Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Library Open House

The Library hosted an open house on December 14, featuring many treasures of The Library including historic kettubot, Biblical and religious prints by the artist Bernard Picart, the digitized diaries of Mordecai Kaplan, and much more.

A wonderful write up can be found by one of the attendees on her blog, Healing and Hope 2011.

Enjoy a photo slideshow of the event below:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Confusing Rabbinic Citation

Question: I am confused about references to Kelim and Baba Metzia, and I can't find the text in either tractate. The citation I have is: Kelim Baba Metzia Chapter 4 Halacha 3.

Answer: This is a citation to the Baba Metzia "section" of tractate Kelim of Tosefta. Perhaps you are not finding the citation because you tried looking in the Mishna (Tractate Kelim in Seder Tohorot, or Tractate Baba Metzia in Seder Nezikin), or in the Talmud...

Because of its large size, Tosefta Kelim is divided into three sections: Kelim Baba Kama, Kelim Baba Metzia and Kelim Baba Batra (first gate, middle gate and final gate). Each of these sections is divided into perakim (chapters), which in turn are divided into halachot (laws).

These three sections of tractate Kelim in Seder Tohorot should not be confused with the three tractates in Seder Nezikin, also called Baba Kama, Baba Metzia and Baba Batra. Scholars theorize that there had originally been a tractate Nezikin in Seder Nezikin, which had been divided into these three sections, but the overarching title had become eclipsed with time, and the sections became tractates in their own right.

Kelim is the only tractate of the Tosefta with this type of tripartate "gate" arrangement. This arrangement has not survived into the Mishna, which divides tractate Kelim directly into chapters and mishnayot like all the other tractates of the Mishna. There is no Gemera for Kelim.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ramat Yishai

Would you tell me where to look to obtain information about the early history of a town in Israel known as Ramat Yishai?

With gratitude to Dr. Avraham Holtz for locating these sources:
- Erets-Yisrael Entsiklopedyah (spine title: Entsiklopedyah Erets-Yisrael) [Yerushalayim : Reuven Mas, 1955], v.4, p.875: entry on Ramat Yishai gives a short history of the yishuv (settelment).
- Ariel : Entsiklopedyah le-Yediat Erets Yisrael [Tel Aviv : Am Oved, 1982], Supplementary Volume 1, p. 560: picture of Ramat Yishai’s local council’s seal, containing a drawing of the first building built there.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jewish Journalism

Question: Can you recommend resources on Jewish journalism, especially on how Jewish journalism has impacted the Jewish community. I need both primary resources and secondary resources (including back issues of Jewish periodicals, especially the New York Jewish Week).

Answer: The JTS Library holds back issues of many Jewish newspapers from the US and other countries; to get an idea of the breadth of our collection search our catalog using ADVANCED SEARCH. Type newspaper? in the text box. In the LIMIT SEARCH TO section, for FORMAT choose SERIALS. The question mark after the word newspaper is not an accident; it is a "wild card" designation meant to include additional letters at the end of the word--thereby retrieving listings for both newspaper and newspapers.

The JTS Library holds selected issues of the New York Jewish week from 1993-2001. The New York Public Library Jewish Division has prepared an index to the Jewish Week for 1993-2001.

However, the quickest way to access full-text articles from Jewish newspapers published in the last 20 years is to use the Ethnic NewsWatch database, available at the New York Public Library's research sites, many of the branch libraries, and at many universities.

Regarding the secondary literature, I suggest you use the RAMBI index. Use BASIC SEARCH - KEYWORDS IN SUBJECT and type periodicals in the text box. To focus on one country, for example the United States, specify SUBJECT STARTING WITH and type USA: periodicals.

The Berman Jewish Policy Archive, at NYU, provides full-text articles on journalsim and the Jews. A typical article available is Barbara Kirschenblatt-Gimblett's "Participatory Journalism" published in Jewish Family and Life (June 2005).

The ProQuest Dissertatons and Theses database (available on the JTS campus, and remotely for JTS faculty/students) includes full-text documents on your topic; do a BASIC search on these terms: journalism AND judaic studies

Two other indexes to check are: Index to Jewish Periodicals, and Jewish Studies Source (a very new full-text database).

Here are a selection of books and theses in the JTS Library about Jewish journalism:

The Religious Press in America by Martin E. Marty [and others] (1963)
PN4888 R4 R4

A People In Print: Jewish Journalism In America (1987)
PN5650 P46 1987

Forward: The Jewish Daily Forward (Forverts) Newspaper: Immigrants, Socialism and Jewish Politics in New York, 1890-1927 by Ehud Manor (2009) PN 4885 Y54 F6713 2009

The Creation of a Jewish Cartoon Space in the New York and Warsaw Yiddish Press by Edward A. Portnoy (2008) NC1420 P67 2009

Grandma Never Lived in America: The New Journalism of Abraham Cahan compiled by Roses Rischen (1985) F128.9 J5 C35 1985

Making Jews Modern: The Yiddish and Ladino Press in the Russian and Ottoman Empires by Sara Abrevaya Stein (2004) PN5274 S786 2004

The Rise and Decline of the Yiddish-American Press by Sidney J. Weissberger (1982) PN4885 Y5 W4