Encyclopaedia Judaica

The Encyclopaedia Judaica is a 22-volume English-language encyclopedia of the Jewish people and of Judaism. It covers diverse areas of the Jewish world and civilization, including Jewish history of all eras, culture, holidays, language, scripture, and religious teachings. As of 2010, it had been published in two editions accompanied by a few revisions.

The English-language Judaica was also published on CD-ROM. The CD-ROM version has been enhanced by at least 100,000 hyperlinks and several other features, including videos, slide shows, maps, music and Hebrew pronunciations. While the CD-ROM version is still available, the publisher has discontinued it.[1]

The encyclopedia was written by Israeli, American and European professional subject specialists.[2]


The English-language Encyclopaedia Judaica was first published from 1971–1972 in sixteen volumes, in Jerusalem by Keter Publishing House, and in New York City by the Macmillan Company. Between 1973 and 1991 eight "Yearbooks" were published (dated 1973, 1974, 1975–76, 1977–78, 1983–85, 1986–87, 1988–89, and 1990–91) along with two "Decennial" volumes dated 1973–1982 (also published as "Volume 17") and 1983–1992. Together these volumes contained more than 15 million words in over 25,000 articles.

Its general editors were, successively, Cecil Roth and Geoffrey Wigoder. Advertisers describe it as the result of about three decades of study and research by about 2,200 contributors and 250 editors around the world.

A Shorter Jewish Encyclopedia in Russian, launched in the early 1970s as an abridged translation of the Encyclopaedia Judaica, evolved into a largely independent publication that by late 2005 included eleven volumes and three supplements.[3] A number of editions of a version of the English Encyclopaedia for youth were also published.

An earlier, unfinished German-language Encyclopaedia Judaica was published by Nahum Goldmann's Eshkol Publishing Society in Berlin 1928–1934. The chief editors were Jakob Klatzkin and Ismar Elbogen. Ten volumes from Aach to Lyra appeared before the project halted due to Nazi persecutions.[4] Two Hebrew-language volumes A-Antipas, were also published under the title Eshkol (Hebrew: אשכול). A few of the articles from the German Judaica and even some of the reparations payments to Goldmann were used in making the English-language Judaica.

A shorter Jewish Encyclopedia had also been previously published at the turn of the twentieth century.[5] It was followed by the Jüdisches Lexikon I–II (1927–28) and Encyclopaedia Judaica I–II (1927–28) and Zsidó Lexikon (1929, edited by Ujvári Péter, in Hungarian).[6]

Because of its comprehensive scope, authority, and widespread availability, the Encyclopaedia Judaica has been recommended by the Library of Congress and by the Association of Jewish Libraries for use in determining the authoritative romanization of names of Jewish authors. Its guidelines for transliterating Hebrew into English are followed by many academic books and journals.

The 1972 edition has generated both positive and negative reviews.[7]

The word Judaica is commonly used to refer to objects of Jewish art and Jewish ceremonial objects.

Second edition

In July 2003, Thomson Gale announced that it had acquired the rights to publish a second edition of Encyclopaedia Judaica, expecting to publish in December 2006 under one of its imprints, Macmillan Reference USA. The 22-volume work was published on December 30, 2006 and released in January 2007.

Gale has published other substantial revisions of major reference works in the field of religion in recent years, including second editions of The Encyclopedia of Religion and The New Catholic Encyclopedia. Together with original publishers Keter Publishing House, Gale has made major updates to many sections of Encyclopaedia Judaica for the new edition, including the entries on the Holocaust, American Jewry, Israel and others.

Fred Skolnik, who served as a co-editor on the original edition of Judaica, was retained as Editor-in-Chief for the 2nd edition. American Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum, adjunct professor of theology at the American Jewish University as well as director of its Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust, serves as the editor for the Holocaust and Americana sections of the encyclopedia and executive editor for the work at large. Judith Baskin, University of Oregon Judaic Studies department head, was brought on to supervise improvement of women's studies and gender issues coverage. In total, more than 50 divisional editors, including five winners of the Israel Prize, oversaw contributions from nearly 1,200 scholars and editors. The new edition contains more than 21,000 signed entries, including 2,600 brand-new entries and 12,000 changed entries.[4]

Critical reception and awards

Reviews from library literature have been positive. Donald Altschiller of Boston University, writing in Choice, states that the second edition of Encyclopaedia Judaica "has already attained a secure place in the reference pantheon...Essential."[8] Barbara Bibel, writing in Booklist, calls the set "a welcome addition to reference collections."[9]

