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


(2,668 words)

Author(s): Shain, Milton
Jews began to settle in South Africa in the early 19th century; the first immigrants, most of whom came from Germany and Great Britain, were drawn to the Cape Province. Due to the discovery of substantial gold deposits on the Witwatersrand ridge in 1886, the focus of Jewish settlement shifted to Johannesburg, where the majority of South African Jews resides until today. From the beginning, Jews have made significant contributions to the development of the mining industry and to the growth of Joh…
Date: 2020-05-12

Joint Distribution Committee

(2,267 words)

Author(s): Estraikh, Gennady
Aid organization founded in November 1914, which initially provided assistance to Jews adversely affected by the First World War. Headquartered in New York, the Joint Distribution Committee (abbreviated: Joint; full name: American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) grew in subsequent years to oversee an annual budget that made it the world’s largest Jewish humanitarian organization. In the interwar period it contributed to the rebuilding of Jewish economic, cultural, and religious life especia…
Date: 2020-05-12


(2,828 words)

Author(s): Jelavich, Peter
The Jewish joke, as it is known today, has its origin in the humor of Yiddish speaking Jews in Eastern and Central Eastern Europe. It developed from the specific conditions of Jewish lebenwelten (worlds of lived experience), as well as those of the Hebrew language, and it became the locus for the negotiation of social conflicts by comedic means. With its proliferation among acculturated Jews in Western Europe and in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Jewish joke becam…
Date: 2020-05-12


(2,633 words)

Author(s): Rupnow, Dirk
The phrase “study of the Jewish Question” ( Erforschung der Judenfrage), abbreviated to Judenforschung, described the activity of non-Jewish academics during the Nazi regime who, from an explicitly antisemitic perspective, occupied themselves with the history of Judaism and the so-called Jewish Question. After 1933, representatives of the discipline attempted to establish themselves with a series of institutes and publication organs as a separate field of research within the humanities and social sciences. T…
Date: 2020-05-12


(3,765 words)

Author(s): Michman, Dan
Judenrat (pl. Judenräte; “Jewish Council”) is the term most commonly used today for the compulsory corporate bodies that National Socialist Germany and most of its allies in the Second World War forced upon Jewish communities. At the time, other terms were also in use, primarily  Ältestenrat (“Council of Elders”). It is safe to assume that the Judenräte numbered well over one thousand. As a kind of intermediary between perpetrators and victims, dilemmas accumulated in the Judenräte, with which the Jews were confronted in view of the steady…
Date: 2020-05-12


(1,900 words)

Author(s): Berger, Michael
“Judenzählung”  was the name given to a Jewish census carried out in compliance with an official decree of October 1916, for the purpose of ascertaining the contribution of Jews to the war efforts of the German army. The Jewish census must be seen against the background of the rapidly growing antisemitism during the first two years of the war. The statistical results were not published. Accordingly, the Jewish census left room for antisemitic interpretations, in spite of Jewish objections. German…
Date: 2020-05-12


(4,048 words)

Author(s): Knott, Marie Luise
The concept of “judgement” is largely derived from Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) and describes one of the three cognitive spheres, alongside sense and reason. Originally discussed in a context relating to questions of personal taste, judgement was applied to politics by the theoretical thinker Hannah Arendt (1906–1975). It was above all the external force of terror under National Socialism, and its unleashing of forced ideological thinking, which she felt posed a threat to the human capacit…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jüdischer Frauenbund

(2,727 words)

Author(s): Maierhof, Gudrun
Women’s organization founded in 1904 in Berlin in response to the increasing prevalence of trafficking of girls. The Jüdischer Frauenbund (League of Jewish Women) campaigned for the emancipation of Jewish women and was actively involved in the modernization of Jewish social work. It was strongly influenced by the social politician and women’s rights activist Bertha Pappenheim (1859–1936), who sought to achieve a synthesis between Judaism and the women’s movement.1. EstablishmentThe immediate impetus to found the Jüdischer Frauenbund was the campaign against tr…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jüdische Rundschau

(1,628 words)

Author(s): Nagel, Michael
Published from 1895/1902 to 1938, the Berlin-based Jüdische Rundschau served as a journalistic platform for the Zionistische Vereinigung für Deutschland (ZVfD; Zionist Federation of Germany), and after the failure of Theodor Herzl’s Die Welt in 1914, it occasionally performed the same function for the World Zionist Organization. The weekly publication shifted to a twice-weekly output in 1919, as it addressed a broader public to promote the Zionist cause, and especially its practical implementation in Palestine. At the same ti…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jüdischer Verlag

(2,584 words)

Author(s): Schenker, Anatol
From its 1902 foundation in Berlin up into the 1920s, the publishing house Jüdischer Verlag pursued a largely Zionist orientation. Its perennially precarious financial situation saw little change even after the sale of the company to a new private owner, Siegmund Kaznelson. By the time it was forcibly broken up in 1938, Jüdischer Verlag had published some 250 titles, among them milestones of Jewish literary activity that included Jüdischer Almanach and books by authors such as Samuel Joseph Agnon and Simon Dubnow.1. Founding and early phaseThe idea to establish a “Jewish publish…
Date: 2020-05-12

Jud Süß

(3,193 words)

Author(s): Mintzker, Yair
“Jud Süß” is the derogatory name for Joseph Süß Oppenheimer, who in the 1730s was active as a Court Jew in the Duchy of Württemberg. Oppenheimer was thought to be the most influential advisor of the Catholic Duke Karl Alexander, whose reign was extremely unpopular among the predominantly Protestant population. Immediately after the death of the duke, Oppenheimer was placed under arrest and, following a long-drawn-out trial, he was executed on February 4, 1738. In literature and film, the story o…
Date: 2020-05-12