Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora

Origins, Experiences, and Culture

by M. Avrum Ehrlich, Editor


From the Roman occupation of Judea circa 135 A.D. to the founding of Israel, Jewish people were without a sovereign homeland. But far from eradicating Judaism, as the Emperor Hadrian desired, the Judean conquest expanded its reach, as Jewish refugees, pilgrims, and slaves scattered throughout the world, accelerating a Diaspora that had begun six to eight centuries earlier.

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Cover image for Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora

October 2008


Pages 1254
Volumes 3
Size 7x10
Topics World History/Politics and Government
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This three-volume work is a cornerstone resource on the evolution and dynamics of the Jewish Diaspora as it played out around the world—from its beginnings to the present.

Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture is the definitive resource on one of world history's most curious phenomenons, encompassing the communities, cultures, ethnicities, and experiences created by the Diaspora in every region of the world where Jews live or Jewish ancestry exists.

The encyclopedia is organized in three volumes. The first includes 100 essays on the Jewish Diaspora experience, with coverage ranging from ethnography and demography to philosophy, history, music, and business. The second and third volumes feature hundreds of articles and essays on Diaspora regions, countries, cities, and other locations. With an editorial board of renowned Jewish scholars, and with an extraordinarily accomplished team of contributors, Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora captures the full scope of its subject like no other reference work before it.


  • Over 400 entries and essays in three volumes, arranged by theme, country, and region
  • Over 120 contributors, including the world's foremost Diaspora scholars, under the direction of an exceptionally distinguished editorial board
  • Maps developed in consultation with Sir Martin Gilbert, a leading expert in Jewish studies cartography
  • Both historic and contemporary images, depicting the people and places of the Diaspora around the world
  • A thorough bibliography pointing the way to the finest print and online resources for further reading


  • Covers the entire world of Jewish communities past and present
  • Highlights the unique contributions of Jews to human civilization and how they became bridges and crossroads between superpowers and civilizations in transition
  • Examines Jewish involvement in the sciences, the humanities and creative activities, world exploration, and other fascinating topics
  • Sheds light on marginal Jewish communities in Africa, India, China and Central Asia
Author Info

M. Avrum Ehrlich, PhD, is professor of Jewish thought, language, and civilization at the Centre for Judaic and Inter-Religious Studies at Shandong University, Jinan, P.R., China. His published works include Leadership in the HaBaD Movement and The Messiah of Brooklyn.



"[A]n essential resource that should be in every Jewish and secular academic library as well as public libraries. Both scholars and general readers alike will find these essays to be accessible and informative. I highly recommend the Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora to anyone with an interest in the history, culture, and significance of the Jewish Diaspora, both in the past and in the present day."The Jewish Eye

"This comprehensive set encompasses the time from the beginning of the Diaspora, in around 135 C.E., to the present. . . . The statistics preceeding each country entry are extremely useful, as are the three- to four-page historical and contemporary overviews. . . . The full scope of the Jewish experience outside Israel has never been so thoroughly organized. The excellent bibliography, glossary, and index help make this much-needed set a fine choice for browsers and report writers alike."School Library Journal

"The entries are well researched and well documented, both in the liturgy and in scholarly fields, with in-text citations and selected bibliographies. BOTTOM LINE: Written for college and advanced high school students, as well as Judaic and history scholars, this work is an excellent overview of the Jewish Diaspora, particularly those parts often overlooked or ignored. Recommended for all academic and most public libraries."Library Journal

"This three-volume work, edited by Jewish scholar Ehrlich (Shandong Univ., China) includes over 400 essays from more than 120 expert contributors . . . Recommended. Informed general readers; lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers in Jewish and ethnic history."Choice

"This set is a perfect fit for academic collections but is also suitable for larger public libraries, particularly those with a moderate sized Jewish patron base. Also available as an e-book."Booklist

"No doubt many libraries will gladly find room for Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora Origins, Experiences, and Culture in reference. However, the organization of this work may make it equally useful in circulating collections where patrons are afforded more time to uncover the wealth of information and insights it provides. But regardless of its placement, it will be welcomed and appreciated by serious students and scholars. Recommended for academic libraries supporting classes in Jewish Studies and for public libraries where there are strong interests."Against the Grain

"The 3-volume encyclopedia contains valuable information on the 2,500-year history of the Jewish diaspora. . . . Each entry contains a useful bibliography with frequent references to little-known citations. Photographs and illustrations are nicely interspersed throughout the text; each volume has a cumulative index expediting easy access to the entire text. While Judaica reference works invariably cover the long and textured history of the Jewish diaspora, this outstanding encyclopedia is a unique source."ARBA

"This three volume set on the Jewish Diaspora is scholarly and comprehensive. The first volume reviews various themes and phenomena related to the whole topic, while the next two volumes delve into the particular regions, countries and communities where the Jews lived. Each chapter is authored by a different expert and the Jewish experience is explored with an in-depth chronology. This set would serve as an important addition to world history, AP classes or global studies curriculum."Pennsylvania School Librarians Association

"Several things make this encyclopedia stand out. The articles are engaging and require no preexisting knowledge. Additionally, the survey articles provide consistent structure, including timelines and the use of standard subheadings."Reference & User Services Quarterly

"It is a useful study for both students and scholars of Jewish history and culture as well as an interesting and informative insight into the issues surrounding diasporas. The in-depth study of some of the less well-known aspects of this group provided by this Encyclopedia is relevant for all students and scholars of Jewish history -- ancient or modern -- and also anthropology. The Encyclopedia is timely, relevant, accessible and fascinating."Reference Reviews

"The introduction highlights the importance of Diaspora Studies and, in particular, the study of Jewish diasporic people. Here, the author cites the urgency of such studies not only to understand the nuances of this phenomenon but in order to prevent future atrocities linked with the turbulent processes of forced migration. Linked to this, the author claims, is that Jewish diasporas have remained hidden, largely as a result of the forced assimilation (whether direct or indirect) within their host societies. Such an understanding, according to the author, makes surveys of this kind all the more urgent."Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World

"[T]hese three volumes total over 1300 pages and are attractively produced. They would make a popular addition to any Jewish library, or an excellent gift for any Jew or non-Jew."Australian Journal of Jewish Studies


Best Reference Title 2008 — Pennsylvania School Librarians Association

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