Dartmouth Medal

The second edition of the Encyclopaedia received a number of major awards for excellence, including the 2007 Dartmouth Medal from the American Library Association, the most prestigious award in the field of reference publishing."[10] In presenting the award, Edward Kownslar, the chairman of the Dartmouth Medal committee said: "This 22-volume set is an authoritative, interdisciplinary and comprehensive examination of all aspects of Jewish life, history and culture. This title is an extensive revision of the first edition, which was published in 1972, and has 2600 new entries. In addition to updating all world and political events affecting Jewish life and culture since the early 1970s, 'Judaica' has significantly enhanced biblical studies and the Holocaust from the first edition. This title has also expanded the area of women's studies."[11]

Other awards

The Encyclopaedia was also named to the "Best Reference 2007" list by the Library Journal,[12] and was added to the list of "Outstanding Reference Sources for Small and Medium-sized Libraries" by the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association in 2008.[13]


  1. ^ Brill Academic Publishers Archived 2010-02-27 at the Wayback Machine Note: There may be issues of compatibility with hardware and software. See user reviews [1]
  2. ^ "Encyclopaedia Judaica eBook version". Gale. Macmillan Reference USA. Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  3. ^ (in Russian) Electronic Jewish Encyclopedia based on The Shorter Jewish Encyclopedia (Краткая еврейская энциклопедия) published in Jerusalem in 1976–2005. The Society for Research on Jewish Communities in cooperation with The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
  4. ^ a b "Updated Judaica", Dateline World Jewry, World Jewish Congress Foundation, December 2006/January 2007
  5. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia
  6. ^ Zsidó Lexikon Archived 2006-10-25 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Levy, David B. (2002). "The Making of the Encyclopaedia Judaica and the Jewish Encyclopedia." Proceedings of the 37th Annual Convention of the Association of Jewish Libraries.
  8. ^ Altschiller, Donald (September 2007). "Encyclopaedia Judaica". Choice. Retrieved 2016-06-21. Subscription required; preview freely available.
  9. ^ Bibel, Barbara (2007-05-15). "Encyclopaedia Judaica. 2d ed". Booklist. 103 (18): 72.
  10. ^ "'Encyclopaedia Judaica' named recipient of the 2007 Dartmouth Medal". American Library Association. 2007-02-06. Archived from the original on 2007-05-18. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
  11. ^ ALA RUSA Current Recipients
  12. ^ Best Reference 2007 - 4/15/2008 - Library Journal Archived 2008-05-08 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Outstanding Reference Sources": "2008 List". Reference and Users Services Association, Division of the American Library Association. Retrieved 2016-6-22.


External links

Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff

Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff (born December 2, 1937) is Professor of Rabbinic Literature at Yeshiva University's Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Institute in Jerusalem. He is a noted scholar, author and teacher who has taught thousands of students throughout his over 55+ years of teaching. He spent four years studying under Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and remained very close to him afterwards.

Abraham Lubin

Hazzan Abraham “Abe” Lubin (born 1937) is a London-born American Conservative Jewish Hazzan and former President of the Cantors Assembly, who is the cantor emeritus at Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, Maryland.

Binyamin Eliav

Binyamin Eliav (b. Riga, 1909, d. Petah Tikva. July 30, 1974) was an Israeli politician, diplomat, author and editor. One of the founders of Betar, he was a close associate of revisionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky, but later became a member of the labour party, Mapai.He was born as Binyamin Lubotzky in Latvia, and immigrated to Mandatory Palestine in 1925.His memoirs, Zikhronot min hayamin (Memories of the Right) describe his ideological shift to the left. According to the memoirs' editor Danny Rubinstein, Eliav could have been a rising star in Israeli politics, but failed due to his inability to deal with political intrigue.As a diplomat, he served as Israel's First Secretary in Buenos Aires and subsequently as Consul General in New York. He was also an editor of the Encyclopaedia Judaica.


A bridesman is a close male relative and/or friend of the bride, one who walks down the aisle in the bridal ceremony in the traditional place of a bridesmaid.

The term, however, has an ancient and obscure, possibly confabulated origin. The term is first noted by the Encyclopaedia Judaica from the European Jewish Diaspora of the middle of the 13th century. In this context, a bridesman was not a friend of the bride but of the groom. He paid for and arranged the wedding from his own money and would be repaid someday by the groom. It was a position of the highest level of honor in male friendship. It was akin to the modern-day best man.

In Hungary, where the word for bridesman is "vőfély" or sometimes "vőfény" (depending on the region), the ancient tradition of the bridesman is still very popular. The vőfély is the "spokesman" of the bridegroom ("vő" means son-in-law).

Curt Leviant

Curt Leviant (born 1932, Vienna) is a retired Jewish Studies professor, as well as a novelist and translator.

Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute of Jewish Studies

The Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute of Jewish Studies, formerly the Institute of Jewish Studies, is a center devoted to Judaic studies in Nanjing, China. It is associated with the Department of Religious Studies of Nanjing University.

