of South Carolina, and more specifically of Charleston, from the earliest days of the colony to the outbreak of the War Between the States. In addition to the role Jews played in the general development of South Carolina, the internal organization of the Jewish community will be covered.

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Over the past two decades, the Stanford University Libraries have pursued a collection development strategy that has resulted in the assembling of a critical mass of primary source materials documenting pivotal aspects of the Israeli nation-building enterprise and Israeli cultural production.

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This session will encompass a presentation on the AJL Reads virtual book discussion group and a live discussion of Biblio Tech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google by John Palfrey - AJL's community-wide read for June 2016. The presenters will explain the purpose and technical aspects of running a virtual book club and will discuss Biblio Tech. Attendees are encouraged to participate in this live discussion (whether or not they've read the book) and join AJL Reads for future virtual discussions.

“Der vollkommene Pferdekenner” (The Complete Horse Connoisseur) was written in 1764 by the Southern German nobleman Wolf Ehrenfried Freiherr von Reizenstein. It contains everything there is to know about horses. The Leo Baeck Institute acquired this veterinary work designed for equestrians because of an extraordinary appendix, which consists of 36 pages of Hebrew words and phrases which were used by Jewish horse traders.

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University College London holds on loan from the Montefiore Endowment a stunning collection of tributes presented to Sir Moses Montefiore (1784-1885) and his wife Judith (d.1862). They have recently been digitized and transcribed and are freely available online. The tributes are both beautiful objects in themselves and also a rich source of information about Jewish communities around the world. This illustrated talk will give the background to the collection and present some highlights, as well as discussing the process of digitization.

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Susan Freiband will discuss the following in her presentation: the justification, rationale and benefits of weeding; qualities or skills useful in carrying out a successful weeding project in the small library; what is needed to know about the collection in order to carry out a weeding project; planning the weeding project and who should be involved; key decisions to be made, what should be documented and how; the connection between weeding and other aspects of collection development; specific techniques or strategies used to weed the collection; follow-up to weeding, including disposal of

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The Lexicon of Modern Hebrew Literature began in 2004. This talk will report the progress of this project after twelve years. There will also be a report on other bibliographic projects under the umbrella of the Lexicon (and one project that is not under the umbrella).

The George A. Smathers Libraries were awarded a second NEH Challenge Grant in 2014 entitled “Repositioning Florida’s Judaica Library: Increasing Access to Humanities Resources from Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean”. The project proposes to raise $1.5 million matched by an NEH contribution of $500,000 to build an endowment in support of purchasing and preserving hidden and/or endangered Judaica materials from Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean, and in support of research fellowships, studentships, and ongoing public outreach and engagement.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Challenge Grant is a set amount of funding awarded to an institution to assist with its long-term planning and development and to grow its support base. The funding is split over several years and released only upon receipt of matching funds raised. In December 2014, the Price Library of Judaica at the University of Florida (UF) won the maximum NEH Challenge Grant award of $500,000 spread over four years to build a $2 million endowment.

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The IsraPulp Collection at Arizona State University is comprised of rare books and serials associated with Hebrew popular literature. Spanning decades of production (1930s to present day) and a wide range of genres, this special collection focuses on trivial, non-canonized literature published by peripheral publishers, in Hebrew. Although conveniently tagged under the umbrella of Jewish Studies, the dual-themed collection development guidelines constitute this repository as a double special, or niche collection.

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The past 15 years have been a period of change not only for Hebraica catalogers, but also for the larger community of catalogers of which we are a part. Today our colleagues are learning about and exploring new data models for expressing bibliographic description; most likely at least one of these will replace the MARC21 system of encoding bibliographic data. Resource Description and Access (RDA) has largely taken over Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (2nd ed., 1988 revision) as a cataloging standard.

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We have much to learn today from Scholar largely autodidact librarians Drs: Moritz Steinschneider, Abraham Berliner, Abraham Freidus, Solomon Schechter, Umberto Cassutto, Alexander Marx, Jacob Dienstag, Rabbi Efraim Oshry, Chaim Leib Aryeh Vilsker, Gershom Scholem, Haim Maccoby, Stefen Reif, Malachi Beit Arie, and Menachem Schmeltzer- M.S. to MS.

