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Of three multi-volume English-language Jewish Encyclopedias,
the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia occupies a very special place among Jewish-interest Encyclopedias: unlike the other two encyclopedias, the primary purpose of the
Universal Jewish Encyclopedia was adult Jewish and non-Jewish
Created by Reform Rabbis and Jewish Scholars, many of whom
escaped from Nazi Germany, the
Encyclopedia exhibits a unique sensitivity to all forms of
anti-Semitic agitation and malice and makes every effort to find
allies among others, especially Christians, to forge a shield
for Jewish people in the face of the coming catastrophe.
To do it, the Encyclopedia creators worked feverishly to
bring the reading public the most
trustworthy and authoritative information requesting
contributions from many Christian scholars in Europe and the United
Aiming to SUPPLEMENT rather than replace already published
twelve-volume Jewish Encyclopedia, the editors and authors of
The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia have created a truly invaluable
resource which lets readers learn even when its perspective on
Because many of its articles were published in 1943, the
Universal Jewish Encyclopedia continues to be one of the most
engaging sources of
reportage on the changing status of the world Jewry immediately preceding
and during the first stages of the Holocaust.
sensitive and highly instructive analysis and reporting of all
major events throughout the amazing history of Jewish
civilization continue making it one of the largest and most
interesting -- if often not fully appreciated -- educational
Jewish resources anywhere.
The Reading Guide and Index
A major element of this lively work is its Reading Guide
which helps a reader find appropriate information in this
massive ten-volume work. The Reading Guide turns the
Encyclopedia into the largest textbook of Judaism and Jewish
The Guide using as its metaphor seven-branch national menorah
of Israel, divides Encyclopedia's material into seven main
areas: History, Literature, Religion, Jewish Life, Jews and
non-Jews, and Jewish Contribution to the Civilization.
Made up of 100 well-thought-through Outlines, the Guide
selects for a reader the most appropriate of more than 10,000
articles. The added convenience of the current electronic
edition, is that the Guide and these articles have been linked
and made accessible with a single click.
the Author -- The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (10 vols. plus Reading Guide & Index)
Isaak Landman, ---
(1880 - 1946), the Editor-in-Chief of the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Isaak Landman was distinguished American Reform rabbi, educator, and a prolific author. The first Jewish chaplain with U.S. Army, he was a vigorous proponent of interfaith Jewish-Christian dialogue.
Editorial conference of the initiators of the
"Universal Jewish Encyclopedia"
(seated around the table left to right): Salo Baron, Julian Morgenstern, George
Isaac Landman, Louis Ginzberg, Walter Hart Blumenthal, Max J. Kohler, and Isaac
To see larger view,
With more than 10,000 articles, The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia covers vast
number of topics including such major as:
I. HISTORY /The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia/
Jewish History in General * Jewish History by
Periods * United States * Canada * West Indies * Central America * South America
* Great Britain * France * Iberian Peninsula * Germany * Italy * Malta *
Northern Europe *Poland * Central Europe * Balkans * Russia / Soviet Union *
Africa * Mandate Palestine * Western Asia * Central Asia * Far East * Historians
* Jewish Historiography
II. LITERATURE /The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia/
Languages of the Jews * Hebrew * Jewish
Literature * Bible * Bible Interpretation and its Interpreters * Bible Influence
on Civilization * Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha * Talmud * Midrash* Hebrew
Literature * Yiddish Literature * Books and Manuscripts
III. RELIGION /The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia/
Jewish view of Religion in General * Religion of
Israel * Judaism * Jewish views of God * Jewish Philosophy * Jewish Calendar *
Customs and Ceremonies * Liturgy * Ethics and Morality * Jewish Mysticism and
Kabbalah *Angels and Demons * Movements and Divisions within Judaism
IV. JEWISH LIFE /The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia/
Family and Social Life * Costume * Diet and
Hygiene * Jewish Music * Striking Jewish Phrases * Amusements * Jewish Education
* Synagogue * Community and Communal Organization * Social Welfare * Jewish Law:
its Sources, Development and Principles * Procedures in the Jewish Courts *
Animals and Plants
V. JEWS AND NON-JEWS /The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia/
Judaism and Other Religions * Christianity * Jews
as Observed by Non-Jews * Anti-Semitism * Philo-Semites
VI. GENERAL SUBJECTS /The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia/
Jewish Archeology * Jewish Symbols * Folklore *
Families and Family Trees * Messiah and Messianic Movements * Political and
Social Movements * Labor and Labor Organizations * Zionism * Race, Nation or
Religion? * Facts and Figures About Jews
VII. JEWISH CONTRIBUTIONS TO CIVILIZATION /The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia/
Jews in Art and Architecture * Jews in Astronomy
* Jews in Athletics * Jews in Aviation * Jews in Biology * Jews in Chemistry *
Jews in Chess * Jews in Dentistry * Jews as Educators * Jews in Finance * Jews
in Industry * Jews as Inventors * Jews in Journalism * Jews in Literature * Jews
in Mathematics * Jews in Medicine * Jews in Music * Jews in Philosophy * Jews in
Public Office * Jews as Soldiers * Jews in the Theatre * Jews in Travel and
Exploration * Jews in Various Fields * Noteworthy Jews
". . .still an important treasure-house of Jewish knowledge packed with useful information that, even in the 21st century, the reader may not find anywhere else. I especially value it for the best "authoritative and popular" articles, written by eminent scholars, about American Jewry up to the 1940s."
