Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture Online

Get access Subject: Jewish Studies

Editor-in-Chief: Dan Diner

Help us improve our service

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


(2,835 words)

Author(s): Yair, Gad | Soyer, Michaela
The myth of the golem (Hebr.; “unformed substance,” “doll”), a human-like being created by magic, goes back to Jewish antiquity. The stories about the golem were initially limited to religious contexts, and the act of its creation was the epitome of piety. From the 16th century onward, the golem tradition divided in two: the Jewish one preserved the image of the golem as a superhuman figure that was created to save the Jewish community. In contrast, the German Christian tradition emphasized the …
Date: 2020-05-12


(2,882 words)

Author(s): Veidlinger, Jeffrey
GosET ( Gosudarstvennyij yevrejskij teatr) refers to a union of Yiddish state theatres in the Soviet Union of the interwar period. The biggest and most prominent of these was the Moscow State Yiddish Theatre ( Moskovskij gosudarstvennyij yevrejskij teatr). Both there and in other regional Yiddish state theatres, leading actors, musicians, artists, impressarios, dramatists, and technicians were at work. Many of them used the stage to express their Jewishness in the Soviet context. When the Stalinist regime made antisemitism part of …
Date: 2020-05-12


(1,534 words)

Author(s): Fetthauer, Sophie
The gramophone was developed in 1887 in the United States by the inventor Emil Berliner (1851–1929), who was originally from Germany. Raised in the spirit of emancipation, Berliner saw technological progress as a humanitarian service and also as a way toward integration into American society. Berliner was involved in the formation of record companies in the United States, England, and Germany as well; these evolved into a worldwide record industry, which also helped to publicize Jewish musicians since the 1920s.Emil Berliner was born as one of thirteen children in a Jewi…
Date: 2020-05-12


(868 words)

Author(s): Sholokhova, Lyudmila
The literary series  Groshnbibliotek was established by left-wing Jews in Poland. It appeared between 1930 and 1936 in Warsaw and constituted a unique collection of popular reading material for the Jewish worker. Themes spanning from factual information to entertainment catered to the literary preferences of Polish Jews in the interwar period. At the same time, the volumes had a didactic aspiration: to disseminate the ideology of the Polish Jewish Labor movement.The initiators of the  Groshnbibliotek were Moyshe Finkelshteyn (1903–1943), a son of Noyekh Finkelshteyn, …
Date: 2020-05-12

Gruppe 47

(4,003 words)

Author(s): Briegleb, Klaus
Authors’ and critics’ circle during the early years of the Federal Republic of Germany engaged in an attempt to revitalize German literature after the Second World War. After intense discussions in 1947, the foundation year, the Group agreed not to discuss National Socialism in the future. In general, authors who returned to Germany after having emigrated had no chance of joining. Gruppe 47 is exemplary for making the Shoah a taboo subject and for Jewish/non-Jewish differentiation in postwar Ger…
Date: 2020-05-12

Guide for the Perplexed

(4,459 words)

Author(s): Kreisel, Howard
No work can claim a greater influence on Jewish philosophy than Maimonides’s Guide for the Perplexed (Hebr. Moreh Nevukhim). The text, composed by Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon, acronym Rambam, 1135–1204) in Judeo-Arabic and completed in 1190, was translated into Hebrew during the author’s lifetime and spread throughout Europe by means of many important translations. Up until the 20th century, it was repeatedly the subject of controversies regarding fundamental questions of Jewish philosophy. These arguments were …
Date: 2020-05-12

Guide for the Perplexed of Our Time

(2,958 words)

Author(s): Kaplan, Lawrence
Moreh Nevukhe ha-Zeman (Guide for the Perplexed of Our Time) is the title of the uncompleted magnum opus by Nachman Krochmal (1785–1840, acronym: Ranak), posthumously published in 1851 by Leopold Zunz. The complex body of work, which deals with an extraordinarily broad spectrum of topics, is a significant contribution to modern Jewish philosophy and to the Wissenschaft des Judentums. Differently than Maimonides, whose  Moreh Nevukhim (Guide for the Perplexed) traces the conflict between the Torah and philosophy, Krochmal represents that the “perplexit…
Date: 2020-05-12