The Encyclopedia of Judaism /

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Bibliographic Details
Imprint:New York : Macmillan ; London : Collier Macmillan, c1989.
Description:768 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm.
Subject:Judaism -- Dictionaries
Format: Print Book
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Hidden Bibliographic Details
Other authors / contributors:Wigoder, Geoffrey, 1922-
ISBN:0026284103 : $75.00
Review by Choice Review

This major new one-volume reference work (EJ) is a worthy successor to the Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion (EJR), which Wigoder coedited with R.J.W. Werblowsky (CH, Mar'67). The EJ is generally superior in size, aesthetics, contents, and facility of use. It is a beautifully produced volume on glossy paper, allowing the scores of full-page illustrations (many in color) to be spread throughout, in contrast to EJR's two or three folios of shiny stock with only black-and-white photos. The EJ is also about twice the size of the EJR, using larger-size paper, smaller type, and almost twice the number of pages. There is a greater use of Hebrew and Yiddish for subject headings; and numerous, separate cross-reference as well as small-capital indicators within the text send the reader to related articles. Scattered throughout, adjacent to articles, are numerous shaded "boxes" containing interesting and informative data, such as the 19 blessings of the Amidah, various rabbinic aphorisms on charity, or the key points of the Book of Habakuk. Articles range from a few lines to about a page and a half, with most in the half-column category. The articles are unsigned but the contributors are listed. Most are well-known scholars in different fields and of differing ideological backgrounds, including Reform, Orthodox, and Conservative Judaism. The articles reflect the diversity of views though, curiously, Reform is always portrayed as much more traditional than it is in reality, e.g., the article "Jewish Children" is illustrated by a doubly incongruous photo: a Reform kindergarten, in Israel, with both children and teacher wearing kipot. Until recently, Reform Judaism objected both to Zionism and to the wearing of a kipah (one was required to remove it in the temple). Nor is there any clear-cut statement of the fact that with the acceptance of patrilineal descent, Reform made a major break with both Conservative and Orthodox Judaism. A useful glossary; a somewhat less satisfactory index (in tiny type). The user instructions note that subjects with an asterisk are distinct articles, there is no explanation of the arrow, which represents both "see" and "see also" cross-references. Despite these few minor irritations, a must for every library. -D. Kranzler, Queensborough Community College, CUNY

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review