Tuesday, November 17, 2020


Librarian's Lobby October 1999, Daniel D. Stuhlman A Visit with Rabbi Harold P. Smith

Originally published in October 1999. Some slight revisions were made for clarity and updating.

Librarian's Lobby October 1999

A Visit with Rabbi Harold P. Smith

Rabbi Berish Cardash and I visited the home of Rabbi Harold P. Smith1, former vice-president of Hebrew Theological College (HTC). He also served terms as president of the Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC) and Chicago Board of Rabbis (CBR) R. Rabbi Smith is donating his books to the Library. After showing us his books, he brought us to his dining room. Behind a room divider and under a cover there was a file cabinet with his all of speeches and sermons stored on 4" x 6" hand-written note cards. He said that while he can't give us the cabinet now, he wrote into his will that the file cabinet and its contents will go to the HTC Library. He gave samples of the sermons and permission to quote parts. My selections are in the next part of this column.

Selections from the Speeches of Rabbi Harold P. Smith
[Quoted with Rabbi Smith's permission]

Delivered at the Annual Banquet of Hebrew Theological College 1980

[Rabbi Smith talks about a visit with the editorial staff of the Chicago Tribune. An editor asked] "Rabbi Smith, it is apparent from our conversations that you have broad perspectives on many subjects. Why are all the articles you submit to us only on the subject of Israel?" ... I told my friends at the Chicago Tribune that in my judgment the very existence of Israel is greatly endangered by the menacing intentions of the hostile Arab countries ... I have to write the same article in different words with different approaches with the hope that some of your people will start listening.

Delivered to the faculty some time in the early 1970's

... " Ki-'esh 'ehad uba-lev 'ehad [As one voice and one heart]"; Rashi -- and that is the only way to build a Torah institution ....

Delivered before Yizkor Shemini Atzeret in the late 1960's 2

...which reminds us that Israel still has many problems, of which the hostility of her surrounding neighbors is one, albeit a very serious one. Lack of stability in several of the Arab states and Nasser's unconcealed ambitions appear to make [a] solution to this problem highly unlikely in the near future. The costs of [Israeli] defense are enormous. Israel can not relax its vigilance even for a moment.

There is the problem with water. The growing population and continued expansion of agriculture are draining Israel's fresh water supplies...

[Rabbi Smith's speech continues with the need to invest in Israel Bonds.]
Recent gifts

A library user walked into the reading room saw all the boxes of books that we are processing and asked if we had an advertisement encouraging people to donate books to the Library. We don't. But from the number of gifts we have received in the past four months it certainly seems so. In the past month we received books that belonged to the late Rabbi Menachim M. Goodman. His collection included Judaica (including over 40 sermon books) and non-Judaica. Sermon books that duplicated what the Library owned were given to the CRC collection. Hazzan Abraham Mendelsberg donated hazzanut materials including sheet music, music books and audio records. His donation included music written by the masters of hazzanut, Pierre Pinchik, Max Janowski, and Abraham Moshe Bernstein. Books also came from the collections of the late Rabbis Albert Ellison and L. Feinberg.

Recent articles

The current issue (October 1999 v. 32:8) of The Jewish Observer (pages 17-20) has an article, "The secular enforceability of a Beis Din judgment, " by Shlomo Chaim Resnicoff.3 He deals with the questions of, " Why would the American courts support the beis din process?; and Wouldn't enforcement of a rabbinic arbitration agreement violate some constitutional principle regarding the supposed separation of church from state?" These are no light matters. Under American law the Beis Din is under the category of arbitration. Two parties agree to have a third party listen to their case and decide it. The arbitration agreement must in writing and signed by all relevant parties. For "public policy" reasons courts in different locations may not enforce the same agreements that work in other locations. Child support or child custody are types of cases that are not uniformly enforceable.

Hazzan Macy Nulman, an expert in Tefilah and Jewish music, writes in Journal of Jewish Music and Liturgy ("The Greetings of the Jewish People." v. 21, 1998-1999 pages 6-19) about Jewish greetings. The article tells about the history of greetings and the differ-ences between Askenazic, Sephardic, and Hasidic exchanges. The greeting of shalom dates back to Biblical times. Several pages deal with Rosh Hashana greetings. The article concludes with the lack greetings on Tisha b'Av and to mourners.

1. Rabbi Smith wrote a book for children, A Treasure Hunt in Judaism, published by Hebrew Publishing Company in 1942 with a revision in 1950. This book explains Jewish customs and ceremonies for teenagers. Rabbi Smith retired from the Yeshiva in the early 1980's because of health reasons. He told me that he went to Switzerland for three years for treatments and then returned to Chicago. He showed us his entry in Who's Who. He had so many activities and honors, that his entry was three times the size as most others.

2. Rabbi Smith was the Rabbi at Agudath Achim of South Shore from 1949-1969. The Shabbat and holiday sermons were delivered there. Many of his books were lost when the synagogue closed. A chair in practical rabbinics was named in his honor at HTC. The plaque is hanging in his hallway. A rabbi told me that he remembers Rabbi Smith's homiletics class. Rabbi Smith's style was to write his sermons on 4 x 6 cards and spread the cards out on the lectern. When a card was completed he moved a new one on the surface. Rabbi Smith was known for his friendly speaking style. He had several favorite topics-- Israel, Jewish Education, Klal Yisrael, and Unity of Am Yisrael.

Note: Rabbi Smith passed away on Nov. 9, 2011 at age 98. Here is a link to an obituary from the JUF News. https://www.juf.org/news/local.aspx?id=413349

3. Professor Resnicoff is a musmach and a professor of law at DePaul University School of Law in Chicago.

4. Macy Nulman is the former director of the School of Jewish Music, an affiliate of Yeshiva University. Once, when passing through Chicago he visited our Library.

