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Judaic and Holocaust Studies

Find out more about Judaic and Holocaust studies, which is a broad interdisciplinary field that focuses on Jewish culture and history, Judaism as a religion, and Jewish communities. Holocaust studies focus specifically on the genocide, which was a program developed by the Nazis for the large-scale persecution and attempted genocide of European Jews during World War II (1939–1945). The field Judaic and Holocaust studies differs from the course of religious instruction available at Jewish seminaries and yeshivas in its secular approach to the subject.

Also known as Jewish studies, Judaic and Holocaust Studies can encompass a variety of other disciplines, including history, Middle Eastern studies, religious studies, archeology, sociology, languages (such as Hebrew and Yiddish), political science, women’s studies, and ethnic studies. Other areas of focus include Bible and biblical interpretation, rabbinic literatures and cultures (including the Torah), Sephardic and Mizrachi Jews, and Israel studies.

The study of Hebrew language and literature was part of the curriculum designed to help those studying to be Christian clergy understand their own religious heritage at North American institutions of higher learning as early as the seventeenth century. Broader programs of Jewish studies began to be established in the 1890s, and by the early twentieth century there were sixteen positions in Semitic Studies at major universities. These positions tended to be at least partially funded by members of the American Jewish community, who hoped to gain greater recognition and acceptance of Jews in the United States. They tended to be geared toward students in advanced studies rather than the general student.

Interest in Jewish and Holocaust studies increased following World War II, when the horrors of the genocide and subsequent founding of the state of Israel in 1948 riveted the world’s attention. U.S. colleges and universities began adding Jewish studies courses to their curricula in the 1960s. The establishment of the Association for Jewish Studies (ASJ) in 1969 indicated the growing importance of this discipline in academia. In 2013 the ASJ listed more than 200 programs in North American colleges and universities.

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Judaic and Holocaust Resources

Gale provides scholarly resources, including databasesprimary source archives, and eBooks, to advance researchers' studies.


Gale databases offer researchers access to credible, Judaic history resources and Jewish history resources, including full-text articles covering many history topics, from newspapers, articles, journals, and much more, aligned with lesson plans for teaching and guides for additional research.

Primary Source Archives

Gale Primary Sources contains full-text archives and digitized literature that provide researchers with firsthand articles from Judaic history journals and  Holocaust history primary sources to drive research at your university.

Gale eBooks

Gale offers a variety of eBooks covering a wide range of Judaic and Holocaust studies topics, including Jewish history, Isreal, and more. Users can add Gale eBooks to a customized collection and cross-search to pinpoint relevant content. Workflow tools help users easily share, save, and download articles.

  • Encyclopedia Of American Jewish History, 1st Edition

    Encyclopedia Of American Jewish History, 1st Edition

    ABC-CLIO  |  2007  |  ISBN-13: 9781851096435

    Did you know that until World War I, Chicago had the third-largest Jewish population of any city in the world? Did you know that Jews played leading roles in the civil rights movement? Or that Jewish men are over-represented in basketball and boxing? If you didn't know, that is because history books have generally ignored the American Jewish experience until now. The Encyclopedia Of American Jewish History, 1st Edition will answer all your questions about Jewish history.

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  • Following a Faith: A Jewish Life, 1st Edition

    Following a Faith: A Jewish Life, 1st Edition

    Powerkids Press  |  2020  |  ISBN-13: 9781725303560

    Judaism is a religion with a deep history. Readers of this engaging book learn all about what it means to be part of the Jewish faith. They'll also learn about the fascinating stories behind the many traditions, celebrations, and ceremonies involved in the religion. Informative text is arranged in manageable sections and correlates closely with colorful photographs, ensuring a strong understanding of the content. This stimulating volume is a key resource for those interested in learning more about the Jewish faith.

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  • A History of Judaism, 1st Edition

    A History of Judaism, 1st Edition

    Princeton University Press  |  2018  |  ISBN-13: 9781400890019

    This book provides the history of Judaism, one of the oldest religions in the world, which has preserved its distinctive identity despite the very diverse forms and beliefs it has embodied over the course of more than three millennia. The book describes how this religion came to be, how it has evolved from one age to the next, and how its various strains, sects, and traditions have related to each other. It takes readers from Judaism's origins in the polytheistic world of the second and first millennia BCE to the temple cult at the time of Jesus. It tells the stories of the rabbis, mystics, and messiahs of the medieval and early modern periods, guides us through the many varieties of Judaism today, and spans the globe, from the Middle East, Europe, and America to North Africa, China, and India. It explains the institutions and ideas on which all forms of Judaism are based, and weaves together different threads of doctrinal and philosophical debate that run throughout its history.

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  • An Introduction to the Scriptures of Israel: History and Theology, 1st Edition

    An Introduction to the Scriptures of Israel: History and Theology, 1st Edition

    Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company  |  2018  |  ISBN-13: 9781467450591

    In this textbook for Hebrew Bible courses, Tzvi Novick takes a thematic approach rather than a chronological one. Sorting the books according to their historical context, theological claims, and literary conventions, Novick explores the historical and intellectual development of the Hebrew Bible. With attentiveness to historical-critical and traditional-canonical approaches, the book focuses on the dichotomy of the particular and the universal. It shows how this dichotomy impacts each book's style and content and how it informs Jewish and Christian traditions as they develop. This nontraditional textbook is coherent, engaging, and succinct—a perfect resource for any introductory Hebrew Bible course.

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Resources to Boost Your Research

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