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Full text of "Khaos Odensland Archive DOCS (The Misanthropic Misogynist)"










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Entries Wel-Zy 


General Abbreviations 


Abbreviations used in Rabbinical Literature 


Bibliographical Abbreviations 


Transliteration Rules 



Illuminated "W" used to rep- 
resent the sound of the initial 
letter of the Latin word Vere. 
The figures represent Ecclesia 
and Synagoga. Detail from 
the Missal of Paris, France 
12 th century, Paris, Biblio- 
theque Nationale, Ms. Lat. 
8884, fol 130. 


WELENSKY, SIR ROY (Roland; 1907-1991), Rhodesian 
statesman. Welensky was a leading figure in the political life 
of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Southern Rhodesia 
for nearly 25 years. He was a member of the National Council 
of the Railway Workers' Union and a founder of the Northern 
Rhodesia Labor Party. During World War 11 Welensky was di- 
rector of manpower and a member of the executive council 
(1940-53). He campaigned for federation of the two Rhode- 
sias in close association with Sir Godfrey Huggins (Lord Mal- 
vern), the first prime minister of the Federation, whom he suc- 
ceeded in 1956. Welensky advocated a policy of "partnership" 
between the white and non-white races of the Federation. 
The partnership failed, either because it was unworkable or 
because, as many claimed, it was never properly applied ow- 
ing to white opposition, and the Federation broke up in 1963 
despite all Welensky s efforts. He retired from politics, settling 
as a farmer in Southern Rhodesia, and wrote an account of the 
Federation in Welensky s 4,000 Days (1964). In 1966, Welensky 
tried to come back to politics but was defeated in the election. 
One of 13 children of Michael Welensky (from Lithuania), a 
boardinghouse keeper, and his Afrikaner wife who converted 
to Judaism on their marriage, Welensky maintained links with 
Jewry. In his teens he was a railroadman, took up boxing, and 
in 1926-28 was the heavyweight champion of the Rhodesias. 
He lived his last year in England. 

bibliography: D. Taylor, The Rhodesian (1955); G. Ailing- 
ham, The Welensky Story (1962). add. bibliography: odnb on- 
line; R. Welensky, Welensky 's 4000 Days: The Life and Death of the 
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (1964). 

[Lewis Sowden] 

WELLER, MICHAEL (1942- ), U.S. playwright. Born in 
New York, Weller was educated at Brandeis and Manchester 
University. He entered the New York theater scene in 1972 with 
his play Moonchildren. He followed this great success with 
a number of finely crafted scripts, including Fishing (1973); 
The Greatest Little Show on Earth (1974); The Bodybuilders 
(1975); Grants Movie (1976); Dwarfman (1977); Loose Ends 
(1978); and Spoils of War (1988). Weller s other plays include 
Split (1979); Barbarians (1982); The Ballad of Soapy Smith 
(1985); Ghost on Fire (1987); Lake No Bottom (1991); Buying 
Time (1995); What the Night Ls For (2002); and Approaching 
Moomtaj (2004). 

Weller wrote the screenplay for the film version of the 
musical Hair (1979) as well as for Ragtime (Oscar nomination 
for Best Screenplay, 1981); Lost Angels (1989); the tv version 
of Spoils of War (1994); and was a writer/producer of the tv 
series Once and Again (1999-2002). 

Weller was a co-founder of the Mentor Project at the Off- 
Broadway Cherry Lane Theatre. He also worked as an adviser 
for several emerging theater companies. In 2005 the Broken 
Watch Theater Company named its new venue in New York 
City the Michael Weller Theater. 

[Jonathan Licht / Ruth Beloff (2 nd ed.)] 

WELLESZ, EGON JOSEPH (1885-1974), musicologist and 
composer of Jewish origin. Wellesz, who was born in Vienna, 
was a pupil of Arnold *Schoenberg and one of the first to fol- 
low his twelve-tone system. He was also his first biographer 
(1921). He studied musicology with Guido *Adler and in 1913 
became a lecturer at the University of Vienna. In 1929 he was 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


appointed professor of the history of music and specialized 
in research on Baroque opera. 

Wellesz's greatest significance, however, lies in his study 
of Byzantine church music, and the music of the Oriental 
churches in general, on which he came to be considered 
the greatest authority of his time. As early as 1915 he discov- 
ered the Oriental maqama ^principle in the Serbian liturgy. 
Soon afterward he found the lost key for deciphering the mu- 
sical notation of the medieval Byzantine chant. This caused 
a general reorientation in the study of the early history of 

Wellesz was forced to leave Austria in 1938. He went to 
Oxford, where from 1940 he lectured on the history of music. 
In 1948 he was appointed university reader in Byzantine music. 
His History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography (1949, 1963 3 ) 
has become an undisputed standard work on this subject, on 
which he also wrote a great number of special studies. 

In 1931 Wellesz became general editor of Monumenta Mu- 
sicae Byzantinae, in 1957 coeditor of the monumental New Ox- 
ford History of Music (of which he himself edited Vol. 1), and in 
1966 coeditor of the periodical Studies in Eastern Chant. 

Wellesz was also very productive as a composer, his 
compositions including some ten operas and ballets, eight 
symphonies, and a great number of orchestral and chamber 

bibliography: R. Scholium, Egon Wellesz: eineStudie (1963); 

Redlich, in: Musical Quarterly, 26 (1940), 65-75; Reti, ibid., 42 (1956), 

1-13, incl. bibl.; Tillyard, in: E. Wellesz and M. Velimirovic (eds.), 

Studies in Eastern Chant, 1 (1966), xin-xv; mgg s.v.; Grove, Diet, 

and supplement. 

[Edith Gerson-Kiwi] 

WELLESZ, JULIUS (1872-1915), Hungarian rabbi and 
scholar. Wellesz, born in Budapest, was ordained at the Bu- 
dapest Rabbinical Seminary in 1890 and received a Ph.D. at 
Budapest University (1895) for a thesis on Abraham de Balmes 
as a philologist, Abraham de Balmes mint nyelvesz. An emi- 
nent preacher, Wellesz served as rabbi in several Hungarian 
cities, including Csurgo, Nagybittse, and Obuda. Some of his 
speeches were published separately, and others in the Hun- 
garian Jewish homiletical review, Magyar Zsinagoga. He also 
devoted himself to philological research and contributed vari- 
ous studies on the Hebrew Bible, Midrashim, and Jewish folk- 
lore, but his main interest was in researching Franco- German 
responsa literature of the n th -i3 th centuries. 

Among his writings are Isaak b. Moses Or Zarua (in 
mgwj, 48 (1904)); Ueber JR. Isaak b. Moses Or Sarua (in jjlg, 
4 (1906)); Hayyim b. Isaac Or Zarua (in rej, 53-59 (1907)); 
and Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg (in rej (1909-11), 2 parts). 
His excellent monograph on Rashi, Rasi Elete es mvkodese 
(Hung., 1906) was acclaimed by Jewish scholars and attracted 
attention abroad. 

bibliography: M. Weisz, in: Magyar Zsido Szemle,$2 (1915): 

I. Schmelczer, in: Studies in Bibliography and Booklore, 8 (1966), 


[Imre Schmelczer] 

°WELLHAUSEN, JULIUS (1844-1918), German Semitist. 
Born in Hameln, Wellhausen was the son of a Lutheran cler- 
gyman, He studied in Goettingen under H. Ewald and was 
professor of theology in Greifswald from 1872 to 1882. How- 
ever, he resigned from this position because he did not believe 
himself equal to the task of "preparing the students for serving 
the Protestant Church." He was professor of Oriental studies 
in Halle from 1882 to 1885, in Marburg from 1885 to 1892, and 
in Goettingen from 1892. 

Wellhausen summed up the conclusions of the i9 th -cen- 
tury Pentateuch criticism and based upon it a new comprehen- 
sive view of the history of Ancient Israel. He also analyzed the 
Gospels of the New Testament and the pre-Islamic and early 
Islamic tradition of the Arabs. In his first important book, 
Der Text der Buecher Samuelis (1871), Wellhausen made con- 
sistent use of the Septuagint in order to arrive at the original 
text of Samuel; in his second important book, Die Pharisaeer 
und die Sadducaeer (1874), he followed mainly Josephus and 
the New Testament in his description of the two parties and 
their relationship. He then turned to the tradition concerning 
the beginnings of Ancient Israel. In Die Composition des Hexa- 
teuchs (1889), he put forward a new and modified hypothesis 
concerning the four sources: Jahwist (j), Elohist (e), Deuter- 
onomy (d), Priestly Code (p). Taking as his starting point the 
works of K.H. Graf and A. Kuenen, he reversed the chrono- 
logical order: he dated the Priestly Code, which had until then 
been regarded as the oldest source (Grundschrift, "primary 
source"), from the period after the Babylonian Exile. In 1878, 
he analyzed the remaining historical books (Bleek- Wellhau- 
sen, Einleitungin dasAlte Testament, "Introduction to the Old 
Testament," 4 th -6 th editions, 1878-93) and he applied the con- 
clusions of this research in his historiography Geschichte Israels 
(1878; later Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels, 1882; Prolego- 
mena to the History of Ancient Israel, 1885) in which he revived 
the theses of W.M.L. de Wette and W Vatke. He considered the 
Priestly Code and Chronicles as sources not for the history of 
Ancient Israel but only of post-Exilic Judaism. Ancient Israel 
did not yet know theocracy as a hierocratic institution but only 
as an idea. The actual law originated only shortly before the 
Exile (Deuteronomy); after the Exile it became the basis of the 
canon in the form of the ritual law written down by the priests. 
In 1894, Wellhausen wrote his Israelitische und juedische Ge- 
schichte ("The History of Ancient Israel and of the Jews") 
as a development of the sentence "yhwh the God of Israel, 
Israel the people of yhwh," which he called the "foundation 
on which the collective consciousness of Israel has rested at 
all times." He included in this history, as a matter of course, 
a chapter on the Gospels, though later he published this only 
with reservations. He concerned himself with the Arabs first 
of all for the sake of the history of Ancient Israel, namely in 
order to "become acquainted with natural man in whom the 
law of the Lord was implanted by priests and prophets." He 
believed that the best explanation of the religion of Ancient 
Israel was to be found in the religion of the pre-Islamic Arabs 
(Reste arabischen Heidentums, 1887). Here also, a critical ap- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


praisal of the sources led him to a historiographic synthesis: 
Das arabische Reich und sein Sturz (1902). 