Daniel D. Stuhlman is president of Stuhlman Management Consultants, Chicago, IL, a firm helping organizations turn data and information into knowledge. We are looking for new clients and opportunities. Visit our web site to learn more about knowledge management and what our firm can do for you.

 © 2006, 2020 by Daniel D. Stuhlman. All rights reserved.
Last revised November 17, 2020

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Periodical Collections

This was written in 1999 when the use of databases for periodical searches and storage was more limited than today. The principles are the same as in 1999, but some of the tools have changed. I edited part of this article to reflect current practices.
Librarian's Lobby July 1999, Daniel D. Stuhlman Scholarly Periodical collections

Librarian's Lobby
July 1999
Periodical Collections

Several questions concerning periodicals have come up in the past few weeks. After one person wanted to know about our collection of scholarly journals, I thought that perhaps others don't know what makes a publication scholarly.


The broad term, periodical, (In Hebrew kitav-et) is used for publications (print, non-print, and electronic) produced for distribution in a given time period. The schedule could be any time period such as daily, weekly, yearly or even irregularly. A periodical is an edited work with contributions from a different array of authors for each issue. The binding is irrelevant to the definition of a periodical. Bindings may be hard cover, soft cover, perfect bound, or no binding at all. In contrast a book (Sefer) is written by one or more authors as a stand alone time publication. A book written by one or more collaborating authors is also called a monograph in library lingo. An encyclopedia is not a monograph because the authors contribute their articles and do not collaborate on the final product. A festschrift is a book but not a monograph. The lines of difference can be totally blurred when a periodical issue is published as if it were a monograph. For example the Chicago Jewish Historical Society's periodical has published issues on one topic with the look and "feel" of a monograph.

In developing a periodical collection the library deals with three issues: identification of periodicals relevant to the collection, the logistics of acquisitions, and the long-term storage and retrieval. The identification process is a combination of what is available, what is the general acquisition policy, and budget. The logistics concerns are ordering, processing and paying for the subscription. The long-time storage and retrieval is concerned with cataloging, shelving, retrieving issues, and with binding and preservation issues.

Scholarly vs. Popular

The libraries make policies concerning how long to keep scholarly Judaica periodicals. Scholarly periodicals may be kept indefinatly. Certain newspapers may be kept one week, others are kept three months. For trade magazines perhaps only two or three back issues are kept. Some libraries depend on back issues kept electronically by JStor or Project MUSE.

While there is no precise definition that would define a scholarly periodical, here are a few of the features. Scholarly journals *1*are written by and for scholars. This is not circular reasoning. Scholars in a field have a certain base of knowledge, vocabulary and background that makes communication more efficient. Intelligent people can read scholarly articles in many fields of interest. Scholarly articles are documented with footnotes, quotes, and research data. They frequently have a thesis and attempt to prove it with data and analysis. While articles in Time or Newsweek may take weeks of research, they are rarely documented. Writers in Time or Newsweek are paid reporters or journalists, not scholars advancing human knowledge. Scholars are usually not paid for their articles. They write because of an institutional requirement, a love of learning, or a desire to share knowledge.

Examples of scholarly Jewish periodicals in our library are : Jewish Bible Quarterly, Jewish Journal of Sociology, Journal of Jewish Studies and Tradition. Examples of popular Jewish periodicals in our library are : Jewish Action, Jewish Observer, and Moment. The designations have nothing to do with the quality of information in the articles.

Scholarly articles are peer-reviewed. The editor of the publication or another scholar will review and check the facts and conclusions before publication. The editors will try to make the article better. Newspapers are not peer-reviewed. I talked to one CRC member last week who said that he hates to talk with a newspaper reporter because the reporters turn around his words and use quotes out of context. Anyone who was at an event that is reported by a newspaper often wonders if the reporters attended the same event.

Accessing Periodical Information

The three most common ways that readers find citations in periodicals are : 1) References from sources in books and articles that are being read; 2) Checking paper indexes; and 3) Checking computer-based indexes.

Reference checking from sources in hand is a way of following the trail of research. If you are reading an article and want to check on the author's source, then you look for the source of the citation. The author may be right, wrong, or lead you to more information. If you are writing a paper, sermon, or teaching a class, then using an index helps you find the materials you want. The library has the Index to Jewish Periodicals and Rambi to find article on Jewish topics. We can also check online databases such as Rambi, EBSCO or ProQuest *2*.


Periodicals are both a headache and gold mine for the library staff and library users. Periodicals are gold mines because they have information that does not appear in books. Periodicals are a headache because finding the article requires a skillful search and a good storage facility or database to keep issues.


1. The term 'journal' is often used by scholarly publications. The word itself has no significance in the library world. 'Journal' comes from the idea the publication is a record of deliberations of a learned society. The Wall Street Journal and Ladies Home Journal are two totally non-scholarly publication that use 'journal' in their titles. Some daily newspapers have used 'journal' to indicate they are a daily record of events. For example: The Wall Street Journal.

2. Rambi is an abbreviation for Rishimat Ma'amarim biyahadut :Index of articles on Jewish Studies. This index is produced by the Jewish National and University Library. It is no longer be published in print format. It is available online. RAMBI. EBSCO and ProQuest are two major indexes and sources of full-text articles found in academic and large public libraries.

Daniel D. Stuhlman is president of Stuhlman Management Consultants, Chicago, IL, a firm helping organizations turn data and information into knowledge.

 ©2005 by Daniel D. Stuhlman. All rights reserved.
Last revised November 12, 2020