Saranit Goes to Washington

NEAJL

Sara with Jim Rosenbloom of Brandeis’ Goldfarb Library. Part of NEAJL chapter represented at the conference

The 2015 conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries was number 50 for the organization, and I was happy to be a part of it! Our sessions included lectures by unique authors and children’s illustrators, subject experts from research institutions, and workshops on unique topics.

Dr. Monika Schreiber from the Judaica Library at the University of Vienna spoke on a panel about a special reparations project she is working on. She and her colleagues at the library have been performing autopsies on thousands of books that are suspected to have been looted by the Nazis in World War II, searching for clues to the identity of the rightful owners.

Panel Members

Left to right: Moderator Lyudmila Sholokhova, Olga Potap, Dr. Monika Schreiber, and Ellen Cassedy

Through this program, they have successfully found many such victims and their descendants, reuniting them with their families’ stolen collections.

I also enjoyed learning about the projects protecting the history of Jewish communities in previously settled areas of South Africa, Cape Verde, and Sudan, as well as the library programs helping the Jewish population of Argentina thrive today.

Library of Congress

Sara stretching the limits of the young readers section, Library of Congress

We explored Washington DC in the context of library and information science, thanks to our gracious hosts at the Library of Congress and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I was able to speak with a rare book curator at the museum to get some ideas for preserving and cataloging older items in our new special collection at Temple Israel. They have an amazing collection of literature, archives, and reference material that together tell the stories of genocide victims worldwide.

I am thrilled to finally put faces to some of the librarians I have been communicating with online. I shared stories with librarians of many backgrounds, who are accomplishing amazing things in their everyday work lives. This conference was a wonderful experience, and I look forward to participating next year for 51.

Life of the Synagogue Exhibit

Screenshot of the Life of the Synagogue homepage. Items from the William A. Rosenthall Judaica Collection

Screenshot of the Life of the Synagogue homepage. Items from the William A. Rosenthall Judaica Collection

About the exhibit: Contains 76 items selected from the William A. Rosenthall Judaica Collection at the College of Charleston, one of the largest accessible collections of imagery related to synagogues and other aspects of Jewish life and culture around the world. Click on the image to visit the online collection!

New York Judaica Auction

Miniature illuminated manuscript on vellum. Germany, 1745. Page with blessings in Hebrew, with print of a woman holding a book. Rainbow overhead and a tree and castle on either side.

Miniature illuminated manuscript on vellum. Germany, 1745.

New York Judaica Auction March 19th. Our library is in the midst of planning a rare book display– some of these amazing items are on our wish list! Consider planned giving to our library so we may expand our collection. Ask Sara for details or donate a single time through the Temple Website. Please specify the funds are for the library!

7000th item added to the collection!

Debbie Friedman landed a spot as the 7000th item in the Nancy Mae Shaines Memorial Library catalog today. Good way to end a great year here at the library! Come check out our newly acquired books, music, and movies, including JGuys Guide: GPS for the Jewish Teen, and the graphic novels Rabbi Harvey Rides Again and Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite. 

Happy New Year!

Screenshot of catalog entry number 7000

Debbie Friedman landed a spot as the 7000th item in the Nancy Mae Shaines Memorial Library catalog.

Limmud Boston 2014

Everyone this year seemed up for meeting new people, one seeking more info on the gorgeous necklace a stranger is wearing and another offering his place in the coffee line to someone who looked like they needed a more immediate fix.

Attendees really stopped to help each other and chat– I suppose this should not be news, but after last year’s experience it was refreshing. It’s a relief to see the Jewish community in Greater Boston showing their solidarity in learning and journey to understanding.

Some of the goodies I picked up for the library are 3 cds that showcase the performers in the Boston Jewish Music Festival the past few years. Performers will also be showing up in New Hampshire! Keep an eye out for events in Nashua, Manchester, and the Klezmatics at the Portsmouth Music Hall in March.

