Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Question: A nursing student writing a paper requested resources on Jewish religious/cultural beliefs and practices relevant to caring for seriously ill hospital patients, the deceased, and their families.

Answer: We suggested the following chapters from Jewish Pastoral Care: A Practical Handbook from Traditional and Contemporary Sources, 2nd ed, edited by Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman (Woodstock, VT, Jewish light Publishing, 2005):

"Jewish Spiritual Care in the Acute Care Hospital" by Rabbi Jeffrey M. Silberman, p. 225-242
"Walking in the Valley of the Shadow: Caring for the Dying and Their Loved Ones", by Rabbi Amy Eilberg, p. 374-399
"Grief and Bereavement" by Simcha Paul Raphael, p. 400-432.

Another relevant resource is: Jewish Ethics and the Care of End-of-Life Patients: A Collection of Rabbinical, Bioethical, Philosophical and Juristic Opinions edited by Peter Joel Hurwitz, Jacques Picard and Avraham Steinberg (Jersey City, NJ, KTAV in Association with the Institute for Jewish Studies, University of Basel, 2006)

Finding a Bet Din

Where can I find a competent rabbinical court (bet din) that will assist me in resolving a legal dispute relating to Jewish civil law?

The Beth Din of America ( is a well established (founded in 1960) and respected rabbinical court that provides service in many matters, including Jewish civil law. They have helpful resources on their website ( such as a “Layman’s Guide to Dinei Torah (Beth Din arbitration proceedings)", and a document that details their own “Rules and Procedures”.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Accessing Nineteenth Century Jewish Studies Journal Articles

Students, scholars and librarians may have been caught up in the frenzy of digital access to full-text articles during the last decade. However, it is important not to lose sight of "oldies but goodies" from the world of printed article indices. One such tool is Moise Schwab's Index of Articles Relative to Jewish History and Literature Published in Periodicals, from 1665 to 1900. [JTS Library Location: REF Z 6367 S41] An augmented edition edited by Zosa Szajkowski was published by Ktav in 1971. The original edition (Part I) had been published in 1899 as Repertoire des Articles, and subsequent Parts and editions were published over the next 25 years.

Most of the articles listed were published in Jewish and secular scholarly journals of the 19th century. The majority of the articles were written in German and French, although many are also in Hebrew, English, and other languages. More than 100 publications were indexed, and articles from a few feschriften are also included.

The bulk of the volume is a list of articles arranged by author’s last name. There is a limited subject index, which is challenging to use because the subjects are in French and the text is handwritten. A Hebrew words index, using the Hebrew alphabet, also functions as a subject index.

Explanations of abbreviations are provided in 3 places: a List of Abbreviations (titles of journals indexed); Initiales (general abbreviations); Initiales et Pseudonymes Hebreux (Hebrew abbreviations of authors’ names). Errors in the author listings have been corrected at the end of the volume.

Moise Schwab was an accomplished scholar in a wide variety of fields, both in Jewish and secular studies. His Index was the first attempt to publish an all-inclusive Jewish studies periodical index. This volume provides a key to serious Jewish studies research of the 1800’s and before. It is also useful as a guide to primary source material for current researchers of Jewish history, biography and historiography.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Source of Jewish Expression

Question: What is the source for the following Jewish expression? In English, the expression goes something like this: “Draw the child to you with the right hand, hold him in abeyance with the left”.

Answer: Perhaps you are referring to the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sotah, p.47a: “Tanya, Rabi Shimon ben Elazer omer: ‘yetser tinok ve-ishah tehe semoel doheh ve-yemin mekarevet’”. This means: “It was taught, Rabbi Shimon ben Elazer said: ‘[In regards to] desire[s], a child, and a woman – let the left hand push them away and the right hand bring them close’”.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Identifying members of a Hasidic dynasty

A patron found references to various contemporary Hasidic rabbis (Admorim) in a Yiddish newspaper of the 1920’s. The rabbis’ names were not given, only the name of the town they or their dynasty was associated with. The particular dynasties that were referenced were not from the more well known ones. How could the patron identify the individuals referred to in the newspaper article and learn more about them?

