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


(3,661 words)

Author(s): Hanoch Ben Pazi
Since the Middle Ages, the establishment of the basic tenets (Hebr. ikkarim) of the Jewish faith – which also and especially took place in contention with Christian dogmatics – has been the concern of Jewish scholars. Early modern and modern attempts to formulate principles of faith were influenced both by the 13 medieval tenets of faith established by Maimonides (Guide for the Perplexed) and by Moses Mendelssohn’s dictum to the effect that Judaism is not characterized by a dogmatic theology but solely by the observance of religious law (Halakhah) and the practical commandments ( mitsvot…
Date: 2020-05-12

Illumination of Books

(2,132 words)

Author(s): Kogman-Appel, Katrin
Jewish illumination was widespread in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe from the Middle Ages until the invention of printing. The illustrated works were Hebrew books of religious, predominantly liturgical character and to a lesser extent also legal works and other manuscripts. Illumination developed a specifically Jewish imagery but was also embedded in the art and culture of non-Jewish surroundings. Thus, it also illustrates the relationship of Jews with Islamic or Christian surroundings.1. OccurrenceThe oldest evidence of Jewish illumination dates back to the…
Date: 2020-05-12


(3,617 words)

Author(s): Schechter, Ronald
Christian Wilhelm von Dohm’s (1751–1820) treatise Ueber die bürgerliche Verbesserung der Juden (1781), in which he called for Jews to be given equal civil rights, is viewed as the seminal text of the especially German and French-led debate on the status of the Jews in state and society. Although Dohm did not advocate full equality, his work, which is imbued with the optimism of the Enlightenment, nevertheless stands for religious pluralism, the willingness to integrate the Jews into civil society, and the …
Date: 2020-05-12

Infamous Decree

(973 words)

Author(s): Birnbaum, Pierre
Napoleonic decree on French Jewish legislation issued in March 1808. Its discriminatory content brought it the title of “infamous decree” – Décret infâme. The decree covered restrictions in relation to credit, trade, freedom of movement, and military service. This was intended to push through the Jews’ assimilation more rapidly, but  de facto revoked the equality they had gained in the French Revolution.In the years before the enactment of the decree, the Jews were already under pressure from Napoleon to dispel doubts over their affiliation to the French…
Date: 2020-05-12

Institute for Social Research

(5,743 words)

Author(s): von Wussow, Philipp
The history of the Institute for Social Research, which was founded in 1923 in Frankfurt am Main, is also the history of a growing preoccupation with Jewish topics. At first, the members systematically excluded all references to Judaism from their materialistically oriented social philosophy. Only with the studies of the 1940s on antisemitism did the institute also address issues of Jewish belonging. Through the canonization of their exile-related experiences in the federal German disco…
Date: 2020-05-12

Institute of Jewish Affairs

(4,313 words)

Author(s): Kaplan-Feuereisen, Omry
Established in New York in 1941, this research institution was primarily devoted to the study of issues of (international) law, politics, and economics in the Jewish present. Closely linked to the World Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Congress, the Institute of Jewish Affairs (IJA) produced its most influential work during the Second World War and in the immediate postwar years. The IJA was responsible, among other things, for developing the theoretical and factographic basis of…
Date: 2020-05-12

International Law

(6,060 words)

Author(s): Loeffler, James
International law represents a corpus of supranational legal rules and norms that are primarily concerned with states as subjects. From the late 19th century onward, Jewish jurists also turned to this branch of law and played a decisive role in its further development, even though their thematic focus frequently placed the protection of minorities and of the individual in the center of their reflections. In this context, renowned Jewish legal scholars such as Hans Kelsen (1881–1973), Ja…
Date: 2020-05-12


(4,561 words)

Author(s): Miron, Dan
Originally the title (with the spelling In zikh) of a collection of poems published in New York (1920) by eight young American-Yiddish authors. The volume includes a programmatic introduction entitled “Introspectivism,” which is signed by three of the participating poets. Two of them, Jacob Glatstein (Yankev Glatshteyn, 1896–1971) and Nokhem-Borekh Minkoff (1893–1958), were still hardly known at the time. A. Leyeles (pseudonym of Aaron Glanz, 1889–1966), the third one, had made a name for himself as a …
Date: 2020-05-12