Conference: 2020 Conference Proceedings

Online

Proceedings

All authors are invited to briefly share a few words about their newest book.

Inspired by Adam Kirsch's recent Who Wants to Be a Jewish Writer? (Yale UP, 2019), this conversation between Adam Kirsch and his father, Jewish Journal Books Editor Jonathan Kirsch, will trace issues in the reviewing of Jewish books: past, present, future. They will be joined by moderator Erika Dreifus. Q&A will follow the discussion.

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This genealogical research describes the methods and strategies, to uncover history of various family back 18 generations and place this account in historical context. The testimony is peppered with primary sources including interviews, photos, genealogical trees, letters, Hespadim, Hashkamot, letters of semicha certification, pinkasim, maps, the historic Jewish press and current Israeli Newspapers, memoirs, public records, oral histories, tombstone inscriptions, family photos, original poems, emails, blogs, FB posts.

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The VHA contains over 50,000 videotaped “life history” interviews with Holocaust survivors and witnesses. It is not generally thought of as a source for history of the pre- and post-war periods, but this session aims to highlight its potential usage for pre-war life and post-war migration and resettlement. Deborah will discuss the structure and content of VHA testimonies of the pre- and post-war periods, as well as show the still photographs which are embedded at the end of most testimonies in the VHA.

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In this lively presentation Lesléa Newman, the 2020 Sydney Taylor Body of Work Award Winner, will discuss how her early childhood and books she read growing up inspired her to write children’s books with Jewish themes including Remember That, A Sweet Passover, and Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story.

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Meet the Sydney Taylor Honor Award winners, including Lesléa Newman & Amy June Bates (Gittel’s Journey), Debbie Levy (The Key from Spain), Andrew Maraniss (Games of Deception), Sofiya Pasternack (Anya and the Dragon), and Victoria Ortiz (Dissenter on the Bench), and hear from the committee members (Rebecca Levitan, Rena Citrin, Shoshana Flax, Marjorie Ingall, Sylvie Shaffer & Rivka Yerushalmi) about their favorite books of the year.

How can you keep up with all the Jewish fiction published in a year? Come hear from the members of the AJL Fiction Award committee (Rosalind Reisner, Merrily Hart, Rachel Kamin, Laura Schutzman & Sheryl Stahl) and meet the 2020 AJL Fiction Award Winner Goldie Goldbloom, author of On Division and Julie Orringer, Honor Award Winner, for The Flight Portfolio.

Do you lead a Jewish book club? Join Lisa Silverman Silverman and Rachel Kamin to discuss best practices, share your tried & true book club favorites, and learn about new resources to enhance your discussions.

Both libraries and museums collect items to preserve the historical record. The missions overlap, but the theory of collection building differs. This presentation will discuss collecting and developing rules for entering unconventional items into the catalog.

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When and how was the Hebrew collection of the British Library formed? Who were the individuals who contributed to its genesis and evolution? What about current developments and how has the Hebrew collection benefited from technological advances? These are key points that will be addressed in this PowerPoint presentation.

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Join AJL President Dina Herbert and President-Elect Kathy Bloomfield to check-in, support one another during this turbulent time, and continue “Staying Connected.” Make sure to participate in our "Best Zoom Background" contest!

Representatives from the Israel and Judaica Section of the Library of Congress will discuss a variety of acquisitions and cataloging matters, including new and recent classification numbers and subject headings, highlights of IJ Section cataloging practice, developments in serials cataloging and processing, and general Library of Congress news.

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Join Rachel Kamin and the members of the AJL Fiction Award Committee for a discussion of the 2020 award winner, On Division by Goldie Goldbloom. Participants are encouraged to read the book ahead of time but all are welcome.

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The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) impacted the global Jewish community in ways that were perhaps unique. Throughout the world, librarians, archivists and historians began collecting artifacts (both digital and physical) that documented this experience. This talk will address some of the discussions that surrounded these collecting endeavors, as well as the challenges of archival collection in the face of pandemic.

