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“Why No Matzohs?” Dr. Jacob Birnbaum and the Soviet Jewry Movement

April 7th, 2014 by Libraryblog

Jacob Birnbaum - Isaiah Wall Vigil 4-2-66

Dr. Jacob Birnbaum passed away on April 9, 2014, after this was posted.
May his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

המקום ינחם אותם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

On Passover, Jews celebrate the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. May 1, 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the birth of another Jewish saga of deliverance, the story of Russian Jews. The Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (SSSJ) was born at a student meeting called by Jacob Birnbaum on April 27, 1964. The momentum Birnbaum generated at this gathering culminated a mere four days later in a ”May Day Demonstration” at the Soviet Mission to the United Nations.   This protest, attended by 700 young people carrying handwritten signs with the slogan: “Why no matzohs?” set the pattern for future SSSJ action. Jacob Birnbaum, the founder and creative force behind the SSSJ, unleashed the power of the biblical depiction of the Exodus in the effort to free Jews from the shackles of Soviet Union.  Birnbaum pierced the Iron Curtain by uniting the majesty and awe of Jewish symbols with peaceful, legal, demonstrations and civil rights techniques. This approach galvanized a generation of students, many of them children of Holocaust survivors, determined not to stay silent in the face of oppression of their Jewish brethren.
Yeshiva University awarded Jacob Birnbaum the Mordecai Ben David Award in 1988 and an honorary doctorate in 2007.  The records of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, including correspondence, telegrams, photos, audio recordings and video, are housed at the Yeshiva University Archives. This photo of Dr. Birnbaum at the Pre-Passover All-Night Vigil at the Isaiah Wall at the United Nations on April 2, 1966 is just one of thousands of items in the SSSJ Collection.

Posted by Shulamith Z. Berger

“Where is it?”

March 19th, 2014 by Libraryblog

whereisitHave you ever looked for items in the Library catalog, only to find that one was “available” in Pollack, the next was “in Library use” in the Rare Book Room, the third was “non-circulating” in Gottesman Reference, and the last was “on reserve” in Stern? “Now what,” you asked yourself, “how am I ever going to find these items?” Great news: in the new YULIS catalog, as part of the information for each item (like Library name and call number) you will see a link that says “Where is it?” Click on that link and it will tell you where you should go to find the item.

Posted by Leah Adler.

A Vision of Purim from Breslau, 1765

March 4th, 2014 by Libraryblog

Mordechai-and-HamanMordechai’s ceremonial ride in regal regalia on a royal horse through the town of Shushan, heralded by Haman at the command of King Ahashverosh, marks a turning point in the story of Purim. The scribe Binyamin Ze’ev (Wolff Jacob) ben Elyakum Getsel Kats of Kempen, depicted the scene in a manuscript written in Breslau (Wroclaw) in 1765. The original illumination may be viewed on the fourth floor of the Mendel Gottesman Library. The complete manuscript and its story are available online: http://www.yu.edu/libraries/memorbuch/
Happy Purim!

Posted by Shulamith Z. Berger

NEW “YULIS” LIBRARY CATALOG

February 20th, 2014 by Libraryblog

ChamoThe YU Libraries have just launched an upgraded version of the YULIS catalog.  With its new look and its enhanced functionality, YULIS now more closely resembles web search engines that are familiar to you from your online activities such as shopping and, of course, using the ubiquitous Google.  The YULIS catalog is the most comprehensive source of information about what is provided by the libraries at the Wilf and Beren Campuses, including books and e-books, journals and e-journals, manuscripts, dissertations, audio and video recordings.  Try it at http://yu.edu/libraries (under the Books, etc. tab.)  And if you miss the old YULIS we’ve renamed it the YULIS Classic Catalog and posted the links.  The content is identical in both YULIS versions.

Hebrew Journals

February 5th, 2014 by Libraryblog

meghillot

Yeshiva University Libraries are proud to announce the addition of the JSTOR  Hebrew Journals Collection to our Judaic Studies resources.  Students and faculty at Yeshiva University now have access to important Hebrew journals in Jewish Studies, among them:

Atiqot     עתיקות

Cathedra     קתדרה: לתולדות ארץ ישראל ויישובה

Iyyun       עיון

Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought   מחקרי ירושלים במחשבת ישראל

Jewish Studies   מדעי היהדות

Pe’amim      פעמים  

Sefunot   ספונות

Shenaton Hamishpat Haivri     שנתון המשפט העברי

 

Additional titles in the new collection relate to Israeli  history, politics and general studies.
Yeshiva University Libraries were consulted by JSTOR during the planning phases for its Jewish Studies and Hebrew journals collections.  It is gratifying to see these projects come to fruition and to offer access to our users.

Posted by Zalman Alpert

Responsa On-The-Go

January 3rd, 2014 by Libraryblog

Responsaiphone
You may now access the Responsa Online database on your tablet or smartphone through the Yeshiva University library’s subscription.  To find the new Responsa On-The-Go interface go to Library’s Jewish Studies Databases webpage, click on “Bar Ilan Online Judaic Responsa” and choose עבור לגירסת טבלט .  Then enter the Username and Password you use for off campus access.

All the database categories of the Responsa Project are available through this new interface as are the majority of the Online Responsa website features. These include the Aramaic-Hebrew Dictionary, Abbreviation Dictionary and the Topics Index.

