Thursday, March 25, 2010

Seder Kiddush Score

Where can I find the score (notated music) of the seder kiddush?

The score of the seder kiddush is available in The Songs of the Haggadah, compiled and edited by Cantor Binyamin Glickman (Tara Publications, 1977) p. 2. [Oversize MB 695 P3 S545 1977 in the JTS Music Library]

It is also in Seder Melodies (a booklet accompanying Celebrate With Song: Holiday Melodies, Music of Israel), compiled and edited by Velvel Pasternak and Richard Neumann (Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York and Tara Publications, 1977) p. 4 [KIT 19, and M2079.5 .S52 1982 in the JTS Music Library].

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lomdut, Pilpul, and the Brisker Method of Talmud Study

Question: Would you suggest some resources in English that would provide an introduction to the Talmudic study methodologies that are referred to as "lomdut", "pilpul", and (especially) the "Brisker derekh (method)"?

Answer: Here are some resources that might be of assistance:
- The Analytic Movement : Hayyim Soloveitchik and his circle / by Norman Solomon [Atlanta, Ga. : Scholars Press, c1993].
- Contemporary Halakhic Problems / by J. David Bleich [New York : Ktav, 1977- ]. In volume 5, Rabbi Bleich (p.xi-xxxvi) provides a lengthy introduction regarding the role “lomdut” plays in the halakhah.
- Iyun be-Lomdut / by Yitzchak Adler [New York : Y. Adler (182-11 Henley Rd., Jamaica Estates 11432), 1989]. This book is mostly in Hebrew but it has an English section that illustrates some of the methodology.
- Wikipedia article on the Brisker method: (there are links at the end of the article to articles on this topic found on other websites).
- Important article on the Brisker method:
- Discussion of the study methodology used in Yeshivat Telz and a comparison with other methodologies: and
- Article from the Jewish Encyclopedia on “pilpul”:
- Article from Wikipedia on "pilpul":

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Online Hebrew Manuscripts and Rare Books

QUESTION: Can I see images of JTS Hebrew manuscripts and rare books via the Internet?


1. The Library's Events, Exhibitions and Programs webpage provides access to both Current Exhibitions and Past Exhibitions (still available via the Internet). Click on the exhibition title highlighted in red to view each exhibition. This will provide you with images of the manuscripts along with explanations of their significance. Be sure to see the remarkable exhibit JTS Library Treasures ~~ An online visit to The Library's Rare Book Room featuring the Maimonides fragments, the Prato Haggadah, Cairo Genizah fragments and more!

2. Additional digitized materials are available via Search the Digital Collections on The Library's webpage. In addition to selected manuscripts, rare books, Ketubot and wedding poems, these collections also include rare music scores, audio files, portraits, bookplates, early American Jewish pamphlets, 19th century newspaper articles about Jews in the US, and more.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Constantine P. Cavafy's poetry in Hebrew Translation

Question: I am interested in obtaining the poetry of Constantine P. Cavafy (also known as Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis) in Hebrew translation. I am especially interested in his poems "Ithaca" and "Of the Jews". Has his work been translated into Hebrew?

Answer: Constantine P. Cavafy (April 29, 1863 – April 29, 1933) was a poet of Greek origin who lived in Alexandria, Egypt. For more information on him, see here: A translation of Cafavy's poems into Hebrew was done by Yoram Bronowski and published under the title Kol ha-Shirim : 1891-1933 by Carmel Publishing House in 1993 (ISBN: 9654070502). The book can be purchased here: Cafavy's’ poem “Ithaca” is available online in Hebrew translation here:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Castelferrus: Holocaust Documentation in JTS's French Archives

Question: A lawyer requested World War II documentation of Jewish residents in Castelferrus, a remote village of Vichy France, in connection with a reparations application.

Answer: The French Jewish Community Records, one of the archival collections held in the JTS Library, includes census records, by department and town, from Vichy France in 1941. The documents state that 25 Jewish families were in Castelferrus on May 27, 1941; an earlier census does not list any Jewish families at this location.

Request: If any readers of this blog can provide additional information about Jews in Castelferrus during World War II, we would appreciate it if you would post it as a comment.

Strategy: We have not found mention of any Jewish population in the remote and sparsely populated town of Castelferrus in published books or articles. However, this location is listed in Zosa Szajkowski's Analytical Franco Jewish Gazetteer, 1935-1945 . The index entry for Castelferrus in the Gazetteer notes that this location is "(cs,r)" p. 301, which means it is a site where a census of Jews was taken, and a site where relief was distributed. The Castelferrus entry refers to archives at JTS and Yad Vashem for census data, without any other specifics.

An Inventory to the French Jewish Communities Record Group 1648-1946 [at the Jewish Theological Seminary], by Roger S. Kohn (1991) has been helpful in locating the census documentation. Although the Inventory does not list Castelferrus in its index, its date index refers to a few sets of documents from a May 27 1941 census of Jews, and from an earlier census.

All the items listed in the Inventory are readily available on microfilm at the JTS Library. Most of the census documents are handwritten; a few are typed. Each page lists villages by department, although not all French departments are included. Three different pages exist for the Tarn-et-Garonne department; two of these pages list Castelferrus.

For each village listed, the number of Jews (or number of Jewish families) is stated. The names of the local rabbi, mohel, shochet, or other official (such as a notary or Jewish scouts contact), some with an address, are also listed for many of the villages.

The census later facilitated the arrest and deportation of the Jews.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Where is the Jewish Music?

Question: When I visited the JTS Library I noticed the vinyl records on display, but I didn't see any CDs or cassette tapes. How can I find those recordings?

Answer: The JTS Library houses over 1000 CDs of Jewish music, as well as many hundreds of audio cassette tapes, vinyl records and other recordings. Most of the these recordings must be identified via the ALEPH catalog, since they are not stored in a public area.

At the BASIC SEARCH page type the keywords: sound, CD (or cassette) and any other desired specifications: composer, performer, title of album, type of music (e.g. children's, passover, synagogue, sephardic, dance, or tenor) -- other possibilities are available here .

The results list will provide you with the CD number for each recording; please ask Library staff to retrieve that recording for you. CDs can be borrowed by those readers with book-borrowing priviledges; all Library users can listen to the recordings in the Library's AV room.

For additional details on how to find audio recordings in the ALEPH catalog, including seaching for Hebrew song-titles, see our Research Guides to Jewish Studies: Jewish Music .

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


What is the origin of the term "Haredim?" From where did it originate, and when did it start being used in the way in which it currently is used? Also, is there a formal distinction between the term "Haredi" and the designation "ultra-Orthodox?"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Request for Information about the "Synagogue Rescue Project"

The following question was received at the JTS library:

I would like to find more information on the Synagogue Rescue Project. An organization that existed in the 1970s which gathered Judaica objects (including Torah scrolls) from abandoned and deserted synagogues in and around NY. I would like to know who founded this organization and how long it existed.

We invite any readers of the blog who have information on this organization to "join the conversation" by posting the information in our "comments" section. Thank you.