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

Nalewki Street

(2,735 words)

Author(s): Steffen, Katrin
Before the Second World War, Nalewki Street in Warsaw’s northeast was home to more than 700 shops, small craftsmen’s shops, and workshops, and was the street most shaped by trade in the Polish capital. Because the majority of its inhabitants were Jews, it was also seen as a Jewish commercial street. Jewish tailors, craftsmen, salespeople, shoeshine boys, wealthy merchants, and wholesale traders lived side by side. The main offices of political organizations, unions, and sport clubs were also loc…
Date: 2021-07-13


(4,140 words)

Author(s): Bering, Dietz
From ancient times, Jewish names have reflected a variety of religious, cultural, and legal trends of Jewish existence. Jewish naming is characterized by the parallel use of Hebrew and vernacular given names and was, in the Diaspora, always influenced by the practice of the surrounding cultures as well. While Sephardic Jews (Sepharad) used family names as early as the Middle Ages, simple given names dominated in the Ashkenazi region (Ashkenaz) until the early modern age. By adopting modern foren…
Date: 2021-07-13

Nansen Passport

(1,288 words)

Author(s): Marrus, Michael R.
International travel document introduced in 1922 on the initiative of the well-known Norwegian polar explorer and then High Commissioner for Refugees of the League of Nations, Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930). Originally intended for refugees from the former Russian Empire, the Nansen passport became the travel and identity document for Jews and other refugees who had become stateless due to wars and political upheaval. Until 1946 around 450,000 Nansen passports were issued and recognized by 52 state…
Date: 2021-07-13


(1,872 words)

Author(s): Balke, Ralf
Nasi (from the Hebrew  nasa; “to raise,” “to raise up”) is used in Biblical Hebrew to mean patriarch, exilarch, or prince. Originally a term for tribal princes, the meaning of the term changed over time, coming to be used to denote political leadership, political representation, high social status, or as an honorific. Since its meaning was defined as “president” in Modern Hebrew, nasi has also denoted the president of the modern polity since the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948.1. Biblical and rabbinic erasIn the Bible,  nasi refers to persons of high political or social …
Date: 2021-07-13

National Councils

(5,388 words)

Author(s): Silber, Marcos
Temporary political bodies of the Jews in Eastern Europe founded at the end of the First World War in most of the successor states of the collapsing multinational empires. In a time of upheaval, they intended to be recognized as representatives of the Jewish population by the newly founded states; internally they tried to democratize the Jewish communities. After the re-organization of Europe at the Paris Peace Conference, where their concerns were presented by the internationally active Comité …
Date: 2021-07-13


(3,817 words)

Author(s): Fiedler, Lutz
Hans Kohn (1891–1971), the historian from Prague, was one of the founders of the modern academic study of nationalism. His concept of nationalism became famous thanks to the Kohn dichotomy later named after him: the distinction between Western, civic-institutional nationalism, and Eastern nationalism based on ethnic affiliation. The history of Kohn’s life and work extends from the Habsburg Empire to Palestine, the Middle East, and the United States. 1. Hans KohnHans Kohn, born in 1891 in Prague, came from an assimilated Bohemian Jewish family. Although he grew up …
Date: 2021-07-13


(2,751 words)

Author(s): Daub, Adrian
The Neo-Kantian school occupied a leading position in German academic philosophy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was characterized by its reference to Kant and rejection of materialistic as well as metaphysical explanatory models. Being a thoroughly political philosophy, the Neo-Kantian school embraced mainly social-idealistic positions; its many representatives of Jewish origin, among them Hermann Cohen in particular, also discussed Jewish topics. “Völkisch” (ethnic-nationalist) intellectuals, however, denounced Neo-Kantian thought itself as Jewish.1. I…
Date: 2021-07-13


(2,897 words)

Author(s): Bányai, Viktória
Under the influence of Jewish reform movements in Western and Central Europe, enlightened Jews in Hungary aspiring to a middle-class bearing had striven for moderate reforms since the beginning of the 19th century. The denotation “Neolog,” later adopted by the religious movement, was intended to emphasize that compared to Orthodoxy it was new and independent. During the 1868–1869 Hungarian National Israelite Congress in Pest, the differences between the Orthodox and the Neolog faction led to the…
Date: 2021-07-13


(3,641 words)

Author(s): Morgenstern, Matthias
The term neo-Orthodox was used in the German-speaking world in the 19th century to denote a religious current arising from the context of Jewish Orthodoxy which attempted a synthesis of Jewish-Orthodox and non-Jewish culture (cultural Orthodoxy). In doing so, neo-Orthodoxy specifically aimed to create organizational structures which met the requirements of Orthodoxy, initially at community level and later also at the intercommunity, inter-regional, and international levels. By the late …
Date: 2021-07-13

New Deal

(2,464 words)

Author(s): Dinnerstein, Leonard
At the peak of the worst economic crisis in the history of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved into the White House on March 4, 1933, as the 32nd president. The slogan “New Deal” became a synonym for the wide-ranging economic and socio-political reforms by means of which Roosevelt attempted to lead the country out of the crisis and later also through the Second World War. His team of advisers included an above average number of Jews, most of whom were lawyers. While antisemit…
Date: 2021-07-13

New School for Social Research

(2,973 words)

Author(s): Bessner, Daniel
From 1933 onward, the New School for Social Research in New York was significantly involved with the intake of 183 European academics who were escaping from National Socialism, many of whom were Jewish Social Democrats or liberals. The “University in Exile” (officially: Graduate Faculty for Political and Social Science, abbr.: Graduate Faculty) began its teaching program in autumn 1933, becoming an academic haven for a series of researchers who had a significant influence on US-American…
Date: 2021-07-13

New York

(3,798 words)

Author(s): Sorin, Gerald
Of the more than two million Jews who migrated to the United States between 1881 and the First World War, almost 75% initially settled in New York City. Most of them crowded into Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a neighborhood of barely two and one-half square kilometers that extends south from 14th Street to Fulton Street and east from Broadway to the East River. The number of Jews living there reached a peak of 542,000 in 1910; a considerable number worked in the garment industry. 1. The Lower East SideSince the beginning of the Dutch settlement of the island of Manhattan in the 1…
Date: 2021-07-13