It’s Shavuot—please pass the cheesecake!

illustration of crowd of people looking at mountain
The people of Israel waiting for Moses to bring down the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai. Illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Original source: TheBibleRevival.com

Shavuot, the festival of weeks, is celebrated exactly seven weeks after Passover. It is the conclusion of the story of the Exodus from Egypt, which ends at the highest point of biblical Jewish history: Matan Torah, receiving and accepting the Torah and all its commandments.

In commemoration of Matan Torah, the first night of Shavuot is often dedicated to learning, with many staying up late into the night, and even until dawn, immersed in Torah study. This year, the special night of learning will be different. We will not be gathering in synagogue as usual to study together due to quarantine restrictions for the novel coronavirus. The learning, however, will be no less powerful.

biblical illustration
Bringing Bikkurim (first-fruit offerings) to Jerusalem for Shavuot, 1730, illustration from a biblical dictionary. Image hosted by the National Library of Israel.

In the days of the Temple, it was customary to bring Bikkkurim, first-fruit offerings, to the Temple in Jerusalem for this holiday, as seen in the illustration above. For more information on the rituals—or lack thereof—of the holiday of Shavuot, please see Dr. Simcha Fishbane’s essay “In the Absence of Ritual: Customs of the Holiday of Shavuot” from his book The Impact of Culture and Cultures Upon Jewish Customs and Rituals : Collected Essays, available as an ebook from the Touro College Libraries.

Personally, Shavuot is one of my favorite holidays. While all Jewish holidays (and Shabbat!) require us to eat festive meat meals together, Shavuot is the one holiday of the year that at least one meal is customarily dairy instead of meat. According to The Book of our Heritage by Eliyahu Kitov (v.3, p.73), this is due to the reception of the Torah and the laws of keeping kosher. Before accepting these laws, the Jews had been permitted to eat non-kosher foods; after, their utensils and dishes became prohibited under these new laws. They could, therefore, only eat dairy foods at that time. We continue that tradition today.

I find it very exciting to have dairy options. There are only so many ways to make a brisket—not to mention the utter delight of selecting a variety of cheesecakes for your holiday table!

cheesecakes in a bakery display
Cheesecakes on display in a retail bakery—so many choices! Image by Trilok Rangan courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

No matter how many cheesecakes I have tasted, however, my mother’s homemade recipe remains my favorite (naturally!). I am very pleased to share her recipe below. Chag Shavuot Sameach! Have a happy and healthy Shavuot!

Shavuot begins at sundown on Thursday, May 28, 2020 and concludes at sunset on Saturday, May 30, 2020.

Mommy’s cheesecake recipe

(My sincere apologies to the lactose intolerant!)

Use a 9 or 10 inch spring-form pan or make half the recipe to use smaller tins or pans. Best when round. If using a spring-form pan, place aluminum foil on the outside around the bottom and sides to prevent leakage.

Ingredients:

  • Prepared graham cracker crust (optional; if using, pre-bake 40-45 mins at 350°)
  • 16oz container whipped cream cheese
  • 16oz container cottage cheese (small curd is preferable for fewer lumps)
  • 8oz container sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 6 eggs (beat with fork before adding)
  • 1 cup milk (the more fat, the better the taste, but we prefer 1%)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Combine all ingredients in a big bowl using a whisk, wooden spoon, or even your hands (be sure to wash them first!). Prepare another bowl.
  3. Use a food processor or blender and process the mixture in batches until smooth, pouring the smooth batter into the second bowl as you go. You may also beat the mixture with an electric beater until smooth if you do not have a food processor or blender.
  4. Pour batter into spring-form pan or smaller pans or tins with the prepared graham cracker crust.
  5. Bake for 1 hour at 350°
  6. Turn oven off. Leave in oven for another hour to solidify.
  7. Remove from oven and leave on counter to fully cool.
  8. Store in refrigerator. Do not release spring-form until after cheesecake has spent time in the fridge.
  9. Release and top with whatever you wish—we often use fresh berries or a variety of pie fillings. One memorable year I made caramel sauce!
  10. Enjoy!

References and Resources Used

Bikkurim: First Fruits by Menachem Posner

Shavuot by Louis Jacobs, in Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd ed.

