Judica Library Network of Chicago Newsletter Fall 2000

Fall 2000 Tishrei 5761

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From the editor's desk

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Thanks to Margaret and Eva for reports on the summer meeting and the AJL convention. As most of you know, I am no longer the librarian of Hebrew Theological College. I have not ceased being a librarian, but I have made changes in my professional objectives. Over the past few months I have been studying the field of knowledge management. I discovered the field quite by accident while discussing ideas for a new career with an out-of-town visitor to our shul. I started investigating and discovered that librarians are knowledge managers and I have been a knowledge professional for over than 30 years.

I hope to write some articles to help for business people understand what knowledge is and to demonstrate the professionalism of librarians.

My web site has more on my new venture: http://home.earthlink.net/~ddstuhlman/index.html

Please send news, information, ideas, or articles for future newsletters to :

Daniel "Donnie" Stuhlman, editor
6617 N. Mozart
Chicago, IL 60645
E-mail : DDStuhlman@earthlink.net.

Contents of this issue

  • From the editor's desk
  • Letter from the president
  • Minutes of the Summer Meeting
  • Officers for 2000-2001
  • Association of Jewish Library Convention Summer 2000
  • Fall meeting announcement
  • The Center for Jewish History
  • Are you prepared for a crisis in the library?

    Web site for previous issues: http://people.delphi.com/ddstuhlman\jln-home.htm

    Letter from the President

    Dear Fellow Judaica Librarians,

    Happy New Year. We look forward to a year of interesting meetings in interesting venues and hope you will be attending many, if not all, of our programs. We try to have the meetings in different parts of the Chicago metropolitan area, on different days, and at different times of the day, so that with our varying schedules, we can accommodate as many members as possible.

    We meet to share ideas and news and to work on solutions to problems and issues that arise in Judaica libraries. Our first meeting of the year is a little different, in that we will be introduced to the Rosenberger collection at the University of Chicago (please see directions to and details about the meeting elsewhere in the Newsletter). Since there will also be a business meeting, please send any agenda items to me beforehand. We are delighted that Daniel Stuhlman is continuing to edit this Newsletter, though he is no longer associated with a library. He needs material for the Newsletter from us. Please seriously consider writing for the Newsletter. The articles may be short and on any Judaica topic of interest to librarians. Please feel free to contact me at any time. I look forward to seeing you at the University of Chicago meeting.

    Eva Eisenstein

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    Minutes of the Summer Meeting
    Thursday, July 19, 2000

    The summer meeting took place on July 19th at the home of Judy Weintraub, Skokie, IL.

    The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m. by Eva Eisenstein, Vice-President. President Robbin Katzin was unable to attend due to illness. Eva thanked Judy Weintraub for hosting. There was no reading of minutes or treasurer's report, as the recording secretary and treasurer were not able to attend.

    Those present who had attended the May meeting reported that they enjoyed a program on videos, and discussed the newsletter and plans for the directory of members.

    Since a quorum of members was present, the election of the coming year's officers was held. The slate proposed by the Nominating Committee was elected unanimously. Daniel Stuhlman also agreed to continue as newsletter editor. He asked that members submit articles and news since we cannot have a newsletter without them. Eva thanked the Nominating Committee (Margaret Burka, Shoshanah Seidman, Judy Weintraub and Nira Wolfe). She also thanked Robbin Katzin for serving as last year's president.

    There was discussion of the recent Association of Jewish Libraries National Convention in Washington, D.C. Judy Weintraub, Shoshanah Seidman, Eva Eisenstein, Nancy Sack and Margaret Burka spoke of their impressions of the convention and passed around bibliographies and other convention information.

    It was mentioned that Shoshanah, Nancy and Cheryl Banks are again on the National Board. A suggestion was made that we use the local press more to publicize our meetings and the convention, e.g. an article on the convention could be sent to the Pioneer Press. Those who attended were asked to submit articles to our news-letter. Everyone was encouraged to attend next year's convention in San Diego.

