Heather’s Picks for November

Interesting Websites for November 2010/Cheshvan-Kislev 5771

Babylonian Jewish Heritage Center. http://www.babylonjewry.org.il/new/english/index.html

Online exhibits of Babylonian materials, Judaica, archival documents, books and manuscripts.


G-Dcast. http://www.g-dcast.com/

Online video clips of cartoons based on the weekly Torah portion.  Each clip is four minutes.

Internet Jewish History Sourcebook. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/jewish/jewishsbook.html

The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use.  There are direct links to the documents through sourcebooks of various time periods.  The site also contains an assortment of audio music related to the topics of the documents.


Temple in Virtual Reality. WEJEW Video and Mediashare Community. http://wejew.com/media/1738/Temple_in_Virtual_Reality/

An animation showing the Jewish Temple of Jerusalem in all its glory. Visit the Har Habayit (Temple Mount) with the rebuilt Beit HaMikdash – at least in a virtual sense. Walk up the great stairs and enter the massive courtyard.



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The Best of The Best

The Association of Jewish Libraries Greater Cleveland Chapter is proud to present our annual book list in celebration of Jewish Book Month.  Each year, our chapter creates a list of the best books published for adults and children to share with patrons and to assist other librarians with collection development.   Please feel free to distribute the list to anyone interested in Jewish literature.   What are some of your favorite Jewish books published this year?



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Heather’s Picks

Heather Lenson, the librarian at the Ratner Media Center at the The Jewish Education Center of Cleveland will be putting together a monthly list of useful websites for your interest.  Thank you Heather for putting together such a valuable resource. 


Interesting Websites for October 2010/Tishre – Cheshvan 5771

 Center for Jewish History. http://www.cjh.org/

Contains web exhibitions from the following five Jewish institutions dedicated to history, culture, and art:

**Centropa http://www.centropa.org/

An oral history project of individual’s lives in Europe before World War II.  Photographs are re-digitized into narrative videos.

JTS Library – Special Treasures. http://www.jtslibrarytreasures.org/

Special collections from the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). From the Rare Book Room, users can select a book and click to pull it off the shelf and flip through the pages. Some of the books include: The Prato Haggadah from Spain, circa 1300, Siddur, Italian Rite (“The Women’s Siddur”) 1471, The Rothschild Mahzor Florence, 1490, etc.  There are also rare documents such as “The Maimonides Fragments,”  “Fragments from the Cairo Genizah,” etc.

Jewish Women’s Archives. http://jwa.org/

An extensive collection of material on the history of American Jewish women.  Teachers will find the section Go & Learn useful pjwa.org/teach/golearn. It has primary documents and lesson plans. Also, the website contains an encyclopedia of famous Jewish women. There are multimedia exhibits with lesson plans as well.


Library Exhibitions from the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. Penn Libraries. http://www.library.upenn.edu/exhibits/cajs/

This website features a rich array of Judaica online exhibitions which concentrate on the following areas: modern Judaism, Jewish economic history, Jewish literature, Jewish & other imperial cultures in Late Antiquity, etc.

**Preferred website of the month.


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Book Lists: It’s What We Do!

The AJL GCC chapter has had a long tradition of creating book lists for our own membership, the greater Jewish community, and for librarians around the country.  As summer winds down we are proud to share with you a book list of great Jewish reads for the summer (or any other time) by Linda Silver.  There are selections for children and adults.  Be sure to check out a few as you enjoy the last few weeks of summer.  Is your favorite title missing?  Don’t be shy, let us know.  We can’t wait to hear what’s on your summer reading list.



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Social Networking: Fad or Friend?

Back in March, our chapter met to share ideas about how re-energize for the future.  We brainstormed and many felt that moving to an online environment would be a fresh and vibrant way to connect with each other and exchange ideas.  Many were enthusiastic, but many raised a skeptical eyebrow.  Facebook?  Twitter? Blogs? Seriously?

The videos posted in this message are for both the believers and nonbelievers.  The first is an in-your-face look at social media revolution in a broad sense.   Even those who “tweet” with zeal or facebook with finesse will learn something new.  The second is a silly reminder that ALL technology was once new and, with any thing that is new,  users needed a bit of hand-holding to feel comfortable.  It was found on the social networking portion of Jewish Publication Society Blog .  There you will find even more discussion of social networking.

Video 1:

Video 2:

Jump into the conversation and leave a comment.   How do you think social media affects Jewish Libraries?  What can we do collectively to build our brand in northeast Ohio and  beyond?


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Recent Holocaust Books for Children

Learning about the Holocaust is a searing experience for most children – and it should be. Children’s literature – fiction, non-fiction, and biography – does a better job in introducing the Holocaust than most textbooks, which tend to neutralize the horrific facts. A few of the titles on this list provide essential background about anti-Semitism and the conditions that gave rise to Nazism; others describe human experiences in ways that develop empathy and compassion; most raise questions that children will want to discuss with their parents or other trusted adults.

Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah
Nisan 27, 5770 April 11, 2010


Product DetailsBogacki, Tomek. THE CHAMPION OF CHILDREN: THE STORY OF JANUSZ KORCZAK. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. 33 pages. ISBN: 978-0-374-34136-7. Elementary. Expressive acrylic illustrations by the author immediately set the tone of this Holocaust biography. Their tone fluctuates to match the mood of the text, which portrays Korczak’s life from youth to death, last showing him marching with the orphans he taught to the train that would take them all to their deaths.

Product DetailsDe Saix, Deborah Durland; Ruelle, Karen Gray. THE GRAND MOSQUE OF PARIS: A STORY OF HOW MUSLIMS RESCUED JEWS DURING THE HOLOCAUST. Holiday House, 2009. 40 pages. ISBN: 978-0-8234-2159. Primary, Elementary. This handsomely illustrated book, with paintings in shades of blue, gray, maize and gold, gives an account of how Jewish families, escaping Allied airmen, and various others (some in the Resistance) found respite and shelter in a North African Kabyle mosque in the heart of Paris.