In the Absence of Ritual: Customs of the Holiday of Shavuot by Simcha Fishbane, in In The Impact of Culture and Cultures Upon Jewish Customs and Rituals : Collected Essays

Staying up all Night and Greenery (lecture) by Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein

Jewish Holidays and Food by The Jewish Food Experience

The Book of our Heritage, volume 3 by Eliyahu Kitov

Recipe dictated to me by my mother!

 

This post was contributed by Toby Krausz, Judaica Librarian.

 

Veterans Remembered

On Memorial Day, we take time to remember men and women who went off to war, and those who gave their lives.  Such a sober thought, thinking of families that had a terrible loss.  Although we have turned Memorial Day weekend into the kickoff of the summer, it is also still marked with many parades and the hanging of wreaths at memorial sites to honor the fallen. Tradition compels the marking of graves in cemeteries with a USA flag even during “this 2020 pause.”

We have many markers in our society, across United States, so we can remember history every day. Sometimes these markers and monuments are just there and become part of the background.

newspaper1long

In my family history research, I came across a newspaper article from 1923. This article came up because family members’ names were in the listing of name in the article. I downloaded the article thinking, “what a nice find.”  At another time when I went back to look at the details of the article, I found a surprise.  The article for sure had the listing of names, but they were the names that were going to go on a bronze tablet in a high school.  I thought how nice that was, to have happened in 1923. I didn’t give it another thought.

newspaper2

But research can be so interesting. On another day I was looking at the article and started to wonder if the high school was still there, and even if it was, if the name might have changed. No one today would know this area in Queens by the name Newton.  What a surprise I found! Not only is the high school still standing with the same name, but also it is an active high school.  I called the school and asked if the bronze plate was still there. The very nice lady was in an office somewhere in the building but she felt it was still there. She yelled over her shoulder to someone else to make sure and then decided to look herself. When she came back she said, “Oh yes it is still there. We wouldn’t take that down.” I explained how I didn’t live anywhere near Queens and could I visit? Any time the school was open I could go and see it, according to her. I really wanted to call back and ask for a picture because I wasn’t going to be satisfied unless I went a saw it myself.

Plenty of time passed before I was able to stop by on a school day to see the tablet. But I did stop by and get pictures. (If you are interested in reading the history of the over 100 year old high school, click here )

newspaper3

As you can see from the picture above, there are many names on this tablet. According to the article, 27 alumni students gave their lives during World War 1.  My husband is related to three men who were brothers here. Two returned from the War and one did not.

newspaper4newspaper5

When we remember the fallen veteran, their memory can live past their time for generations to come.

 

This post was contributed by Joan Wagner, Chief Librarian at the School of Health Sciences

Newspaper articles referred to in this post can be found by clicking here.

Math Adds Up To Sewing Success

I was never good at art. Throughout school, I was a disaster at drawing and a mess at painting. Art classes did little more than fill me with a sense of incompetence. Always told that I was more of a spatial and abstract thinker, I stuck to what I was good at: math and science.

I was in high school when I began to play around with my mom’s sewing machine just for fun. I made some interesting and awful clothes — I was not good at art, right?

It was a math teacher who changed my mind about my ability to sew. He asked me how geometry helped me figure out how to put pattern pieces together. Sewing, he told me, is nothing more than geometry. It requires measuring, numbers, cutting shapes of fabric, and putting them together like a puzzle. A lightbulb went off in my head: sewing is the math geek’s answer to artistic endeavors and creative outlets. I was hooked.

During the current coronavirus lockdown, I decided to spend some time catching up on patterns and fabrics I had accumulated over the years to make some clothes and share with our Touro community. Here is the dress I will try out:

dress pattern
McCall’s 7627 pattern (Figure 1)

Here it goes!

I started by measuring and calculating my pattern size. After, I cut out pattern shapes from the fabric (Figures 2 and 3).

cutting out the fabric
Figure 2
cutting fabric out
Figure 3

After all the pieces of fabric are cut out, then comes the instructions on how to assemble them (Figure 4).

sewing machine next to cut fabric
Figure 4

The instructions call for constructing the top first by sewing the bodice together with darts, pleats, and facing to add design features (Figure 5).

beginning to sew
Figure 5

The top of the garment is put together, minus the sleeves; they are added later (Figure 6).

after the first sew
Figure 6

Next, I started work on the skirt section. Ironing is unfortunately required to get a perfect seam (Figure 7).

ironing the skirt section
Figure 7

Like putting a puzzle together, the skirt was in four sections that needed to be sewn together (Figure 8).

