Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture Online

Get access Subject: Jewish Studies

Editor-in-Chief: Dan Diner

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From Europe to America to the Middle East, North Africa and other non-European Jewish settlement areas the Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture covers the recent history of the Jews from 1750 until the 1950s.

More information: Brill.com


(3,733 words)

Author(s): Peter Jelavich, Baltimore
The cabaret had its heyday from the beginning of the 20th century until 1933 or 1938, primarily in Berlin and Vienna. Before the First World War, Jews played a significant, if by no means dominant, role in the cabaret; but in the Weimar period they were even more present. Jewish cabaret players often made jokes about Jews to an overwhelmingly non-Jewish audience. The fact that both Jewish and non-Jewish cabaret players also poked fun at antisemites and other rightist groups brought the wrath of …
Date: 2017-08-17


(3,538 words)

Author(s): Sylvie Anne Goldberg, Paris
A variety of calendars was already in use in Judaism in biblical times. An earlier lunar calendar was replaced by a lunisolar calendar of Babylonian origin, based on astronomical observations, which became increasingly exact in the postbiblical period. This calendar was in use both in the Land of Israel and in the entire Diaspora, where competing non-Jewish-majority calendars were also in use, to ensure unified and exact observation of religious festivals (Course of the Year). The Jewish calenda…
Date: 2017-08-17

Campo di Fiori

(2,377 words)

Author(s): Barbara Breysach, Berlin
Title of a poem by Czesław Miłosz (1911–2004) which addresses the suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in the spring of 1943. The title points to Campo de’ fiori square (field of flowers) in the center of Rome where the monument of the Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno who was burned as a heretic here in Febrary 1600 can be found. Miłosz’s poem describes an arc from Bruno's death as a heretic in the Rome of early modern times to occupied Warsaw in 1939–1945. It is considered a notable testimony to Polish-Jewish relations and an important literary text on the destruction of European Jews. Ti…
Date: 2017-08-17


(1,706 words)

Author(s): Christhardt Henschel, Leipzig
Term for underage soldiers in the Russian Empire, among whom were many Jewish boys between 1827 and 1856 in particular. The state authorities viewed the recruitment and the term of service, which was full of deprivation, as instruments for the assimilation and modernization of the Jewish population. The involvement of the Kahal in the recruitment system contributed to its weakening. The former cantonists belonged to the first Jews who were granted settlement outside of the Pale of Settlement due to their acculturation.From 1719 onwards, every regiment in the Russian mil…
Date: 2017-08-17


(4,129 words)

Author(s): Marsha Bryan Edelman, Philadelphia
The cantor designs and leads the musical parts of the Jewish religious service. The term "cantor" was established in modern times. The office itself goes back to the time after the destruction of the Temple and was established during the development of the synagogue rite; it correlated with the need of the community of a proficient in Liturgy, who led the community through the rite as a prayer leader or lead singer (Hebr.  ḥazzan, pl.  ḥazzanim). At the end of the 19th century, the Reform of the Rite (Organ) in Central Europe and the rise of a cantoral art in Easte…
Date: 2017-08-18


(3,001 words)

Author(s): Tal Kogman, Tel Aviv
Since the Late Middle Ages, church and state authorities in Europe made use of censorship for the control and observation of Jewish books. At the beginning of the early modern times, faced with the distribution of printing, censorship authorities were established. Parallel to this, an inner-Jewish censorship developed which was practiced by rabbinical guidance by means of approbations ( haskamot) and shaped the Jewish book market up until the 19th century. The approbations printed in the books developed into a significant means for the enforcement of ra…
Date: 2017-08-17

Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation

(1,236 words)

Author(s): Renée Poznanski, Beer Sheva
The Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation (CDJC, Centre de documentation juive contemporaine) was founded in April 1943 in Grenoble by French Jews in order to collect material on the discrimination and destruction of Jews in France. After its relocation to Paris in the fall of 1944, the CDJC became the most important archive for Holocaust history in France.On April 29, 1943, important representatives of the French Jews came together for a secret meeting in the private apartment of the entrepreneur Isaac Schneersohn (1881–1969) in Grenoble. The m…
Date: 2017-08-17

Central Archives of German Jewry

(2,359 words)

Author(s): Peter Honigmann, Heidelberg
First independent Jewish archival institution in Germany which was founded in 1905 by the grand lodge of the B’nai B’rith together with the Federation of Deutsch-Israelitischer Gemeindebund in Berlin and existed until its takeover by the Reich Office of Genealogy ( Reichssippenamt) after the November Pogrom in 1938. During this time, over 300 linear meters of files and documents were gathered from about 500 communities, associations, and institutions and have largely been preserved until today. Working methods developed by the Ce…
Date: 2017-08-17

Central Council of Jews in Germany

(3,282 words)

Author(s): Michael Brenner, Munich
The Central Council of Jews in Germany ( Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland)was founded in 1950 in Frankfurt am Main as an umbrella organization of Jewish communities and regional associations in Germany. In view of the Shoah, the Central Council started from a merely temporary measure of Jewish life in Germany; over the decades it ultimately contributed to its reconstruction. The focus of the work was on the integration of Displaced Persons (DPs; Munich) remaining in Germany, returnees from emigration, a…
Date: 2017-08-17


(3,391 words)

Author(s): Michael Brenner, Munich
The Central-Verein (Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith) (short: C.-V.) founded in 1893 by German Jews in order to defend themselves against antisemitism was the most important German-Jewish political organization for several decades. The very name of the association indicates the patriotism of German Jews, but it also emphasized the Jewish self-confidence of its members. It was dissolved after the November Pogrom in 1938. 1. History and foundingThe founding of the C.-V. on March 26, 1893 in Berlin was a reaction to the changing circumstances o…
Date: 2017-08-17

Ceremonial Law

(2,898 words)

Author(s): Micha Brumlik, Berlin
The term ceremonial law was already used in the Middle Ages, mostly pejoratively, for Jewish religious law and Jewish ritual practices; Christian theoreticians used it to mark, from their point of view, the theological backwardness of Judaism. In early modernity, this interpretation was enhanced by the anti-ceremonialism of the Reformation, while Jewish scholars defended the foundations of their religion. In the 19th century, in the course of the Enlightenment and the use of the term ce…
Date: 2017-08-17

Českožidovské listy

(1,412 words)

Author(s): Tatjana Lichtenstein, Austin
The magazine Českožidovské listy (Czech-Jewish papers) was published between 1894 and 1907 by the Národní jednota česko-židovská (Czech-Jewish National Association) in Prague. It took a stand on the Czech-German Question of Nationalities in Habsburg Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia by promoting the use of the Czech language and integration into Czech society among its Jewish readers. The editors and writers of the biweekly magazine contributed significantly to the modernization of Jewish politics in Bohemian countries.1. The context of the Question of NationalitiesIn the lat…
Date: 2017-08-17