Kacer, Kathy; McKay, Sharon E. WHISPERS FROM THE CAMPS. Penguin Canada, 2009. 151 pages. ISBN: 978-0-14-331252-9 . Middle-School, High-School. As in Whispers from the Ghettos, Kacer and McKay have documented individual true stories from the lives of teenage survivors of the Holocaust. In some cases, the lives of the teens are saved because of their special skills, e.g. knowledge of the German language or the ability to read aircraft blueprints. Many of the stories deal with the arrival at Auschwitz – selection, stripping, hair shearing, cold showers, thin clothing, repeated lineups for counting, etc. – but each is remarkable for being personal and detailed. Also included is a 5-minute play, “The Liberation of Dachau” and a glossary.

Product DetailsKacer, Kathy; McKay, Sharon E. WHISPERS FROM THE GHETTOS. Penguin Canada, 2009. 162 pages. ISBN: 978-0-14-331251-2. Middle-School, High-School. Original testimonies from survivors of the ghettos record the hardship, terror, and bravery that they experienced as young people during the Holocaust. Twelve accounts of ghetto life are included, showing the role adolescents played in securing food and necessities for their families. Very moving!

Product DetailsKoestler-Grack, Rachel. ELIE WIESEL: WITNESS FOR HUMANITY. Gareth Stevens, 2009. 112 pages. ISBN: 978-14339-0054-9. Middle-School. This biography covers the period from Wiesel’s childhood, through his horrific experiences in concentration camps, to his life and career after the Holocaust. Following the narrative there is a conversation with the director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum about the meaning and message for youngsters of Wiesel’s life, plus reference aides.

Product DetailsMetselaar, Menno; van der Rol, Ruud. ANNE FRANK: HER LIFE IN WORDS AND PICTURES. Roaring Brook Press, 2009. 215 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59643-546-9. Elementary, Middle-School, High-School. First published in the Netherlands by the Anne Frank House, this draws on materials from the archives to give a history of the Frank family and their protectors, plus an account of the preserved Annex where the Frank family and others hid. The text is drawn from several sources including some adult books and Anne’s diary. The testimony of Rosa de Winter, who was with the three Frank women in Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen, is also given. Many photographs of the Frank family accompany the text of a handsome keepsake.


Product DetailsClark, Kathy . GUARDIAN ANGEL HOUSE. Second Story Press, 2009. 225 pages. ISBN: 978-1-897187-58-6 . Elementary, Middle-School. Guardian Angel House is the nickname given to a convent run by the Sisters of Charity in Budapest that sheltered over 120 Jewish children during World War Two. Told from the point of view of twelve-year-old Susan, this is a story of survival, of growing up without family during childhood and adolescence, of Jewish children living in a protective and loving Catholic environment which is foreign to them, of mutual respect between people of different religions, of a young woman forced to learn courage at an early age. Based on the true story of the author’s mother and aunt, it is historical fiction at its best.

Product DetailsEngle, Margarita. TROPICAL SECRETS: HOLOCAUST REFUGEES IN CUBA. Henry Holt, 2009. 208 pages. ISBN: 978-0805089363. Middle-School. A coming-of-age story and an unusual piece of Holocaust history, told in free verse. 13-year old Daniel, a German refugee meets and then befriends a 12 year old Cuban girl after his ship is allowed to dock in Havana. Their story is effectively told in alternating narratives. Winner of the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award for Teens.

Product DetailsGleitzman, Morris. ONCE. Henry Holt, 2010. 176 pages. ISBN: 978-0-8050-9026-0. Elementary, Middle-School. The narrator is an imaginative and innocent Jewish child being sheltered in a convent. The son of Jewish booksellers, he believes that all of his parents’ troubles are because the Nazis don’t like Jewish books and want to rid the world of them. When he runs away from the convent in order to find his parents, he finds instead only devastation. Reality slowly dawns as the true horrors of the Holocaust are revealed.

Product DetailsHeuvel, Eric. THE SEARCH. Anne Frank House, 2009. 62 pages. ISBN: 978-0-374-464554. Elementary, Middle-School. Originally published in Dutch in 2007, A Family Secret and its sequel, The Search, tell overlapping stories of ordinary people during World War II. A Family Secret tells the story of Jeroen, a teenage boy, who is looking through his grandmother’s attic for items to sell at a yard sale. After he comes across scrapbooks and other artifacts, his grandmother Helena tells him for the first time about her experiences as a young girl in Amsterdam during the German occupation. Her best friend was Esther, a Jewish girl whose family fled from Germany to the Netherlands hoping for safety from the Nazis. When Esther’s family is sent to a concentration camp, Helena fears the worst, and assumes that Esther has died along with her parents. Years later, a chance meeting between Jeroen and Esther during a Memorial Day ceremony allows the boy to present his grandmother with her long-lost friend. Dutch artist Eric Heuvel uses pastel colors and a clear line style that has been compared to Tintin comics. The text is simplified for a younger audience. War is not glamorized in any way; neither the Nazis nor the victims are personalized. Because of the lack of violence, these two books would provide a good introduction to the topic for children as young as fifth grade.

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Got Books?

Spring is in the air, Passover is almost here, and it’s time to start
thinking about our annual meeting discussion of new and notable Jewish
books of 2009.  We do two lists: one for adults and one for children and
teens.  If you’ve read something lately that is new, notable, and of
interest to Jewish readers, please send the author and title to Linda
Silver, silverlr@roadrunner.com.  If you can add a one or two line note
describing the book, that’s even better!

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