Wellhausen was not only a penetrating analyst, but also 
an excellent writer. He had a great deal of effect even on his 
adversaries, who attacked him vehemently, for instance with 
the claim (today definitely disproved) that he was a Hegelian. 
The driving force behind his historiography was a delight in 
the free development of human individuality. His view of An- 
cient Israel has been corrected in many details by the further 
development of literary criticism (H. Gunkel) and recent re- 
search on the Ancient Near East. 

bibliography: A. Rahlfs, in: K. Marti {ed.),Studien zursemi- 

tischen Philologie and Religionsgeschichte (1914), 353-68; O. Eissfeldt, 

in: rgg 3 , 6 (1962), 1594-95: L. Perlitt, Vatke und Wellhausen (1965); F. 

Boschwitz, Julius Wellhausen, Motive und Masstaebe seiner Geschichts- 

beschreibung (1968 2 ). 

[Rudolf Smend] 

WELLS (Heb. "1X2, beer, pi. nUKl, once (Jer. 6:7) T2, per- 
haps rather to be read T3), shafts dug from the surface of the 
ground to the groundwater. They are of utmost importance 
in countries with limited rainfall, where springs and peren- 
nial streams are few, and particularly vital in nomadic soci- 
ety, since they provide water for the tribe and their livestock 
(Gen. 29:2). At times rivalry develops among the nomads for 
the possession of a well. Wells range in size from great shafts 
many feet deep to shallow pits, depending on the geological 
formation of the area and its general water level. Biblical wells 
were located in the wilderness (Gen. 16:14), in valleys (Gen. 
26:17), near cities (Gen. 24:11), in fields (Gen. 29:2), and in 
courtyards (11 Sam. 17:18). In order to keep the water supply 
uncontaminated and to prevent people or animals from falling 
in, wells were covered (Gen. 29:3; Ex. 21:33). Wells were often 
designated by specific names in order to commemorate tribal 
history, such as Esek, Sitnah, and Rehoboth (Gen. 26:20-22). 
Beer is an element of several place-names, e.g., Beer-Lahai- 
Roi (Gen. 16:14) and Beer-Sheba (Gen. 21:14), indicating the 
existence of well-known wells in these places. 

Wells are to be distinguished from ^cisterns ("li2, pi. 
niliS), i.e., subterranean waterproof chambers which store 
the runoff from roofs, etc. (cf. Lev. R. 18:1, where R. Akiva 
sees in the word *pX*li3 (Eccles. 12:1) a combination of "IK2, "I'D 
and Kill). 

In the Aggadah 

Among the "ten things which were created on the eve of the 
Sabbath" (cf. Creation, i.e., which are of semi-miraculous char- 
acter) is enumerated "the mouth of the well." The reference is 
to the well mentioned in the Song of the Well (Num. 21:16-18). 
According to the aggadah this well, which was created to re- 
ward *Miriam for singing the Song of the Sea (Exod. 15:21, 
Num. R. 1:2), accompanied the children of Israel throughout 
their wanderings in the wilderness, and disappeared when she 
died. It was, however, restored through the merit of *Moses 
and *Aaron, who are the "princes" who "dug it" (v. 17), and it 
disappeared on Moses' death (Shab. 35a, Ta'an. 9a). According 

to some, however, the references are to the well of the rock 
which Moses struck (Num. 20:7-11). 

WELLSTONE, PAUL (David; 1944-2002), U.S. senator. 
Wellstone was born in Washington, d.c, and raised in Ar- 
lington, Va.; his parents were Russian immigrants. He earned 
his degrees at the University of North Carolina (B.A. 1965, 
Ph.D. 1969) and taught political science at Carleton College, 
Northfield, Minn., from 1969 to 1989. He ran unsuccessfully 
for Minnesota state auditor in 1982. He was the co -chair of 
the Minnesota Democratic presidential primary campaign of 
Jesse Jackson in 1988. In 1990 he was elected to the U.S. Senate, 
defeating an incumbent Republican, Rudy *Boschwitz, mark- 
ing the first time in American history that two self- identified 
Jews had run for the Senate against one another. Boschwitz, 
itching for a rematch, passed up an open seat in 1994 and ran 
against Wellstone in 1996, but Wellstone again prevailed, this 
time handily. While running for reelection again against an- 
other Jew, Norman Coleman, Wellstone was killed in a plane 
crash, along with his wife, daughter, and five other people in 
October 2002. 

Wellstone was an activist in progressive causes from the 
time he was an undergraduate. He marched for civil rights 
for African Americans and wrote his doctoral thesis on black 
militancy. At Carleton, he demonstrated against the Vietnam 
War and supported other causes, such as ending South Afri- 
can apartheid and providing legal assistance to the poor. In 
the Senate, Wellstone took active liberal positions on social 
and political issues, including human rights, health care, social 
security, worker safety, the environment, abortion, gun con- 
trol, and campaign finance reform. He sought to strengthen 
government health, welfare, and education programs and in- 
crease their funding. 

He opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement 
(nafta) in 1993; he opposed both the Gulf War of 1991 and the 
Iraq War of 2003, whose authorization he voted against in one 
of his last Senate votes in October 2002 - the only Democrat in 
a close race for reelection to do so. He was a loving and critical 
supporter of Israel, and vigorously opposed Israeli settlements. 
He enthusiastically supported the peace process. He also was 
sharply critical of the Palestinian Authority and its failure to 
conclude peace and accept moves toward a two-state solution. 
A Wellstone legacy is that he brooked no double standards on 
human rights and peace and was widely respected for the in- 
tegrity of his views and for his personal decency. This integrity 
and decency made him a respected senator, one who could 
work with the arch right winger Senator Helms on religious 
freedom and with Conservative Senator Domenici on mental 
health strengthening government support. 

Wellstone had also grown as a Jew, visiting Israel for the 
first time in 1991, studying Judaism with Rabbi Bernard Ras- 
kas of St. Paul, who secured a commitment from Wellstone 
to study a Jewish text for at least 15 minutes daily. Wellstone 
felt comfortable in Jewish Progressive circles. He and his wife 
had not raised their children as Jews, yet their three children 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



felt themselves to be Jews, an example of what Daniel Elazar 
calls the permeability of identity boundaries in contempo- 
rary America. 

Former vice president Walter Mondale was coaxed into 
running for Wellstone's seat in the last days before the elec- 
tion; Norman Coleman defeated him. 

[Drew Silver (2 nd ed.)] 

WELNER, PINCHES (1893-1965), Yiddish and Danish au- 
thor and journalist. Born in Lodz, Poland, he joined the * Bund 
in 1904, emigrated first to Argentina, then to Denmark in 1913, 
and earned his livelihood as a weaver and tailor. Later he made 
his name as a Yiddish writer and as Denmark's chronicler of 
East European Jewish life. He also wrote for the general and 
Jewish press in Scandinavia and other countries and contrib- 
uted to Yiddish journals in many countries. 

Welner's books only appeared after World War 11 (his 
early works were generally written originally in Yiddish, but 
published first in his Danish translation). In Yene Teg ("In 
Those Days," 1958; Danish tr. / hine Dage, 1949) deals with 
the Nazi persecution of the Danish Jews and their famous es- 
cape across the 0resund in 1943, a theme that also inspired 
a later work, Bay di Bregn fun Oresund ("On the Shores of 
the Oresund," 1957; Danish tr. Ved Oresunds bredder, 1953). 
The Polish shtetl, with its traditional Jewish types, retained 
its hold on Welner s imagination and provides the setting for 
Den Brogede Gade ("The Confused Street," i960); there is also 
some vivid description and autobiographical material in Fra 
Polskjode til dansk ("From Polish to Danish Jew," 1965), which 
depicts Jewish refugee life in Denmark before and during 
World War 1. Welner published several other books, the last 
of which, Fremmedfugl ("Strange Bird," 1966) is a collection of 
short stories. A vice president of *yi vo, Welner was an active 
Zionist, serving as president of the Danish branch of the Ihud 
Olami (*Po'alei Zion), which he himself had founded. In 1946 
he published Krigen modjoderne ("War against the Jews"), an 
attack on the British policy in Palestine. 

bibliography: Dansk skonlitteraert forfatterleksikon 1900- 
1950, 3 (1964), s.v. add. bibliography: lnyl 3, (i960), 483-5. 

[Torben Meyer / Jerold C. Frakes (2 nd ed.)] 

WELSH, ARTHUR L. (Al; 1881-1912), pioneer U.S. avia- 
tor. Welsh, who was born near Kiev, Russia, was taken to the 
United States in 1890. In 1905 he joined the U.S. Navy, serv- 
ing for four years. His interest in flying led him to join Orville 
Wright's flying class in 1910, and after several months, when he 
had learned to fly solo, he joined the Wright Brothers Aviation 
School in Dayton, Ohio, as an instructor. He tutored many im- 
portant U.S. aviators, including General Henry H. Arnold, U.S. 
Army Air Force Chief of Staff during World War 11. Welsh es- 
tablished many flying records and won a number of trophies, 
including the George Campbell Cup for altitude at Belmont 
Park in 1911. His trophies and records are at the National Air 
Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, d.c. 
In 1912 Welsh was assigned by the Wright Brothers to super- 

vise flight training for the War Department at College Park, 
Maryland. He died in a plane crash during a flight intended 
to establish a new altitude record. 

bibliography: S.H. Holland, in: The Record ( Jewish Histori- 
cal Society of Greater Washington), 4 (1969), 9-22. 

[S.H. Holland] 

WELT, DIE ("The World"), the first modern Zionist weekly, 
founded by Theodor *Herzl, which first appeared in Vienna 
on June 4, 1897, and, starting with the Fifth * Zionist Congress 
(Dec. 1901), served as the official organ of the * World Zionist 
Organization until World War 1. From January 1906, after the 
Zionist Executive had moved to Cologne (1905), the paper was 
accordingly published there, but, from October 1911 until its 
last issue of September 25, 1914, in Berlin. 

The paper was initiated by Herzl as a privately financed 
venture to disseminate the Zionist idea, to prepare the first 
Zionist Congress, and to reply to Jewish critics like W *Bam- 
bus. Herzl was assisted by his brother-in-law, Paul Naschauer 
(1867-1900), as official publisher, and by S.R. *Landau as first 
editor-in-chief, who was succeeded by S. *Werner on Octo- 
ber 8, 1897. Herzl himself, who had attended to almost every 
technical detail and initially supplied much of the content, 
agreed to stay anonymous in order to defuse a severe conflict 
with his employers at the Neue Freie Presse, E. *Bacher and 
M. *Benedikt, who strongly opposed Zionism. In the first two 
years Herzl spent a great deal of his own money on Die Welt, 
until he founded a separate joint-stock company together with 
Heinrich Rosenbaum. Although the paper, after ten months, 
had only found 280 subscribers in Vienna, its circulation even- 
tually rose to a high of 10,000 a week. 