The font and page layout in this format is easy to read and aesthetically appealing and the search and browse functions are accessible and easy to use.

Posted by Moshe Schapiro

DATABASE IN FOCUS: JUDAICA SOUND ARCHIVES at Florida Atlantic University

December 30th, 2013 by Libraryblog

FSA
The Judaica Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University is a collection of digitized Judaica sound recordings found on tapes, CDs and phonograph records. The Archives’ collections include recordings in Yiddish, English and Hebrew as well as several other Judaic languages such as Ladino. The recordings span many different genres, like Chassidic and cantorial music, as well as old comedy routines.

While many of the Archives’ holdings are available to be enjoyed online, due to copyright restrictions, a large percentage of the recordings may only be accessed at Judaica Sound Archives Research Stations, which are listed on the Archives’ website.

The Archives can be searched by performer and genre, as well as by song or album name. The Archives’ website also provides links and useful information for anyone doing research in the area of Jewish music or entertainment.

Posted by Moshe Schapiro

NOVEMBER 22, 2013 – FIFTY YEARS SINCE the ASSASSINATION of PRESIDENT JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY

November 18th, 2013 by Libraryblog

JohnFKenndyandSamuelBelkin1955small

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) was the 35th President of the United States, the youngest person and only Catholic to be elected to that office to date.  While still a Senator from Massachusetts, he met with Dr. Samuel Belkin, president of Yeshiva University, at a dinner celebrating the opening of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1955, and he received the University Award at the Yeshiva University Charter Day Dinner in 1957. Kennedy’s speech upon receiving the Award addressed the “…question of whether the national interest suffers from or is benefited by the relationship between our public policy and ethnic and religious group ties…”  “In short, American freedom is not threatened by American pluralism – it depends on it.”  You may listen to the speech or read a transcript.

JohnFKennedyandMaxEtraCharterDayDinner1957small

Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.  Dr. Belkin sent a telegram of condolence to the White House, and delivered an address, “Profile of Courage” a tribute to John F. Kennedy, at a special convocation of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine on December 1, 1963.

The extended Kennedy family continues its connection with Yeshiva University.  The Rose F. Kennedy University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at Einstein, established in the 1960s, just embarked on a new initiative, a clinical research program to investigate the causes and possible treatments for its patients’ conditions. Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy was the honoree and keynote speaker at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology’s 55th Anniversary Gala in 2012.

Posted by Shulamith Z. Berger

Prominent 19th Century Rabbi’s Correspondence Digitized by Yeshiva University Archives

October 28th, 2013 by Libraryblog

MoraisDocumentation of Jewish religious, communal and intellectual life in the late 19th- early 20th centuries has become more accessible as a result of the digitization of the Henry S. Morais Papers, now available online through Yeshiva University Archives’ Finding Aids database.

Henry Morais (1860-1935), son of the illustrious Jewish leader Sabato Morais, was a rabbi as well as a journalist.  He succeeded his father as minister of Philadelphia’s prominent Congregation Mikve Israel, and also held pulpit positions in New York City, where he settled later in his life.

Morias’ Papers primarily contain his incoming correspondence, which consists of over 2000 items from a broad range of individual and organizational correspondents.  It is one of the Archives’ few collections acquired with the involvement of Yeshiva’s first president, Bernard Revel; in fact the Archives’ Revel Papers contain correspondence between Morais and Revel regarding Morais’ contribution of books and manuscripts to YU’s nascent research library.

The finding aid, or descriptive guide, to the Henry Morais Papers includes a complete name index to the more than 600 correspondents, enhancing access to the materials.  Digital versions of each folder’s contents can be viewed by selecting the link for each folder in the Detailed Description of the Collection section of the finding aid.  Click here to view the finding aid.

The Archives’ Finding Aids database contains over 300 guides to YU’s rich and diverse trove of organizational records and personal papers relating to modern Jewish history and culture in the United States and abroad.  The Morais Papers are the first of future collections to be fully digitized by the Archives.  Materials not digitized may be viewed by appointment with the Archives at archives@yu.edu or (212) 960-5451.

Posted by Deena Schwimmer

The Intellectual History and Rabbinic Culture of Medieval Ashkenaz

October 22nd, 2013 by Libraryblog

IHRCMAThe Intellectual History and Rabbinic Culture of Medieval Ashkenaz, By Ephraim Kanarfogel, Wayne State University Press, 2013 was awarded the Goldstein-Goren prize for Best Book in Jewish Thought, by the International Center for Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University.

For years the assumption of many scholars of Medieval Jewish history was that the Ashkenazic rabbis of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were almost exclusively focused on Talmud and Halacha in contradistinction to their counterparts in Sephardic lands.  This led scholars “to ignore or downplay” the extra-talmudic disciplines within the Medieval Ashkenazic world. Prof.  Ephraim Kanarfogel’s book demonstrates that there were actually wide-ranging and multifaceted intellectual developments within Ashkenaz during this period.  In his analysis of the French and German Tosafists, Kanarfogel highlights the disciplines of biblical exegesis, philosophy, mysticism and poetry.

Rabbi Dr. Kanarfogel is the founding and current director of the Rebecca Ivry Department of Jewish Studies at Stern College for Women and the E. Billi Ivry University Professor of Jewish History, Literature and Law.

Posted by Hallie L Cantor