Tag Archives: Full-text

New Acquisition: Kotar (Hebrew e-books from Israeli presses)

A collaboration of leading Israeli publishers, Kotar is a large collection of reference materials, scholarly books, biographies, and other materials related to Israeli and Jewish topics. Kotar aims to provide students, teachers, and scholars with the best sources of information published over the last 50 years in Hebrew, along with an online work environment. Kotar resources span Israel studies; Israeli culture, literature, history, education, and sociology; and other selected topics in the humanities and social sciences.

It is now available here: http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio11895583 to Columbia affiliates with a uni and password

Eight early American Jewish Newspapers, now available digitally!

I am pleased to announce that the following Early American newspapers are now available digitally through the following links.  With the exception of the American Israelite and American Hebrew and Jewish Messenger, all newspapers are freely available through the Historical Jewish Press website

Columbia is very proud to have been involved, with New York University and the New York Public Library, in helping the American Jewish Press to be added to the Historical Jewish Press’s corpus.  We look forward to continuing this collaboration in the years to come.

In English:
  1. Occident and American Jewish Advocate: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/JPress/English/Pages/The-Occident-and-American-Jewish-Advocate.aspx
  2. B’nai Brith Messenger: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/JPress/English/Pages/BBM.aspx
  3. Chicago Sentinel: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/JPress/English/Pages/Sentinal.aspx
  4. American Israelite: http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio11136600
  5. American Hebrew and Jewish Messenger: http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio11136586

In Ladino:

  1. La America: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/JPress/English/Pages/la-amirica.aspx.
  2. El Progreso: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/JPress/English/Pages/epo.aspx

In Yiddish:

  1. Morgen Zjournal: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/JPress/English/Pages/The-Jewish-Morning-Journal.aspx
  2. Die Wahrheit: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/JPress/English/Pages/Die-Warheit.aspx

Keep an eye on the Jewish Press in the USA section of the site, as there will be more newspapers added in the future!

New Online Resource: Aufbau

The Library of the Leo Baeck Institute has completed digitizing all issues of the German-Jewish émigré Journal, Aufbau published between 1934 and 2004, thus ensuring that the entire contents of the most important publication of the global German-Jewish refugee and exile community will remain available online to researchers.  The new resource is available immediately at: archive.org/details/aufbau

In 2012, LBI worked with Internet Archive, an online library and LBI’s primary digitization partner, to digitize the issues ofAufbau published between 1951 and 2004. This project, partially funded by the Metropolitan New York Library Council, put the entirety of the Aufbau online for the first time, since the German National Libray (DNB), had previously digitized the volumes of Aufbau published from 1934 – 1950 as part of its Exilpresse Digital project.

However, in June 2012, the DNB closed online access to the Aufbau along with other German journals published in exile and many Jewish periodicals published in Germany during the Nazi Regime, citing legal concerns. In order to ensure that this critical resource remains available to researchers, the Library of the Leo Baeck Institute digitized the early years of the Aufbau in 2013.  JM Jüdische Medien, the Swiss Publishing company that owns the rights to the Aufbau, has granted its approval for the digitization, and funding was once again provided by the Metropolitan New York Library Council.

Primary sources in American Jewish History

The Penn Libraries have launched a new website, the Gershwind-Bennett Isaac Leeser Digitization Project, featuring access to the personal papers and publications of Isaac Leeser, widely regarded as the foremost American Jewish leader in antebellum America

The Leeser site, developed as an international partnership over the course of seven years, is the first of a number of planned digital initiatives as part of the Jesselson-Kaplan American Genizah Project.  The Jesselson-Kaplan American Genizah Project, founded in 2006, is an international initiative to integrate digital technologies into the way we study early American Jewry.  Its primary goal is to create an open access digital repository or “genizah” of physically dispersed primary sources that document the development of Jewish life in the western hemisphere from the 16th-19th centuries.

This looks to be a wonderful new primary source resource in the history of the Jews in the Western Hemisphere.

Digitized Newspaper: Herut

The Jewish Historical Press has just posted a new newspaper to their freely available website of full-text newspapers:

"Herut", the daily newspaper of the main opposition party during the first years of the State of Israel. The newspaper was published in Tel-Aviv between 1948 and 1965. The JPRESS website now offers the issues between 1949 and September 1954.