Click here for the Boston Jewish Music Festival Website and schedule

Hear-O-Israel CD cover, Boston Jewish Music Festival

Hear-O-Israel, Boston Jewish Music Festival

May Doorpost Column

 Nancy Mae Shaines Memorial Library

Sara Lesley Arnold, librarian


The library has seen a lot of action the past few months, with the religious school’s HaSefer Basakit (book-in-a-bag) program thriving and lots of new books and DVDs coming in. Sara and the library committee have been continually finding ways to better your library experience and have seen great results. The congregation’s regular support for the library has helped increase circulation by 75% this last year! Please continue to give us feedback to help us serve you better.

The book Bagels From Benny by Aubrey Davis sparked some complex thinking by our first grade class recently. In the story, a boy named Benny leaves bagels in the ark as a thank you to Gd, ultimately finding out that he is inadvertently feeding an impoverished man stricken with hunger. With guidance from his grandfather, he learns that helping others is the best way to thank Gd.

Bagels From Benny Cover art

Bagels From Benny by Aubrey Davis

The wonderful, thoughtful children listening intently to the story began to ask questions… How did Gd make us? How did Gd make the planets? What does Gd look like? We discussed how important it is to continue to ask such questions, and that we will find some answers and ask more questions with each book we read.

New Books Display

New Books Display

Incoming titles for us older folks include the following: My Promised Land, This is Where I Leave You, The Book Thief on DVD, The Story of the Jews vol. 1, Countrymen, and Monuments Men. In case you missed some of the movies shown at the New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival, you will soon be able to borrow some of the titles at the temple library. Keep an eye on Sara’s librarian blog for other interesting resources and stories– https://saranit.wordpress.com and contact her with questions and requests at librarian@templeisraelnh.org.

 

Dead Sea Scrolls in Boston

The library’s recent trip to view the Dead Sea Scrolls at Boston’s Museum of Science was a great success! We had more than 40 community members come together to explore our heritage and history, looking at artifacts ranging from 408 BCE to 318 CE. The low humidity and low light in caves in Qumran, near the Dead Sea, helped preserve these works of psalms, manuscripts, and biblical text for us to view thousands of years later.

The exhibit provided the original documents, with a blown-up copy to view more closely, along with a translation and contextual explanation. I highly recommend visiting– some of the items have never before come to North America!

Congregation members viewing artifacts

Congregation members viewing artifacts


To continue our Jewish heritage exploration, we then stopped over in Brookline to eat and shop at Jewish establishments along Harvard Street. Many of us visited Zaftigs Delicatessen, the Israel Book Shop, and Kolbo Fine Judaica Gallery, where we browsed for treasures and looked for inspiration. It was amazing to walk down a street with my son, seeing Hebrew on each awning, Stars of David in each window, and religious men straightening up after kids on the school playground.

HaSefer B’Sakit

Before my arrival, Al and Diane instituted “Sefer Basakeet” in conjunction with the K-2 classes in the temple Hebrew school– an awesome program that translates as “Book in a Bag.” This monthly activity brings the children into the library for a story read aloud and an activity sheet reinforcing comprehension of the story, through character analysis etc.

The best part? The kids bring along their Sefer Basakit tote bags, choosing one themed library book to take home with them until the next month’s event. It’s pretty darn fun, and I’m psyched that these kids get the chance to develop an attachment to the temple library in this manner. As Al mentioned, it doesn’t often occur to the adults of the congregation that they may get Judaica and other Jew-ish materials for free at our library. I hope these children gain a sense of nostalgia from their experiences here.

The theme for the upcoming Sefer Basakit is Purim of course! The kids will be able to choose from books laid out on a large table. We have quite the selection… I’m impressed 🙂

Well there’s a new kid in town…

It’s me!

This week I began work at the Nancy Mae Shaines Memorial Library at Temple Israel in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I am learning the ropes from Al, Meryl, and Diane, congregation members who have been holding down the fort since the previous librarian retired about a year ago.

I LOVE it here already. Very impressed with the serious renovations that took place since I lived here as a child. Looking forward to learning the Elazar classification system for Judaica, getting to know the Hebrew school children and members if the congregation, and getting in my first major bout with acquisitions and cataloging.

Looking forward to sharing my experiences with you… there doesn’t seem to be many resources out there on the interweb with info on cataloging in Elazar, so I’ll put up updates as I progress! …with the Elazar family’s blessing of course.

p.s. Safranit is Hebrew for librarian. Like what I did there? Ha!