The YIVO encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, Volume 1
Gershon David Hundert, Yivo Institute for Jewish Research
Yale University Press, May 28, 2008 - History - 2400 pages
This unprecedented reference work systematically represents the history and culture of Eastern European Jews from their first settlement in the region to the present day. More than 1,800 alphabetical entries encompass a vast range of topics, including religion, folklore, politics, art, music, theater, language and literature, places, organizations, intellectual movements, and important figures. The two-volume set also features more than 1,000 illustrations and 55 maps.
With original and up-to-date contributions from an international team of 450 distinguished scholars, the Encyclopedia covers the region between Germany and the Ural Mountains, from which more than 2.5 million Jews emigrated to the United States between 1870 and 1920. Even today the majority of Jewish immigrants to North America arrive from Eastern Europe. Engaging, wide-ranging, and authoritative, this work is a rich and essential reference for readers with interests in Jewish studies and Eastern European history and culture.
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The YIVO encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern EuropeUser Review - Book Verdict
For the first time, the history, culture, religion, and intellectual movements of the Jews of Eastern Europe are documented in this impressive and important two-volume reference work. The more than 1800 signed A-to-Z entries by leading scholars range from brief identifications to multisectioned in-depth essays on major topics. Written by contemporary scholars in many different fields and edited by Hundert (The Jewish People in America), the encyclopedia covers all aspects of Jewish life in Eastern Europe and is accessible to readers with varied interest levels and backgrounds. While the language of most of Eastern European Jewry was Yiddish (and later Hebrew and the vernacular languages of the host cultures), this English-language reference work draws on multilingual sources to cover all aspects of Jewish life from the religious to the secular. Previously, the best-known Jewish reference work, Gale's Encyclopaedia Judaica, covered many topics relevant to Eastern European Jewry but not at the in-depth level of this impressive reference work. Since 1972, there has been an exodus of Jews from the Soviet Union, the fall of Communist rule in Eastern Europe, and incipient attempts at a renaissance of Jewish communities in the new post-Communist regimes. This is the first major reference work to deal with these recent political, social, and cultural phenomena. The encyclopedia defines Eastern Europe as coincident with the areas where "eastern" Yiddish was spoken and comprises the current areas known as the Baltic States, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and the Ukraine. There are extensive bibliographies and additional resources to enable the student of most subjects to gain further in-depth knowledge. Also included are more than 1000 illustrations (more than 50 in color) of images never before published owing to the relatively recent opening of East European archives. These images will serve to revive and revise the iconographic memory of the East European Jewish experience, beyond the images of the Holocaust with which we are already familiar. BOTTOM LINE The vast array of topics covered here is dazzling. A landmark, authoritative reference work, this will be of interest to both scholars and readers with interests in Jewish studies and Eastern European history and culture. Highly recommended. [Available in print only.]-Herbert E. Shapiro, Empire State Coll. of SUNY, Rochester