In his first editorial, on June 3, 1897, Herzl defined the 
guidelines of the new paper: "Our weekly is a 'Jew Paper' 
[fudenblatt]. We take this word, which is supposed to be a 
term of calumny, and wish to make it a word of honor. . . . Die 
Welt will be the organ of those men who wish to lead Jewry 
out of these times into a better era." Herzl deliberately chose 
a yellow cover, once the * "badge of shame," now to become a 
"badge of honor," and inserted a *Magen David with a depic- 
tion of the Eastern Mediterranean in the title, designed by H. 
*York-Steiner. Appearing on Fridays, Die Welt reported on 
Jewish and Zionist events, fought antisemitism and assimila- 
tion, introduced Hebrew and Yiddish literature in translation, 
and demanded improvements in the Jewish life of the Dias- 
pora and Erez Israel. As Elon stated in his biography of Herzl 
(1975), the paper was "a new turn in 'parochial' Jewish jour- 
nalism in the West; aggressive, polemical, belligerent, witty, 
it dared to discuss Jewish problems and travails openly, with 
uncommon candor." 

Until April 1899, Die Welt was edited by S. * Werner, suc- 
ceeded by Erwin Rosenberger (until June 1900), Isidor Mar- 
morek (until Dec. 1900), B. *Feiwel (until July 1901), A.H. 
Reich (until March 1902) and Julius Upfimny (until Dec. 1905). 
From January 1906, Feiwel, together with A. *Coralnik, con- 
tinued the paper in Cologne, succeeded by Julius Berger, and 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


finally Moritz Zobel, who remained its editor also in Berlin 
from October 1911. A Yiddish publication of the same name 
appeared for about a year (1899-1900). From 1907, the He- 
brew *Haolam ("The World") also served as an international 
Zionist organ until 1950. Die Welt ceased publication in Sep- 
tember 1914. The title of Herzl's paper was revived by the 
Vienna weekly Die Neue Welt (1927-38) of R. ^Strieker and 
again, in 1947, by the Vienna monthly Neue Welt, which has 
continued to appear in the early 21 st century as Illustrierte Neue 
Welt. Digitized versions of Herzl's Die Welt and Strieker's Die 
Neue Welt are available online in Compact Memory's "Inter- 
netarchiv juedischer Periodika." 

add. bibliography: A. Boehm, Die Zionistische Bewe- 
gung (2 vols., 1920-21); A. Bein, Theodor Herzl (1934); R. Lichtheim, 
Die Geschichte des deutschen Zionismus (1954); A. Elon, Herzl (1975) 
M. Faerber, in: The Jewish Press That Was (1980), 354-9; J. Toury, in 
Zionism, No. 2 (1980), 159-72; idem, in: Smanim, No. 6 (1981), 51-67 
idem, Die Juedische Presse im O ester reichischen Kaiserreich (1983), 
92-102; Y. Eloni, Zionismus in Deutschland (1987); R.S. Wistrich, The 
Jews of Vienna in the Age of Franz Joseph (1990); J.H. Schoeps, The- 
odor Herzl 1860-1904 (1995). 

[Josef Fraenkel / Johannes Valentin Schwarz (2 nd ed.)] 

WELTSCH, FELIX (Baruch; 1884-1964), philosopher and 
publicist; cousin of Robert *Weltsch. Born in Prague, from 
1910 to 1939 Weltsch served as a librarian at Prague University 
and from 1940 at the National Library in Jerusalem. From 1919 
to 1938 he was editor of the Zionist weekly *Selbstwehr ("Self- 
Defense") in Prague. He left Czechoslovakia with a group of 
150 emigrants to Palestine on the night preceding the occu- 
pation by the Germans (March 14-15, 1939). In his first book, 
Anschauung und Begriff ("Intuition and Concept," 1913), writ- 
ten together with Max Brod, he developed his own theory on 
the relation of concept to observation. In 1918 he published 
a juridical-philosophical study called Organische Demokratie 
("Organic Democracy"), followed by his major philosophical 
work, Gnade und Freiheit ("Mercy and Freedom"). 

Among his major essays are: "Nationalismus und Juden- 
tum" ("Nationalism and Judaism," 1920); "Zionismus als Welt- 
anschauung" ("Zionism as an Encompassing Philosophy," 
1925), written together with Max Brod; "Judenfrage und Zi- 
onismus" ("The Jewish Problem and Zionism," 1929); Palaes- 
tina - Land der Gegensaetze, ("Palestine - Land of Contrasts," 
1929); Anti-semitismus als Voelkerhysterie ("Antisemitism as 
Hysteria of the Nations", 1931). 

In Das Wagnis der Mitte ("The Daring of the Center," 
1937, 1967 2 ) he developed his philosophy of the creative center. 
In his pamphlet Allgemeiner Zionismus ("General Zionism") 
he tried to apply this philosophy to Zionist ideology and 

Among Weltsch's later works is Ha-Dialektikah shel ha- 
Sevel ("The Dialectic of Suffering," 1944), in which he revealed 
his general theory of the dialectics of the "spiral." Thought goes 
around in a circle, but it rises above it. Thus, from despair, 
from the destruction of the idea in matter, the flame of the 
idea bursts forth anew and recharges itself toward its forma- 

tion in a new reality. In Teva, Musar u-Mediniyyut ("Nature, 
Morals, and Policy," 1950) he considered how the feeble spirit 
can survive in the body and the material world. The solution 
was not the subjugation of nature by the spirit, but the "Law 
of Minimum." Nature does not have to fill all the vacuum of 
possibilities, but only a part of it that is required by the spirit 
in order to exist in the world. In political terms this means 
security, but the minimum of security; armament, but the 
minimum of armament; and likewise, the minimum stan- 
dard of living, violence, etc. In 1954 Weltsch edited Prag vi- 
Yrushalayim ("Prague and Jerusalem"), a collection of essays 
on Jewry and Zionism in Bohemia and Moravia in memory 
of Leo Herrmann. 

Weltsch was a close friend of Franz Kafka. Among his 
articles about Kafka are "The Rise and Fall of the German- 
Jewish Symbiosis: The Case of Franz Kafka" (in the Year Book 
of the Leo Baeck Institute, Vol. 1, 1956), "Religion und Humor 
im Leben und Werk Franz Kafkas" ("Religion and Humor in 
Franz Kafka's Life and Work", 1957; Heb. 1959), and "Franz 
Kafka's Geschichtsbewusstsein" ("Franz Kafka's Conscious- 
ness of History") in Deutsches Judentum, Aufstieg und Krise 
(1963). He also published a work on the philosophy of Henri 
Bergson and a study entitled Das Raetsel des Lachens ("The 
Enigma of Laughter," 1935). 

bibliography: S.H. Bergman, in: Haaretz (March 5, 1937; 
Oct. 20, 1950); mb (Nov. 27, 1964); M. Brod, in: Zeitschrift fuer die 
Geschichte der Juden, 1 (1964), 201-4. 

[Samuel Hugo Bergman] 

WELTSCH, ROBERT (1891-1982), Zionist editor and jour- 
nalist. Born in Prague, while a student he joined the Zionist 
students' society Bar Kochba. During World War 1 he served 
as a frontline officer in the Austro- Hungarian army. In 1920 he 
participated in the Prague Conference at which the Erez Israel 
*Ha-Po'el ha-Za'ir Party formed a union with *Ze'irei Zion 
organizations in Eastern and Central Europe (Hitahadut). In 
the same year he was appointed editor of Die ^Juedische Rund- 
schau, the organ of the Zionist Federation of Germany, which 
was widely read by German-speaking Zionists all over Europe. 
In 1921 he was elected by the 12 th Zionist Congress at Carls- 
bad as alternate member of the Zionist Executive representing 
Hitahadut. Weltsch retained his post as editor of Die Juedische 
Rundschau until 1938, when he left Berlin and settled in Jeru- 
salem. Until 1945 he edited the German -language weekly 
Yedibtshel Hitahadut Olei Germanyah (afterward also the or- 
gan of the Aliyah Hadashah Party) and also contributed arti- 
cles to Haaretz. From 1946 he lived in London as the Haaretz 
correspondent there. He lived his last years in Jerusalem. 

In the Zionist movement Weltsch called for an under- 
standing with the Arab national movement, and for many 
years he was close to the *Berit Shalom movement, which 
supported the creation of a bi- national state in Erez Israel. A 
series of articles he wrote in 1933, after Hitler came to power, 
earned him fame throughout the Jewish world and had a pro- 
found effect on the morale of German Jews; one of the articles, 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


published on April 1, 1933, bore the title "Tragt ihn mit Stolz, 
den gelben Fleck" ("Wear It with Pride, The Yellow Badge"), 
which became the slogan for German Jews who had found 
their way back to Jewish values. The entire series was pub- 
lished in a special volume under the title Ja-Sagen zum Juden- 
tum. In 1963 he edited Judentum, Aufstieg und Krise. 
Festschriften were published in his honor for his 60 th and 70 th 

birthdays (1951, 1961). 

[Walter (Shlomoh) Gross] 

°WENCESLAUS IV (1361-1419), German emperor from 
1378 to 1400 and king of Bohemia from 1378 to 1419; son of 
Charles 1 v. Wenceslaus, who was in constant pecuniary need, 
continued his father's policy of relinquishing his legal and eco- 
nomic rights over the Jews (see *servi camerae regis) in return 
for financial benefits. After protracted negotiations, on June 12, 
1385, he concluded a treaty at Ulm with the Swabian ^League, 
whereby, for an indemnity of 40,000 florins, any debts to Jews 
of less than one year's standing were to carry no interest, while 
the others were to be computed as capital and interest and the 
total reduced by one quarter. In order to carry out this project, 
all the Jews in the kingdom were imprisoned simultaneously, 
their pledges and records were confiscated, and they were 
thrown on the mercy of the city councils which were given the 
right to arbitrate in disputes between them and their debtors. 
This measure, which barely alleviated Wenceslaus' financial 
needs, caused economic havoc throughout the country. Five 
years later Wenceslaus arrived at an agreement with the chief 
princes of his lands, secular and clerical, whereby they were 
to be freed from all debts to Jews in return for high indemni- 
ties. This measure, a severe blow to the cities in possession of 
the promissory notes given by Jews, was not fully carried out. 
In 1398 Wenceslaus had to promise that he would not again 
cancel debts to Jews. 

Though Wenceslaus offered special rights to the Jews of 
*Eger (Cheb) in return for compensation, he was prompted 
by economic considerations. He acquiesced in the massa- 
cres of the Jews in ^Prague and *Goerlitz in 1389, and tried to 
profit from them. 

bibliography: A. Sussmann, Die Judenschuldentilgungen 
unter Koenig Wenzel (1907); Baron, Social 2 , 9 (1965), i6of., 202, 318; 
Bondy-Dworsky, nos. 154, 190. 