Mosad ha-Rav Kook has a project to create an encyclopedia of Hasidut. One of the parts of this project is entitled Entsiklopedyah la-Hasidut : Ishim [Yerushalayim, Mosad ha-Rav Kuk, 1986-2004]. The JTS Library call number for this work is REF BM198.A1 E582 1986. This three volume work by Yitshak Alfasi is a biographical encyclopedia of Hasidic personalities. However, it is arranged alphabetically by first name and does not have an index of towns or dynasties.

Yitshak Alfasi produced another encyclopedia of Hasidic personalities. It is entitled ha-Hasidut mi-Dor la-Dor [Yerushalayim : Mekhon Daat Yosef, 1995-1998]. (Credit to Rabbi Betsalel Majersdorf, Technical Services Librarian at JTS, for bringing this work to my attention.) The JTS Library call number for this work is REF OVR BM198.A2 A435 1995. This two volume work is arranged according to dynasty. It is divided into sections according to which generation a given dynasty began in. The first volume covers from the first generation of Hasidut (the Baal Shem Tov) through the fifth. The second covers the sixth through the eighth generations (the present day). A list of dynasties covered in the first volume is found on p.381-383 of volume 1. A list of dynasties covered in the second volume is found on p.[531-532] of volume 2. It is important to note that many dynasties have sub-dynasties and rabbis who were known by the names of towns other than that which their dynasty bore. In order to locate these individuals one may consult the index of place names found at the back of volume 2 (p.70-98). Also provided are an index arranged alphabetically by first-name, and an index of works authored by the personalities and mentioned in the encyclopedia.

Alfasi’s second work greatly assisted the patron in his research.

Jewish Wedding Music From Around the Globe

Question: I am researching world-wide Jewish wedding music. Does your library hold audio recordings?

Answer: The JTS Library holds a wide variety of audio recordings of Jewish wedding music. These recordings represent far-flung Jewish communities around the globe, from Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrakhi traditions. Here are examples of cantorial music, folk music and art music relating to the Jewish wedding ceremony and celebration.

Shneyer, David. Love Songs and Blessings, A Jewish Wedding Music Sampler. Rockville, Md., Judaica Resources, 1990 Cassette and booklet. KIT 13.

Audio Available at Judaica Sound Archives:

Cardozo, Abraham Lopes. The Western Sephardi Liturgical Tradition. Jerusalem, Jewish Music Resarch Centre, 2004. CD 750
Includes Sheva Brakhot (Spanish Portuguese)

Audio available at Jewish Music Research Centre:

Chassidic Wedding Dance Melodies. Rudy Tepel, conductor. Disc. REC 408

Audio avail at Judaica Sound Archives:

Koussevitzky, Moshe. Live In Concert and Wedding Ceremony. Brooklyn, Aderet Music, 1996. Cassette. CAS 811

Teiman: the Music of the Yemenite Jews. Produced at Tel-Ad Jerusalem Studios. Teaneck, NJ, Israel Music Heritage Project and Ergo Media, 1993. VID 202
Includes Yemenite Hinna and Wedding Ceremony

Audio and video available at Spielberg Film Archive Virtual Cinema:

Neshoma Orchestra. Mazel Tov! Music for a Jewish Wedding and Other Joyous Occasions. Cedarhurst, NY, Neshoma Orchestra, 1992. Cassette and book. CAS 217 M2017.6.P37 M3 1992
Wedding dance medley 1--Ceremony A--Wedding dance medley 2--Ceremony B--Israeli dance medley--Ceremony C--Mezinka medley

Zim, Paul. Paul Zim’s Musical Mazel Tov to the Bride and Groom. Forest Hills, NY, Simcha, 1992. Cassette. CAS 199
Smorgasbord medley: Oseh shalom - Hava netze b’machol - Rad halailah -- Chorshat ha’ekaliptus -- Vayhi bishurun melech -- Ma tovu -- Mi haish -- Mi adir -- Eshet chayil. Bridal marches: Erev ba - Dodi li - Iti milvanon - Erev shel shoshanim--Mi ban siach -- Od yeeshoma (I) -- Od yeeshoma (II) -- Mazel tov medley: Siman tov - Chos’n kallah mazel tov - Od yeeshoma - Yasis alayich.