The institute was founded in May 1992, a few months after the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the People's Republic of China in January of that year. It offers courses in Jewish studies which now enroll over 200 students each year, has published a one-volume Chinese version of the Encyclopaedia Judaica, and other publications. It has now established both masters and Ph.D. program in Jewish studies, the only Chinese institution to do so. It held an International Seminar on Holocaust and Genocide in World War II on August 7–12, 2005, in Nanjing.

It was given its present name after the construction of a quarters for it from the Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation in a new building at the University in 2006. It is planned that it will become part of a larger Nanjing University–Johns Hopkins University Institute for International Research.

The director is Professor Xu Xin.

Fred Skolnik

Fred Skolnik is an American-born writer and editor. Born in New York City, he has lived in Israel since 1963, working mostly as an editor and translator. Best known as the editor in chief of the 22-volume second edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica winner of the 2007 Dartmouth Medal and hailed by the Library Journal as a "landmark achievement," he is also the author of three novels and over a hundred stories and essays. A selection of 26 of his stories appeared in 2017 under the title Americans & Other Stories.

Hayyim Abraham Israel ben Benjamin Ze’evi

Hayyim Abraham Israel ben Benjamin Ze'evi (Hebrew: חיים אברהם ישראל ב"ר בנימין זאבי‎) (c. 1650 – 1731) was an 18th-century [Israeli rabbi]] at Hebron.

Huldah Gates

The Huldah Gates (Hebrew: שערי חולדה‎, Sha'arei Hulda) are the two sets of now-blocked gates in the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount, situated in Jerusalem's Old City. The western set is a double arched gate (the Double Gate), and the eastern is a triple arched gate (the Triple Gate). Each arch of the double gate led into an aisle of a passageway leading from the gate into the Mount, and to steps leading to the Mount's surface; when the al-Aqsa Mosque was built, the old steps were blocked, and the eastern aisle lengthened so that new steps from its end would exit north of the Mosque. The triple gate is similar, though the longer aisle is to the west, and its third aisle, on the east, forms the western boundary of the vaulted area known as Solomon's Stables.


Jeroboam I (Hebrew: יָרָבְעָם Yārāḇə‘ām; Greek: Ἱεροβοάμ, translit. Ierovoám) was the first king of the northern Kingdom of Israel after the revolt of the ten northern Israelite tribes against Rehoboam that put an end to the United Monarchy.

Jeroboam reigned for 22 years. William F. Albright has dated his reign from 922 to 901 BC, while Edwin R. Thiele offers the dates 931 to 910 BC.

Jewish commentaries on the Bible

Jewish commentaries on the Bible are biblical commentaries of the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh) from a Jewish perspective. Translations into Aramaic and English, and some universally accepted Jewish commentaries with notes on their method of approach and modern translations into English with notes are listed.


Kadmonites was according to the Hebrew Bible a tribe, mentioned as inhabiting the land promised by God in a covenant to Abraham in Genesis 15:19.

The tribe's identity is unknown. According to M.G. Eastons Bible Dictionary, the Kadmonites inhabited the northeastern part of Palestine, and it is supposed that they are identical to the "children of the east", which inhabited the land between Palestine and the Euphrat.According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, R. Judah b. Hai identified the Kadmonites with the Nabateans. Encyclopaedia Judaica writes that opinions diverge as to the identity of the tribes of the Kenites, Kenizzites and Kadmonites: a plausible interpretation laid forward by R. Judah is that they were Arab tribes bordering Canaan; another interpretation by R. Eliezer is that the tribes refer to Asia Minor, Thrace and Carthage. Jewish tradition regards the term as being identical to Bnei Kedem ("Children of the East") a designation of the relatives of the Hebrews who lived east of them.

Leviticus Rabbah

Leviticus Rabbah, Vayikrah Rabbah, or Wayiqra Rabbah is a homiletic midrash to the Biblical book of Leviticus (Vayikrah in Hebrew). It is referred to by Nathan ben Jehiel (c. 1035–1106) in his Aruk as well as by Rashi (1040–1105) in his commentaries on Genesis 46:26, Exodus 32:5, Leviticus 9:24, and elsewhere. According to Leopold Zunz, Hai Gaon (939-1038) and Nissim knew and made use of it. Zunz dates it to the middle of the 7th century, but The Encyclopaedia Judaica and Jacob Neusner date it to the 5th century. It originated in the Land of Israel, and is composed largely of older works. Its redactor made use of Genesis Rabbah, Pesikta de-Rav Kahana, and the Jerusalem Talmud, in addition to other ancient sources. The redactor appears to have referred also to the Babylonian Talmud, using several expressions in the sense in which only that work employs them.

List of Jewish American historians

This is a list of famous Jewish American historians. For other famous Jewish Americans, see List of Jewish Americans. See also List of Jewish historians.