According to the site:

"Ḥerut was the daily newspaper that served the Herut movement, a political party founded on 15 May 1948, the day after the establishment of the State of Israel. As the political successor to the underground paramilitary organisation ha-Irgun ha-Tsvaʾi ha-Leʾumi (‘the National Military Organisation’, known as ETSeL, or the Irgun), the name of the paper signaled a likewise continuation of ETSeL’s mouthpiece, Ḥerut, which had appeared for six years, from March 1942 through May 1948, when the ETSeL was disbanded and the Ḥerut political party was established. The inaugural issue of this daily appeared on 3 October 1948, and its publication was one of a series of steps taken to consolidate the party and its support base in the Israeli population well ahead of the first parliamentary elections that were to take place in the nascent state: at the end of January 1949. The primary reason for Ḥerut’s publication was the desire of Menaḥem Begin (1913–1992), the leader of the party, to create an organ for his movement that would express its unique spirit. An additional reason was the need of a public form that could serve Herut's hitherto largely anonymous members who had lived underground for many years. Beneath the masthead of the newspaper appeared four slogans that expressed the chief stated principles of the movement: ‘for the territorial integrity of the homeland, for the ingathering of exiles, for social justice, for freedom of man’." 

This newspaper is a valuable resource for people studying the early politics of the State during its first years of existence.

More Yiddish…Haynt digitized and online

I wrote last year about the incredible resource that is the Historical Jewish Press.  In a further effort to make Jewish newspapers available freely online, the HJP has now digitized its first Yiddish paper,Haynt.  Haynt was a seminal Jewish newspaper in Eastern Europe from 1908-1939, and is a critical resource for day to day news about the Jews of that time and place.

Harvard’s Judaica Library Publications – available freely online!

Libraries tend to be dedicated to open access, devoted to making their collections available to anyone in need of research.  With a recent announcement from a Harvard Judaica Librarian, we see that Harvard is definitely on board with this.  The Judaica publications that they have digitized include work on Yiddish language and literature, Israel Studies, Judaica Librarianship, and other important scholarship, such as a lecture given in 1985 at Harvard by the recently deceased scholar Paula Hyman: The Dreyfus affair : turning point in Jewish history?.

All of these publications are now freely available through Harvard’s catalog (see link below).


Harvard Library Judaica Division’s publications now online

I am pleased to inform you that some 100 publications issued by the Harvard Library’s Judaica Division over the last fifty years are now available online (see link below).


They include catalogs of exhibitions  from Harvard’s Judaica Collection, lectures and articles related to aspects of the Judaica Collection, proceedings of library conferences held by the Judaica Division, catalogs of segments of the Judaica Collection, monographs in the Harvard Judaica Collection Student Research Papers series, and materials distributed in connection with Judaica fundraising.


We are pleased to make them available online in connection with the forthcoming fiftieth anniversary of the Judaica Division which will be commemorated in the 2012/13 academic year and as part of our ongoing efforts to make an ever-increasing segment of the Harvard Judaica Collection available online.


These publications were issued in limited editions and distributed mainly to Judaica libraries, faculty and donors and many are now out of print. Making them available online in this fashion makes them conveniently and freely accessible to all.


To access these online publications, click on the link:


You may also access them by looking in Harvard’s online catalog Hollis Classic (http://hollisclassic.harvard.edu) under the title:

   Judaica e-books : Harvard Judaica Library publications – Batch 1


We hope that these publications will be of interest.


Judaica Division

Harvard Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA


617-495-2985 (tel)

617-496-9112 (fax)

New Resource: Confidential Print, Middle East (1839-1969)

We are proud to announce a new database containing primary sources relating to the history of Israel and the Middle East:

The Confidential Print collection includes documents relating to Middle Eastern history from the years 1839-1969. 

The series originated out of a need for the British Government to preserve all of the most important papers generated by the Foreign and Colonial Offices. Some of these were one page letters or telegrams — others were large volumes or texts of treaties. All items marked ‘Confidential Print’ were circulated to leading officials in the Foreign Office, to the Cabinet, and to heads of British missions abroad.

Countries included are: Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan, Persia, Suez Canal, Turkey, Jordan, Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Syria.  All documents are fully text-searchable.

