Friday, 2 January 2009

welcome new year 2009

so, a brand new year ahead. in a previous post, the reb already spelt out the new responsibilities that come with the new year.

in an old post, the reb was contemplating whether to change his old workhorse, the 1983 mazda, which has given 26 years of faithful service. well, finally, last month, the old faithful was officially 'retired' from active service and returned f.o.c to its original owner, the reb's cousin, whom he had bought the car from in 1988 for rm 16,000. the car changed hands on 30th dec 2008.
in came the new workhorse, a blue proton saga 1.3, with a number plate NCE 102. yes, indeed very 'nice', from the photo.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Judaic Digital Library goes free to public

this is great news to all who cannot afford to subscribe to this standard Jewish set of works. the Judaic Digital Library is now open to the public for free. The yearly subscription is US$89.

Only limitation is that one cannot  copy/paste, print, or use bookmarking, annotations, and personalization tools. but the offer is still marvellous especially to access the JPS and ICC commentaries.


Varda Books opens Judaic Digital Library to public

Skokie, Illinois, December 26, 2008 – Varda Books, the leading publisher of digital Judaica, has announced the public availability of its online Judaic Digital Library at no charge ( Advanced editing functions for research and scholarly study are available for subscribers at a nominal fee.

JDL is a massive collection of outstanding books in the area of the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies (a complete list of mostly English-language texts included in the Basic Reference Collection can be found at ). The collection has been carefully prepared for computer-assisted reading and research as well as Jewish and Judaic learning.

Although copy/paste, print, bookmarking, annotations, and personalization tools are available only to paid subscribers, the unlimited power search and reading of the Basic Reference Collection is now available to all free of charge.

The scope of the collection is broad and thus should be attractive not only to scholars but also to educators, Rabbis, journalists, librarians, students, and anyone who is looking for reliable, authoritative, easily accessible information on Jewish history, theology, ritual, Torah/Bible, art, sports, and many other topics. 

Included in the JDL’s Basic Reference Collection are such titles as:

· JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh 

· JPS Torah and Bible Commentaries

· International Critical Commentaries on almost all books of Tanakh

· Cambridge Bible Commentaries

· Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Bible Lexicon (Complete and Unabridged)

· Jewish Encyclopedia, in 13 volumes

· Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, in 13 volumes 

· The latest JPS edition of Louise Ginzberg's monumental 7 volume Legends of the Jews

· 3-volume Mekhilta de Rabbi Ishmail, Pesikta de-Rab Kahane, Tanna Debbe Eliahu, Tractate Taanit, Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer and other collections of Midrashim and ancient sermons.

Most of JDL's Biblical commentaries have been prepared to work interactively with the renowned JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh: clicking on any biblical reference forces the Tanakh to pop up in a separate window with the requested original Hebrew text and the renowned English translation, side-by-side.

Among its many award-winning titles are those authored by such renowned thinkers as:

Cecil Roth, Chouraqui, Solo Baron, Abrahams, Alter, Netanyahu, Bentwich, Frazer, Bauer, Chomsky, Jacobs, Baek, Kaplan, Ash, Yellin, Hartman, Scholem, Twersky, Borowitz, Gillman, Lamm, Maimonides, Baron, Radin, Lea, Luzzatto, Finkelstein, Freehof, Dorff, Modrzejewski, Ibn Gabirol, Henrich Graetz, Simon Dubnow, Judah HaLevy, and others...

To place the JDL search box on your website, go to and copy the source code there.

Monday, 29 December 2008

entering the new year 2009

just a few more days before we enter the new year 2009. for the reb, the year 2009 means a few things:

firstly, it means new responsibilities as academic dean in the seminary. the term is for 4 years and extendable for another 4 years. the academc dean takes care of all academic matters within the in-campus students, especially the undergraduates. this involves doing the time-table, scheduling lecturers for the courses, checking transcripts, advising students on what electives to take, chairing the academic affairs committee, taking care of the staff under the reb, attending STM Council meetings, planning academic activities like public lectures, semianrs, workshops etc. this is a new task and takes a bit of effort to get the whole academic picture into the reb's head. it will take at least a year to be familiarized with all the intricacies of the job.

secondly, it means additional responsibilities as pastor-assigned to taman ujong methodist church. after 11 years of helping out in churches in the klang valley and in the southern district like taman asean methodist church and wesley methodist church segamat, the reb has in a sense come home. tumc was one of the two churches the reb pastored with the late rev hwa chien in 1997 before the reb went into full-time teaching in 1999. yesterday the reb and family went to tumc for the worship service. it was like a homecoming. as pastor-assigned, the duties are not equivalent to a pastor-in-charge or a part-time pastor but nevertheless, the church expects some sort of pastoral oversight and pastoral visitation and the reb's OT sermon series. 

thirdly, it means renewed responsibilities. with the two additional responsibilities coming next year, that means the reb has to balance time, effort, and commitment between family, STM, church, and studies. the doctoral thesis is still hanging there, still in the process of being edited and finalized for submission. 2009 is the reb's dateline to finish the long overdue thesis. somehow, by hook or by crook(?), the thesis has to be done.