JWA News Release: February 2, 2009
UNPRECEDENTED RESOURCE GOES ONLINE MARCH 1, 2009
Jewish Women's Archive Gives Free, Global Access
to Encyclopedia of Jewish Women
The Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) announces the launch of the first comprehensive online source for the history of Jewish women. On March 1, 2009, Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia—which includes over 1,700 biographies, 300 thematic essays, and 1,400 photographs and illustrations—goes live on JWA's website, jwa.org.
"Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia represents a huge advance for the fields of history and women's studies," said Gail Reimer, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Jewish Women's Archive. The Encyclopedia, first published in 2006 by Alice and Moshe Shalvi of Shalvi Publishing Ltd., and edited by Paula Hyman of Yale University and Dalia Ofer of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was previously available only on CD-ROM. Reimer notes, "In its CD-ROM form, the Encyclopedia was expensive and not widely accessible, so we are delighted to make this important resource available online and usable at no cost. We've taken history out of the locked vaults of physical repositories and put it into the hands of Internet users all over the world."
Reviewers hailed the CD-ROM version for its easy navigation and for the wealth of information it contains. The online edition has an improved user interface, which provides thematic and visual links and extensive cross-references, along with many new Web 2.0 features, including the ability for users to discuss and update current biographies and to submit new ones.
The Encyclopedia contains content from over 1,000 independent scholars on a wide range of Jewish women through the centuries—from Gertrude Berg to Gertrude Stein; Hannah Greenebaum Solomon to Hannah Arendt; the Biblical Ruth to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Encyclopedia is an invaluable resource for students, educators, researchers, and the general public.
Gloria Steinem praised the Encyclopedia as "user-friendly and thoughtfully compiled, as much a joy for the casual browser as for those who come with a purpose. Whether you are a scholar in search of the past, a journalist in need of facts in the present, or a young Jewish girl looking for role models for dreams of the future, the encyclopedia is a treasure-trove."
The mission of the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) is to uncover, chronicle, and transmit to a broad public the rich history of North American Jewish women. A national non-profit organization founded in 1995 and headquartered in Brookline, Massachusetts, JWA disseminates educational materials, conducts original research, hosts public programs, and maintains an innovative website. Through web exhibits, online collection projects, and oral histories, JWA shares the stories, struggles, and achievements of North American Jewish women spanning many generations. In 2007, JWA produced the film Making Trouble, a prize-winning documentary about three generations of Jewish women in comedy, from Molly Picon to Gilda Radner.