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:

(source)
(source)

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As Seen on TV

I like to be entertained early and often. Once I dated a guy who took me to the movies weekly. I did not have strong feelings for him, but I really did love the movies. The break-up left me missing only first run feature films. It is no surprise then, when tasked with crafting a library research project, I would select a topic near and dear to my heart. I examined media, my first and only true love, and how it is related to reading choice.  Continue reading

Alcatraz: Not Just an Abandoned Prison

Alcatraz at sunset (CC image via )

Recently, I took a vacation to San Francisco, California. I had never been there before, and I have no shame: I wanted to cram as many touristy experiences possible into my week-long trip. Visit the Golden Gate Bridge? Of course! Head down to Fisherman’s Wharf? Sure! Book a ferry months in advance to visit Alcatraz? …Well, what’s so interesting about an old prison? We have one of those on the East Coast; how different could it be? I really didn’t care about hearing about Al Capone or the “Birdman” for the thousandth time (I know a few people who really like crime documentaries). What I didn’t realize was that Alcatraz has a much more complex history. Continue reading

Total Eclipse of the Sun

Solar Eclipse (CC0 image via Pixabay)

 

It’s the end of the world! Actually no, it’s just a solar eclipse, but not just any solar eclipse: a total solar eclipse. A total solar eclipse will pass over the United States on Monday, August 21st. For a brief amount of time, around 2.5 minutes, the moon will block out the sun, the brightest stars and planets will be visible, and animals and insects will believe it is nighttime. One of the more spectacular features of a total eclipse is being able to view the corona (outer ring caused by its atmosphere) of the sun for a brief period. It is a sight to be seen. Continue reading

Sometimes You Can Judge a Book by Its Cover

“Covers” by Henning M. Lederer on Vimeo

Way back in 2009, an observant blogger from the New York Observer noticed a “new trend” among booksellers. Rather than wrapping books in colorful paper dust jackets, some books incorporated the art directly onto their covers. It must have been quite an observation, since other bloggers repeated or quickly replicated the original blog. I can’t say I noticed at the time, so here is my contribution to the conversation, a mere eight years later. Continue reading

A swallow visits the LCW library: What we can learn “from the birds”

LCW gets an unexpected visitor

The other day at Lander College for Women, a bird flew into the building. We were advised to close the door of the library to prevent the bird from flying in during the window of time it took to catch and release the bird into freedom. We did not want our visitor, the bird dubbed Larry, to build a nest in our books! The excitement of the “bird alert” reminded me of the important metaphor that birds serve in various texts. Continue reading

Ice Cream Social: Facts for National Ice Cream Month

(CC0 image via Pexels)

Being that it is summer I figured I would write a lighthearted blog on a lighthearted topic – Ice Cream.

July is National Ice Cream Month. Yes – National Ice Cream Month (and National Ice Cream Day) are officially recognized holidays designated in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan after receiving a joint resolution from Congress on the matter. It seems that even Congress can agree on their love for this sweet treat. Continue reading

One Librarian, One Reference

Wikipedian Lane Rasberry presents some background on Wikipedia

On June 7th, 2017, Touro College librarians gathered at the Midtown campus for a Wikipedia editing event facilitated by Lane Rasberry, Wikipedian-in-Residence at Consumer Reports. Lane has visited the Touro Campus several times before for student events, but this was the first time that our librarians would be loosed on Wikipedia’s entries. If you thought Wikipedia and librarians (always carrying on about scholarly sources this and databases that) don’t mix, you’d be surprised! The model Wikipedia article is based on authoritative, often scholarly, information sources, and each fact included in an entry should be supported with an appropriate citation. In fact, the criteria for becoming a “Featured Article” on Wikipedia sound a lot like a good literature review: well-written, comprehensive, well-researched, and neutral.

Read on to hear about Touro librarians’ experiences editing Wikipedia in their own words: Continue reading

Flag Day: The Anniversary of the Stars & Stripes

(CC0 image via Pixabay)

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Each year, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14th. It started with a teacher, BJ Cigrand, in 1885. He encouraged his students to observe the anniversary of the adoption of the first official flag of the United States on June 14, 1777. At that time, the flag sported only 38 stars (compared to 50 today), after Colorado joined the Union in 1876, along with the 13 horizontal stripes representing the original 13 Colonies.

flags
The flag on display at Bay Shore library

Cigrand spread the idea through his writing and speeches on patriotism and the flag. Over time the ceremonies grew across the United States. After three decades of acknowledging “Flag Day”, President Woodrow Wilson wrote a Proclamation on May 30th, 1916 for the official observation of the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777. To further recognize the history of the flag, an Act of Congress on August 3rd, 1949 signed by President Truman officially made June 14th of each year National Flag Day.

Citizens, businesses and organizations are encouraged to observe Flag Day by hanging a flag throughout the week of June 14th.

Contributed by: Joan Wagner, Chief Librarian, Bay Shore

Streufert, Duane. “Usflag.Org: A Website Dedicated To The Flag Of The United States Of America – The History Of Flag Day”. Usflag.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 13 June 2017.

Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks

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Young women celebrating Shavuot in Israel, 1965 (CC image via Wikimedia)

Shavuot, or the Festival of Weeks marks 7 weeks since the conclusion of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt, when the Torah and the Ten Commandments were received at Mount Sinai. There are a number of customs associated with the celebration of Shavuot, which can be enumerated using the mneumonic of the Hebrew word acharit (אחרית‎, “last”). These include the reading of a liturgical poem and from the Book of Ruth, the consumption of dairy foods (like cheesecake, blitzes, and kreplach), the decoration of homes with flowers or greenery, and all-night Torah study. Read more about the meaning of Shavuot and its traditions.

This year, Shavuot begins the evening of Tuesday May 30th and end the evening of Thursday June 1st. Most library locations will close at 2 p.m. Tuesday 5/30 and reopen Friday 6/2.

Chag Shavuot Sameach! Happy Shavuot!