Figure 8
Figure 8

Adding darts and pleats to skirt section to add figure enhancement (Figure 9).

adding pleats and darts
Figure 9

The bottom and the top are complete. Now to attach them to each other (Figure 10).

sewing the top and the bottom to each other
Figure 10

The top and the bottom are matched up and sewn together. Final finishes are made to the garment by hemming rough edges and cutting loose strings (Figure 11).

the dress after making final touches
Figure 11

The dress is then machine-washed and dried in order to get any chemicals out of the fabric and to pre-shrink the garment if is made of cotton.

Final adjustments are made for fitting (Figure 12), and the dress is done. Geometry — that’s all it is!

modelling the dress after it has been washed
Figure 12

This blog post was contributed by Annette Carr, Librarian at the School of Health Sciences at Bay Shore. All photos courtesy of the author.

Researching Jewish Genealogy

This summer David B. Levy, Chief Librarian LCW, published a 10 volume set which was featured at the UMCP alumni spotlight. Volume 7 of this set is in the area of Jewish genealogical research. In part, Volume 7 brings to centerstage a recuperation of Jewish Women’s Eastern European history which was the subject of a radio interview hosted by Heidi Rabininowitz at the Tree of Life podcast interview aired on April 27th and titled, “Strategies and Methods for Researching Jewish Genealogy.” David was scheduled to give a lecture on Volume 7 at Stern College on March 24th, which was postponed due to the pandemic, so The Tree of Life offered a special series on authors and researchers whose speaking gigs were disrupted. The interview testifies to a number of remarkable Jewish women who exemplified great sacrifice, courage, resilience, devotion in transmitting Jewish traditions, and beacons of inspiration to all Jews and all peoples for their remarkable accomplishments in the spiritual, ethical, intellectual, and cultural realms.  Volume 7 describes some of the methods and strategies of uncovering the histories of members of David’s family in Eastern Europe, back about 18 generations, and place this account in its historical context. As well as revealing an elite rabbinic ancestry, the study as noted briefly in the interview brings to life matriarchal histories.

Volume 7 represents about 30 years of research by David, and some appeared in previous publications, such as an AJL Proceedings study on research scholar librarians featuring David’s relative Dr. Vilsker, Judaica librarian at the Saltykov library in St. Petersberg. The seven attachments of handouts on this AJL link document the reception history of Vilsker’s discoveries, including bringing to light unknown poems of Rabbi Yehudah HaLevy, in the Israeli scholarly press (Keriyat Sefer) and popular newspapers, discoveries that literally rocked all economic and social facets of Israeli culture and society. It is peppered with primary sources including interviews with family in Israel, unique photos, genealogical trees, letters (iggerot), Hespadim (eulogies), Haskamot (rabbinic endorsement of Hebrew texts published by rabbinic scholars in the family), pinkasim (synagogue records), maps, the historical Jewish press, current Israeli newspapers, technos prayers (original prayers in Yiddish), kvitlekh (prayers inserted in the Western wall), memoirs, diaries, public records, oral histories, original poems by family members, statistical and demographic studies, blog postings, Facebook and Twitter posts. Volume 7 draws on research in languages including Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, German, French, etc.

Touro Libraries research guides include a Jewish Archival Resources site that provides many useful links, helpful for genealogical research. The AJL NYMA powerpoint presented by librarian Amanda Siegel of NYPL is shared on google drive, and is also a great resource.

Genealogical resources from NYPL

NYPL offers an array of rich resources for genealogical research. Anyone who “lives, works, attends school or pays property taxes in New York State” can get a free library card, and during the pandemic can do so completely online (click here for details).

For a light introduction and discussion of genealogy from home, listen to this radio interview.

Articles and Databases in Genealogy (most of these are available from home with a Library card)

Jewish Genealogy: A Quick Online Guide (same for these; most are free websites)

Holocaust Research, Education, and Remembrance Online: Genealogy

Featured image source: https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-a959-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

This article was contributed by David B. Levy, Chief Librarian at the Lander College for Women

 

The Joyous Holiday of Lag BaOmer

This year, on May 12, Jews will be celebrating the joyous holiday of Lag BaOmer.

typewrite with lag baomer typed out
Photo by Marco Verch (trendingtopics). CC BY 2.0.

What is Lag BaOmer?