WENDLAND, PAUL (1864-1915), German classical scholar. 
Wendland was professor at the universities of Kiel, Breslau, 
and Goettingen. His main field of study was the religious 
beliefs of the classical world and their relations to Judaism 
and early Christianity (Die Hellenistisch-roemische Kultur in 
ihren Beziehungen zu Judentum und Christentum (1912 2 ). He 
also edited the Greek text of the Letter of Aristeas (Aristeae 
ad Philocratem epistula . . . , 1900), as well as some writings by 
Philo (Neu entdeckte Fragmente Philos . . ., 1891). He wrote the 
following works on Philo: Philos Schrift ueber die Vorsehung 
(1892) and Philo und die kynisch-stoische Diatribe (1895). 

[David Flusser] 

WENDROFF, ZALMAN (pseudonym of Zalman Ven- 
drovsky; 1877-1971), Yiddish author. Born in Slutsk, Belo- 
russia, Wendroff moved to Lodz at the age of 16, worked in 
a factory, studied dentistry, and published his first articles 
about Jewish life in Lodz, in the journal Der Yud. Emigrating 
to England, he was befriended by the anarchist thinker Ru- 
dolf Rocker, who helped him publish short stories in anarchist 
and Zionist journals. The 1905 Revolution found him back 
in Russia, where he worked as a teacher of English. With the 
collapse of the revolution, he left for the U.S. In New York, he 
wrote humorous sketches, articles and short stories for both 
the anarchist Fraye Arbeter Shtime and the Orthodox daily, 
Morgn-Zhurnal. When the latter journal sent him as its cor- 
respondent to Russia, he made his home in Warsaw for seven 
years, also writing for Warsaw's Yiddish daily, Haynt. From 
1915, he lived in Moscow, working for Jewish organizations 
during World War 1 and in the Commissariat for Nationali- 
ties after the 1917 Revolution. At the same time he continued 
to act as correspondent for Yiddish dailies in New York, War- 
saw, and Vilna. 

Wendroff s stories appeared in various periodicals, in 
booklets which sold for a few pennies each, and in collections, 
beginning with Humoresken un Ertseylungen ("Humoresques 
and Stories," 1911, 1921 2 ). Most popular were two Yiddish vol- 
umes which appeared under the Russian title Pravozhitelstvo 
(the legal term for the right to live outside the Tale of Settle- 
ment; 1912). In humorous and tragic tales were described the 
life of Jews who, though not allowed to dwell outside the Pale, 
somehow managed to circumvent Czarist restrictions and to 
carry on a harried existence in forbidden cities as artisans, 
businessmen, and students. Wendroff had difficulty finding 
his place in Soviet literary circles, and Moses Litvakov criti- 
cized him for taking the line of least resistance and becoming 
an imitator of Sholem Aleichem. In the 1920s, his articles ap- 
peared regularly in the New York Forverts. 

His book, Afn Shvelfun Lebn ("On the Threshold of 
Life," 1941), appeared just before the German assault upon 
Moscow. During World War 11 he worked for the Moscow 
foreign-language radio service. After the war he was accused 
of cosmopolitanism and contact with enemy agents and was 
arrested in 1950 and condemned to ten years' imprisonment. 
Released in 1956, he returned to Moscow, where he was treated 
as the doyen of surviving Yiddish writers and contributors to 
Sovetish Heymland. His last Yiddish book, Undzer Gas ("Our 
Street") appeared in Moscow in 1967. 

bibliography: Rejzen, Leksikon, 1 (1926), 1002-07; lnyl, 
3 (i960), 487-90; Pinkas Slutsk (1962), i34f., 389 f. add. bibliog- 
raphy: Z. Vendrof [Wendroff], When It Comes to Living (2004); 
G. Estraikh, In Harness: Yiddish Writers' Romance with Commu- 
nism (2005). 

[Jerucham Tolkes / Gennady Estraikh (2 nd ed.)] 

WENGEROFF, PAULINE EPSTEIN (1833-1916), author of 
Memoir en einer Grossmutter. Bilder aus der Kulturgeschichte 
derjuden Russlands in 19. Jahrhundert ("Memoirs of a Grand - 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


mother: Scenes from the Cultural History of Russian Jews in 
the Nineteenth Century"; 2 vols., Berlin, 1908, 1910). Wenger- 
off was born in Bobruisk into the upper echelons of Russian 
Jewry The prosperous Epsteins were pious and strict in their 
religious practice, but Paulines father, Judah Epstein, an ac- 
complished Talmud scholar, was also an enthusiast of Haska- 
lah and encouraged his daughters in their study of German. 
In 1849, Pauline married Chonon Wengeroff, who became a 
successful banker and served on the city council of Minsk. The 
couple had seven children. The first volume of Memoiren einer 
Grossmutter, published when Wengeroff was in her seventies, 
details the observance of the Jewish holy days and festivals in 
her parental home in the 1840s. Following the success of this 
work, she wrote a second volume that expanded her childhood 
recollections into a complex autobiography. 

Written after the end of the Russian Haskalah, the mem- 
oirs depict traditional Jewish culture and family, their disinte- 
gration, and the emergence of Jewish modernity from a female 
perspective. Wengeroff s two volumes, whose significance for 
the history of Jewish folklore, haskalah, and assimilation was 
recognized from the beginning, were republished during her 
life and posthumously. They are a significant source on wom- 
en's ritual practices, socialization of girls, and the role of gen- 
der in the experience of Jewish modernity. Skillfully crafted 
and written, they are also the first full-fledged self- referential 
writing by a woman in the history of Jewish literature to re- 
fract an age through the experience of women and to achieve 
publication through the author's efforts. Wengeroff is not sim- 
ply an apologist for tradition; she shared many of the core val- 
ues of the Haskalah and wrote in German. But she excoriates 
the wanton abandonment of tradition by modernizing Jewish 
men and their encroachment on women's control of the fam- 
ily, which robbed women of the ability to transmit Judaism, 
with catastrophic results. 

Wengeroff 's children included Semyon *Wengeroff, a 
prominent historian and critic, who converted to Christianity. 
Her daughter, Zinaida (1867-1941), was a renowned Russian 
literary critic who emigrated to the United States. Wengeroff 
considered the conversions of several of her children her great- 
est tragedy. In her later years, in addition to writing Memoi- 
ren, she devoted herself to providing vocational and Jewish 
education to impoverished young women. 

bibliography: J.R. Baskin, "Piety and Female Aspiration 
in the Memoirs of Pauline Epstein Wengeroff and Bella Chagall," in: 
Nashim, 7 (2004), 65-96; S. Magnus, "Women and Pauline Wenger- 
off s Writing of an Age," in: Nashim, 7 (2004), 28-64; idem, "Sins of 
Youth, Guilt of a Grandmother: M.L. Lilienblum, Pauline Wenger- 
off, and the Telling of Jewish Modernity in Eastern Europe," in: Po- 

lin, 18 (2005). 

[Shulamit S. Magnus (2 nd ed.)] 

liographer and editor of scholarly reference works, including 
the unfinished six- volume bio bibliographical dictionary of 
Russian writers and scholars, Kritiko-biograficheskiy slovar 
russkikh pisateley i uchenykh (1889-1904). His other achieve- 
ments include the establishment in 1917 of the Russian Book 
Chamber (Rossiyskaya knizhnaya palata), which was still 
publishing weekly guides to all printed matter published in 
the U.S.S.R. 50 years after his death. Wengeroff ultimately 
converted to Russian Orthodoxy, probably because baptism 
was indispensable to a scholarly career in Czarist Russia. His 
mother, Pauline * Wengeroff, recalled in her memoirs (in L.S. 
Dawidowicz (ed.), The Golden Tradition (1967), 160-8) that 
her son was once expelled from school for refusing to kneel 
before an icon. Of Wengeroff s sisters, one married the writer 
Nikolai *Minski, another Leonid *Slonimski, a third was Zi- 
naida Wengeroff (see Pauline * Wengeroff), and another was 
Isabel Wengeroff (Vengerova) 1877-1956), pianist and music 
teacher at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. 

bibliography: A.G. Kalentyova, Vlyublyonny v literaturu: 

ocherk zhizni i deyatelnosti S.A. Vengerova (1964); A.G. Fomin, S.A. 

Vengerov, Kak organizator i pervy direktor Rossiyskoy knizhnoy pal- 

aty (1925). 

[Maurice Friedberg] 

WERBEL, ELIAHU MORDECAI (1806-1880), Hebrew au- 
thor. Werbel was born in Ternopol, East Galicia, and educated 
at the secular Jewish school established by Joseph *Perl. From 
1839 he taught at a similar school in Odessa founded by Bezalel 
Stern, until the school's closure by government order in 1874. 
He wrote a long literary poem Edim Neemanim o Huldah u- 
Vor ("Faithful Witnesses or a Weasel and a Hole," 1852). 

The poem's theme is borrowed from an ancient legend, 
mentioned in the Talmud and elaborated upon in the Arukh, 
of a weasel and a hole who avenge the disloyalty of a man to 
a young lady whom he had promised to marry. The poem is 
written in the euphuistic style of the period and was the source 
for the play Shulamit (1886), by Abraham Goldfaden (son-in- 
law of Werbel) and for poems by many other authors. Werbel 
contributed regularly to the monthly Ha-Boker Or y in which 
his Tokhen Alilah, four literary poems on the blood libel, ap- 
peared in 1881. His Hebrew translations of poetry and prose 
were collected in his book Siftei Renanot (1864). He also com- 
pleted the Hebrew translation of Lessing's Nathan der Weise 
begun by Abraham Ber Gottlober (1874). Unlike many of his 
contemporaries he neither criticizes nor satirizes the older 

bibliography: F. Lachower, Toledot ha-Sifrut ha-Ivrit ha- 
Hahadashah, 2 (1963), 168-70; G. Bader, Medinah va-Hakhameha 

(i934)> 93-94- 



ICH (1855-1920), Russian literary and intellectual historian. 
Wengeroff s numerous works include monographs on Tur- 
genev, Goncharov, and Gogol, as well as studies of literary 
critics such as Belinsky Wengeroff was also a renowned bib- 

WERBER, BARUCH (1810-1876), Hebrew author and edi- 
tor. Born in Brody, Galicia, he began his literary career writ- 
ing for the Hebrew weekly Ha-Mevasser. In 1865, he founded 
the weekly Ivri Anokhi in Brody, editing it until his death. 
This was devoted primarily to news and popular science, and 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



although it had a conservative and moderate orientation, 
sharply attacked the ultra- Orthodox Galician followers of 
the rebbe of *Belz. Among his writings are: Megillat Kohelet, 
an introduction and commentary to Ecclesiastes (1862, 1876); 
Toledot Adam, a biography of the French public figure, Albert 
Cohen (1870). 

bibliography: Gelber, in: Arim ve-Immahot be-Yisrael, 6 
(1955), 219-20; Kressel, Leksikon, 1 (1965), 703-4. 