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Leslea Newman, award winning author of the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Younger Readers will discuss her book Ketzel the Cat who Composed, illustrated by Amy June Bates. Jeffrey M. Green, translator of the Sydney Taylor Book Award winning book for Older Readers will discuss the winning book Adam and Thomas, by Aharon Appelfeld, illustrated by Philippe Dumas. Author Laura Amy Schlitz will discuss her Sydney Taylor Award Winning Book for Teen Readers, The Hired Girl.

Lesléa Newman and her mother shared a love of literature, particularly poetry. Lesléa found that writing poems both during her mother’s illness and after she died was a great comfort and a way to both mourn her mother’s death and to celebrate her life. During this presentation, Lesléa will read brief selections from her poetry collection, I Carry My Mother, and discuss the writing process.

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This round table is for librarians involved in collection development. Subjects of discussion may include purchasing policies, subscriptions, Hebrew e-books and digitizing.

The Zwi Migdal was a group that operated between the 1860s and 1939 and trafficked Jewish women from the shtetls in Eastern Europe for sexual slavery and forced prostitution. The most important center was Buenos Aires, with connections in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Santos in Brazil, as well as South Africa, India and China. This session will be dedicated mainly to the story of the Zwi Migdal in Argentina. This organization reached its peak in the 1920s with 30,000 women in Argentina.

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The mission of IBBY (The International Board of Books for Young People) is to promote international understanding through children's books, to give children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards, to encourage the publication and distribution of quality children's books (especially in developing countries) and to stimulate research and scholarly works in the field of children's literature. They are also the sponsors of the prestigious Hans Christian Anderson Award.

At McGill University, most of the collection that supports the Jewish Studies program is located at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library. However, the Nahum Gelber Law Library also has a strong collection on Talmudic Law. In 2015, the presenter worked on a project to relocate the Talmudic Law books into one library. In this presentation, she will share tips on how to proceed and detail problems and benefits of combining collections.

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Tim Sparks will discuss the process of creating repertoire for his series of recordings for Tzadik Records by adapting traditional music from the Jewish Diaspora to be played as solo, jazz flavored instrumentals. He will talk about his encounters with musicians playing Jewish music and compare the differences in perspectives and styles between New York and Paris. Musical samples of some of these musicians will be shared. Mr. Sparks will also talk about his experiences performing for Jewish communities in Southern France and Paris.

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This workshop for aspiring authors, led by children's book publisher Joni Sussman of Kar-Ben Publishing, will provide the basics on how to get a book manuscript published. Topics to be covered include: how to decide what to write about, how to write and prepare a manuscript for submission, how the acquisitions process works, what to look for in a publisher or agent, as well as what a publisher or agent looks for when acquiring manuscripts. Also covered will be the basics of what an aspiring author should know about marketing even before submitting a manuscript.

Representatives from the IJ Section will discuss a variety of cataloging matters, including new and recent classification numbers and subject headings, highlights of IJ Section cataloging practice, and developments in serials cataloging and processing. Additionally, Roger Kohn will contribute slides regarding his experiences as a participant in the BibFrame Pilot Project.

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This talk will bring to the attention of conference attendees a variety of new developments, including exhibitions, initiatives, and projects, from across the Library of Congress throughout the past year. Because of the brevity of the presentation, no particular item will be explored in depth. However, online addresses will be included for further exploration.

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Over one hundred works of fiction with Jewish content are published each year by mainstream, Jewish, and small, independent presses. So many books, so little time! How do we sift through the good, the great, and the not-so-great? How can reading books with Jewish characters and themes help educate, enlighten, and inspire us? What are Jewish book groups reading? What are the new trends in the Jewish publishing world? What are the major Jewish literary awards? Explore the latest and greatest in Jewish fiction for adult readers and come prepared to share some of your favorite new titles.

This lecture will feature highlights of the Judaica Exhibition displayed at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library of the University of Toronto early in 2015. The exhibition includes items spanning 1100 years from the 10th century to the 21st, with at least one item from every intervening century. Included are medieval biblical, halakhic and liturgical manuscripts, one of the earliest copies of the Zohar, a tribute album for Moses Montefiore, one of the earliest printed items of Canadiana and much more, all taken from the holdings of the Fisher Library.