--- Rabbi Dr. Ferenc Raj Congregation Beth El, Berkeley, CA
". . .the large number of subjects of current interest, not
treated elsewhere, makes the work indispensable to students as well as to laymen
seeking information. In spite of the eminence of some of the scholars included
in the list of editors on the title page, the editorial work leaves much to be
desired and errors of judgment as well as errors of fact still abound in many of
the contributions. Some of the illustrations are of questionable taste or
propriety. We find again pictures printed upside down (vol. IV, p. 37), pictures
that have a remote relation to the subject under treatment (ib., pp. 176, 179)
and erroneous readings in photographs (ib. p. 105, where Professor Ginzberg is
named instead of Herman Rosenthal). However, the large number of illustrations,
scattered throughout the volumes, many of which are printed here for the first
time, fully compensates for the imperfections found here and there.
History and biography are given a most prominent position, and
properly so. . . In the realm of biography, the editors were probably often
confronted with many problems as to the inclusion or omission of certain
personalities. They were rather generous in giving data about as many persons of
importance as possible since such topics are in greater demand than many others.
Carelessness in some data and inadequate proofreading are noticeable in several
places, but in general these articles are illuminating and of general interest."
--- Rabbi Julius H. Greenstone The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, Vol. 33, No. 4 (Apr., 1943), pp. 507-510
"I am a fairly regular user of the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia since I am a lecturer in Hebrew Scripture, Christian Old Testament and World Religions at Saint Joseph's Theological Institute. Even though it is dated, the basic historical information regarding Jewish matters up to the devastations of the 20th century are useful in giving historical insights into the Jewish interpreters, thinkers and attitudes toward matters directly related to the Sacred Text. Also, the PDF version has its own advantages in terms of being able to annotate and cross reference, as well as comfort in not having to haul paper around from the library to my desk."
--- Rev. Dr. Martin Badenhorst Dominican Order, Republic of South Africa
"I have in my library almost all Jewish encyclopedias -- one can always find something in one encyclopedia, that is lacking in others -- with exception of Judische Lexicon. However, because it contains the translation of almost all Lexicon's five-volumes, the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia goes a long way to fill that omission.
Although Encyclopedia contains a lot of information about Jews and Judaism of universal significance, its structure and content reflect primarily the ideological approaches of American Jewish scholars of the middle 20th century; consequently, Encyclopedia feels very "Americanized". This narrow focus on America, however, should not necessary be viewed only as a shortcoming but also one of its main advantages.
Because of it, Encyclopedia contains material on people and events from the history of what has become today the largest Jewish communities in the world, material that often can't be found even in the new Encyclopedia Judaica. In addition, Encyclopedia contains multitude of biographies of Jewish educators, journalists, businessman, trade-union activists, etc.
One of Encyclopedia's most valuable features is its extensive use of photos which can be found in no other easily accessible source. In fact, I used Encyclopedia just this way when preparing my last few articles. I highly recommend Encyclopedia's purchase -- all the more that the price is quite acceptable -- not only for scholars and researchers, but also for all interested readers."
--- Dr. Yuri Tabak Dvar-Torah Seminar, Jewish Cultural Center, Moscow, Russia
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