Open Access Week

oaTraditionally, faculty and researchers publish their findings in academic journals without expecting any financial reward. They share their work hoping to advance humankind’s knowledge. Before their work gets published, however, authors are also asked to sign a copyright agreement with the publisher. By signing the agreement, the researcher is giving away most of his or her rights to use or disseminate their work. If the author wants to share the article with others in class, on social media or on digital repositories, he needs to get permission from the same publisher who originally published his article. Permission is sometimes granted and sometimes denied depending on the publisher’s policy.

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Celebrating Sukkot

A sukkah from inside. (From Wikimedia user Muu-karhu)
A sukkah from inside (via Wikimedia user Muu-karhu)

After the solemnity and introspection of the High Holy Days, Sukkot, the Festival of Booths, is always a treat. Like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, I look forward to Sukkot every year because this holiday, unlike Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, is an unaltered celebration.  After the Exodus from Egypt, the ancient Jews traveled the wilderness for forty years before reaching the land of Israel. They lived in small huts called “sukkot” during this time. The holiday of Sukkot commemorates those temporary dwellings: Orthodox Jewish families build a small hut, or Sukkah, outside the house where they eat all meals for the seven days of the holiday. Many Orthodox Jews also sleep outdoors in the Sukkah. A typical Sukkah would look something like this:


The holiday of Sukkot is also called “Chag ha-Asif,” or the festival of the harvest. It is a festival of thanksgiving for the bounty that was just harvested in time for winter. As a child I always enjoyed helping my father build our Sukkah on the back porch, and decorating it with posters, flags, and ceiling decorations suspended from the bamboo poles that made up our s’chach (the roof of the sukkah, which must be made from some form of plant).

I love to visit other people’s sukkahs because no two sukkahs are exactly alike. Every family builds and decorates theirs in their own unique style. The requirements to build a sukkah are pretty simple, according to Wikipedia: “A sukkah design must be a temporary structure.[4] The roof must be made of non-edible plant material.[4] The roofing must be thick enough to shade those sitting inside in daytime, and thin enough so that stars are visible through the roof at night.[4] The walls must be at least 10 handsbreadths tall but can be made of any material. Did you know that the body of a dead whale can serve as a wall? [4][7][10] The sukkah can also be built atop a live camel.[3][4][7]

 Fortunately, these days we do not need to use dead whales for walls, but I came across some pretty interesting sukkah designs when I did a quick Google image search. In the fall of 2010, an architectural design competition called Sukkah City was held in partnership with the Union Square Partnership for New York City’s Union Square Park. All entrants can be seen here on Sukkah City’s website. The winning designs were constructed at Brooklyn’s Gowanus Studio Space, and set up in Union Square Park for the duration of the holiday. Below are some of the more eye-catching designs.

(All images from

For more information on the holiday, take a look at the Encyclopedia Judaica page here.

Or check out these titles in our collection:

Sukkot began at sundown on Sunday, October 16 2016 and will end at sundown on Tuesday, October 25 2016. Happy holidays!

Contributed by: Toby Krausz, Librarian, Midtown

Yom Kippur: A Day of Atonement

(Yom Kippur)

Yom Kippur aka The Day of Atonement: this represents the time when Jews will have their fate decided. How much money will be earned for the year, what a person’s health will be, as well whatever is supposed to happen to a person in their life during the year.  People of course pray that everything that will happen should be good for the person.

I should note that on this occasion, the prayers are only directed between people and G-d, not between people and other people.  Any “offense” that take place between people is not covered by Yom Kippur.  The individuals involved need to ask for pardon from each other.

Yom Kippur is the end of this Holy time of year, which began with Rosh Hashanah.  This is a ten day period when forgiveness is asked from G-d as well as from “man”. As it says in the Liturgy, on Rosh Hashanah G-d writes down what will be and on Yom Kippur that decree is sealed.

This year, Yom Kippur will begin the evening of Tuesday October 11th and conclude the evening of Wednesday the 12th.

Contributed by: Edward Schabes, Library Assistant, Midtown