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Items acquired by the Israel and Judaica (I/J) Section at the Library of Congress are varied in format and in language. These items are primarily in Hebrew, English, Russian and Yiddish, but not exclusively. Materials of interest acquired by our section are in Amharic, Arabic, Hungarian, Persian, French, Rumanian, Hungarian, German and other languages. In addition to books and serials, formats include maps, political ephemera, posters and audio-visual material (DVDs, CDs, vinyl records, cassette tapes, 35mm film etc.). Materials are acquired through exchange, purchase, transfer and gift.

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American Yiddish theater productions of Shakespeare in Yiddish translation were often fartaytshed un farbesert, i.e. “translated and improved.” Typically, the “improvement” substituted a happy ending for a tragic one. Shuli Berger is a 2015 Translation fellow at the Yiddish Book Center. Her project is to translate the Yiddish novel, Hebrew, by Joseph Opatoshu, into English. The novel is set on the Lower East Side of New York in the 1910s. The main characters are Hebrew teachers, recent immigrants to the United States from Eastern Europe.

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This presentation will summarize the written music collection in the Klau library at HUC-JIR in New York. This collection has been recently organized and cataloged and could be of great value to scholars of Jewish music. The presentation will discuss the importance of the collection and ways in which the Jewish librarian community can create a database of this and similar collections around the world.

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As a recipient of the Nextbook/ALA “Let’s Talk about It” grant in 2007, Oakton Community College offered its first Jewish book series. When the program ended in 2009, the library decided to continue the series by getting grant funding through Oakton’s Educational Foundation. Learn about the evolution of this program and how it has become so successful.

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The entertainment magazines Cinema World (‘Olam ha-kolno’a), established in 1951, and Lahiton, which was established in 1969 and merged with Cinema World in 1974, were the first Israeli publications devoted solely to popular culture. As such, they documented the development and growth of the Israeli entertainment industry and encompassed all forms of popular entertainment in Israel from the late 1950s through the 1980s, with a focus on music and cinema, but also covering theater, television and dance. Many prominent politicians appeared in the pages as well.

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Heidi Rabinowtiz: AJL Fanny Goldstein Award
Harry Chan: MediaFlex/OPALS

This talk showcases a PowerPoint presentation entitled “The School Library: a Vital Component of Jewish Education” prepared by school librarians Joyce Levine, Rachail Kurtz, Michal Malen and Karen Ulrich. Designed to demonstrate the value of the library in Jewish day schools, the PowerPoint highlights the various roles that the school librarian plays in supporting educational goals. It provides examples of the librarian as an information specialist, a collection developer and organizer, a program innovator, a facility designer, and a bridge between the Judaic and secular curriculums.

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For the past two years, Ben Pastcan’s school has partnered closely with the community public library. They have introduced students to getting public library cards, have had visits from a local public librarian, and have linked their OPAC to their web site. They have gotten full sets of World Book encyclopedias (some are within a couple of years of the current year) and have built the alliance to where the public librarians do story times. The school has an institutional public library card which has proved to be helpful more than once if the school lacks a certain title or database.

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The speaker’s 6-12 school library did a complete renovation project over the summer of 2015. Karen Ulric spearheaded the project, working with a lot of other stakeholders. Learn about the process, from idea to fundraising to weeding, and the actual makeover. A good amount of money was spent, but some ideas could happen without as much money. An interesting aspect is how it is pushing Karen to move out of ruts that have developed over her time in the school and look toward the future.

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For years, the Harvard Library Judaica Division has sought to measure the size of the Judaica Collection. The Harvard Library's reporting system allowed straightforward measurement and parsing of Hebraica holdings (Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian). The broader category of "Judaica" was more challenging, cutting as it does over a variety of criteria -language, country of publication, and subject matter, and no report or series of reports could provide an accurate accounting and picture of the collection as a whole.

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The speaker will use the life of two important Americans, Emma Lazarus and Levi Strauss, to compare and contrast two different immigrant experiences and attitudes. It is especially interesting because they were both from different waves of Jewish immigrants: Emma was from an established Sephardic family in America and Levi from a newly arrived Ashkenazi family. They both made lasting contributions to America. Ms. Share will also mention books that are available on these historical figures.

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The cornerstone-laying ceremony for the new building of the National Library of Israel has received more attention than any other part of the Library's ongoing Renewal Plan. Still, the National Library of Israel is advancing in several other directions as well: collections, educational activities, technology, and international cooperation. The National Library of Israel continues to create educational materials for the school systems in Israel and elsewhere.

