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 and is open whenever the Library is
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 semicha. We found a
reference to 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 from an earlier era, we will have records.
The documents will minimally contain the rabbi's names, city of residence, educational background,
and congregations or organizations served. This project will probably be 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 HTC Faculty
The December 1998 issue of 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
Rabbi Rand is the editor of Likutei Peshatim and the haggadah Tiferet Asher (published last year).
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 several of his former students
for this article. He frequently quotes Rabbi Rogow's book of Torah commentaries, Ateret Mordecai,
in Likutei Peshatim. Rabbi Rand is working on an English translation of Ateret Mordecai that will
introduce another generation to the teachings of Rabbi Rogow.
Rabbi Bechhofer, has many titles at HTC. He is in charge of the Community Service Division,
Frumie Noble Kollel, and is an expert in the Talmud Yerushalmi. His drashot are available on the
Internet. (http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/6147/) and on tape from the Brandman Tape
In his article, "Good Chumros? : the big question," Rabbi Bechhofer analyzes what is a chumra and
classifies them into four broad categories, 1) Based on halachic issues; 2) Based on ahavat
Hashem; 3) Based on yirat Hashem; 4) Based on separation from the pursuit of material and
physical pleasures. 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.
Mary Heisler, 1903-1999
My grandmother, Mary Heisler, of St. Louis, MO passed away on February 11. Not only did
our family lose a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, but the whole community
lost a beloved matriarch. At her funeral I gave a speech that so many people appreciated,
they asked me for copies of it. I would like to share part of the speech.
Important lessons that I learned from Grandma.
1. Treat people fairly. While in business, she created a partnership with her customers. She
wasn't only selling them what they wanted; she helped them buy what they needed. She
charged fair prices for the service offered.
2. Be a member of the Jewish community and help others. Everyone has something that
they can share with others. No matter how small the help offered, one feels the biggest
when you are able to share. As a community volunteer she helped the shuls other
organizations that she belonged to. She was an example to others. In her later years just
being in shul was an inspiration to the younger members. She was very friendly and
introduced herself to new people and helped them meet some of the regulars. She was so
beloved in the community that everyone wanted her to attend their simha.
3. Family is important. At our family reunion in 1997 she was the oldest surviving member.
She spoke about being happy and proud to have so many family members around her.
Grandma always made holidays and family celebrations special. She always had something
nice to say.
She remembered everyone's birthday and anniversary. She never forgot to acknowledge the
occasion. She always wrote in her letters words such as, "Please dear God let everything go
real good for the [fill in the appropriate time of year]"
4. Be happy. Many people get depressed when something bad or difficult happens.
Grandma always saw the bright side of life. Even when times were difficult or when one of
her close friends or relatives died, she had a positive attitude. "It was God's will."
5. How to cut keys. You may ask why are keys important? Often I went to her store to help.
When we were small, my mother would sometimes drop us at the store so that Grandma
could baby sit for us. Very early in life she gave us an example of how to run a store. She
taught us about the business. She taught us how to help customers. Her method of teaching
was, go ahead you can do it. She allowed us to learn from our mistakes. If the key was not
cut right the first time, we had to fix it. In other words, correct mistakes, don't complain about
6. Carry your weight. When we offered to do things for her, she was always reluctant.
Whenever I gave her a ride, she always offered to "pay for gas." I had mixed feelings
accepting money from her.
7. Learning is important. She encouraged us to always learn.
She was always wishing and praying for our health and happiness. She had great pleasure
in all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. On Sept. 16, 1992 she wrote, "What does a
grandma really want but to see nahas from all her grandchildren?"
©2003 by Daniel D. Stuhlman. All rights reserved.
Librarian's Lobby Judaica Library Network of Metro Chicago Stuhlman Management Consultants Stories by Stuhlman