Librarian's Lobby
by Daniel D. Stuhlman
September 1999

In the News

Two young men making news in the world of Jewish art. Benny Goldstein, an HTC student and David Cheplowtiz, an HTC graduate, are selling pictures made by micro-calligraphy. Micro-calligraphy1 uses words to form shapes. An article on their work appears in the Fall 1999 issue of Jewish Image (pages 34-37).

The Jewish Observer, September issue (vol. 32:7, pages 33-37) has an article by Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Meisels that was edited, translated and prepared for publication by faculty member, Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer. Rabbi Meisels, the Veitzener Rav, arrived in Chicago after World War II. The Veitzener Cheder is named in his honor. In this article, the first in a projected series, Rabbi Meisels describes Rosh HaShana 1944, while in the very difficult conditions of Auschwitz.

The September 3 issue of The Forward featured an interview with Rabbi Zev Shandalov, the new rabbi of Kehilath Jacob Beth Samuel (KJBS) and a new CRC member. Rabbi Shandalov talks about being the rabbi of the congregation where he grew up. This position was a fulfillment of a dream. Having his parents and siblings as members presents interesting challenges and opportunities. He never applied for a rabbinic position at any other congregation. Rabbi Shandalov is a musmach of HTC and a frequent Library user.

We are still working on the rabbinic history project. The Library received another question last week that could have been answered quickly if we had more curriculum vitae from rabbis. This is a community project. The question came from a researcher who wanted to verify the first name of a rabbi who served the community in the 1930's. She knew his last name but was not sure of his first name or the name of the congregation he served.

Recent Donations

In the past two months the Library has received gifts of over 2500 books. Over 2100 came from the collection of Rabbi Oscar Z. Fasman, former HTC President and a rabbi in our community for over fifty years. Rabbi Fasman moved to Los Angeles. His collection included a wide range of books including Rabbinics (halacha, Talmud, etc.), Jewish history, Jewish literature, and Bible. Included in his collection were some year books from the then Chicago Jewish Academy. In the 1946 year book was a picture of the ten member Academy Library Club. They were proud that their library had 850 books. Times have changed. Our Library processed over 1200 books in the past three months.

A second collection came from Abraham Zeigman, an Evanston resident who loved learning in Hebrew. He had some interesting Hebrew curiosities. For example: a translation into Hebrew of a college physics book from 1951, Hebrew translations of Latin classics, and an Encyclopedia Hebraica.

The family of Meyer Shisler of Skokie gave us many audio disks. Some of them are on display as part of the Jewish music exhibit. Many of the disks were recorded by famous hazanim.

The last collection received this summer was from Jack Feiger. He donated to the Library approximately 250 books. The gift included a leather bound set of Talmud from 1870. The collection included many familiar books and many that we will add to our collections.

The Library will spend a long time trying to assimilate these collections. Some of the duplicates in the subject of halaha and Rabbinics are being given to the CRC. The Library has over 900 books for sale. They are being offered at bargain prices.

Benny Goldstein

Benny has been working on art work with Jewish themes since he was a teenager. Hebrew letters fascinated him so much that at age 16 he became a certified sofer. He has been showing me his art work for over a year. I helped him learn about the publishing trade and gave him advice about getting his art work published. He now has both Jewish and American themed works for sale. His Bet Ha-Mikdash picture contains all the words of Rambam's Hilkhot Beit Mikdash. It is truly an amazing combination of words made into pictures. The picture with gold leaf printing is already hanging in several synagogues. The picture is on temporary display in the Library. This is not an advertisement because he is willing to give some pictures to synagogues in exchange for publicity.

Benny is a great example of someone who is learning and thinking about how he can share his talent with the world. That is: Torah im derekh erets.

Since he still learns at HTC, he is available by appointment only.2 Call him at ChepNachas Studios, 773-761-8214.

International Dateline

Recently some of the faculty members had a discussion over lunch about the international dateline and implications for Shabbat observance. Rabbi Dovid Heber, Kashrus administrator of the Star-K has an article. "A Traveler's Guide to the International Dateline," in the Fall 1999 issue of the Young Israel Viewpoint (pages 61-64). In today's global market many food ingredients such as flavors, preservatives, and conditioners are produced in kosher supervised plants China, Japan, India, and Korea. Much manufactoring of toys and computers components for the American markets is done in the Far East. When a mashgiach, business person, or tourist travels to the Far East or South Pacific, certain Halachic issues concerning counting the omer, Hanukah candles, tefilah and Shabbat face the traveler. Since the poskim have differing opinions, Rabbi Heber recommends that one should consult with a Rav when spending a Shabbat in Japan or New Zealand. In the summer of 1894 the Rav of Melbourne, Avraham Abir Hirschwitz, traveled by ship from Sydney to San Francisco. The details of his trip and halakhic rulings were published in 1908. Little did he know that 100 years later Jews would travel this route on a regular basis.

1. Micro-calligraphy is a very old art form. I have seen a Bible manuscript from the middle ages with pages decorated with words. The decorations are mostly segments of circles and ovals making something like a floral design. The Library has a copy of a very famous picture of Theodore Herzl done in micro-calligraphy.

2. As of 2003 Benny is working full time as a scribe and calligrapher. Visit his web site.

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 8, 2003