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Jewish Cookbook recipes for Passover

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By Kate Dietrick, Assistant Archivist, Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives

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Next week begins the Jewish holiday of Passover, or Pesach, the commemoration of the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt over 3,300 years ago. It is said that when the Israelites were freed they left in such a rush that they could not wait for bread dough to rise, or leaven. So in commemoration, during Passover no leavened bread is eaten. Chametz, five types of grain (wheat, barley, spelt, rye, and oats) are forbidden; thus matzah, flat unleavened bread, is eaten during the eight-day holiday. But what might you make with matzo?

One of the unique collections that the Jewish Historical Society amassed before donating their materials to the University of Minnesota is a collection of Jewish cookbooks. These cookbooks, mostly from local women's groups, are filled with great recipes, including ones particular to Jewish holidays.

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In Hot off the Range, compiled by the Jewish Women of the Hibbing-Chisholm Hadassah in 1981, they list suggested menus for Sabbath and holidays.

Upper Midwest Jewish Archives launches new website

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UMJA website.bmpThe Upper Midwest Jewish Archives has launched their new website. The site now provides information on the history of the collection, a link to the database to search their holdings and logistical information to help you plan your visit.

For information about this collection or any others in Archives and Special Collections (ASC), the ASC website is a good place to start. This provides links to the websites for the Sherlock Holmes Collection, Children's Literature Research Collections, the University of Minnesota Archives and a dozen other collections filled with treasures to tempt you.





Deadman's Switch

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Kate doing figure 8's.JPGIn the words of my colleague Lisa Vecoli, you know the lesson is off to a scary start when there is mention of the dead man's switch. There are reasons I chose to be an archivist and not a police officer, and discussion of a dead man's anything is very much one of those reasons.

Thus began two afternoons of training in order to drive one of the stock pickers that roam the caverns of Elmer L. Andersen Library. Underneath the Andersen Library, carved 82 feet down into the bluffs of the Mississippi River, are two caverns where the Department of Archives and Special Collections as well as the Minnesota Library Access Center store their treasures of books and archives. Each of the two caverns measures 680 feet long, 65 feet wide, and 23 feet high. It is because of that 23 feet of height that Lisa and I were attending training--because even with a ladder those highest shelves remain unreachable without the aid of a stock picker.

Kate using the stock picker.JPGThe two stock pickers in the caverns (aptly nicknamed Isis and Osiris after the ancient Egyptian mythological gods of the underworld) operate as fork lifts with a table attached to the forks, allowing for archives boxes to be placed upon retrieval. The dead man's switch, as we learned from our instructor Tim McCluske who works with MINITEX, is a foot pedal that acts as a fail-safe, bringing the machine to an abrupt stop should an emergency arise. The stock picker weighs nearly three times more than a car and proved to be powerful and intimidating. Having just moved to Minnesota from New York City, I have spent the past five years not driving a car let alone heavy machinery, and now here I was standing in the carriage of a massive machine attempting to learn the sharp pivot point so as not to run into shelving or walls.

Dietrick.jpgThe University of Minnesota Libraries has hired archivist Katherine Dietrick to oversee the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives (UMJA). Dietrick most recently was an assistant archivist at the Whitney Museum of American Art and an archivist at the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in New York City.

"I am thrilled to join the team at the Andersen Library, especially at such an exciting time for the UMJA. " said Ms. Dietrick. "Now that the remaining portions of the collection have been transferred, reuniting all of the materials in one place, the strength of the collection is even more evident. I look forward to promoting the collection, both within the University and to the community at large, shining a light on the dynamic materials."

The Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest completed the transfer of all of its historical documents to the University of Minnesota Libraries in 2012, creating a major research collection on Jewish history, communities, religion, and culture in the Upper Midwest.

On December 17, 2012, the Immigration History Research Center collections, now to be known as the IHRC Archives, formally became part of the Department of Archives and Special Collections. The Immigration History Research Center, directed by Prof. Erika Lee, will continue to promote the study of immigrant populations within the College of Liberal Arts, and the University Libraries will support the collections. The IHRC and Archives and Special Collections will collaborate through programming, exhibits, events, and outreach to immigrant communities. The IHRCA is second only to the University Archives in terms of the size of the collection, and is one of the most heavily used of the collections in Andersen Library.

Earlier in the fall, the collections of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest were donated to the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives. A portion of the JHSUM materials had been on deposit in Andersen Library for a number of years, and the donation reunites all of the collections in one place. We are very pleased that Kate Dietrick will be joining ASC as curator of the Berman Archives in March. Kate comes to us from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. She received her MS in Library and Information Science from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, and her BA in history and women's studies from St. Olaf College.

We are delighted to add these two stellar collections to our wide-ranging complement of research materials. Both the IHRCA and the Berman Archives connect with other departmental collecting strengths, most notably the Social Welfare History Archives and the Kautz Family YMCA Archives, forming a solid core of research materials in immigration and social history found nowhere else.

Kris Kiesling, Director of Archives and Special Collections


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