Miron-Michrovsky, Issachar, composer and conductor. Prothalamia Hebraica: The wedding Celebration in Contemporary Israeli Sefardic Idiom. New York, N.Y. : Musical Heritage Society, 197? Disc. GDC476

Putterman, David J. [Wedding Ceremony, 194?] 2 sound discs, 78 rpm. REC 1577.
Live recording of Jewish wedding ceremony, both recited and sung by Cantor David J. Putterman of New York’s Park Avenue Synagogue

Bernstein, Leonard. A Jewish Legacy. Hong Kong, Naxos, 2003. CD 691.
Three wedding dances. The first waltz (canon) ; Cha-cha-cha ; Hora

Feldman, Zev and Andy Statman.. Jewish Klezmer Music. Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, Shanachie, 2000. CD 401
Galitsianer tantsel = Galician dance -- Old sher -- Fun der khupa = From the wedding canopy -- Doina -- Kallarash -- Bride’s waltz -- Ternovka sher -- Kaleh bazetsen = Seating the bride -- Gypsy hora and sirba -- Fihren di makhetonim aheim = Escorting the in-laws home -- Alineinem = All together -- Wedding march.

Azose, Hazzan Isaac. The Liturgy of Ezra Bessaroth. Bellevue, WA, Isaac Azose, 1999. CD617.
Sheva Berahoth (7 wedding blessings). Sephardic (Turkish and Rhodesli tradition).

Di Naye Kapelye. Berlin, Germany, Oriente Musik, 1998. CD 479 M1850.D56 D5 1998
Ani maamini/Wedding march from Transylvania

Barkin, Jacob. The art of Jacob Barkin: Liturgy and Oratorio. Chicago, Musique Internationale, 1997. Cassette. CAS 851.
Songs and processionals for a Jewish wedding composed by Mario Castelnuevo-Tedesco.

Rubin, Joel. Beregovsky’s Khasene: Bergeovski’s Wedding, Forgotten Instrumental Treasures from the Ukraine. Mainz, Weltmusik WEERGO, 1997. CD 204.

Brave Old World (Musical group). Beyond the Pale. Cambridge, MA, Rounder, 1994. CD 182.
Bobover wedding march

Muzsikas (Musical group). Maramos: The Lost Jewish Music of Transylvania. Salem, Hannibal, 1993. CD 232.
Khosid wedding dances and the greeting of the bride (Hungarian and Romanian music of Transylvania)

Elman, Mischa. Hebraic and Russian Melodies. New York, Vanguard Classics, 1992. CD 79
Yemenite wedding \ Marc Lavry

Synagogal Music in the Baroque. Jerusalem, Jewish Music Research Centre, Hebrew University, 1991. CD 149.
Echo-poem for a wedding in the ghetto of Mantua / Salamone Rossie, 18th century Italy

Shashmaqam. Central Asia in Forest Hills N.Y.: Music of the Bukharan Jewish Ensemble Shashmaqam. Washington, DC, Smithsonian/Folkways, 1991. CD 120
Medley of songs from wedding repertory: yar-yar, abru kosh dumi mor, shastu-shastu chor, chashmi siyah dori, doire interlude, mahvashi nozuk, badanam, orzu. Jewish Bukharan music from Uzbekistan.

Sulzer, Salomon. Salomon Sulzer: Synagogue Music Reborn. Herts, Symposium Records, 1991. Cassette. CAS 577.
Marriage service in the tradition of 19th century Vienna.

The Yemenite Jews: Jewish-Yemenite Diwan. France: Auvidis-Unesco, 1990. CD 20.
Ahuv yevarech ha-hatan = The beloved will bless the groom (Shira; wedding song) Ahuv mei-har ha-mor natan li morasha = The beloved from the mountain of myrrh gave me my heritage (Shira; wedding song)

A Breslov Wedding in Jerusalem. Jerusalem: Breslov Research Institute, 1990. Cassette. CAS 1011.

