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Ellen Bosman

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Reviews of Jewish Electronic Resources

Anna Olswanger Books
This site “publishes and promotes books and articles of Jewish interest for readers, booksellers and librarians, authors and illustrators. The site links internally to Jewish fiction, Jewish book publishing news, and interviews with industry professionals.” Although not containing book reviews, this a good site to visit to keep abreast of book releases, author tours, book readings, and locating author contact information. Also available vie e-mail, the newsletter is archived on the site. The site owner “hopes to encourage booksellers and librarians to connect with customers and patrons by cooperating with each other in arranging author appearances.” Considering the Internet’s limited content as it relates to Jewish publishing, this site is a welcome addition. Last visited: 05/2013.

JBooks. Needham, MA: Jewish Family & Life!
“...Dedicated to the idea that books are enhancing the Jewish spiritual renaissance..[and] publish[ing] reviews...directly address[ing] the interests and needs of the diverse Jewish community.” This clearly stated mission is fulfilled on the attractive JBooks site. Reviews are organized by subject, such as: fiction, nonfiction, children’s, poetry, life, and audio books. Select an area to be greeted with multiple signed reviews arranged chronologically. Chose a title to see bibliographic data, cover art, and lengthy, 600-800 word reviews. In a field where reviews are typically plot summarization, JBooks refreshingly provides critical analysis. At the end of each review, the reviewer’s credentials are provided. Author interviews, regular columns, and a "first chapters area round out the site. Provides a search engine. Lacks statement on how items are chosen for review. Recommended for Jewish perspective. Last visited: 05/2013.

Jewish Book Council
Founded in 1942, the Council disseminates information about Jewish books in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish, and encourages the publication and distribution of such books. Publishes the Jewish Book Annual, which contains literary criticism and bibliographies, and annually sponsors the National Jewish Book Awards. Last visited: 05/2013.

Jewish Book Reader
A monthly selection “...offering reviews, excerpts, and thought-provoking questions. Add your comments to the conversation.” Useful for book groups. Last visited: 05/2013.

Jewish Book Week
An annual celebration of Jewish literature and authors. The website features podcasts, featured books, interviews, events, and information on selected prizes. Last visited: 05/2013.

Jewish Quarterly ISSN 0449-010X
The online presence of a U.K. publication, the site contains short descriptive book reviews, as well as commentary of music and film. Last visited: 05/2013.

Jewish ValuesFinder
A project of the Association of Jewish Libraries, Valuesfinder identifies Jewish values found in contemporary Jewish children’s books. Subject headings based on the Weine Classification Scheme for Judaica Libraries are provided, as well as descriptive and bibliographic information. The searchable database defaults to a key word search, but can perform exact searches by clicking a small box next author, title, subject, or value. Alternatively, click on value for a list of the values or for a list of authors and titles, leave all fields empty and click on Search. Searches can be narrowed by grade level, date, publisher, and award-winning status. The Book Bag feature allows users to select results and prepare a printed bibliography of titles of interest. Tthere are more than 1,500 titles in ValuesFinder. Scope and selection criteria clearly noted. Highly recommended. Last visited: 05/2013.
Here is an online Jewish bookstore partnering with The books are often reviewed by the site owners, but may be excerpts from book jackets, newspapers, or Ofrah’s Jewish Book Club appears to be the area with the most original reviews. There is no statement on how books are selected for review, but in correspondence with the site owners, they indicate they review “any new book that we deem of interest to Jewish readers.” The descriptive reviews are not signed or dated nor credentials noted, making it very difficult to distinguish which reviews are authored and which are excerpts from other sources. Books are arranged by subject and date, but the subject access is the most helpful because a large variety of subject entry points are provided. A search engine or author/title indexing would be helpful. Complete bibliographic data is not provided because the owner’s do not want to duplicate their purchasing partner’s efforts. Cover art available. Last visited: 05/2013.

Moment: the magazine of Jewish culture, politics, and religion
ISSN 0099-0280
Founded by Elie Wiesel in 1975 and published six times per year, the magazine is committed to “intellectual, political, cultural, and religious debates...and to educating readers about Judaism’s rich history and contemporary movements, ranging from left to right, fundamentalist to secular.” The book review section features lengthy, signed articles critical in nature, although reviews from the current issue are limited to a few hundred words. Cover art and bibliographic data provided. Check out the Guides section for special book and music review supplements. Last visited: 05/2013

Notable Children’s Books of Jewish Content
A bibliography citing books chosen from those submitted to, and evaluated by, the Sydney Taylor Award Committee. The citation includes ISBN, pagination and cost complemented by cover art and a brief, 20 word summary. Last visited: 05/2013

Top 100 Jewish Books
Prepared by a school Rabbi, this unannotated list is divided into subject-based categories of ten titles each. Sections include: the Bible, Jewish law, liturgy/home practice, history, philosophy, mysticism, poetry/drama/short stories, children’s books, and novels. Last visited: 05/2013.
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