Gematria, or Jewish numerology, is related to the philosophy of number and mathematics. ‘Lag’ stands for the Hebrew letters lamed — numerical value of 30 — and gimel — numerical value of 3 — with a sum of 33; this marks the 33 days of the Counting of the Omer in the Hebrew calendar. The Omer was a religious rite observed in the Temple on the second night of Passover.

There are some similarities between Lag BaOmer (sometimes spelled Lag B’omer) and the current quarantine and social distancing necessitated by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Rabbi Akiba and the Plague

The 33rd day after the beginning of Passover is celebrated as Lag BaOmer, because it was on that day that the deaths of Rabbi Akiba’s disciples ceased.

According to the Talmud, in the 2nd century CE, there was a plague that killed 40,000 disciples of the great Jewish mystic, Rabbi Akiba. The Talmud shares that this plague is a punishment for their not showing proper Jewish ethical respect, or derekh eretz (proper behavior and manners), towards each other, and for their lack of manifest proper ahavas yisrael (love of Israel) and love of all creatures (kavod ha-briut). Because of this tragic event, the weeks between Passover and Shavuot are observed as a mourning period, not only for the ethical failings of Rabbi Akiba’s disciples in the interhuman (bain adam li havaro/das zwischenmentshliche) and their lack of care and loving kindness (hesed) for each other, but also the destruction of the Temple that Rabbi Akiba merited to have witnessed. Significantly, it was on Lag BaOmer that Rabbi Akiba’s disciples ceased dying from the plague.

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

Rabbi Akiba had five disciples who actually survived the plague. One of them, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, also known as the Rashbi, was a great Jewish mystic who eventually went into a kind of quarantine by hiding in a cave to escape persecution by the Romans. In the cave, he lived ascetically, eating only carob, with his son to whom he transmitted esoteric mystical teachings of Kabbalah. It was on Lag BaOmer that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai felt that it was safe to leave the cave after many years; many years later, the Rashbi would pass away on Lag BaOmer, making that day his yahrtzeit, or anniversary of his death, a day of commemoration in Judaism. Thus, Lag BaOmer is considered a day of Kabbalistic significance in the Jewish calendar.

rashbi's cave
The site some identify as the Rashbi’s cave. Photo by Deror_avi.  CC-BY-SA 4.0

Beyond “Business as Usual”

Perhaps the being stuck at home now will spark us to devote more time to the quest for intellectual, spiritual, and moral virtue, rather than assuming a “business as usual” attitude.

Jacob Richman has organized links related to Lag BaOmer that you can explore from home this year, and the Chabad website offer a simple, introductory article on Lag BaOmer. As the power of music in the Jewish arts testifies, song epitomizes the transcendence of the spiritual over the physical, so I hope you may enjoy some music associated with Lag BaOmer, too.

This year, Lag BaOmer falls on May 12, which is coincidentally close to May 15, the target date to begin to lift some of the stay-at-home measures in New York. May we hope that, with the approach of Lag BaOmer, the tide of the novel coronavirus begins to turn.

This article was contributed by David B. Levy, Chief Librarian at the Lander College for Women

From the Director’s Corner: May 2020

Timothy Healy, former President of the New York Public Library, said, “the most important asset of any library goes home at night – the library staff.”  Although the Touro College Libraries staff has been functioning from home since March 17th, we have met the challenges and difficulties with our usual sense of service.

As the Touro College community has been isolated from the physical buildings, the library staff has been thinking creatively about how to engage and connect everyone with the library services.  Communicating with our clients is vital and we have revamped and extended our online functions to meet these needs.

At this point I am taking this opportunity to salute the Touro College Libraries staff, our most important asset, for their dedication, commitment, and resourcefulness.

Bashe Simon
Director of Libraries, Touro College

While classes are being offered remotely, we are providing online research and reference help, remote library instruction sessions, and continued access to resources like eBooks, databases, and streaming video services. Due dates for print materials have been extended to June 15 and may be extended again, if necessary.

Get in touch with the Touro College Libraries through email, phone, or chat: https://www.tourolib.org/contact

What is Schizophrenia?

This blog post contains discussions of schizophrenia. This post is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For questions related to advice, diagnosis, or treatment please contact a licensed medical provider.

