Cover image for The new encyclopedia of Judaism
The new encyclopedia of Judaism
Wigoder, Geoffrey, 1922-
Publication Information:
New York : New York University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xv, 856 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 28 cm
General Note:
Updated ed. of: The encyclopedia of Judaism.
Added Uniform Title:
Encyclopedia of Judaism.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BM50 .E63 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference

On Order



Winner, The New York Public Library, Best of Reference Award, 2002

New York University Press is proud to announce the return of a valuable resource for both Jewish families and those interested in learning more about the Jewish faith. The New Encyclopedia of Judaism is a comprehensive one-volume encyclopedia that accessibly presents every aspect of the Jewish religion and represents current thinking among scholars in the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox movements.

The original version of the encyclopedia was selected by the American Library Association as an Outstanding Reference Book. This revised and expanded edition updates the original thousand entries and adds nearly 250 new ones. Magnificently illustrated, it also contains a new introduction, a guide for usage, new illustrations, as well as a new annotated bibliography. Its compilation was overseen by the late Geoffrey Wigoder, best known as the Editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia Judaica .

The articles cover a vast spectrum of topics. There are biographical entries on biblical figures, rabbis, and others whose thoughts and actions have influenced the development of Judaism. Also included are dozens of insightful commentaries on specific prayers. Issues of particular contemporary interest are given special attention, as are women's roles, with a separate entry on the feminist movement and new biographical entries on figures ranging from Miriam and Deborah to Blu Greenberg and Suzannah Heschel. Particularly emphasized are the customs and folk traditions of Jewish outposts the world over.

Authoritative and accessible, The New Encyclopedia of Judaism fulfills the promise of the first edition and serves as a standard one-volume Jewish reference work for the new millennium. It is an ideal reference for every Jewish household and synagogue library.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

The New Encyclopedia of Judaism is a revised and expanded second edition of The Encyclopedia of Judaism (Macmillan, 1989). Recognizing that Judaism is not just a systematic presentation of beliefs or the codification of abstract theological thought, the volume presents a very intimate portrait of this tradition, including liturgical, ethnic, and secular elements. Entries are alphabetically arranged and written by scholars, though unsigned. Biographical entries are limited to those who have contributed to the development of Judaism and include biblical figures, philosophers and theologians, and leaders of movements within Judaism. There are good survey articles for Conservative Judaism, Orthodoxy, and Reform Judaism. Other entries cover the books of the Hebrew Bible. Although theological positions on such topics as Creation, Principles of faith, and Redemption are presented, emphasis is placed on ritual aspects of Judaism. In the entry Sabbath, the three daily services (i.e., morning, afternoon, and evening), along with special services such as festivals and memorials, are described, with details regarding the differences among Hasidic, Sephardi, and Ashkenazi Jews. The entry for Responses, liturgical includes a table of principal responses used in public worship. Other entries describe Judaism's position on social issues such as Abortion, Capital punishment, Divorce, and Homosexuality. In addition to black-and-white illustrations, groups of color plates are interspersed throughout the volume, depicting illuminated manuscripts, synagogues, Torah scroll shields, and works of art. What is new in this revised edition? In addition to some 1,200 revised entries, the treatment of early Jewish literature is enhanced with entries for all the books of the Apocrypha (e.g., Tobit, Book of) and some pseudepigraphical works (e.g., I Enoch). Greater attention is given to women in Judaism. There is a new entry for Feminism to complement the entry for Women. The only female biblical judge, Deborah, now has her own entry, having been included formerly in the entry for the Book of Judges. The contemporary movement Zionism (Return to Zion in the first edition) is covered in more depth, with entries for some of its notable exponents (e.g., Golda Meir and David Ben-Gurion). Finally, although entries include no reading lists, this new edition concludes with an annotated bibliography. Another single-volume reference work for Judaism is The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion (1997), which is more comprehensive in scope and scholarly in nature. But the two really can't be compared. The New Encyclopedia of Judaism is intended as as a "resource for both Jewish families and those interested in learning more about the religion." The content, accessible yet authoritative, makes this reference work appropriate for both public and academic library collections.

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1989, The Encyclopedia of Judaism set a high standard for Jewish reference works and was selected as an Outstanding Reference Book by the American Library Association. But in The New Encyclopedia of Judaism, a good work has been made even better; the original thousand entries have been updated and 250 new ones added. As with the first edition, the one-volume resource has hundreds of illustrations, contributions from scholars from all major branches of Judaism and a strong annotated bibliography. (Oct. 16) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This thoughtfully conceived, insightful, and authoritative work will serve as the standard one-volume comprehensive Jewish reference work as we enter the new millennium. It seeks to present a balanced picture, offering current thinking among scholars in Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox movements and a roster of contributors hailing from Israel, England, and the United States. While the scholarship is solid, the material is readily accessible to a popular audience, and the work is magnificently illustrated. The original 1989 version, a work of broad scope, was selected by the American Library Association as an Outstanding Reference book. The 2002 edition updates the original 1000 entries and adds nearly 250 new ones, plus a new introduction, a guide for usage, new illustrations (many in color), a glossary of terms, and a wide-ranging annotated bibliography of accessible basic works on Judaism for the general reader. Issues of particular contemporary interest are highlighted, as are women's roles, with a separate entry on the feminist movement and new biographical entries on women figures. The editors are well qualified for the job: the late Wigoder (zl) has served as editor in chief of the multivolume Encyclopedia Judaica, Fred Skolnik served as editor of The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, and Shmuel Himelstein is author of The Jewish Primer: Questions and Answers on Jewish Faith and Culture. This excellent work is an essential purchase for all public libraries, synagogue libraries, and special collections of Judaica. Jewish families will also benefit by having this work on hand for household use.-David B. Levy, Enoch Pratt Lib., Baltimore (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Although its page count has increased by only ten percent, this major revision of an important reference work (1st ed., The Encyclopedia of Judaism, ed. by Wigoder, CH, May'90) adds many new articles and revises numerous older ones. Greater weight is given to biblical periods such as the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel, and new biographies of biblical, Talmudic, Hasidic, and popular historical figures are added. All the books of the Apocrypha and some of the Pseudepigrapha are covered. At the other historical end, the editors supply a separate entry for Zionism and sketches of its leading personalities. The previous edition's focus on daily, Sabbath, and holiday liturgy and ritual has been amplified by new entries and revision of earlier ones. The influence of feminism is seen in articles on biblical figures Miriam and Deborah and modern personalities such as Blu Greenberg and Susannah Heschel. Minor errors still exist: the founder of the Youth Aliyah was Recha Freier, not Henrietta Szoid; in the entry "Hafets Hayyim," the term "kodashim" denotes the fifth order of the Mishnah, not a Talmudic tractate. A new, useful annotated bibliography is arranged by 11 broad categories, though one may argue about the choice of titles; e.g., under "Modern Movements," five titles treat Zionism and Israel and one the history of the reform movement, but none covers Conservative Judaism, modern Orthodox Judaism, or any of the secular Jewish ideologies. Boldface for article captions and larger font for the index make both easier to read. The index uses asterisks to precede main entries and arrows to indicate both see and see also references; this edition explains both symbols. Cross-references within articles pointing to additional main entries are indicated by small capitals. Despite the few minor errors or inconveniences, an important revision. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All libraries. D. Kranzler formerly, Queensborough Community College, CUNY