[Gedalyah Elkoshi] 

in the field of comparative religion. Born in Frankfurt on the 
Main, Werblowsky lectured at Leeds University, the Institute 
of Jewish Studies, Manchester University (1951-56), and then 
at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, where he was a professor 
from 1962, and served as dean of the Faculty of Humanities 
from 1965 to 1969. Among his published works are Lucifer and 
Prometheus, a Study of Milton's Satan (dissertation, with an 
introduction by C.G. Jung, 1952); Das Gewissen in juedischer 
Sicht (1958); Joseph Karo - Lawyer and Mystic (1962; dealing 
mainly with Karo's mystical experiences as recorded in his 
Maggid Meisharim); Anti-semitisme, anti-Zionisme (with H. 
van Praage, written in Dutch, 1969); and Beyond Tradition and 
Modernity (1976). Werblowsky translated from Dutch into 
English J.L. Palache's Semantic Notes on the Hebrew Lexicon 
(1959) and was editor of the Encyclopedia of Jewish Religion 
(with G. Wigoder, 1965, 1990 2 ) and The Oxford Dictionary of 
the Jewish Religion (1997). He represented Israel at many in- 
ternational conferences on Jewish- Christian relations. For the 
first edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica he was a consulting 
editor and the divisional editor of Judaism. 

WERFEL, FRANZ (1890-1945), Austrian novelist, play- 
wright, and poet. The son of a prosperous Prague manufac- 
turer, Werfel was a friend of Max *Brod and Franz *Kafka. 
He rejected the business career his father chose for him, and 
echoes of their disagreement are apparent in the story, "Nicht 
der Moerder, der Ermordete istschuldig' (1920). While work- 
ing as a publisher's reader in Leipzig (1911-14), Werfel attended 
the university there. His earliest verse collections, Der Welt- 
freund (1911), Wir sind (1913) and Einander (1915), substituted 
religious intoxication for the skepticism and sophistry to 
which his Austrian contemporaries were largely addicted. In 
his Euripides: Die Troerinnen (1915), an expressionist adapta- 
tion of the classical tragedy, war is seen through the eyes of the 
conquered and enslaved. Three years in the Austrian army on 
the Russian front (1915-17) confirmed Werfel in his pacifism, 
and the war poems of Der Gerichtstag (1919) voiced his long- 
ing for the rejuvenation of a blood-drenched world through 
love and universal brotherhood. After the war Werfel became 
a freelance writer in Vienna and Berlin. In Beschwoerungen 
(1923) he ecstatically called for a new, Dionysian comrade- 
ship with all creation - man, beast, and stone. Werfel's mar- 
riage in 1918 to Alma (Schindler) Mahler, the daughter of a 
famous Austrian painter and widow of the composer Gustav 

*Mahler, established him in Viennese society. Turning to the 
theater, he triumphed with the trilogy Spiegelmensch (1920) 
and his drama Bocksgesang (1921), but had less success with 
Juarez und Maxmilian (1924), a play about the ill-fated Haps- 
burg emperor of Mexico, and Paulus unter den Juden (1926; 
Paul among the Jews, 1928). In Der Wegder Verheissung (1935; 
The Eternal Road, 1937), a biblical play set to synagogal music 
by Kurt *Weill and staged in New York by Max *Reinhardt, 
Werfel revealed his spiritual homelessness and the tragic am- 
biguity of his religious position. When he abandoned expres- 
sionism for historical themes, Werfel portrayed not the lords 
and victors, but rather the lowly and defeated. His epic novel 
Die vierzig Tage des Musa Dagh (1933; The Forty Days, 1934) 
depicted the hopeless struggle of the Armenians against the 
Turkish hordes. Werfel never actually embraced Christianity, 
although his essay, Die christliche Sendung (1917) was a step 
in that direction. Toward the end of his life he reassessed his 
position as a Jew in Zwischen Ob en und Unten (1946), where 
he declared that God would one day settle the reckoning in 
Israel's favor. He also wrote: "Religion is the everlasting dia- 
logue between humanity and God. Art is its soliloquy." 

In 1938, Werfel fled to France. When the German army 
invaded France in 1940, he fled once more and managed to 
reach the United States. He spent his last years in California, 
where he completed Das Lied von Bernadette (1941), an ac- 
count of the visionary of Lourdes. This became famous in the 
English-speaking world as The Song of Bernadette (1942) and 
was later made into a motion picture. Jacobowsky und der 
Oberst (1944; Jacobowsky and the Colonel) was a tragicomedy 
about the flight of a Polish aristocrat and a resourceful little 
Jew before the German advance into France. During his ex- 
ile in France, from 1938 to 1940, Werfel wrote a novel depict- 
ing the life of the Jews in Burgenland and their sufferings af- 
ter the annexation of Austria by the Nazis. The manuscript 
was hidden for years and was first published posthumously 
in 1954, under the title Cella und die Ueberwinder (Frankfurt; 
republished in East Germany, 1970). The book is one of the 
most powerful literary expressions of the Holocaust and rep- 
resents an entirely new aspect of Werfel's creative work. Other 
novels by Werfel were Verdi. Roman der Oper (1924; Verdi: A 
Novel of the Opera, 1925), which promoted a Verdi revival in 
Germany; Der veruntreute Himmel (1939); and Stern der Un- 
geborenen (1946; Star of the Unborn, 1946). Gedichte aus den 
Jahren 1908-1945, a collection of Werfel's best poems, was 
published in 1946. 

In the postwar years there was an increasing interest in 
Werfel both in West and East Germany, and his works con- 
tinue to appear in English as well. Among the doctoral theses 
on him, mention should be made of D. Kuhlenkamp's Wer- 
fels spaete Romane (1971), which contains an extensive bibli- 

bibliography: R. Specht, Franz Werfel (1926); L. Zahn, 
Franz Werfel (1966), incl. bibl.; W. Braselmann, Franz Werfel (i960), 
incl. bibl.; L.B. Foltin (ed.), Franz Werfel 1890-1945 (Eng., 1961), incl. 
bibl.; A. Werfel, And the Bridge is Love (1958); R. Kayser, in: G. Kro- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


janker, Juden in der deutschen Literatur (1926), 17-26; W. Haas, Ge- 
stagen (1962), 228-36. Add. Bibliography: P.S. Jungk, Franz Werfel, 
A Life in Prague, Vienna, and Hollywood (1991); L. Huber, Franz Wer- 
fel: An Austrian Writer Reassessed (1992); J.T. Michaels, Franz Werfel 

and His Critics (1994). 

[Sol Liptzin / Yehouda Marton] 

°WERGELAND, HENRIK ARNOLD (1808-1845), Norwe- 
gian poet. Wergeland occupies a unique place in the cultural 
history of Norway as a leading figure in intellectual and na- 
tional life in the 1830s and 1840s. In his Norges Konstitutions 
Historie ("History of the Norwegian Constitution," 1841-43), 
he praised the constitution of 1814 but also voiced his displea- 
sure (in Section 11 of the work) at the illiberal prohibition of 
Jewish immigration, a view which he also expressed in a num- 
ber of newspaper articles. In 1839 Wergeland submitted to the 
Storting (parliament) a detailed proposal to rescind this pro- 
hibition (see ^Norway), emphasizing considerations of justice 
and reconciliation. In his popular work, Indlaeg i Jodesagen 
("Essays About the Jewish Question"), Wergeland spoke out 
against anti- Jewish prejudice, writing about Jewish religion, 
nationality, and patriotism, the occupations of Jews, their phil- 
anthropic activities, and moral excellence. Although he did 
not disregard the economic advantages which the admission 
of Jews would bring to Norway, moral considerations were of 
paramount importance to him; Christianity, justice, and char- 
ity demanded that the prohibition be rescinded. His collections 
of poetry, Joden ("The Jew," 1842), and Jodinden ("The Jewess," 
1844), contributed greatly toward creating a sentiment favor- 
able to the Jews. They were translated into German under the 
title, Der Jude und die Juedin (1935), by the Oslo rabbi, Julius 
Samuel. Many of these poems, which still appear in antholo- 
gies, and which are also used in schools, have Jewish themes. 
In his essay Jodesagen i det norske storting ("The Jewish Cause 
in the Norwegian Parliament"), Wergeland described the par- 
liamentary debate of 1842. He corresponded with prominent 
Jews in other countries, particularly in Sweden. After his death 
Scandinavian (primarily Swedish) Jews erected a memorial to 
him at his grave. It was unveiled in 1849 at a well-attended pub- 
lic ceremony and in the presence of three Swedish Jews, who 
had come to Norway with letters of safe -conduct. In 1851 the 
prohibition against Jewish immigration was rescinded. 

Wergeland was instrumental in creating the special way 
Norwegians celebrate May 17, Norway's Constitution Day. Ev- 
ery May 17 children all over Norway march through the main 
streets in brass bands followed by children dressed in their best 
clothing or national costumes, singing, cheering, and waving 
Norwegian flags. On the morning of this day members of the 
Jewish community of Oslo (dmt) commemorate Wergeland, 
as they have since the 1920s, by gathering at his grave before 
the parades begin. A member of the Jewish Youth Organiza- 
tion (juf) delivers a speech and lays a garland of flowers on 
the grave. The Norwegian national anthem is then sung. In 
latter years the speeches have addressed the importance of 
following in Wergeland's footsteps with regard to present- 
day prejudices. 

bibliography: J.B. Halvorsen, Norsk Forfatter-Lexikon, 6 
(1908), s.v.; Seip, in: Edda, 27 (1927), 113-45; Summit, in: American 
Hebrew (Sept. 8, 1939); F. Bull and F. Paasche, Norsk Litteraturhis- 
torie, 3 (1932), 113-319; H. Koht and H. Jaeger, Henrik Wergeland, V 
Brev, Retsinlaeg, 1 (1930); L. Amundsen, Brev til Henrik Wergeland 
1827-1845 (1956); O. Mendelsohn, Jodenes historiei Norge gjennom 
300 dr, 1 (1969). add. bibliography: "Wergeland, Henrik," in: 
Aschehaug Leksikon. 

[Oskar Mendelsohn / Lynn C. Feinberg (2 nd ed.)] 