Growing up around someone with schizophrenia gave me a front row seat to the disorder and the toll it can take on an individual and their loved ones.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines schizophrenia as “a mental illness that is characterized by disturbances in thought (such as delusions), perception (such as hallucinations), and behavior (such as disorganized speech or catatonic behavior), by a loss of emotional responsiveness and extreme apathy, and by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday life.”

sketch of woman in profile
Image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay

The definition seems very straightforward, but, to anyone who has cared for someone coping with the disorder, schizophrenia can be all-encompassing and an individual voyage into uncharted territory. There is no cure for the disorder, but treatment and management of symptoms is possible through medication, talk therapy, and a strong social support system.

I was inspired to make a LibGuide about the disorder, not only to add to our library’s collection of LibGuides, but also to educate the general community about the disorder. Schizophrenia is more prevalent than the average person may realize. In fact, 30% of the homeless population in the United States is estimated to have schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder. The number of people in prisons with schizophrenia is also shockingly high, with an estimated of 24% of municipal jail inmates suffering from the disorder. Without access to psychiatric hospitals or care, many schizophrenics go untreated and end up wandering the streets, sleeping on subways, or becoming incarcerated, usually for a non-violent crime.

Please feel free to visit the LibGuide on Schizophrenia and share your thoughts. I added a simulation video section to the LibGuide so that people may be able to experience what a patient experiences during their symptoms and have a better understanding of the disorder.

This post was contributed by Annette Carr, Librarian at the School of Health Sciences at Bay Shore

References

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Schizophrenia. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved April 30, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/schizophrenia

Ramsay, C. E., Goulding, S. M., Broussard, B., Cristofaro, S. L., Abedi, G. R., & Compton, M. T. (2011). From handcuffs to hallucinations: Prevalence and psychosocial correlates of prior incarcerations in an urban, predominantly african american sample of hospitalized patients with first-episode psychosis. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 39(1), 57-64. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612963/

Wiltz, T. (2019). ‘Gravely disabled’ homeless forced into mental health care in more states. Retrieved from https://pew.org/2ULfUAb

May Day, Workers’ Day, and Labor Day

Ehrhart, S. D. , Approximately , Artist. In the merry month of May / Ehrhart. , 1905. N.Y.: J. Ottmann Lith. Co., Puck Bldg. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2011645701/.

May Day (May 1st) has a fascinating history as a public holiday around the world. Today, it is observed in many European cultures and celebrates the return of spring. Its origins stretch back into antiquity and through the medieval period, including festivals marking the change in season. Added over time was a maypole, that is a decorated pole people would dance around. The rituals were also performed in hope of a good season for crops and livestock. Over time the significance of the holiday was gradually lost. The Puritans that came to the New World viewed this practice to be pagan and forbid it. This is perhaps why the holiday never caught on widely in the United States (May Day, 2020).

Today, May Day is also known as Workers’ Day or International Workers’ Day and celebrates workers in the labor force. In Chicago on May 3, 1886 a strike at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, part on a national effort for an 8 hour workday, turned violent. There was a gathering the next day at the Haymarket Square, which turned even more violent when a bomb from an unknown assailant exploded. This incident became known as Haymarket Riot or Haymarket Massacre. (Haymarket Affair, 2020).

In 1889, a international federation of socialist groups and trade unions declared May 1st to honor labor in commemoration of the Haymarket Affair in United States, Canada and across Europe. Five years later U.S. Pres. Grover Cleveland, uneasy with the socialist and anarchist origins of Workers’ Day, signed a law making the first Monday in September a national holiday, Labor Day. Shortly there after Canada followed. (May Day, 2020).

May Day march in New York City, May 1, 1909. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. https://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/ggbain/item/2014683315/

This post was contributed by Joan Wagner, Chief Librarian at the School of Health Sciences

Bibliography

Haymarket Affair. (2020). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from https://academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/Haymarket-Affair/39667

May Day. (2020). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from https://academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/May-Day/438716

May Day. (2020). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from https://academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/May-Day/51569

Further Reading

Foner, Philip Sheldon. May Day : a short history of the international workers’ holiday, 1886-1986. International Publishers, 1986. Possibly available here: https://archive.org/details/maydayshorthisto0000fone

Haverty-Stacke, Donna T. Americas Forgotten Holiday: May Day and Nationalism, 1867-1960. New York University Press, 2009.

https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history

Separating Fact from Fiction

People often ask me, “They still have librarians? Isn’t it all on the internet?”

I respond to these questions that, as a librarian, part of my job is simply getting people to believe that they can’t necessarily trust what they read on the internet.

The coronavirus crisis reminds me continually of the importance of librarians and how much work we still need to do to help others see that, too.