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Due to historical factors, research on historical Jewish communities usually requires consulting libraries and archives in multiple countries. Archival dispersion is due to traumatic events, such as expulsions or wars; family ties or commerce; but also to political conditions. This presentation will focus on the Sephardic Jewish communities in the Caribbean. Due to colonialism, many records of these communities were displaced from their originating countries to imperial centers. Other records exist in the US and Israel. Today, this physical dispersion is complicated by the digital.

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The Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress provides cartographic and geographic information for all parts of the globe. It has custody of one of the largest cartographic collections in the world. What started as a collection of 47,000 maps in 1897 has grown to over five million maps, which includes a sizable number of maps in Hebrew and on the Jewish world. This presentation will highlight this collection, focusing on the Hebrew language maps and Judaica maps and a nod to some of the unique maps to pique your interest.

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Explore the Jewish content in comic books with podcast hosts Brandon Bernstein & Henry Bernstein who make the case that superhero comics are an excellent avenue to get young people to read, as well as an untapped tool to explore Jewish identity in a positive, thought-provoking and inclusive way.

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Join experts Aviva Brown, Joni Sussman (Kar-Ben Publishing), and Esme Raji Codell (librarian/author/blogger) to discuss issues of diversity within modern children's literature: why it's important, how it is being achieved, who can/should write it, and how Jewish kidlit fits in.

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Plan to celebrate the end of the conference with a super fun, interactive Brain Bash Trivia event! Host Jeremy Cahnmann has been quizzing audiences all over the country for more than a decade and is cooking up some special AJL and library-related questions, along with lots of other stuff you know or don’t even realize you know! There will be prizes! Bring your own beverage and/or munchies and encourage all of your AJL friends to join the fun.

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In 2012, the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest (JHSUM) made the decision to gift their entire archival collection, amassed over nearly thirty years, to the University of Minnesota. The creation of the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives (UMJA) marked a second act for the collection. Placed within a research university setting amongst other nationally recognized collections, UMJA is now more accessible and visible to academic scholars. But what about the community that built it?

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This presentation explores questions around Jewish archival collections and the role of secular institutions in providing stewardship to these materials and histories. Three Kentucky archivists discuss the goals, rationale and impact of Jewish collecting initiatives at their respective universities and historical societies. Each case study demonstrates ways in which Kentucky Jewish history has been gaining both a pragmatic and ideologically rightful place in area repositories and, as a result, illustrating the interplay between Jewish and secular local history.

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Jewish materials present a challenge due to the number of languages involved, Hebrew, German, and Yiddish to name a few, some of which may be unfamiliar to the cataloger. However, catalogers can learn to work with materials in unfamiliar languages with a few tips and tools. Attendees will learn: to identify quality MARC records in OCLC in non-English languages; to correctly code language fields in RDA; ways to engage with volunteers with language skills to assist in cataloging; and to identify Library of Congress standards for non-English records.

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Librarians, teachers, and administrators in day schools, community centers, and synagogues will explore the benefits of integrating modern Jewish literature at the middle and high school level. We will look at stories and poems that invite students to ask big questions and join in a global conversation about Jewish and human struggles. The focus will be on how librarians can support making modern Jewish literature an integral part of school culture, and on generating ideas for fruitful collaborations between librarians and teachers.

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Being a Jewish librarian at a secular institution can present special challenges and rewards. Learn from four librarians in the field who work with Jewish communities of varying sizes and find out about their experiences. The panel will represent both public and school libraries. Lessons from both Jewish institutions and secular organizations will be discussed.

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In this session, we will hear from the winners of AJL’s Reference and Bibliography Awards. William Gross’s Catalog of Catalogs is a monumental work that brings together untapped source material that will be of interest to scholars of Judaica, Jewish art, social life and customs, liturgical

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Important collections of Judaica span the globe. In this session, we will learn about libraries in Israel, Russia, and Budapest.

