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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


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

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


December 30th, 2013 by Libraryblog

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 18th, 2013 by Libraryblog


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.


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

Solomon Schechter: A postcard from Cairo

September 30th, 2013 by Libraryblog

Over a century ago, news of the discovery of the Cairo Genizah in Egypt rocked the world of Jewish Studies.  Scholars made pilgrimages to Cairo to study and gather the fragile fragments. Today students of the Genizah are able to sit comfortably at computers and virtually weave together document scraps from repositories all over the world.

Rabbi Solomon Schechter, then a lecturer in Talmud and Rabbinics at Cambridge University, traveled to Cairo in December 1896 to explore the Genizah.  A postcard he penned during his visit to his friend and colleague, Dr. [Marcus] Brann, in Breslau, provides a glimpse of the experience.

The postcard will be on display at Yeshiva University Museum’s exhibit: Threshold to the Sacred: The Ark Door of Cairo’s Ben Ezra Synagogue, from October 28, 2013 to February 23, 2014.

Here is the Hebrew postcard, held by Yeshiva University Archives, with translation and transcription.



Cairo c/o Cooks Agency
1.4.96 (possibly Jan. 4, 1897)
Bezh  [בעזה]

My dear good, honored, friend,

GREETINGS to you and to your dear wife and family,
All is well with me here in the Land of Egypt.  For our many sins [bav"h – בעו"ה] there is no kosher hotel here and I am sick of the local food.
I am busy with mitzvot (good deeds) almost all day, and please God, I will be successful.
Please tell me, my friend, what is the cost of a Vilna Shas [Talmud] on excellent paper, can you purchase it for me, and what is the cost of sending it to Egypt?
Please God, I will be here all month.  Please write to me at the address above.
How is our friend Rabbi [Jacob?] Guttmann?  Please ask him if he received a packet of manuscripts and notes [fragments?].  I’ll write to him in a few days.
Among the Jews here I found some venerable people and also a few Bene Torah [religious people?], according to the ancient custom. Last Sabbath I went to see the Rambam Synagogue, and in contrast, the synagogue of the Karaites.
I have some more matters to tell you but I’m lazy, for our many sins [bav"h – בעו"ה]].  From here I will go with the help of God to the Land of Israel., etc.

Your dear friend,

Z. Schechter



Cairo c/o Cooks Agency  בעזה

                                                                                                                                                                        1.4.96 (possibly Jan. 4, 1897)

ידידי הטוב והנכבד שלום

לך ולאשתך היקרה

ולכל ב”ב. גם לי שלום פה בארץ מצרים. בעו”ה אין כאן האטעל

.כשר ומאכלי התושבים תקוץ נפשי בהם

הנני עוסק במצות

 כמעט כל היום ואקוה כי חפץ ה’ יצלח בידי. הגד נא לי ידידי

מה הוא המחיר של ש”ס ווילנא על נייר רעגאל ואם תוכל לקנותו

בעבורי וגם  מה יהיה כסף המשלוח למצרים. אי”ה אשאר פה כל

ירח זה וכתוב נא לי על האדרעסע הרשומה למעלה. מה הוא

שלום ידידינו הרב גוטמאנן. שאל נא אותו אם קבל צרור כת’י

.ופתקאות. אכתוב לו בעוד איזה ימים

בין היהודים פה

 מצאתי כמה אנשים נכבדים וג”כ בני תורה מעט לפי

המנהג הקדום. ביום שבת העבר הלכתי לראות את

הבהכ”נס של הרמבם . וזה לעומת זה ג”כ בהכ”נס

של הקראים. יש לי להגיד לך כמה ענינים אבל עצל  הנני

.בעו”ה… מפה אלך בעזה לארץ ישראל וכו

ידידך אוהבך,  ז. שעכטער

Posted by Shulamith Z. Berger


August 25th, 2013 by Libraryblog

HHSP-2Cantor Leib Lange, known as the “Muscover” hazan, officiated at High Holiday services at Yeshiva in 1945.  Cantor Lange, a native of the Ukraine, studied at the Odessa Conservatory, and moved from Moscow to the United States in 1933. The patriotic red, white, and blue color scheme of the publicity poster may have been influenced by the imminent end of World War II.

Cantor Lange’s leadership of the prayer services must have been compelling, since he was invited back in 1949, when his contract specified that “the services to be rendered by the Cantor… are to be performed in an artistic manner and to the best of the ability of the Cantor. The Cantor hereby guarantees that the said services will be as inspiring and impressive as is humanly possible.”

The poster and contract are in the Yeshiva University Archives.

Posted by Shulamith Z. Berger

The Challenge of Received Tradition

August 16th, 2013 by Libraryblog

CORTNaomi Grunhaus, Professor of Judaic Studies at Stern College for Women, presents new insight into the commentary of R. David Kimhi (acronym Radak). The Challenge of Received Tradition (Oxford University Press) is the first since Frank Talmage’s seminal 1975 work to delve exclusively into Radak’s exegesis. Integrating midrash and rabbinic teachings, Prof. Grunhaus examines Radak’s interpretative strategy, which emphasizes grammar and syntax to extract straightforward meaning from biblical text, peshat, while revering the earlier, classic interpreters who extracted rabbinic rulings and moral messages, derash.  By balancing the two seemingly contradictory methods, and exploring Radak’s thought and choice of words, she aims to help the student or scholar read his commentary with greater critical and analytical understanding.

Posted by Hallie L Cantor