The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe: 2 Volumes

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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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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
Beautifully published. . . . More than accessible, the YIVO Encyclopedia is so compulsively browsable that you can disappear within its pages for hours without a trace.(Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

— Kenneth Turan)

This two-volume set is invaluable not only for its quality and depth of coverage, but also for its uniqueness. . . . Essential.(Choice)
Jewish Book World
"Ten years in the making, it is the definitive work of its kind, carefully conceived and edited and a most reliable portal into the rich landscapes of Jewish life and loss in Eastern Europe."—Jewish Book World
Paula E. Hyman
"This splendid encyclopedia is a major resource for all those interested in the history and culture of East European Jewry. Exceedingly readable and carried out with the utmost professionalism."—Paula E. Hyman, Lucy Moses Professor of Modern Jewish History at Yale University
Marsha Rozenblit
"Absolutely first rate . . . All of the leading scholars of East European Jews in North America, Israel, and Europe have written for the Encyclopedia, as have many excellent and exciting mid-career and junior scholars. As a result, the articles reflect the most recent scholarly consensus on many issues."—Marsha Rozenblit, Professor of History at the University of Maryland
Deborah Dash Moore
"There has not been such an encyclopedia for several generations. This is an encyclopedia for the 21st century, a landmark of scholarly collaboration and editorial accomplishment."—Deborah Dash Moore, Director of the Frankel Center of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan
Los Angeles Times - Kenneth Turan
"Beautifully published. . . . More than accessible, the YIVO Encyclopedia is so compulsively browsable that you can disappear within its pages for hours without a trace."—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"This two-volume set is invaluable not only for its quality and depth of coverage, but also for its uniqueness. . . . Essential."—Choice
American Library Association (ALA) - Dartmouth Medal Honorable Mention
Recipient of the 2009 Dartmouth Medal Honorable Mention, sponspored by the American Library Association.
Association of American Publishers - PROSE Award in Multi-volume Reference/Humanities & Social Sciences
Received Honorable Mention for the 2008 PROSE Award in the Multi-volume Reference/Humanities & Social Sciences category, sponsored by the Association of American Publishers.
Reform Judaism
"An accessible resource for researchers, family historians, and interested browsers."—Reform Judaism
Jewish Book World
Ten years in the making, it is the definitive work of its kind, carefully conceived and edited and a most reliable portal into the rich landscapes of Jewish life and loss in Eastern Europe.(Jewish Book World)
Library Journal

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 thestudent 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.
—Herbert E. Shapiro

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300119039
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2008
  • Pages: 2448
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 11.25 (h) x 4.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Gershon David Hundert is professor of history and of Jewish Studies at McGill University in Montreal.

The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is dedicated to the history and culture of Ashkenazi Jewry and to its influence in the Americas. It is the world’s preeminent resource center for East European Jewish Studies; Yiddish language, literature, and folklore; the Holocaust; and the American Jewish immigrant experience.

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