WERNER, ERIC (Erich; 1901-1988), musicologist and com- 
poser. Born in Ludenberg (near Vienna), Werner attended the 
Berlin Hochschule fuer Musik, graduating in 1924. He stud- 
ied piano, organ, and composition in Vienna and Berlin (with 
E. Kornauth, F. Schreker, and F. Busoni), and musicology in 
Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Gottingen, and Strasbourg (with G. 
*Adler, R. Lach, G. Schunemann, C. *Sachs, J. Wolff, F. Lud- 
wig, and T. Gerold), as well as Judaic studies and compara- 
tive religion (with M. *Buber, I. *Heinemann, J. ^Horowitz, 
and E. Mueller). He earned his doctorate at the University of 
Strasbourg, in 1928, after submitting his dissertation in Latin, 
under the guidance of Theodore Gerold. His thesis deals 
with a comparative study of the Western Christian and Jew- 
ish forms of cantillation motives. After teaching at Holzmin- 
den and at the conservatory and gymnasium in Saarbrucken, 
Werner became lecturer at the rabbinical seminary in Bre- 
slau in 1935-38, and also taught Latin and music at the Jewish 
high school there. In 1938, seeking refuge from the Nazi re- 
gime, he and his wife emigrated to the United States, where, 
in 1939, he was invited to join the faculty at Hebrew Union 
College (Cincinnati) as A.Z. *Idelsohris successor, remaining 
until 1951. There his full schedule included teaching, directing 
the choir and worship services, and serving as organist. The 
college's magnificent Edouard *Birnbaum collection provided 
material for his early research. His conception of a school of 
sacred music in New York, linked with Rabbi Stephen Wise's 
Jewish Institute of Religion (founded in 1922), was ultimately 
realized in 1950. Resettling in New York, he continued teach- 
ing until his retirement in 1967. From 1967 until 1971 he was 
the head of the department of musicology founded by him at 
Tel Aviv University. 

A Guggenheim Fellowship (awarded in 1957) supported 
research on his work The Sacred Bridge; the Interdependence 
of Liturgy and Music in Synagogue and Church During the 
First Millennium, 2 vols. (London, 1959; New York, 1984), the 
first major synthesis of a basic direction of inquiry in both 
Jewish and European musicology. Werner's pathfinding stud- 
ies encompassed such diverse topics as comparative Jewish 
and Christian chant, synagogue liturgy in medieval times, 
and the traditional music of Ashkenazi Jewry. Highly criti- 
cal of the Wagner circle, he also wrote on Mozart, *Mahler, 
and Bruckner, and contributed a significant biography on 
^Mendelssohn. His book Mendelssohn: A New Image of the 
Composer and His Age (1963) is another significant reinter- 
pretation. Mathematics, philosophy, and aesthetics are cen- 
tral facets in many of his writings. His liturgical music set- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



tings reflect current musical trends while preserving unity in 
the spirit of tradition. 

add. bibliography: ng 2 ; mgg; Baker, Biog, Diet; Riemann- 
Gurlitt; J. Cohen, Bibliography of the Publications of Eric Werner (1968); 
in: Yuval, 1 (1968); I.J. Katz, "Eric Werner (1901-1988): A Bibliography 
of his Collected Writings," in: Musica fudaica, 10 (1987-88), 1-36. 

[Bathja Bayer / Israel J. Katz (2 nd ed.)] 

WERNER, HEINZ (1890-1964), psychologist. Born in 
Vienna, Werner served as professor of psychology at Hamburg 
University from 1926 and emigrated to the United States in 
1933. After teaching briefly at Michigan, Harvard, and Brook- 
lyn College, Werner assumed the Clark University professor- 
ship which he occupied for the rest of his career. His major 
interests centered on the expressive -symbolic and perceptual 
processes. He did work on child development, especially with 
regard to word comprehension. His best-known book is Com- 
parative Psychology of Mental Development (1948, 1957), which 
is essentially a revision of his earlier Einfuehrung in die Ent- 
wicklungspsychologie (1926, 1933 2 , 1953 3 ). In it he expressed the 
conviction that developmental psychology should not serve 
merely as a subject matter, but as a method of study. In 1957, 
Werner s department at Clark University was expanded into 
an Institute of Human Development, and Werner became a 
major proponent of the developmental viewpoint in the world 
of psychology. In i960 there appeared Perspectives in Psycho- 
logical Theory: Essays in Honor of Heinz Werner, edited by 
B. Kaplan and S. Wapner, which contains, inter alia, a list of 
some 150 articles and books by Werner. He coauthored Sym- 
bol Formation (1963), an organismic-developmental approach 
to language and the expression of thought. Upon his death, 
Clark University renamed its department the Heinz Werner 
Institute of Developmental Psychology. 

bibliography: H.A. Witkin, in: Child Development., 36 

(1965), 307-28, incl. bibl. 

[Aaron Lichtenstein] 

WERNER, MICHAEL (1912-1989), sculptor. Werner was 
born in France but grew up in Austria, where he was educated, 
as well as at Oxford University, and in Paris. He settled in Eng- 
land in 1938 and held his first one-man exhibition of sculpture 
in 1949. He subsequently exhibited regularly in London galler- 
ies, as well as in mixed international collections. His commis- 
sions include portrait busts of George Bernard Shaw, for the 
Royal Court Theatre, London; a head of WH. Auden, and a 
mural of 18 panels for Foxford School, Coventry. Werner was 
also a distinguished teacher and in 1968 became Senior Tutor 
at Watford School of Art and other institutions. In the 1960s 
he became well known for his innovative collages. 

[Charles Samuel Spencer] 

WERNER, SIEGMUND (1867-1928), one of Herzls early 
aides and editor of Die Welt. Born in Vienna, Werner com- 
pleted his studies in medicine in 1896. In his student days he 
was a member of national- Jewish and Zionist societies, and 

when Herzl came upon the scene, Werner became one of his 
devoted assistants. In 1897, he succeeded the first editor of 
Die Welt, Saul *Landau, retaining the appointment until the 
middle of 1899 and reassuming the editorship for the period 
1903-05. His leading articles, as well as the general policy of 
the paper, conformed to Herzls views; during the ^Uganda 
Scheme controversy, he accorded both sides equal treatment, 
a policy which also coincided with Herzls wishes. He was at 
Herzls side when Herzl died and wrote a gripping description 
of this experience in Die Welt. Werner continued as editor un- 
til the paper was moved in 1905 to Cologne, which became the 
seat of Zionist headquarters. Later he moved to Iglau, Mora- 
via, where he took up the practice of dentistry, while continu- 
ing his Zionist activities. He was the author of a book of verse 
(1903). Werners exchange of letters with Herzl was published 
by Joseph Fraenkel in Dr. Siegmund Werner, ein Mitarbeiter 
Herzls (1939); his correspondence with Nathan *Birnbaum was 
published in Shivat Ziyyon, 2-3, pp. 275-299. 

bibliography: Y. Lamm, in: H. Gold (ed.), Die Juden und 
Judengemeinden Maehrens (1929), 249-50. 

[Getzel Kressel] 

WERSES, SAMUEL, (1915- ), Hebrew literature scholar and 
educator. Born in Vilna, Poland, Werses emigrated to Palestine 
in 1936, where he studied Hebrew literature, completing his 
doctorate in 1947. From 1953 until his retirement in 1983, he 
was member of the Hebrew literature department of the He- 
brew University. He was awarded the Israel Prize in 1989 for 
research in Hebrew literature. His research focused on Haska- 
lah and modern Hebrew literature, with an emphasis on study- 
ing literary genre as they developed and their links to world 
literature. Among his works are Mi-Mendele ad Hazaz ("From 
Mendele to Hazaz," 1982) and Haskalah ve-Shabtaut ("Haska- 
lah and Shabbateanism," 1988), a study of trends and forms in 
the literature of the Haskalah (1990), a book on Agnon (2000), 
and Mi-Lashon el Lashon: Yezirot ve-Gilgulehen be-Sifruteinu 
(1996). Together with Ch. Shmeruk, he edited a book on the 
cultural life of the Jews in Poland between the two World 
Wars (Bein Shetei Milhemot Olam, 1997). A bibliography of 
his works was prepared by R. Schenfeld in 2002. 

[Fern Lee Seckbach] 

WERTH, ALEXANDER (1901-1969), British journalist and 
author. Born in St. Petersburg and educated in Glasgow, Werth 
started his career on Glasgow papers and became Paris cor- 
respondent of the Manchester Guardian (1932). He went to 
Moscow as Sunday Times and bbc correspondent in 1940, 
and from 1949 was Paris correspondent of New Statesman 
and New York Nation. He wrote mainly on France and Rus- 
sia, including The Destiny of France (1937), France and Munich 
(1939), Leningrad (1944), The De Gaulle Revolution (i960), The 
Khrushchev Phase (1961), De Gaulle (1965), and Russia at Peace 
(1968). His Russia at War, 1941-1945 (1964), based in part on 
his experiences as a correspondent there, remains one of best 
and most vigorous accounts of the Nazi invasion of the USSR. 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


Werth entered the Majdanek death camp with Soviet forces 
in July 1944 and was one of the first Western correspondents 
to report in detail on a Nazi extermination camp, nine or ten 
months before the more famous accounts of the liberation of 
German concentration camps like Buchenwald. 

WERTHEIM, family of German department store owners, 
originating from Stralsund. In 1876 Arthur wertheim 
established a small dry goods store in Stralsund. His son, 
george wertheim, introduced new practices, such as fixed 
prices and low markups, which ensured the store's success and 
led to the opening of a second store at Rostock. Subsequently 
George and his three brothers ventured into Berlin, where 
they concentrated on inexpensive mass consumer goods and 
soon added two additional stores. The 1905 turnover of the 
main store reportedly totaled the equivalent of $15 million. The 
building standing on one of Berlins main thoroughfares, and 
designed by Alfred *Messel, became a landmark of the Ger- 
man capital. In 1908 wolff wertheim separated from his 
brothers to open another department store in Berlin which, 
however, failed to equal the former achievement. In 1933 the 
company owned seven stores. After World War 11 it became 
part of the Hermann *Tietz corporation, Hertie, and descen- 
dants of the founders retained a considerable interest in the 

bibliography: J. Hirsch, Das Warenhaus in Westdeutsch- 

land (1910), passim. 

[Edith Hirsch] 

WERTHEIM, ABRAHAM CAREL (1832-1897), Dutch 
banker, philanthropist, and political leader. Trained in bank- 
ing, he joined the bank of his uncle, Abraham Wertheim 
(1803-1889), who later became his father-in-law. The firm, 
Wertheim and Gompertz, developed into a leading banking 
institution, and Wertheim achieved recognition as a leader in 
his field. He played a prominent role in the establishment of 
many important commercial, industrial, and shipping enter- 
prises. He also shared in promoting the development of the 
state railroads. In the 1870s he successfully introduced many 
large-scale United States loans on the Dutch market. 

