Chanukah: The Festival of Lights

Image courtesy of Petey21 via Wikimedia Commons

A Chanuka Menorah (Image courtesy of Petey21 via Wikimedia Commons)

Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Rededication, or the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day holiday that generally falls sometime in December (in the Hebrew calendar, the 25th of Kislev).  It celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple after the successful revolt of the Maccabees against the Seleucid Empire. To rededicate the Temple, oil was needed to relight the menorah inside, and there was very little left – only enough to burn for one day.  However, the oil used burned for eight days, and to celebrate this, a festival was created – Chanukah. Continue reading

In Celebration of Touro Faculty Authorship

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Librarians Carrie Levinson, Sara Tabaei, and Marina Zilberman show off the 2013 Faculty Publications book and this year’s tokens of appreciation, Touro-inscribed mugs.

On December 9, the Touro College Libraries hosted the 4th annual Faculty Author Reception. We are honored to recognize the contributions of our faculty to academic scholarship.  The library publishes an annual book, as well as an online database, listing publications by Touro community members in many fields, including science, medicine, art, literature, and history. Beginning in 2009, the library took the initiative of collecting this wealth of material, and we feel privileged to share it with the world of academic research. Continue reading

Libraries In Action: Community Support in Ferguson, Missouri

courtesy of Ferguson Public Library's Instagram feed.

Courtesy of Ferguson Public Library’s Instagram feed.

Libraries exist to help people find information that solve problems, answer questions, or otherwise address important individual and community interests and needs. I’d like to give thanks to the Ferguson Municipal Public Library in Missouri for giving all libraries a lesson in precisely this kind of community support. Last week in Ferguson Missouri, schools closed following a grand jury’s decision not to indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown. Nonetheless, the local public library pledged to stay open, providing a safe space for schoolchildren from the Ferguson-Florissant School district with educational activities provided by working and retired volunteer teachers. As it announced on Facebook and Twitter last Monday, “Because of the Grand Jury decision, many organizations will be closed, but the Ferguson Municipal Public Library will stay open as long as it is safe for patrons and staff. If the Ferguson-Florissant schools close, we will be hosting activities for the children. We will do everything in our power to serve our community. Stay strong and love each other.”

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As events unfolded last week, the library updated its information via social media that schools would indeed be closed, and asked for donations and volunteers to assist in the activities it had planned for the next few days. It added, “Please attend tomorrow evening’s book trade event at the library. Our teen council has worked very hard to put this together, and we would hate to disappoint these enthusiastic young people.” A team of volunteers, many of whom are teachers from the school district, prepared for a temporary educational program when they knew a grand jury decision was imminent. A similar program was held back in August, when protests first started, forcing school closures. In the past few months, the library has actively worked to diversify its collection by embracing a Books For Ferguson book drive. Counseling has also been available at the library for area residents who are having trouble coping with recent violence and services to businesses that have been damaged in the riots have also been made available.

Library director Scott Bonner couldn’t have imagined what he was in for when he assumed his post just last July. But in August, he told Library Journal, “We have a dramatic moment, and a dramatic circumstance caught the nation’s attention, but this is exactly what libraries do every day.” And what do libraries do? Among many other things, create a safe and welcoming space, where everyone is welcome to come and meet, to learn, to explore. In a country wracked with grief and strife, our libraries are still an oasis of community.

Thank you, Ferguson Municipal Library. Thank you, libraries everywhere.

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Contributed by Caitlin Bernstein, Librarian at Touro College Midwood campus.

From the Reference Desk: Jewish Business Ethics

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(CC image by Orietta.Sberla)

Students often come into the Touro Libraries looking for books and journal articles for their research. They are familiar with the stacks of books and even some of our major databases, but few know about an online research guides that combines information on print and electronic sources into one convenient package. I am talking about our LibGuides. The LibGuides are a collection of research guides on a variety of topics. Recently, one of our LibGuides came in very handy when a student came in looking for information we had on Jewish Business Ethics. Continue reading

In celebration of Jewish Book Month: Reverence for books in the Jewish tradition

Reverence and love for Jewish books, as vehicles of transmission of sacred teachings and knowledge and expanding consciousness (mogen gedolut), is found throughout Jewish law and custom.  Many great rabbinic sages note the importance of cherishing Jewish texts, as illustrated by the following remarks: Continue reading

Exams, papers, classes: Don’t stress! Or maybe you should?!?

Take a few moments and listen to Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal’s powerful TED Talk.  This 14 minute video could help you re-frame your “stress” mindset, and adjust your reaction to the stresses of student life.

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The Faculty Publication Database

Writing Master

“The Writing Master” by Thomas Eakins, 1882 (CC0 image via Wikimedia)

Are you a Touro College professor?  Then chances are you’ve published some sort of work, whether it is a book or a journal article.  You may have even had an exhibition of your artwork, or gotten a patent.  If this is the case, we’d like to include your work in the Touro College Faculty Publications Database. Continue reading

Touro College Program Supports Veteran Education

(CC image by Chris)

Showing gratitude to United States Veterans and service members is just the beginning of how Touro College – New York supports our military men, women and families.  The Touro College Veteran’s Program was created to help our service members realize their educational goals. This program allows military veterans, active service members, National Guardsmen and the Reserves, as well as their dependents, the opportunity to continue their education.

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Kristallnacht: Reflection and Remembrance

  (Image from Center for Jewish History via Wikimedia Commons)

Synagogue Eisenach burning, November 1938 (CC0 image via Wikimedia Commons)

Kristallnacht means the “Night of Crystal” or “Night of Broken Glass” 1). It refers to the anti-Jewish attack instigated by the Nazis that took place throughout Germany and Austria from November 9th-10th, 1938. The name comes from the broken glass that resulted from smashed-in windows in Jewish-owned shops, buildings, homes, and synagogues 2. Continue reading

Presentations from the LCW Jewish Studies program

"Dead Sea Scroll Scholar Examination" by Habermann, Abraham Meir, 1901- - http://archive.org/details/scrollsfromdeser00habeuoft. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dead_Sea_Scroll_Scholar_Examination.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Dead_Sea_Scroll_Scholar_Examination.jpg

“Dead Sea Scroll Scholar Examination” by Habermann, Abraham Meir, 1901– (CC0 image via Wikimedia Commons)

The LibGuides system has given Touro Libraries a one-stop location to highlight a handful of the best bets for researching a variety of subjects, but it also allows us to provide more in-depth coverage in our areas of expertise. Continue reading

Reflections from 65 Broadway

The World Trade Center today (Photo courtesy of Annette Carr)

The World Trade Center today (Photo courtesy of Annette Carr)

When the Touro Business Library first opened at 65 Broadway in 2009, the World Trade Center site was still in its early stages of construction. Being only a few blocks from the site, the staff at 65 Broadway has had the great opportunity of seeing the World Trade Center blossom and grow daily before our eyes. It has been interesting to see the transition as the WTC has become revitalized. Continue reading

Ebola – Where to get the facts

https://flic.kr/p/pGHaR8

(CC image by Mike Licht)

Overwhelmed by the constant stream of news about Ebola?

The media hype surrounding the Ebola Virus in the United States and abroad has allowed for an astounding amount of information to permeate our daily lives.  Having access to the most current and reliable information is crucial when dealing with any public health emergency, in this case an infectious disease.

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