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This presentation will focus on archival work undertaken with the records of the Nidhe Israel Synagogue Restoration Project in Bridgetown, Barbados. Ms. Levi will provide a brief overview of the history of the Jewish community in Barbados and background information on the project’s undertaking of restoring the synagogue and its adjacent area. She will discuss the digitization of these records and describe the thought processes and decisions that went into arranging, describing, and digitizing the collection. The possibility of establishing a library at the museum will be touched upon.

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The JDC Archives is an unparalleled repository of modern Jewish history. Its vast holdings document JDC’s global humanitarian mission, activities, and partnerships from World War I to the present. Its Archives are considered “one of the most significant collections in the world for the study of modern Jewish history” (Long Island University Professor Mimi Bowling, consultant, 2006) and indeed for the history of American humanitarian involvement.

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The Duke Center for Jewish Studies has been pleased to acquire the archives of the Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina. The Rubenstein Library at Duke has collected and processed the materials, but they currently are submerged in the plethora of Judaica materials, as well as the sheer amount of holdings in the Rubenstein library. How can local Jewish foundations, organizations, federations, and synagogues avoid this? How can universities make better use of the archives with which they have been entrusted?

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Have you always wanted to join the digital revolution but time and budgets have stopped you? Has the project seemed too overwhelming and you don’t know where to begin? Learn how a synagogue library managed to transform their card catalog into a fully digital collection within fifteen months using only a part-time librarian, a small budget and volunteers. The project will be broken down into manageable steps including how to recruit and train volunteers from existing synagogue groups, how to select a database and how to organize the workflow.

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This presentation will showcase the liturgy of Babylonian Jews through some well-known poems and liturgical works, as well as some which were handed from generation to generation in close circles of cantors and mystics. The rich musical tradition of Babylonian Jews includes hundreds of poems as well as tropes and tunes for prayers, scriptures, and sacred texts such as the Mishnah and the Zohar. The musical influence of the surrounding cultures, which is still traceable to the trained ear, encompasses Arabic, Turkish, and Kurdish traditions.

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What’s the buzz about STEAM programming in libraries? Learn how to incorporate science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) into children’s events for those eleven years and younger. Discover tips on how to create exciting, innovative, and successful STEAM programs whether they are simple or complex. The sky is the limit when STEAM programs are involved.

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Laemmle Seligmann (d. 1742) was the Court Jew in Weikersheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, where his responsibilities to the prince included horse trading. Laemmle was respected and beloved by the townspeople of his day and remains a renowned icon of the town today. Marga Hirsch, Laemmle’s 7-times great-granddaughter, will speak about the role of the Court Jew and about Laemmle’s particular history.

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In this workshop, the presenter will discuss ways in which attendees can assess their library's social media presence, determine an action plan for improving or maintaining this presence, and present best practices for marketing and promoting libraries through social media.

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In this presentation, the evolution of the library project management for the technical reorganization of the school library of Albert Einstein Institute in Panamá City will be discussed. The management of an educational project for the acquisition of habit and reading promotion through various recreational, technology and traditional strategies will be touched upon.

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This is a brief overview on the history of the Tablet Magazine podcast - from its origins, to its purpose, to its final chapter.

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This talk will focus on the factual background of the emergence of BDS; putting BDS in the proper historic context of boycotts and campaigns against Israel; a factual description of what is happening on campuses in the United States and elsewhere; how to combat it; and an overall analysis of the situation on US campuses.

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What is delegitimization of Israel? How has it manifested itself in the field of librarianship and information science? How can librarians protect the integrity of their profession against those seeking to advance boycotts and divestment and undermine peace? In this innovative session, answers will be provided and participants will explore the most effective strategies for effectively advocating for Israel and the cause of two states for two peoples.

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All librarians are looking for ways to foster literacy. The speaker will describe a program she spearheaded this past fall called “The Newbery Challenge” which got parents, students, and faculty reading. The Newbery Challenge is a mock Newbery Award Contest. Participants read preselected books that may win the Newbery, discuss them and vote before the real Newbery Award is given out. Noreen will describe how to implement this initiative from A to Z.