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Since the first decade of the Alliance israélite universelle in 1860, the library has been part of its project for protecting the Jews worldwide through culture and education. The specialized library has an important heritage of books, manuscripts and newspapers, mainly regarding French and Oriental Jewries. Severely impacted by the Nazis and the Soviets during and after WWII, the AIU is developing a rich digital library. Its archives are invaluable resources for the history of the Jews in the Maghrib, Balkans, and Middle East in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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This session will detail how Jewish values have been integrated into the digital citizenship curriculum at a K-8 school, particularly in grades 3-5. At Rashi, our core values of Kehillah, Limud, Ruach, Tzedek, and Kavod guide our behavior. As the network is an extension of the school, our school-wide Derech Eretz policy applies to the use of our school computers and other electronic devices. Digital citizenship lessons are often framed in a Jewish context as we teach how to use the internet safely and respectfully.

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Meet the Sydney Taylor Book Award winners Sue Macy & Stacy Innerst (The Book Rescuer), R.J. Palacio (White Bird), and Rachel DeWoskin (Someday We Will Fly).

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An informative program with blogger and speaker Lauren Margolin (the Good Book Fairy) and educator & author Liza Wiemer about what it takes to become a trusted reviewer readers can rely upon, what it means to be an influencer, the unique environment for interactions between reviewers, readers, and authors and how social media can have positive impact on the books authors write.

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The Sephardic Studies Digital Collection is emerging as the largest repository of Ladino texts written by Sepharadim. While most of the collection is sourced from Seattle community members, they are exploring partnerships with Harvard, the National Library of Israel, and other private collections worldwide to consolidate scattered repositories. Pre-existing metadata for Ladino books is inconsistent for a number of reasons; current bibliographies cannot talk to each other and must be unified. Library standards often do not account for important data pertaining to Ladino books.

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This presentation will cover updates to cataloging policies and practices, as well as selected highlights of OCLC products and services.

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Established during the 19th century as part of the Public Library Frankfurt am Main and with the support of the local Jewish community, the Judaica Division at the University Library Frankfurt am Main is today the largest Hebraica and Judaica collection in Germany with ca. 250,000 titles, including 65,000 Hebraica. For more than twenty years, the Judaica division is involved in various digital projects, drawing on its own collection and in close collaboration with partners in Germany and beyond.

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Ets Haim was founded in 1616 and is the oldest active Jewish library in the world. The core of the collection are the books of the school that was part of the Portuguese congregation. It was established when the conversos who came from the Iberian Peninsula to Amsterdam were in need of Jewish education. In 1889, the private collection of the librarian of Ets Haim, David Montezinos was added. Today Ets Haim holds about 600 manuscripts and 23,000 printed books mainly in Hebrew, Spanish and Portuguese.

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The digital world has impacted research in important ways. This session will discuss three institutions working to develop projects that have already had, or will have, a great impact on Jewish studies research: The Natural Language Processing Lab at Stern College (Josh Waxman); The Judaica Digital Humanities Project at Penn Libraries (Emily Esten); and the DiJeSt Project at Haifa University (Kepa Rodriguez, Yael Netzer, Sinai Rusenik).

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What makes an excellent picture book for young readers? What are some great picture books of 2019 and 2020? Betsy and Brian will discuss what they look for when choosing books for programs or one-on-one sharing, for best-of-the-year presentations, and for their blog reviews. This energetic, interactive program will celebrate a diverse group of titles. We will provide an extensive list of recommended titles.

Meet other librarians from outside North America in this roundtable session, facilitated by AJL's international liaison, Michael Young.

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Learn how to ensure your organization understands the worth of having a qualified librarian in its library, and how to gain community advocates to support your initiatives. This session will be directed to school, synagogue and center libraries, but can also be applied to other settings. We will start by exploring the AJL Advocacy Toolkit, as well as those from other library associations. Examples of successful collaborations between libraries and Jewish organizations will be discussed and participants can share their own inspiring stories.

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