Librarian's Lobby
Daniel D. Stuhlman
January 1999

[Note: This month's column was not published in the News and Views of the CRC because they published early and I missed the deadline. Some of the material may be repeated in the February article. Since the information is timely I decided to publish this edition now.]

Jewish Music Exhibit "Songs of Our People"

The long promised Jewish music exhibit, "Songs of Our People" is finally ready. The exhibit features books and records with examples of four kinds of Jewish music : Israeli, Hasidic, Yiddish, and hazanut. Tape recordings from Hazzanim Moshe Koussevitsky and Josef Rosenblatt may be heard as part of the exhibit. Many of the records are from a recent gift from the Shisler Family.

The exhibit is in the display cases in the Library reading room The exhibit is viewable whenever the Library is open.

New History Project

A few weeks ago the Library received a call from a professor of history doing research on the Jewish community in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was preparing a local history on the occasion of the congregation's 100th anniversary. He had information from local records, but was missing information on the rabbi who severed in 1912. He had already checked the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati. They had information on many of the later rabbis, but the rabbi from 1912 was not in their records. The professor knew the name of the rabbi and dates of service, but nothing about his background. Since the rabbi was orthodox, he asked if we had any information. The name was not in any reference book and we have no archival materials on rabbis.

This question brought to mind a query from a CRC rabbi working on a problem with a get. The CRC rabbi wanted to know where the rabbi who married the couple received his simicha. We found the rabbi in question in a reference book. While the source did not list the institutions where he learned, it did list the rabbinic organization the rabbi belonged to. This was enough of a clue for the CRC rabbi.

After talking to several people, we came up with an idea to gather and save information about rabbis. This will be a joint project between the Saul Silber Library, the Chicago Jewish Archives (part of Spertus Institute's Asher Library), the CRC and possibly other organizations. At this time we are working out the details. The two libraries will keep copies of curriculum vitae, resumes, and other bibliographic information that the rabbis may submit. The documents will be cataloged using our library management system. The documents will not be changed or edited by the libraries.

This is a project to save history. Some time in the future when researchers want to know about the rabbi who married their grandparents, or the rabbi of a shul many years earlier, we will have records.

The documents will minimally contain the rabbi's names, city of residence, educational background, and congregations or organizations severed. This project will probably limited to rabbis who are members of a professional rabbinic organization. If the rabbi claims membership, we will include the documents. Privacy will be respected. If the rabbi does not want information shared, then we will restrict access to the file for the time limit requested. After a pilot project we may ask the community to submit documents for deceased and retired rabbis. We seek input from you as to what you think should be preserved and what you are willing to share.

Articles by Hebrew Theological College Faculty

The December issue of the Jewish Observer had two articles by HTC faculty members. Rabbi Ben-Zion Rand wrote on Rabbi Mordecai Rogow and Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer wrote about Chumras.

Rabbi Rand is the editor of Likutei Peshatim Tiferet Asher ,published in 1998. Rabbi Rogow was born in the city of Lipnishok, Lithuania. He studied in yeshivot in Radin and Mirrer. During the war he was the posek for the refugee community in Shanghai. Rabbi Rogow arrived in Chicago in 1946 and became the Rosh HaYeshiva of Bet HaMidrash LaTorah succeeding Rabbi Chaim Korb.

Rabbi Rand spent many hours interviewing Rabbi Rogow's son and of his former students for this article. He frequently quotes in Likutei Peshatim, from Rabbi Rogow's book on Torah, Ateret Mordecai, and is working on an English translation of that book that will introduce another generation to the teachings of Rabbi Rogow.

Rabbi Bechhofer is in charge of the Community Service Division at HTC and the Frumie Noble Kollel. He is also an expert in the Talmud Yerushalmi.

In his article, "Good Chumros? : the big question," Rabbi Bechhofer analyzes what is a chumara and classifies them into four broad categories,

Rabbi Bechhofer recognized that some chumras may be based on sociological issues. Some people may be machmir for some of the "right" motivations and some to enhance one's avodat Hashem.

Daniel D. Stuhlman is president of Stuhlman Management Consultants, Chicago, IL, a firm helping organizations turn data and information into knowledge. We are looking for new clients and opportunities. Visit our web site to learn more about knowledge management and what our firm can do for you. Previous issues of Librarian's Lobby can be found at:

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 ©2003 by Daniel D. Stuhlman. All rights reserved.
Last revised July 7, 2003