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The Third International Conference of Judaica-Collection Curators

The Third International Conference of Judaica-Collection Curators

Material Books and Virtual Collections



Dear Participants,

I am pleased to welcome you to the National Library of Israel for the Third International Conference of Judaica Collection Curators: "Material Books and Virtual Collections." The Sages of the Jewish tradition teach that Jerusalem exists in both the terrestrial and celestial realms. The former serves as a physical site of daily life and pilgrimage, while the latter presents an eternal spiritual abode, accessible to anyone from anywhere at any time. As we convene here in Jerusalem to discuss the past, present and future of Jewish intellectual and cultural heritage, the parallels between this ancient teaching and the subject at hand beseech further reflection.

The material book, like the terrestrial Jerusalem, is a physical object, both revered and preserved, yet forever remaining in a state of fragility, subject to destructive forces with the power to erase and destroy. Virtual collections complement material books in an intangible and universal manner. Just as someone on the other side of the world can make pilgrimage to the spiritual Jerusalem, it is now possible to delve into the treasures stored among virtual collections even if their physical counterparts are located across oceans and continents.

There has also always been a tension between these two Jerusalems, and, more recently, between material books and virtual collections. Pressing questions arise, some of which will be discussed over the course of this conference. In the modern age, can the material book truly exist without its virtual counterpart, and vice versa? Does one make the other obsolete? If so, what are the ramifications of this on the collection, preservation and curation of cultural treasures? What are the limitations?

We have recently begun construction on a new state-of-the-art National Library building, and these questions, among others, have played a central role in both the design of that building and in all aspects of our current renewal process. We continue to enrich our physical collections while digitizing and collaborating with institutions around the world to make the cultural treasures of Israel and the Jewish people more accessible than ever. These questions are clearly both ancient and modern, universal and particular in nature.

Thank you for joining us in Jerusalem as we explore fascinating and persistent questions of balance between physical and intangible, between material books and virtual collections.

David Blumberg
Chairman of the Board of Directors
The National Library of Israel

Tuesday, July 12th

Opening Session | 09:30-11:00


Yoel Finkelman 

Opening Remarks

David Blumberg
Realizing the Vision

Keynote Address

Moshe Koppel
How Technology and Virtual Collections Enable a Revolution in Judaica Research

Panel Session 1

Physical Materials in a Digital Age | 11:30-13:00


Sharon Liberman Mintz
The Jewish Theological Seminary


Michelle Chesner
Columbia University
In the Footprints of Giants: Taking the Digital Beyond Digitization

Ilana Tahan
The British Library
For King and Country: The Physicality of Historical Ephemera

Arthur Kiron
University of Pennsylvania Libraries
Judaica in the Age of Digital Reproduction


Poster Presentations


Silvia Bialik
Centro de Documentación e Investigación Judío de México
On the Centro de Documentación e Investigación Judío de México – CDIJUM

Milka Levy-Rubin
The National Library of Israel
A Digital Library of Holy Land Maps at the National Library of Israel

Rachel Boertjens
Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana
The Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, Training a Young Professional

Wendy Luterman
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Oral History Division

Anita Brumer
Instituto Cultural Judaico Marc Chagall, Brasil
Instituto Cultural Judaico Marc Chagall, Brasil

Ekaterina Oleshkevich
The Russian State Library
The Schneerson Collection at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow (a branch of the Russian State Library)

Michelle Chesner
Columbia University
Footprints: Jewish Books Through Time and Place

Tânia Neumann Kaufman
Arquivo Historico Judaico de Pernambuco
On the Arquivo Historico Judaico de Pernambuco

Yitzchak Gila
The National Library of Israel
Ktiv – The International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts

Osvaldo Quiroga
Museo y Archivo Regional de las Colonias Judías del Centro de Entre Ríos
Museum and Historical Archive of the Jewish Colonies in Entre Rios, Argentina: A Place for Memory, Learning and Enjoyment

Anastasia Glazanova and Pnina Younger
The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People
Reconstruction of Jewish Community Archives at the CAHJP: Collections, Hierarchy and Digital Preservation

Judith Riquelme Ríos and Ana María Tapia-Adler
Archivo Histórico Judío de Chile
La Civilización No Suprime la Barbarie, la Perfecciona

Eva Guelbert de Rosenthal
Museo histórico comunal y de la Colonización judía
Jewish Colonization Community Historical Museum: Experience and Projects

Lyudmila Sholokhova
YIVO Library and Archives
The YIVO Vilna Collections Project: Reuniting Archival and Library Collections Dispersed by WWII