The name A.C. Wertheim is proverbial for his welfare 
work. Every morning before office hours he would receive 
the needy with their requests for financial support without 
making any distinction as to religion or social status. When in 
1855 the Society for Public Welfare (Maatschappij tot Nut van 
c t Algemeen) first accepted Jews, Wertheim became a mem- 
ber and advanced to chairman of the national board. Under 
his direction a modern hospital in Amsterdam, a society for 
the blind, and an organization for the improvement of com- 
mon housing were established. 

Being particularly erudite Wertheim also participated 
in the cultural field. He was involved in the founding of the 
main national theater company (Het Nederlandsch Tooneel) 
and the Dutch Dramatic Arts Academy. When the Amster- 
dam Municipal Theater burned down in 1890 he made a gen- 

erous contribution to start its immediate reconstruction. He 
was instrumental in the acquisition of valuable artifacts by 

For many years Wertheim served as a member and later 
as chairman of the board of the Amsterdam Ashkenazi Com- 
munity. His formula for well-integrated Jewish life in the 
Netherlands was "to be a Jew in the synagogue and a burgher 
in the streets." 

Politically he was the leader of the Amsterdam Liberals, 
whom he represented as a member of the North Holland Pro- 
vincial Council and from 1886 to 1897 of the national Senate. 
A park in Amsterdam has been named after him. 

bibliography: A.S. Rijxman, A.C. Wertheim 1832-189/ 


[Daniel M. Metz (2 nd ed.)] 

WERTHEIM, MAURICE (1886-1950), U.S. banker. Born in 
New York, he was vice president and secretary of the United 
Cigar Manufacturers' Company from 1907 to 1913. In 1915 
he joined the investment banking house of Hallgarten and 
Co., and in 1927 he established his own firm, Wertheim and 
Co. He served on the War Production Board and the Board 
of Economic Welfare during World War 11. He was a patron 
of art and education, and his financial contributions enabled 
the liberal journal The Nation to continue publication when it 
was in financial straits during the Depression. Wertheim was 
a founder of New York's Theater Guild and a member of the 
Harvard Fund Council. He was president of the ^American 
Jewish Committee (1941-43) and played a prominent part in 
bringing together opposing forces in American Jewish com- 
munal life. He was the father of Barbara * Tuchman. 

[Joachim O. Ronall] 

WERTHEIM, ROSALIE (Rosy) MARIE (1888-1949), com- 
poser. Wertheim was born in Amsterdam and exhibited mu- 
sical gifts from an early age. In addition to studying piano 
and voice, she studied composition with Bernard Zweers and 
Sem Dresden. She taught piano and solfege at the Amsterdam 
Muzieklyceum. Her early interest in social work and concern 
for the working classes grew into a deep commitment. She 
taught piano to poor children, supported a number of needy 
families from her own income, conducted a children's cho- 
rus in a low-income neighborhood, and conducted the Jew- 
ish women's chorus of the Religieus Socialistisch Verbond in 

In 1929 she moved to Paris to study composition with 
Louis Aubert. Her home became a haven for Dutch artists and 
composers, and a veritable salon for leading French composers 
such as *Milhaud, Honegger, Messiaen, Jolivet, Ibert, and Elsa 
Barraine. Between 1929 and 1935, her works were frequently 
included on concert programs in Paris. In 1935 she left Paris 
for a year in Vienna, studying with Karl Weigl. She spent the 
next two years in the United States, where her music was well 
received in the New York Composers' Forum. During her 
time in the States she also worked as foreign correspondent 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



for Dutch newspapers, as she had done in Paris and Vienna. 
She returned to Amsterdam to find a quickly deteriorating 
situation. Forced into hiding during the Nazi occupation, 
she gave secret concerts in the basement of her home, fre- 
quently presenting works by Jewish composers, whose music 
had been outlawed. 

Like many of her Dutch contemporaries in the 1910s and 
1920s, Wertheim was drawn to French music, particularly the 
works of Debussy, Ravel, and Stravinsky. Among her most 
successful works were the Piano Concerto, written in 1940 
and premiered by the well-known and respected conductor 
of the Reside ntie Orchestra, Willem van Otterloo; the Diver- 
timento for Chamber Orchestra (1934) and the String Quartet 
(1932), both performed in New York; a piano suite; and a Trio 
for flute, clarinet, and bassoon. Her music is often cheerful, 
neo-classical in style, and at times quite playful. 

bibliography: "Rosy Wertheim," in: Mens en Melodie 4 

( x 949)> 22 °; de Ridder, Kate. "Rosy Wertheim," in: De Vrouw en 

Haar Huis 7 (1948), 252-54. H. Metzelaar, "Rosy Wertheim," in: 

S. Sadie (ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 

(2001 2 ), 302. 

[Melissa de Graaf (2 nd ed.)] 

WERTHEIMER, ASHER (1844-1918), British art dealer. 
One of the most famous fine art dealers of his time, Wert- 
heimer inherited his Bond Street business from his father, 
samson (d. 1892), who founded it in the mid-i9 th century. 
He developed it into one of the most significant in Britain, a 
rival to *Duveen Brothers and other dealers who sold art to 
the very rich. Wertheimer bought many works from the Rus- 
sian nobility for sale in the West, and in 1898 paid the colossal 
sum of £122,000 for 83 paintings from the Hope Collection. 
Wertheimer is best remembered today for the famous por- 
traits of him and his family painted by John Singer Sargent. 
Wertheimer left over £1.5 million at his death, a vast fortune 

at the time. 

[William D. Rubinstein (2 nd ed.)] 

WERTHEIMER, CHAIM ERNST (1893-1978), Israeli bio- 
chemist. Born in Buehl, Germany, he was appointed profes- 
sor at the University of Halle in 1927. Emigrating to Erez Israel 
in 1934, Wertheimer became head of Hadassah's Chemical 
Laboratory in Jerusalem and later of its Clinical Biochemis- 
try Laboratory. He was a founder and the second dean of the 
Hadassah- Hebrew University Medical School. Internation- 
ally known for his research on diabetes and fat metabolism, 
he was awarded the Israel Prize for Medical Science in 1956 
and the Bunting Prize of the American Association for Dia- 
betes Research in 1964. 

[Lucien Harris] 

WERTHEIMER, EDUARD VON (1848-1930), Hungarian 
historian. Wertheimer was born in Pest. He became a lecturer 
at the University of Kolozsvar in 1877 and later held succes- 
sive professorships at two law schools, Nagyszeben and Press- 
burg. In 1900 he was elected a corresponding member of the 

Hungarian Academy, and in 1903 was knighted and given the 
surname "de Monor." On his retirement in 1914, he was ap- 
pointed a privy councilor (Hofrat). He spent the last years of 
his life in Berlin. 

Wertheimer s principal scholarly interests were the for- 
eign policy of the Hapsburg monarchy and the history of 
Hungary during the early years of the 19 th century. His main 
work in the former field was Grof Andrdssy Gyula elete es kora 
("Graf Julius Andrassy, his life and his time," 3 vols., 1910-13), 
a study of dualism and the role of Hungary. His important 
contributions to i9 th -century history were Ausztria es Mag- 
yar or szdg a xix szdzad elso tizedeben ("Austria and Hungary 
during the First Decade of the 19 th century," 2 vols., 1890-92); 
and Az 1811-12 magyar orszaggyules ("The Hungarian Diet 
of 1811-12," 1899). Among his other books were: Bismarck im 
politischen Kampf (1929); Die drei ersten Frauen des Kaisers 
Franz (1893), and Der Herzogvon Reichstadt (1902; The Duke 
of Reichstadt, Napoleon 11, 1905). 

[Baruch Yaron] 

Austrian pedagogue, philanthropist, and merchant. Born in 
Vienna of a well-to-do Jewish family, Wertheimer first served 
as a clerk in his fathers commercial activities and soon be- 
came his partner. Though involved in the practical world of 
commerce, Wertheimer used his free time to study pedagog- 
ics. In his twenties, he embarked on a trip through Germany, 
Italy, France, and England in order to broaden his cultural 
background. His interest in pedagogical matters led him to 
take particular note of English kindergartens, and he returned 
home eager to further the building of kindergartens in Austria. 
As a first step, he translated a work on kindergarten school- 
ing which he called Ueber fruehzeitige Erziehung und englische 
Kleinkinderschulen (1826, 1828). Despite vociferous opposition 
to the "feather-brained scheme," Wertheimer founded the first 
kindergarten in Vienna in 1830 with the cooperation of a Cath- 
olic priest, Johann Lindner. Subsequently other kindergartens 
were founded in many Austrian cities. He also established the 
Allgemeine Rettungsgesellschaft, a society for assistance to re- 
leased criminals and guidance for juvenile delinquents. 

Wertheimer was deeply involved in Jewish activities. In 
1840 he organized the Verein zur Foerderung der Handwerke 
unter den Israeliten, an organization which enabled thou- 
sands of Jewish children to learn useful occupations. In 1843 
he established a Jewish kindergarten and in i860 a Society 
for the Care of Needy Orphans of the Israelite Community, 
which established an orphan asylum for girls. As trustee, and 
later as president, of Vienna's central communal body and 
founder and president of the Israelitische Allianz zu *Wien 
(1872-87), Wertheimer played a leading role in the struggle 
to achieve equal social and political status for Jews. In 1842 he 
advocated the emancipation of Austrian Jews in his Die Juden 
in O ester reich... (2 vols., 1842), published anonymously, be- 
cause such works were then prohibited. He also wrote, among 
other books, Therese: Ein Handbuch fuer Muetter und Kinder- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


waerterinnen (1835) and Die Stellung der Juden in Oesterreich 
(1852). He was editor of the Jahrbuch fuer Israeliten (11 vols., 


Wertheimer s services were recognized by the Austrian 

emperor who, in 1868, conferred upon him the order of the 

Iron Crown and the accompanying title of nobility. 

bibliography: G. Wolf, Joseph Wertheimer (Ger., 1868); 
Wininger, Biog. s.v.; K. Wurzbach, Biographisches Lexikon, 55 (1887), 
124-30; M. Grunwald, Vienna (1936), index. 

[Morton Mayer Berman] 

WERTHEIMER, MAX (1880-1943), founder of Gestalt psy- 
chology. Wertheimer was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. 
After studying philosophy and psychology, he spent some 
years in independent investigation until, in 1910, he arrived 
at the University of Frankfurt, where he began the studies 
with which his name is connected. There he met Wolfgang 
Koehler and Kurt *Koffka, with whom he formed a lifelong 
association and who helped pioneer the Gestalt movement. 
In 1916 he went to lecture at Berlin University and returned 
to Frankfurt in 1929 as professor of psychology. With the rise 
of Hitler in 1933, Wertheimer emigrated with his family to the 
United States, joining the faculty of the New School for Social 
Research in New York City. 