An Infodemic

The World Health Organization has used the term infodemic” to describe the flood of inaccurate information about the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 that can make it difficult for people to find the information they need. Social networking is playing a major role in spreading this misinformation: according to CNN, this problem has gotten so bad that WhatsApp Messenger (a text and voice app) have had to limit the amount of times a message can be forwarded to one in order to slow the spread of false information.

a woman wearing a mask looking at an image on a laptop
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Combating the Infodemic

Librarians have been sharing tools to combating misinformation for years, and these tools are as key to combating the coronavirus infodemic — after all, the information literacy skills taught by librarians are meant to go beyond the classroom. They are life skills, and if there was ever a time to apply those skills, this is it.

A key information literacy concept is seeking authoritative information. This means that the person or organization providing information is an expert in the topic he or she is commenting on. In the case of the coronavirus, an appropriate person to provide medical information would be a doctor who is a specialist in infectious diseases and epidemiology, and an example of an authoritative organization is the World Health Organization (WHO) or The Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Mythbusting Websites

It can be hard to sort out incorrect information on your own. Below are some websites that can help you debunk coronavirus/COVID-19 myths and rumors:

Snopes.com is a well-known website devoted to exposing disinformation. This includes discussing the validity of myths relating to COVID-19. It can be accessed at https://www.snopes.com/

Brandon Harrington, Library Assistant at Starrett City has created an excellent Fake News LibGuide. Addition fact checking websites listed there are:

A Ray of Hope

Beyond these authoritative resources, we can look to well-qualified people to connect us with accurate information, too. Someone I have come to respect throughout the coronavirus crisis has been Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

As a librarian, I appreciate that he answers questions by stressing the importance of making decisions based on quality data, rather than on personal beliefs, assumptions, or anecdotal information. The peer-reviewed studies he praises are the same type of studies we help our students and faculty find every day.

doctor anthony fauci
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Credit: NIH

Conclusion

While the coronavirus crisis has led to a flood of misinformation, we hope you find this post helps you find ways to separate the fact from fiction and to find accurate voices to listen to — and know that you can always call on a librarian for help.

This post was contributed by Michael Kahn, Librarian, Touro College School for Lifelong Education

References

ACRL. (n.d.). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework

FactCheck. (2020). https://www.factcheck.org/

Gold, H. (2020, April 7). WhatsApp tightens limits on message forwarding to counter coronavirus misinformation. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/07/tech/whatsapp-misinformation-forward-limit/index.html

Harrington, B. (2020, February 13). Fake News: How to spot Fake News. [LibGuide]. http://libguides.tourolib.org/fakenews

PolitiFact. (n.d.). https://www.politifact.com/

Quinnipiac University. (n.d.). April 8, 2020 – Fauci, governors get highest marks for response to coronavirus, Quinnipiac University National Poll finds; Majority say Trump’s response not aggressive enough. https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=3658

The Washington Post Fact Checker. (n.d.). https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/?utm_term=.24060580321d

United Nations. (n.d.). UN tackles ‘infodemic’ of misinformation and cybercrime in COVID-19 crisis. https://www.un.org/en/un-coronavirus-communications-team/un-tackling-%E2%80%98infodemic%E2%80%99-misinformation-and-cybercrime-covid-19

Staying Balanced on the Hyphen

This blog post contains discussions of bipolar disorder. If you are in crisis or you think you may have an emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area at any time (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). If you are located outside the United States, call your local emergency line immediately.

Do you know someone with a mental illness? Someone who is considered neuroatypical, whose brain works differently than most people?

Perhaps you know someone with bipolar disorder, as “an estimated 2.8% of U.S. adults had bipolar disorder in the past year.” (The National Institute of Mental Health Information Resource Center, 2017) Or you know someone who has this disease and you don’t know it — someone who, as I put it, is “staying balanced on the hyphen”. This might be someone who works very hard on a daily basis to stay within a “normal” range of emotions and not give into the manic highs and deep lows of the illness.

one woman comforting another woman
Image by Serena Wong from Pixabay

Bipolar disorder is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as “a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks” (The National Institute of Mental Health Information Resource Center, 2020). It is characterized by extreme see-sawing moods, from “extremely ‘up,’ elated, irritable, or energized behavior (known as manic episodes) to very ‘down,’ sad, indifferent, or hopeless periods (known as depressive episodes)” (The National Institute of Mental Health Information Resource Center, 2020). Continue reading