Rachel Heuberger
Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main
Specialized Information Service: Jewish Studies and Israel Studies – University Library Frankfurt / Main in Collaboration with Media University, StuttgartCentro Bibliografico Ucei: Goals and Projects

Eyal Reuven
The National Library of Israel
Hackita 02

Stephen Jacobs
Rochester Institute of Technology
A Digitized Diary of a Jewish Soldier in the Boxer War

Raquel Ukeles
The National Library of Israel
Jrayed: Arabic Newspapers of Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine

​Chezkie Kasnett
The National Library of Israel
A-Z: The Israel Archives Network Project

Alex Valdman
The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People
Beyond Collection and Preservation: The Yerusha Project at the CAHJP

Menachem Katz
The Friedberg Genizah Project
The Friedberg Babylonian Talmud Variants Project – Hachi Garsinan

Dov Winer
Judaica Europeana
Contextualizing Catalogs and Digitized Texts for Jewish Studies with Linked Data Jewish Encyclopedia Applying Named Entities Recognition

Panel Session 2

The Transformation of Physical Pages to a Digital Medium | 15:30-17:00



Zsuzsanna Toronyi
Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives


Lev Israel
Sefaria: Open Sourcing the Jewish Canon

Ruti Abramovitch
Israel State Archives
Digitizing the Israel State Archives

Laura Brazzo
CDEC Digital Library
Enriching Knowledge through Linked Open Data at the CDEC

Wednesday, July 13th

Panel session 3 | Fifty Years of RAMBI: The Changing Environment of Digital Searching and Indexing | 09:00-10:30


Gabor Kadar
Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe – The Yerusha Project


Sylviane Stampfer
The National Library of Israel
Life Begins at Fifty: The Evolution of RAMBI

Shmuel Bar
Using Text Analytics for Comprehensive Ontological Searches for Academic Research

Avriel Bar-Levav
The Open University of Israel
RAMBI in the Context of Jewish Library Awareness

Panel session 4

Multiple Models of Digital Accessibility | 11:00-12:30


Yoel Finkelman
The National Library of Israel


Yaron Deutscher
The National Library of Israel
The Digital Vision of the National Library of Israel

Menachem Katz
The Friedberg Genizah Project
Using Different Forms of Presentation of Virtual Collections (Hebrew)

Shevy Korzen
The Public Knowledge Workshop
The Public Knowledge Workshop: Bringing Hidden Knowledge to Light


The Israel Museum and the Shrine of the Book | 13:30-16:30


Dinner at Kedma Restaurant, Jerusalem


Keynote Address

Stephen Jacobs
Rochester Institute of Technology
Playing with Material Books and Collections: The Use of Historical and Archival Materials in Games

Thursday, July 14th

Panel Session 5 | Libraries Beyond Readers: Tourists, Visitors, and the General Public | 09:00-10:30


Silvia Hansman
Fundación IWO, Buenos Aires


Josh Bendit
New Technologies for Exhibitions

Emile Schrijver
Jewish Historical Museum and the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam
Role-Changing among the Libraries, Museums and Archives of the Near and Distant Future

Yigal Zalmona
The National Library of Israel
Exhibitions at the Future National Library of Israel: Curatorial Dilemmas

Parallel Roundtable Sessions


Gesher L'Europa: The View from Both Ends of the Bridge
Moderator: Caron Sethill, The National Library of Israel

Jewish Archives in Latin America and Their Relations to Other Communal and Government Institutions
Moderator: Roney Cytrynowicz, Arquivo Histórico Judaico Brasileiro

Buying, Trading, and Building a Collection
Moderator: David Benayem, Bar-Ilan University

How “Old-Fashioned” Libraries Can Meet the Needs and Expectations of Millennial Users
Moderator: Rachel Boertjens, Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, Amsterdam

Closing Lecture


Bruno Racine
Cour de comptes (formerly: Bibliotheque nationale de France)
Which Digital Strategy is Best for Heritage Institutions?

Closing Remarks by Elchanan Reiner
The National Library of Israel
What is National About the National Library?

International Conference Advisory Board

David Benayem, (Bar-Ilan University) Silvia Hansman (Fundacion IWO)
Rachel Boertjens
(The Rosenthaliana Collection, The University of Amsterdam)
Arthur Kiron (University of Pennsylvania)
Yoel Finkelman (The National Library of Israel) Zsuzsanna Toronyi (Hungarian Jewish Archives)