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


(2,394 words)

Author(s): Shumsky, Dimitry
A program that emerged within the Zionist movement around 1900, which was in conformity with the situation of Jews in the Diaspora.  Gegenwartsarbeit (“work for the present”) aimed at bringing about the best possible conditions for a Jewish national existence, especially in the three multi-ethnic empires – the Habsburg monarchy, the Czarist Empire of the Romanovs, and the Ottoman Empire – and later their successor states as well. The corresponding conceptions manifested themselves above all in the striving for nation…
Date: 2020-05-12


(2,268 words)

Author(s): Bensussan, Gérard
In the work Über das Geldwesen, Moses Hess (1812–1875) develops the notion that money is for the practical life of mankind what God is for his theoretical life. Due to the ideas of socialization which he formed in connection with the concepts of “social life-activity” and “cooperation,” the text exerted considerable influence on the thinking of the young Marx and the socialist conceptual history. However, it also contains antisemitic aspects, which is all the more remarkable since Hess is deemed a pioneer of political Zionism. 1. Moses HessThe work of Moses Hess compresses the het…
Date: 2020-05-12


(4,786 words)

Author(s): Picard, Jacques
As the seat of the League of Nations, as well as of a series of other international and non-governmental organizations, Geneva appeared in the interwar period as the culminating point of the efforts pursued since the 19th century to institutionalize international relations. In this context, Geneva was also the site of a Jewish diplomacy which, by means of advocacy and recourse to regulations of international law, guaranteed by the League of Nations, sought to ensure the protection of Jews especi…
Date: 2020-05-12


(2,895 words)

Author(s): Stefan C. Reif
The custom of storing discarded sacred texts and ritual objects in a deposit set aside for that purpose, the genizah (pl. genizot, Hebr. genizah), goes back to a Rabbinic tradition. In many places, the discarded religious as well as profane objects and writings were stored in isolated places in synagogues. Their remains, recovered in the modern period, enrich historical research. The genizah of Cairo, discovered at the end of the 19th century, was of outstanding importance: its holdings, consisting of hundreds of thou…
Date: 2020-05-12


(3,006 words)

Author(s): Kraft, Claudia
The term “genocide” was coined in 1944 by the Polish-Jewish jurist Raphael Lemkin (1900–1959) to characterize the crime committed by the Axis powers in the Second World War, primarily against the civilian population of occupied nations. Largely at his instigation, the United Nations adopted the Genocide Convention in December 1948. In the interwar period, Lemkin had already advocated the achievement of an international juridification and punishment of the deliberate killing of a people as a crim…
Date: 2020-05-12

George Circle

(2,663 words)

Author(s): Blasberg, Cornelia
A group of poets, artists, students, and admirers around the lyric poet Stefan George (1868–1933). In all its phases, from the year of the founding of the literary journal Blätter für die Kunst in 1892 until George’s death, Jews from the assimilated upper classes and cultural elite belonged to the Circle. George’s person and poetry were an ideal projection screen for German-Jewish yearnings for belonging.1. IntroductionThe historical assessment of the George Circle is usually marked by the retrospective view on the year 1933 and is linked to an evaluation of…
Date: 2020-05-12


(5,181 words)

Author(s): Kilcher, Andreas
The German language plays an important and ambivalent role in Jewish history. On the one hand, it became a medium of secularization, integration, and emancipation. In this capacity, it advanced in the 19th century to become the lingua franca of the Ashkenazi Jews and of large parts of Eastern Europe, where it was seen as a expression of progress, education, and science. On the other hand, it became a locus of social and cultural inequality between Jews and Germans. Cultural antisemitism deprived…
Date: 2020-05-12

Germania Judaica

(898 words)

Author(s): Wiese, Christian
The  Germania Judaica project, initiated in 1903, pursued the goal of publishing a historical-topographic handbook on the history of the Jews in the German Empire from the earliest Jewish settlement up to the time of the Congress of Vienna. Although it was hindered and overshadowed by the catastrophes of German history in the 20th century in numerous ways, it nonetheless resulted in a multi-volume work on German Jewish historiography that has become the standard. The project epitomizes the origina…
Date: 2020-05-12


(2,359 words)

Author(s): Ash, Mitchell G.
In its basic meaning, the German word “Gestalt” denotes the form of a visually perceived object. Consequently, the creation of works of art or architecture is commonly designated as “Gestaltung.” As a philosophical category, the term Gestalt has a much broader referential range, denoting, for example, the question of the connection of a whole to its parts. Gestalt psychology has engaged with both levels of reference as a subdiscipline within scholarly philosophy. The founders of this new approach were by and large of Jewish descent.1. IntroductionGestalt psychology was an attem…
Date: 2020-05-12