Ariel Durant

Barbara Tuchman

Bernard Bailyn

Bernard Lewis

Cyrus Adler

Daniel J. Boorstin

Deborah Hertz

Deborah Lipstadt

Erwin Panofsky

Gabriel Kolko

Herbert Aptheker

Howard Zinn

John Lukacs, Hungarian-born historian

Joseph Jacobs, editor of the Jewish Encyclopedia

Meyer Schapiro

Norman Cantor

Norman Finkelstein, author and historian

Peter Gay

Raul Hilberg

Richard Ettinghausen, art historian

Richard Hofstadter

Richard Popkin, historian of philosophy

Robert Fogel, economist and historian

Rosa Levin Toubin, historian of Jewish Texan history

Stanley M. Wagner, rabbi and academic

Stanley Elkins

Yosef Goldman

Max Littmann

Max Littmann (3 January 1862 – 20 September 1931) was a German architect.

Littmann was educated in the Gewerbeakademie Chemnitz and the Technische Hochschule Dresden. In 1885, he moved to Munich where he met Friedrich Thiersch and Gabriel von Seidl and where - after two study trips to Italy and Paris - he established himself as a free architect.

In 1891, he joined the contracting business of his father-in-law Jakob Heilmann, thus transforming it into the Heilmann & Littmann general partnership (later becoming a limited partnership), taking charge of the planning department. Littmann excelled in the erection of magnificent buildings, e. g. theaters, department stores and spas and was the perfect supplement to Heilmann, who had specialized in living house construction.

Even during his lifetime, Littmann was listed in the Encyclopaedia Judaica. His pedigree doesn't give any clue on the often referred Jewish descent, rather he is descended from a Protestant family in Oschatz (Saxony), which can be traced back for centuries.


Midrash (; Hebrew: מִדְרָשׁ; pl. Hebrew: מִדְרָשִׁים midrashim) is biblical exegesis by ancient Judaic authorities, using a mode of interpretation prominent in the Talmud.

Midrash and rabbinic readings "discern value in texts, words, and letters, as potential revelatory spaces," writes the Reverend and Hebrew scholar Wilda C. Gafney. "They reimagine dominant narratival readings while crafting new ones to stand alongside—not replace—former readings. Midrash also asks questions of the text; sometimes it provides answers, sometimes it leaves the reader to answer the questions."Vanessa Lovelace defines midrash as "a Jewish mode of interpretation that not only engages the words of the text, behind the text, and beyond the text, but also focuses on each letter, and the words left unsaid by each line."The term is also used of a rabbinic work that interprets Scripture in that manner. Such works contain early interpretations and commentaries on the Written Torah and Oral Torah (spoken law and sermons), as well as non-legalistic rabbinic literature (haggadah) and occasionally Jewish religious laws (halakha), which usually form a running commentary on specific passages in the Hebrew Scripture (Tanakh)."Midrash", especially if capitalized, can refer to a specific compilation of these rabbinic writings composed between 400 and 1200 CE.According to Gary Porson and Jacob Neusner, "midrash" has three technical meanings: 1) Judaic biblical interpretation; 2) the method used in interpreting; 3) a collection of such interpretations.

Queen of Sheba

The Queen of Sheba (Hebrew: מלכת שבא‎ ;Arabic: الملكة بلقيس‎, translit. al-Malikah Balqis) is a figure first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. In the original story, she brings a caravan of valuable gifts for King Solomon. This tale has undergone extensive Jewish, Islamic, and Ethiopian elaborations, and has become the subject of one of the most widespread and fertile cycles of legends in the Orient.Modern historians identify Sheba with the South Arabian kingdom of Saba in present-day Yemen. The queen’s existence is disputed and has not been confirmed by historians.


Shas (Hebrew: ש״ס, an acronym for שומרי תורה ספרדים Shomeri Torah Sfaradim, "Torah-Observant Sephardim". is an ultra-Orthodox religious political party in Israel. Founded in 1984 under the leadership of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a former Israeli Sephardi chief rabbi, who remained its spiritual leader until his death in October 2013, it primarily represents the interests of Haredi Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews. The party works to end prejudice and discrimination against the Sephardic community, and highlights economic issues and social justice.

Originally a small ethnic political group, Shas is currently Israel's seventh-largest party in the Knesset. Since 1984, it has almost always formed a part of the governing coalition, whether the ruling party was Labor or Likud. As of 2017, Shas members currently sit with Likud in the government.

The name of the Party is Also a Reference to the six orders of the Mishnah and the Talmud). Both works are often simply called Shas in Haredi circles.

Targum Sheni

The Targum Sheni ("Second Targum") is an Aramaic translation (targum) and elaboration of the Book of Esther, that embellishes the Biblical account with considerable new apocryphal material, not on the face of it directly germane to the Esther story.


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