    Daniel Stuhlman and Shoshanah Seidman also reported on the ALA Convention, which they had attended.

    Shoshanah said she would begin work on a new membership directory for JLN after October.

    Meetings and programs for the next year were proposed: Cheryl Banks had expressed willingness to do a program. A member whose family donated a special collection at University of Chicago (Rosenberg) had shown interest in hosting a meeting. We will see if this could be done Nov. 14 or 16, or 7 or 9. Shoshanah offered to check on this. It was proposed to have a meeting Sunday Feb. 4, 2001 or around then, possibly in Naperville; Eva will check on this. A suggested theme was: "What do we want from our chapter?". The May meeting might be at Beth Emet in Evanston, on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, the 8,9,10 or 15,16 or 17 - Rosalind Shlaes will check on this.

    The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 noon. Respectfully submitted - Margaret Burka
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    Officers for 2000-2001
    President Eva Eisenstein                        eva@sholomchicago.org
    Vice-President Rena Citrin                       Rcitrin@ansheemet.org
    Treasurer Judy Kupchan                           yentefaige@aol.com
    Recording Secretary Marcie Eskin       Bethillel@aol.com
    Corresponding SecretaryJoy Kingsolver (with Kathy Bloch).
    Kbloch@spertus.edu, jkingsol@spertus.edu

    Newsletter editor Daniel Stuhlman         ddstuhlman@earthlink.net
    Past-President Robbin Katzin                 rkatzin@avenew.com

    Association of Jewish Library Convention Summer 2000

    by Margaret Burka

    It was my pleasure to attend the Association of Jewish Libraries National Convention this past June, In Washington, D.C. Going to a convention can be a wonderful opportunity to meet people or visit with those you have met before, enjoy delicious meals and fun entertainment, take in the sights of the area, etc. But it is first and foremost an opportunity to exchange ideas with others in the profession, and to gain new knowledge that will be of value to your libraries' patrons.

    At Convention 2000, I attended several educational sessions, which were all of interest to me, and which gave me ideas for use this year and in future in my temple library.

    The most useful session to me was the double session on ideas for library programs in synagogues. Some ideas for children's programming which I found intriguing included:

    1) "Vidrash - Visual Images Documenting & Relating to Ancient Scriptures in Harmony" - a different and creative way of studying the Hebrew text.

    Instructions included: "Choose one of your favorite photos on any subject. Then look in the Bible, Machzor (High Holiday prayer book), Siddur (daily prayer book), a book of Jewish quotations or a book of poetry. Find a line or two that works just right with the visual content of each of your photos. Mount your pictures, add your captions and submit to the library for display." The students in the religious school were all encouraged to participate, and the results were, as the presenter put it, by turns "moving, thought-provoking, even funny."

    2) One synagogue religious school had an annual theme (e.g. "Shalom"), and the librarian spoke on ways she incorporated this theme throughout the year in library programs for children, for example compiling bibliographies for different grade levels of books concerning the theme, or simply encouraging the children to give reports on books of their choosing, in which they could describe how they thought the book related to the theme.

    3) Holding a Tzedakah Read-a-Thon: the children in the school were encouraged to ask family and friends to donate toward their reading of a certain number of books, the money to be given to a charity of the child's choice. The Read-a-Thon winners were given a prize (new books or some-thing similar), and were recognized at a family service as well as being mentioned in the synagogue newsletter.

    4) A Race to Read Good Books contest in which students competed to answer questions, the answers to be found in certain books, within a certain period. This could be done individually or in teams. It is also helpful in teaching children how to use an on-line catalog or card catalog.

    5) An evening "Read-In," tied in with the Book Fair. During Jewish Book Month, have the children and parents come in with something to read, and have a light supper for them (pizza, e.g.). Have a short "quiet reading time," maybe twenty minutes, after supper. Then everyone adjourns to the Book Fair, to (hopefully) purchase lots of new books or other materials, the proceeds to benefit the library.