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Contenders for the title of first American-born Jewish artist, both Theodore Sidney Moïse (1808–1885) and Solomon Nunes Carvalho (1815–1897) were born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina - then the cultural center of American Jewry - into families with Sephardic ancestry and strong ties to the West Indies. Each attained renown in his area of expertise: Moïse as a portrait painter, Carvalho as a daguerreotypist. Largely self-taught and based in New Orleans, Moïse cultivated a clientele among the rich and powerful.

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Strategic planning within both large and small organizations has changed significantly in the past several years as business models, staffing and technology have become more fluid. This presentation will look at the recent implementation of a new strategic plan at the Library of Congress, but also address other models that might work or have been used in libraries. Related issues on plan monitoring, modification, "mining," and minding will also be covered.

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In this workshop, you will learn how to improve customer satisfaction at your academic library; increase e-resource discoverability and accessibility; and convert your physical and/or virtual space into a student-centered Information Commons.

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PJ Library is a global Jewish program that sends nearly 150,000 books in the United States and Canada, alone. Over the past ten years, PJ Library has expanded to think broadly about Jewish content and family engagement. So what does PJ Library look like today? Why does PJ Library focus its lineup on picture books through age 8? How does PJ Library approach the monumental task of determining whether or not a book is “Jewish?” Come learn more about the program with PJ Library’s Director of Content and Engagement.

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When one thinks of a library, the typical image is of a collection of books and serials. Today, the image might also include electronic resources and digitized materials. The Jewish Heritage Collection (JHC) at the University of Michigan expands these boundaries even further. The JHC is a unique assemblage of books, ephemera, archival materials, and objects that relate to the Jewish experience. By including objects, the JHC expands the definition of a “library” into worlds previously dominated by museums and cultural institutions.

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The Jewish Heritage Collection at the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library is currently engaged in a digital project on mapping Jewish Charleston. When the library began collecting materials twenty years ago, on a very small scale, Jewish Charleston was NOT on the map. Now, thanks to persistence and determination, Charleston is recognized for its major role in Jewish American history and the archives are used by scholars all over the world.

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Amidst the horrors of the Syrian civil war, the historic Eliyahu Hanabi (“Elijah the Prophet”) Synagogue in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus was destroyed. More recently, ISIS has demolished the purported Tomb of Jonah, which was located in one of Mosul’s oldest mosques. ISIS has also caused the Christian village of al-Qoosh in Iraqi-Kurdistan, home to the traditional Tomb of Nahum, to be evacuated several times, and has looted Dura Europas, in which the ruins of one of the world’s oldest synagogues reside.

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This presentation addresses the question of how academic libraries can support Jewish culture on their campuses and beyond by describing the experience of designing and delivering a Jewish literature reading and discussion group. The presenter will discuss the features that distinguish this academic book group from more traditional recreational reading groups, describe the surprising membership of the group, and illustrate how over time a program like this can act as outreach to an entire community.

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This paper recounts the story of a Jewish family that started in Portugal 350 years ago this year and crossed many borders on the way to the New World - not only geographic boundaries but religious and racial ones as well. Having spent five years and travelled many miles tracing the routes the Nunes Carvalhos took, the presenters would like to share their journey of discovery and reflect on what they have learned.

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From the arrival of the first English settlers in Carolina in 1670 to the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the hostile relationship between England and Spain cast a perpetual shadow over the development of Colonial Charleston. In response to the constant fear of being invaded by their neighbors in Spanish Florida, the government of South Carolina erected an ever-evolving ring of expen-sive fortifications around the capital town and kept a watchful eye on military activities in St. Augustine.

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Vilnius Jewish Public Library was established by the Ministry of Culture in 2011 as a result of many joint efforts and lucky coincidences. For seventy previous years, the wording “Jewish library” had no actual reference in Lithuania. Now, still in its childish age, the library is very ambitious to bring back, develop and integrate the lost local and world Jewish cultural heritage to the Jerusalem of the North. The library energetically seeks to enrich its collection and to energize its cultural and educational functions to the scale of becoming the largest of its kind in Europe.

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The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began collecting more than a quarter century ago and since then has created the collection of record on the Holocaust. Soon after collecting began, the Museum leased a temporary facility to house the nascent collection. After twenty years of unforeseen growth and three expansions later at the leased facility, an appropriate permanent home for the collection was necessary.

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Keynote Conversation with Katina Strauch and Professor Martin Perlmutter. Interviewed by Sara Ivry