Holzman, Arthur. Israel Is Born, written and narrated by Arthur Holzman. New York, Caedmon, 195? REC 392
Bokharian Jewish wedding song, from 1950’s Israel.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Photograph of Elkan Nathan Adler

How can I acquire a copy of a photograph of Elkan Nathan Adler?
Elkan Nathan Adler (1861-1946) was an Anglo-Jewish lawyer who collected books, manuscripts, and Genizah fragments. In 1923 he sold much of his collection to the Jewish Theological Seminary. JTS also holds his personal archives (ARC 2). The JTS Library owns a photograph of Adler. This photograph has been scanned and is posted on the internet at the following address:

Monday, July 6, 2009

JTS Puts on a Show: The Eternal Light Broadcasts

We are often asked for transcripts and recordings of The Eternal Light broadcasts—the Jewish Theological seminary’s radio and TV programs from the 1940’s through the 1980’s.

An article outlining the history of this broadcasting project is: Shandler, Jeffrey, and Elihu Katz. “Broadcasting American Judaism: The Radio and Television Department of the Jewish Theological Seminary” in Tradition Renewed: A History of the Jewish Theological Seminary, ed. Jack Wertheimer (New York: JTS, 1997) pp. 363-401.

In 2006, JTS produced a documentary DVD about The Eternal Light programs, which includes excerpts of particularly significant broadcasts. The DVD is available in The Library. A more detailed description, plus purchase information is at:

A transcript of 26 radio plays from The Eternal Light was published in book form, entitled The Eternal Light, edited by Morton Wishengrad, with a foreword by Louis Finkelstein (New York: Crown Publishers, 1947)

A condensed transcript of the program from 2/4/73, an interview with A.J. Heschel, was published in Response, vol. 6, no. 4 (Winter 1972/73), p. 23-34.

The Library also holds transcripts of additional programs:

A Conversation with Dr. Gerson D. Cohen: with Carl Stern (1982)

The State of Morality in America
(1975). This is a panel discussion with Edwin Newman, Newton Minow, Rita Hauser and Gerson Cohen.

On Our Minds: Radio Conversations with Ambassador Sol M. Linowitz, with an Introduction by Gerson D. Cohen was published by JTS in the mid-1970’s. This transcript includes iinterviews with Nelson A. Rockefeller, Simon H. Rifkind, Andrew Heiskell, Isaac Stern, John W. Gardner and Charles Frankel.

The Role of the Jew: an Eternal Light Interview with Simon H. Rifkind was published in 1945. This includes excerpts of the interview by Edwin Newman.

The JTS Music Archive holds the liberetto of the cantata The Alphabet of Life by Peter Lyon, aired on March 25, 1951.

The Days of Awe: Their significance and Relevance, a presentation by Dr. Seymour Siegel (aired 10/4/81)

The Maccabees, by Morton Wishengrad, a radio play (aired 11/29/1964)

The JTS Library also holds a selection of video recordings of the Eternal Light television broadcasts:

The Tender Grass, a Passover drama about a man and his seven mute sons (aired in the 1960’s).

Home for Passover, based on the Sholom Aleichem story of Fishel, the melamed , who overcomes obstacles in order to be home in time to celebrate the Passover holiday with his family.

A Conversation with Abraham J. Heschel (1973).

A Talent for Life, on the Jewish experience during the Italian Renaissance (1979).

The Golden Jubilee of Jan Peerce (1980). Martin Bookspan interviews Jan Peerce on the fiftieth anniversary of the entertainer’s career.

The Jew of Hungary: a Study in Survival (1980)

Golda Meir Remembered (1981). Elie Wiesel recalls his friendship with the late stateswoman and Prime Minister of Israel, Golda Meir, with excerpts from his 1970 interview with her.

From Cambridge to Cairo (1983). The story of how Solomon Schechter acquired the Cairo genizah fragments.

Additional recordings, transcripts, photographs and other Eternal Light materials are held by the JTS Communications Department ( ) and the Archives of the Ratner Center ( ).

In addition, selected broadcasts are available in the Library of Congress Audio Collection and from National Broadcasting Company .