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Blog Posts by Subject: Jewish Studies

Gil Marks: Maven and Mensch

Gil Marks, the author of several cookbooks and of the indispensable Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, died last Friday morning at the age of 62. Read More ›

Stefan Zweig's New Life

Stefan Zweig is experiencing a major comeback in the English-speaking world. The works of fiction of this Austrian Jewish writer (1881-1942) are being reissued in new translations, including his novels such as Beware of Pity and The Post-Office Girl; and director Wes Anderson says that his delightful new film, Grand Budapest Hotel, was "inspired" by Zweig's writings. And now a new biography, by George Prochnik, is appearing: The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World. Read More ›

Recent Activity in the Raphael Lemkin Papers

To honor April as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, this post recounts recent efforts to bring more attention to the Polish philologist and international lawyer who coined the word genocide. The Raphael Lemkin papers have been safely held at NYPL since 1982. We expect more people will realize the significance of this collection as scholars, researchers, and the general public discover the life and achievement of Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959.)Read More ›

The Yiddish Broadway and Beyond

Given New York City’s major role in the Yiddish theater, it’s no surprise that The New York Public Library has a wonderful Yiddish theater collection. Here you’ll find posters, playbills, sheet music, published plays, photographs, manuscripts, memoirs, oral histories and recordings that tell the story of Yiddish theater and its legendary stars.Read More ›

November Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

Is Detroit City really the place to be? What happens in a typical day at a busy NYC hospital? How does a traveler lose himself all over the globe? Is it possible for the government to achieve full employment in 

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Classroom Connections: 'Grace Aguilar's American Journey,' A Common Core-aligned Research Experience (Gr. 11-12)

By 1900, New York City and the United States were undergoing waves of dramatic, traumatic change. Industrialization, Reconstruction and a surge of immigrants from across the globe were remaking every aspect of life, from transportation to education, leisure, labor, race relations and the status of women. One response to the dislocations and turmoil of this era was the reform efforts that we now classify as the “Progressive Movement.”

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Book Discussion at Epiphany, "I Am Forbidden" by Anouk Markovits

Jewish history is quite extensive and encompasses a wide range of stories. For the month of July the group continued to focus on this history, as we did in the previous month's selection, by reading the novel I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits. This sweeping tale brings to life the story of a Satmar family (a very strict Hasidic sect), focusing specifically on two young women within 

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Classroom Connections: Lists for Lesson Planning (Gr. 6-12)

Aguilar Library, 1938 - Librarian w/ students. Want to know more about our current educational initiatives? See The ABC of Education: Why Libraries Matter by Maggie Jacobs, Director of Educational ProgramsWe have just shuttered the doors on our first Education Innovation @ NYPL Summer Institute. During this three week Institute, master teachers from NYC (and further afar) met curators from our Research 

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From Sanitary Fairs to "The Settlement": Early Charity Cookbooks

One hundred and fifty years ago, as the Civil War raged, the United States Sanitary Commission (USSC) was busy raising money to improve conditions for Union soldiers. Early on in the war, people realized that, in addition to the terrible loss of life during the battles, an appalling number of casualties occurred because of poor sanitation and inadequate medical care. One very successful method of fundraising by the USSC was "Sanitary Fairs"—exhibitions and festivals held throughout the Northern states. Merchandise for sale at the fairs might include clothing, toys, tobacco, 

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Playing With Matches: Jewish Deli Ephemera

Hot pastrami. Three decker sandwiches with chopped liver, corned beef, tomatoes and bermuda onion. Hungarian beef goulash with noodles. Stuffed derma with kasha. These artery-clogging delicacies are no longer available at the Stage Delicatessen, which closed late last year after 75 years as a New York City landmark. The Stage was one of the relatively few remaining "Jewish-style" (but decidedly unkosher) delicatessens in New York.

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Catching the 7 Line: The International Express to NYPL!

7 Train by Scott Beale on FlickrApril is Immigrant Heritage Month. In New York City, April 17th to 24th is Immigrant Heritage Week. In honor of both celebrations of Immigrant Heritage, this blog will focus on the multiculturalism of the 7 train.