    6) To encourage Hebrew literacy, occasionally have a story time in which the librarian or interested parents read a story in Hebrew to the class, after which the students may check out only Hebrew materials.

    Although most of the ideas in the session were geared to children, there were also a few for adult users of temple libraries that I liked. Among them were:

    1) Having a special Jewish Book Month Shabbat to promote Jewish learning and appreciation of the library. Suggested activities included inviting a speaker such as, a local author, have the library staff do a presentation on a particular subject, using materials to be found in the synagogue library, recognizing congregants who have made donations to the library over the year, and recognizing those who work and/or volunteer in the library.

    2) If the temple is celebrating a special anniversary year, compile a bibliography of books or other materials, the same number as the anniversary year -, e.g. The 50 Best Books in the Synagogue Library for a 50th anniversary. Make the bibliography available to members and to the community.

    3) A bibliography of Jewish historical fiction was passed out - the presenters discussed each book, and pointed out that by reading them all, a person who enjoys historical fiction would gain a good understanding of Jewish history from Biblical times to the present.

    Other sessions that I attended were:

    • 2) Women and Jewish Spirituality - the speakers were excellent, and many books were mentioned which could be of value to the synagogue collection.
    • 3) The Library as a Resource for Our Musical Heritage - a discussion of books, CD's and tapes of all types of Jewish music.
    • 4) The Challenge of Translating Hebrew Poetry - this session I found personally fascinating because I like poetry and languages.
    • 5) Acquisitions Issues in Judaica in the Library of Congress - many sessions I attended were held in the Library of Congress, which is of course an amazing place.

    Because I learned so much at the Convention, I would certainly recommend that any Judaica librarian attend future ones if possible! If you would like to learn more about some of the sessions I mentioned above, please contact me.

    Margaret Burka, librarian,
    Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism Highland Park IL 60035
    mburkalib@aol.com 847-432-7950 (W)

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    Fall Meeting
    The Judaica Library Network of Metropolitan Chicago
    Thursday, November 9, 2000
    10:30 A.M.

    Regenstein Library, University of Chicago
    1100 E. 57th St. Chicago

    Our hosts will be Mrs. Irmgard Rosenberger and Shoshanah Seidman. We will start at 10:30 with a presentation by Special Collections Curator, Alice Schreyer in the Special Collections area. This will be followed by a short business meeting. Shoshanah will be happy to lead a tour for those who are interested in seeing more of the library. We will then be the guests of Mrs. Rosenberger at the Quadrangle Club across the street for a fruit plate lunch.

    It is important to know how many people are planning to attend, Please RSVP to: Rena Citrin by October 31 at R.Citrin@bzaeds.starship.com or 773.281.1858 x227

    The Center for Jewish History
    by Daniel D. Stuhlman

    During the Labor Day weekend preparing for my new venture, I was in New York. I visited the new Center for Jewish History on West 17th Street in Manhattan. The building actually has entrances on both 16th and 17th streets. This new building is just opening to the public this September. The Center is joint effort of YIVO, the Leo Baeck Institute, the American Jewish Historical Society, the American Sephardic Federation and the Yeshiva University Museum. These organizations have performed a great service for students and scholars of Judaica by pulling their resources to form one organization. The logistical problems to move the library collections were daunting. The American Jewish Historical Society was previously housed on the campus of Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. The other institutions were in New York City. These institutions have different roots and missions, but they share a mission to save and preserve the history in order to educate future generations. To find out more visit their joint web site www.centerforjewishhistory. com/log2.htm. This site has links to each of the constituent organizations. One of their joint missions is to act as a resource for the study of Jewish genealogy. They will shortly have a computer system in operation to help researchers find the information in any of the constituent libraries. The libraries share a reading room.

    While all four institutions want to help preserve the Jewish past, they complement each other rather than overlap. YIVO seeks to collect materials in Yiddish and about Jews from Yiddish speaking countries; the Leo Baeck Institute collects materials concerning central European and German speaking Jewry; and the American Jewish Historical Society collects materials about the United States. For current materials published in the United States all three libraries may want to purchase them; but for ephemera, manuscripts, and archival materials they would logically go to one institution based on their collection development policy.