Below is the description of the portion on Israel:

FO 492/1-11 Israel/Palestine focuses on the eventful period of Israel’s first decade as a nation state, from 1947 to 1957. The foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, noted in a statement to the House of Commons in February 1947 that “For the Jews [of Palestine], the essential point of principle is the creation of a sovereign Jewish State. For the Arabs, the essential point of principle is to resist to the last the establishment of Jewish sovereignty in any part of Palestine. The discussions of the last month have shown that there is no prospect of resolving this conflict by any settlement negotiated between the parties” (FO 492/1). There follows, over the next few years, discussion of the role in Palestine of the United Nations; the activities of pro-Israeli Jewish activists in the USA and British fears of a deterioration of the Anglo-American relationship over the Palestine question (1948-1950); and the end of the British mandate in May 1948 and the near-simultaneous declaration of the State of Israel. The problems caused by Arab refugees from Palestine and huge Jewish immigration to the new state (1949-1953), the perceived concentration of political power in the hands of the first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, as well as Israeli relations with Jordan and their bearing on British treaty relations with Jordan and Egypt all feature prominently. Many other subjects, including the growth of the cooperative kibbutz movement and the wider development of the Israeli economy, the progress of Israeli parliamentary democracy, relations between Israel and West Germany in the light of potential Jewish claims to reparations for the Holocaust, the death of President Chaim Weizmann (1952), border skirmishes with Jordan and disputes over the waters of the River Jordan (1953), the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union (1953), the opposition of Orthodox Jews to the extension of compulsory military service to women, a survey of Israel’s armed strength and military thinking (1956) and Israeli access to the Gulf of Aqaba, are well covered.

You can access the collection here: http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio8658869

Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees: The West’s Response to Jewish Emigration

As part of a purchase of a major database collection, Columbia now has access to "Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees: The West’s Response to Jewish Emigration."

According to the site’s description:

The Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (IGCR) was organized in London in August 1938 as a result of the Evian Conference of July 1938. The Evian Conference was called by President Franklin Roosevelt outside the formal framework of the League of Nations "for the primary purpose of facilitating involuntary emigration from Germany (including Austria)" of "persons who have not already left their country of origin (Germany, including Austria), but who must emigrate on account of their political opinions, religious beliefs or racial origin, and persons who have already left their country of origin and who have not yet established themselves permanently elsewhere."

For the first time, there was discussion on extending protection to would-be refugees inside the country of potential departure, particularly central Europe. The IGCR, however, received little authority and almost no funds or support from its member nations for resettlement of refugees from Europe in countries allowing permanent immigration, and it had little success in opening countries to refugees.

The first director of the IGCR was George Rublee, an American lawyer, who opened negotiations with Hjalmar Schacht, the President of the German Central Bank in December 1938. After Schacht was removed from his post, the negotiations went on with Helmut Wohltat of the Ministry of Economy. As a result of the negotiations they called for the creation of a fund, to be guaranteed by the Jewish property in Germany, and a Coordinating Foundation in order to finance the emigration of 400,000 Jews from Germany. The attempts of the IGCR to find havens for German Jews in different countries largely failed.

At the Anglo-American conference at Bermuda in April 1943, recommendations were made to the Committee and adopted in August 1943 for an extension of its mandate and structure in order to take into account not only immediately urgent situations but also the longer-term problems of the postwar period. After the establishment of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration the Committee’s responsibilities were limited to refugees in areas in which that Administration was not active and to refugees who for one reason or another did not come within the jurisdiction of the Administration, such as stateless refugees.

In July 1944, 37 governments participated in the work of the Committee. Of these, representatives of nine countries, including the United States, served on its Executive Committee. The primary responsibility for determining the policy of the United States with regard to the Committee was that of the Department of State. It ceased to exist in 1947, and its functions and records were transferred to the International Refugee Organization of the United Nations.

This database, part of the Archives Unbound collection, is critical for understanding the governmental response to the "Jewish problem" as Jews (and others) fled Nazi-occupied Europe before and during the war.

The database can be accessed by clicking on the link above, and then clicking "Browse Collections" and clicking on the "Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees: The West’s Response to Jewish Emigration" link.  We are working on making a direct link to the Jewish Immigration site, and I will post an update when the direct link is available.

Update: There is now a direct link to the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, accessible here: http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio8715812

Free resource: Jewish Telegraph Agency Archives (1917-2008)

Thanks to many and various funders, the Jewish Telegraph Agency has been able to post its archives online in a fully searchable (by keyword, date, and topic) website.  A premier resource for "news about the Jews," the JTA reported news worldwide, and was (and is) cited by many other newspapers throughout its time. 

Major topics include both World Wars, the building up and reporting on the Holocaust, the state of Israel, and many, many other events.

The site notes that (as with all first response reporting), "it is possible that some of the facts in these articles were proven erroneous when more deliberate research became possible."  The information in the site, therefore, should be read as the first impression toward various events affecting Jews that took place throughout the 20th (and now 21st century).

You can watch a video describing this new and important database here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB5I5wiL41A