Page 50 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 15

Basic HTML Version

brings Jewish history up to date where the old Funk and Wagnalls
Jewish Encyclopedia
left off.
Many of the articles are by experts from all countries and from
all trends in Judaism; the less important ones are by office assist­
ants using available material. All are adapted to the interests of
the average American reader. The
Universal Jewish Encyclopedia
can never replace the old
Jewish Encyclopedia
for scholarly details
on history, rabbinics, folklore, and the like. But it will give the
ordinary layman a good introduction to topics in these fields and
will also furnish him with information on more popular subjects,
such as Jews in sports and in medicine, and the attitude toward
Jews of people like Benjamin Franklin.
Relations between Jews and Gentiles are a major concern of
the encyclopedia, as might be expected in a work edited by Rabbi
Landman. Indeed, Rabbi Landman in his Introduction asserts
that better understanding is a chief motive of this project. Many
articles are written with an eye to “Know what to answer.” The
long (69-page) article on anti-Semitism, for example, is of prime
importance. But articles on purely Jewish topics also emphasize,
for Jewish and Gentile readers alike, Jewish contributions to
civilization as well as the universally human values in Jewish
tradition. In the treatment of religion, the Reform point of view
is given a prominent place; but the other viewpoints are also
represented fairly.
A supplementary “Reading Guide” is useful as a classified index
to the encyclopedia, especially for Jewish contributions to civiliza­
tion. A revised edition of the encyclopedia is now contemplated.
Just before the beginning of the second World War, the Asso­
ciation Simon Dubnow, with headquarters in Paris (later in New
York), began the compilation of a general encyclopedia in Yiddish2
as an aid to the East European Jew seeking a secular education.
This work was interrupted after the publication of volume 5. In
any case, it might not have served much use in this country,
since its coverage of Jewish topics was not so good as that of
other, specifically Jewish encyclopedias. But the project also
included the publication of three volumes of longer, more com­
prehensive articles on the subject “Yidn.”3 Two of these appeared
in Paris before the German invasion and were subsequently re­
published, along with the third, in cooperation with CYCO in
New York. They were so successful that another series of three
Algemeine Entsiklopedie.
Paris, New York, Association Simon Dubnow and
CYCO, 19 34 -
v. 1-5 .
Algemeine Entsiklopedie: Yidn.
Paris, New York, Association Simon Dubnow
and CYCO, c l9 3 9 -
v. 1 - .