If you live in Queens, New York, and you work in midtown like me, there might be a possibility that you often take the MTA train to work, particularly the

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The Jews of Shanghai: Uncovering the Archives and Stories

"Life was difficult in Shanghai, but infinitely better than anything they had left behind. From lower-middle-class comfort, the Tobias family was reduced to poverty but not to starvation. There was always food, always something to eat, always shelter even when the Jewish community was ghettoized shortly after Pearl Harbor. Thus even under terribly difficult conditions Moses Tobias was able to take care of his family but under the Nazis the conditions of the Jews were far worse than merely 'terribly difficult.'

"Shanghai was a multiethnic city and the 

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"The Hobbit" and Other Classics in Yiddish

"The Hobbit" in YiddishIf you're as eager as I am to see the movie version of The Hobbit, then you'll be excited to hear about the brand-new translation of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic into Yiddish. OK, maybe not; possibly you don't read Yiddish. But the recent publication of Der Hobit offers a good opportunity to illustrate one of the strengths of the Dorot Jewish Division.

"The Cat in 

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The Emperor of the United States

Some people are already tired of hearing about the 2012 election campaign. But they should be grateful for our election process, because our democratically-elected government was once a monarchy. No, I'm not referring to the British royal family. I'm talking about Joshua Abraham Norton, the self-styled "Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico" — and surely one of the most eccentric American Jews of the nineteenth century. You can read about his exploits in books from the Dorot Jewish 

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"The Biggest Library in the World Opens Today": NYPL in the Yiddish Press

You probably already know that the New York Public Library's flagship building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street will celebrate its centennial on May 23. There will be galas, games, lectures, and all kinds of activities for young and old. But what about opening day in 1911? There was less gaming, probably, and no smartphone apps to help you locate treasures. Nevertheless, according to newspaper accounts, it was a grand event for New York and the entire country, attended not only 

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Special Collections Highlights: Mary Löwenkopf Weiss Papers

In December 1938, Mary Löwenkopf, a 13 year old Jewish girl from Nazi-occupied Vienna, left on a Kindertransport and settled in The Netherlands for the next 8 years. After liberation, she emigrated to the United States.

The Mary Löwenkopf Weiss Papers, a small archival collection in the Dorot Jewish Division documenting this World War II refugee, is a great example of how the remnants of 

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Heist Society: A Review

Katarina Bishop grew up all over Europe, but she isn’t an heiress. She has a Faberge egg, but she isn’t a Romanov. Kat is used to looking at a room and seeing all the angles, but that was before she stole a whole other life at the Colgan School only to walk away from it months later without a trace.

That was before everything went sideways.

While Kat was busy trying to steal a new, legit, life the family business prospered. When a powerful mobster’s priceless art collection goes missing it isn’t all that surprising that 

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Happy New Year, Circa 1910: Pop-up Greeting Cards in the Jewish Division

If you visit your local stationery store in September, you may well find a small selection of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) cards. The cards will probably have the standard Hebrew greeting for the new year, Le-shanah tovah tikatevu (literally, "May you be inscribed for a good year"). They may be serious, as befits a greeting card for the "Days of Awe," or light-hearted. (I saw one recently that showed a man asking his neighbor, "How's your New Year going?" Answer: "Shofar, so good").  It's 

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Ready with Opekta in 10 Minutes: A Culinary Footnote to the Holocaust

Why does the Dorot Jewish Division have in its cookbook collection a booklet of pectin recipes? After all, pectin—a gelling agent used in making jams, pie fillings, and jellybeans, among other things—may be very useful in confectionery, but it's hardly a staple ingredient in Jewish cookery. Yet one particular manufacturer of pectin played a fateful role in the life of a certain Jewish family during World War II.

"Opekta," a name 

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Snappy Eats of 1932: Jewish Community Cookbooks

Here in the Dorot Jewish Division, we have over 400 cookbooks that were published outside the United States: from Canada and Mexico, South America, Asia (including Israel, of course), Oceania, and Africa (including a cookbook from Melilla, the city on the north coast of Morocco that's actually part of Spain).

Some of the more unusual locales represented are the Bahamas (The Bah-Haimisha 

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