The second edition of the Encyclopedia Judaica, the largest and most wide-ranging source of knowledge about the Jewish world, was launched yesterday in Israel in both print, and e-book editions.
Matti Finker, a senior partner at Israel's TelDan publishing company, who together with Keter and the American firm Thomson-Gale produced the work commented that "it is difficult to over emphasize the importance of Judaica, both as a Jewish and cultural achievement. No library can be without it."
Some 1,200 academics and world authorities worked on the fully revised edition of the encyclopedia for three years.
Much has changed in the Jewish world since 1971, when the first edition was published. Jewish history, culture, communities and contributions to academia have expanded dramatically in the last 30 years, and the new edition will have a more up-to-date documentation of the Jewish world, ranging from religious aspects to the treatment of the Holocaust.
"The encyclopedia has always been a source of great pride and held worldwide esteem and recognition, sitting in the pace of honor on the shelves ofâ€¦the President's Residence and the Prime Minister's Office," said Yiphtach Dekel, Keter's CEO.
The encyclopedia's origins are in the 1920s in Germany, but with the Nazis' rise to power, work was suspended.
During the 1950s the project was revived and was eventually published in 16 volumes. The second edition contains 16 million words, 17 thousand pages and 22 volumes. The revision of the encyclopedia required the writing of 2,600 new entries, or five million new words.
Last month, the encyclopedia received the 2007 Dartmouth Medal awarded by the American Library Association in recognition for distinguished achievement relating to the creation of works of reference of outstanding quality and significance.