    YIVO (Yidisher Visenshaftlikher Institut) = Institute for Jewish Research

    YIVO was founded at a conference that took place in Berlin, August 7-12, 1925. (A fuller story can be found in the Encyclopedia Judaica v. 16.) Vilna was selected as its center and YIVO reached its peak in 1935 when they held a conference attended by leading scholars from the world's Yiddish speaking communities. By 1940 when the Nazis occupied Vilna, YIVO's library had amassed more than 100,000 volumes and more than 100,000 manuscripts and archival items. About 50% of these items survived the Holocaust and were sent with the help of the U.S. Army and State Department to the New York headquarters. YIVO's Library is dedicated to collection, preservation, and study of Eastern European Jewish culture and the places to where Eastern European Jewry immigrated. Today, the collection contains more than 300,000 printed volumes and more than 500,000 non-book items and includes religious and secular materials that mirror Jewish life in those countries.

    The Vilna Collection is part of the core collection of the YIVO Library. The Vilna collection includes more than 20,000 books from the Mattityahu Strashun Library. (The other surviving Strashun Library books are now part of the Jewish National Library at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.) This collection of rabbinica (mostly in Hebrew) that belonged to the Strashun Library was cataloged on cards during the 1960's by the late Rabbi Hayim Lieberman.

    Mattityahu Strashun, 1819-1885, was a talmudical scholar born in Vilna. His family was well-to-do and he married the eldest daughter of the wealthy. Joseph Elijah Eliasberg. He had an extensive knowledge of philosophy, history and astronomy beyond his Jewish scholarship. He was a Jewish communal leader and was appointed to the Vilna city council. The oldest books in the collection date to the early 16th century. Since he died childless, he willed his collection of 5,700 books, many with his marginal annotations, to the Jewish community of Vilna. In addition, he left money for a building and maintaining the collection. The first director of the library was Samuel Strashun, his nephew. The collection was kept current. In 1928 the library started collecting every book published in Poland in Hebrew or Yiddish. By 1939 the library contained more than 35,000 volumes and included 150 manuscripts and five incanabula.

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    Are you prepared for a crisis in the library? From the 2000 AJL Convention
    by Eva Eisenstein

    There were many excellent presentations at the 2000 AJL annual convention, but the only one that aroused a degree of anxiety was that of Poshi Mikalson's on dealing with the fire-bombing of the library at Congregation B'nai Israel in Sacramento, California. She gave a brief, but eloquent and moving history of the aftermath of the event, covering the psychological, logistical, and public relations (including national television) aspects. More important, for the benefit of her listeners, she gave an outline of what we can do now to help minimize the devastating effects of a library disaster (fire, flood, earthquakes, tornado). Of course, no one is ever "prepared" for a disaster, but one can try to minimize the damage by investing time in preventive actions, such as those Poshi provided on a checklist. She asks questions such as:

    1) Has your library collection been professionally evaluated for insurance purposes?

    2) Is your collection adequately insured?

    3) Do you keep a backup/copy of your online/offline catalog/shelf list offsite?

    These are questions we prefer not to think about, but we should. If anyone is interested in a copy of her complete checklist, please contact me.

    AJL 2001 Convention

    The San Diego/Tijuana Chapter of AJL invites you to attend the 2001 AJL Convention: "A Tale of Two Cities." It will take place from June 24-27, 2001 at the La Jolla Marriott. Make your plans now.

    If you have any thoughts on programming, places to visit in San Diego, or any other general information you think might help in making Convention 2001 an unforgettable experience, please contact us by email.

    Barbara Sutton & Nomi Levy
    barbaras@lfjcc.com nlevy@hebrewday.org
    Co-chairs AJL Convention 2001

    Next issue: Spertus Institute gets Aleph

    The Asher Library is planning web access to over 100,000 items in their collection. Watch this space for the full story.

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    Last revised Oct. 04, 2001