Page 29 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 31

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HERBERT C. ZAFREN
Jewish Encyclopedias of the
Last Fifteen Years
T
h e
l a st
t im e
a n
a r t ic l e
on Jewish encyclopedias appeared in
the
Jewish Book Annual,1
it covered a twenty year period, special
subject encyclopedias, and reference works other than encyclo-
pedias. Let us recognize at once that the timing of this article is
occasioned by the appearance of the
Encyclopaedia Judaica
2
and that, in order to do it justice, the scope of our coverage had
to be limited to it and to other encyclopedic works of broad con-
ception in English. Thus, for worthy reference books and en*
cyclopedias in other languages and less comprehensive subjects
within Judaism and the Jewish “Experience,” the reader must
look elsewhere.3
Whatever one may say about the
Encyclopaedia Judaica,
one
must note it as a very significant publishing achievement. It ap-
peared amidst great fanfare, preceded and accompanied by a
polished public relations campaign on the part of its sponsors.
Its birth has given rise to a series of substantial reviews both
laudatory and otherwise. Unpublished discussions of it have
taken place formally, as at the Toronto Conference in 1972 of
the Association of Jewish Libraries, and informally. Hardly any-
one is neutral about it.
REVIEWS OF THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA
While I have not seen all the reviews of
EJ,
readers of this
survey may be interested in an annotated list of the reviews I
1 A. Berger and R. Kaufman, “Jewish Encyclopedias and Other Reference
Books in the Last Twenty Years,”
Jewish Book Annual
15 (1957): 41-49.
2
Encyclopaedia Judaica.
16 v. Jerusalem, [Keter Publishing House Ltd.]
New York, The Macmillan Co., [c 1971.] illus. maps, charts, diagrs. 31 cm.
$500.
3 H. Zafren, “Jewish Reference Books: A Select List,”
Jewish Book Annual
28 (5731/1970-71): 5&-71 or, more comprehensively, J. Rothenberg,
Judaica
Reference Materials: A Selective Annotated Bibliography,
preliminary ed.
(Waltham, Brandeis University Library, 1971).
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