Gestalt psychology begins with the observation that ex- 
periences and actions are not adequately described as a sum 
of elements, that there are innumerable psychological facts - 
such as melodies and visual forms - that also refer to qualities 
in wholes only. Wertheimer proposed that there are wholes 
with their own properties and tendencies that are not discov- 
erable in their isolated parts, that a whole determines what the 
properties of its parts will be. This statement of the problem of 
part-whole relations, central to Gestalt theory, broke decisively 
with the presuppositions of atomistic psychology. 

Wertheimer s perceptual investigations laid the concrete 
foundations of Gestalt psychology. In 1912 he showed that the 
experience of movement cannot be split up into a sum of suc- 
cessive sensations, that it is an effect of stimulus events coop- 
erating to produce a new unitary outcome. His account of the 
principles of perceptual grouping was another major contri- 
bution. How does mosaic of discrete stimulations produce a 
unitary percept? The discovery of this question was one of 
Wertheimer s great achievements. Investigators had previously 
taken the formation of units for granted; Wertheimer showed 
that this was a central problem for the psychology of percep- 
tion. He identified certain selective principles of grouping, 
among them those of proximity, similarity, closure, common 
fate, and good continuation. He held that one principle, that 
of Praegnanz, was inclusive of the others, the principle that 
grouping tends toward maximal simplicity and balance, or 
toward "good form." In this manner he established that per- 
ception is a product of organization. Gestalt psychology rev- 
olutionized the modern study of perception and affected the 
outlook in other areas of psychology. Wertheimer related the 
problems of Gestalt theory to issues of logic, aesthetics, and 

ethics. Keenly sensitive to the human implications of psycho- 
logical doctrines, he questioned prevalent assumptions about 
man as a creature of habit and the relativism of his values. 

bibliography: W. Koehler, in: Psychological Review, 51 
(1944), 143-6; E.B. Newman, in: American Journal of Psychology, 57 
(1944), 428-35; S.E. Asch, in: Social Research, 13 (1946), 81-102; R.I. 
Watson, The Great Psychologists (19682), 436-57; A.S. Luchins, in: 
iess, 16 (1968), 522-7 (incl. bibl.). add. bibliography: V. Sarris, 
Max Wertheimer in Frankfurt... (Ger., 1995); M. Wertheimer, in: Der 
Exodus aus Nazideutschland 1997) 191-206; D.B. King and M. Wert- 
heimer, Max Wertheimer and Gestalt Theory (2005); J.G. Benjafield, 
in: A History of Psychology (2005), 170-6. 

[Solomon Asch] 

WERTHEIMER, SAMSON (1658-1724), Court *Jew in 
Vienna; scholar, shtadlan, and philanthropist. Born in Worms 
of a learned father, Wertheimer studied at the yeshivah in 
Frankfurt. In 1684 he married the widow of Nathan Oppen- 
heimer and through her family came into contact with Samuel 
* Oppenheimer, who brought him to Vienna, appointing him 
manager of his affairs and presenting him to Emperor Leop- 
old 1. The wealthiest Jew of his day, from 1694 to 1709 Wert- 
heimer was the chief administrator of the financial affairs of 
the emperors Leopold 1, Joseph 1, and Charles vi. He placed 
enormous sums at the disposal of the government, particu- 
larly during the Spanish War of Succession and the war against 
Turkey, and acted as court agent to the emperor and the rul- 
ers of Saxony, Mainz, Trier, and the Palatinate. Emperor Leo- 
pold 1 had such confidence in Wertheimer that he also en- 
trusted him with diplomatic missions. On the occasion of the 
marriage of the emperor s brother, Prince Charles Philip, to 
the daughter of the king of Poland, Wertheimer succeeded in 
obtaining from the latter a dowry of 1,000,000 florins; in ap- 
preciation of this the emperor awarded him 1,000 ducats and 
presented him with his portrait. Paintings of the king of Po- 
land and three prince electors were found in his estate. After 
the death of Oppenheimer in 1703, Wertheimer was appointed 
chief agent of the court (Hoffaktor); he then found new sources 
of income for the imperial treasury by improving the salt in- 
dustry of Siebenbuergen, increasing the export of salt by re- 
moving several customs stations and by leasing the mines. At 
the same time he organized the monopoly of the Polish salt 
trade, arranging for and financing the transfer of the salt from 
*Wieliczka to Hungary and Silesia. The conference of Utrecht 
(1714), which brought to an end the Spanish War of Succes- 
sion, was financed by the Wertheimers, who also paid the 
expenses of the Austrian ambassador. Ten imperial soldiers 
guarded his house and he was known by the title of Judenkaiser 
(Jewish Emperor). He invested his fortune in over half a dozen 
houses and estates in Vienna, Austria, and Germany. Together 
with other Court Jews, he saved the Jews of Rothenburg from 
expulsion by the payment of a large sum of money. He also 
intervened successfully with the authorities on behalf of the 
communities of Worms and Frankfurt. Speaking for all the 
Jewish communities in the empire, in 1700 he appealed to the 
emperor against the incitement of Johann *Eisenmenger; as a 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



result, the emperor forbade the latter s antisemitic book to be 
circulated. Because of poor health, Wertheimer generally con- 
ducted his affairs from his home in Vienna and did not travel 
extensively, as was the custom of other Court Jews. 

Wertheimer was offered the office and title of *Landes- 
rabbiner of Hungarian Jewry for his aid in reestablishing com- 
munities and synagogues ravaged by warfare; the title was con- 
firmed by the emperor and was the only one he used, though 
Moravia, Bohemia, and Worms accorded him similar honors. 
A scholar and patron of scholars, he financed the printing of 
the Babylonian Talmud undertaken at Frankfurt (1712-22) by 
his son-in-law, Moses *Kann. Some of the sermons he deliv- 
ered in the synagogue in his home have been preserved. He 
also left behind manuscripts that dealt with various aspects of 
halakhah, Midrash, and Kabbalah. He built a large synagogue 
in Eisenstadt and one in Nikolsburg. Judah *he-Hasid and 
his group were supported by Wertheimer, who bore the title 
of Nesi Erez Israel and was in charge of the transfer of money 
collected throughout Europe to the Holy Land (see *Hiero- 
solymitanische Stiftung). 

In his old age, Wertheimer retired from court affairs, 
handing them over to his son wolf, who was instrumental in 
organizing the diplomatic effort for the repeal of Maria *The- 
resa's expulsion of Prague Jewry. Wolf went bankrupt in 1733 
after Bavaria had refused to honor its debts to him. These were 
eventually acknowledged after more than 20 years of litiga- 
tion; payments, in installments, to his sons commenced after 
his death (1763). Wolf's grandsons, Joseph (1742-1811), Her- 
mann (1750-1812), and lazar (1740-1818), became mem- 
bers of the nobility, with the title Edler von Wertheimstein, 
in 1791, 1792, and 1796 respectively. Most of their descendants 
were baptized. 

bibliography: M. Grunwald, Samuel Oppenheimer und sein 
Kreis (1913); B. Wachstein, Die Inschriften des alten Judenfriedhofes 
in Wien (1912-1917), index; J. Taglicht, Nachlaesse der Wiener fuden 
(1917), no. 279, 272-5 (Heb., no. 9, 22-25); M. Grunwald, Vienna 
(1936), index; S. Stern, The Court Jew (1950), index; Y. Rivkind, in: Re- 
shummot, 4 (1925), 309-17; M. Lemberger, in: Gedenkbuch im Auftrage 
des Kuratoriums, A. Engel (ed.), (1936), 74-88; L. Bato, Die Juden im 
alten Wien (1928); D. Kaufmann, Samson Wertheimer (1888); idem, 
Urkundliches aus dem Leben Samson Wertheimers (1892); M. Braun, 
in: A.S. Schwarz Festschrift (1916), 499-507; mhj, 3 (1937); 5 (i960); 10 
(1967); 11 (1968); 12 (1969), indexes; H. Schnee, Die Hoffinanz und der 
moderne Staat, 3 (1955), index; 4 (1963), index; 5 (1965), index. 

[Yomtov Ludwig Bato] 

WERTHEIMER, SOLOMON AARON (1866-1935), rab- 
binical scholar and bibliophile. Wertheimer, born near Press- 
burg (Bratislava), Slovakia, grew up in Jerusalem. He became 
interested in the many rare books he found in Sephardi ye- 
shivot and, despite penury, began to collect Hebrew books 
and manuscripts, particularly Oriental ones, including some 
unique specimens. Wertheimer was one of the first to publish 
some of the Cairo Genizah treasures. 

His Midrash collections, containing some hitherto un- 
known works, are Battel Midrashot (4 parts, 1893-97), Leket 

Midrashim (1903), and Ozar Midrashim (2 parts, 1913-14). A 
revised and enlarged two- volume edition of these collections 
appeared during 1948-53, edited by his grandson A.J. Wert- 
heimer. Wertheimer also published geonic and medieval re- 
sponsa: Kohelet Shelomo (1899), Ginzei Yerushalayim (3 parts, 
1892-97), Zikkaron la-Rishonim (1909), and Gebn la-Gebnim 
(1925). Among his original works are Darkah shel Torah (1891), 
on the methodology of halakhah and aggadah; Sheelot She- 
lomo (2 parts, 1932-33), responsa; Beur Shemot Nirdafim she- 
ba-Tanakh (1924; 1953 2 ), a work on biblical synonyms. The re- 
vised edition of the last by his sons includes a biography and 
a bibliography of his published books and numerous manu- 
scripts, among them commentaries on Bible and Mishnah, a 
siddur, a Passover Haggadah, and a supercommentary on Nah- 
manides' Bible commentary. Wertheimer also contributed to 
learned periodicals and was active as a preacher. 

[Zvi Kaplan] 

WERTHEIMER, STEF (1926- ), Israeli industrialist. Born 
in Germany, he came to Palestine with his family in 1937. Af- 
ter service during Israel's War of Independence he contin- 
ued with the development of armaments. In 1951 he founded 
the iscar (Israel Carbides) company, which became a world 
leader in the production of precision carbide metalworking 
tools. In 1981, after four years in the Knesset, he devoted his 
efforts to developing the Galilee, with a residential project, 
Kefar Veradim, and the Tefen industrial park. He initiated the 
establishment of several other Galilee industrial parks. These 
enterprises generated 10,000 jobs in 150 plants and together 
with is car around $2 billion in annual exports. 

Wertheimer was a creative and innovative thinker. The is- 
car complex is enhanced by works of art and even an industrial 
museum, and to create a bright and cheerful atmosphere, Wert- 
heimer had all the factory floors painted yellow. In 1991 he re- 
ceived the Israel Prize for special contribution to society and the 
state. In 2006 iscar was sold to Oscar Buffett for $4 billion. 

[Fern Lee Seckbach] 

Benedict Reuben Gomperz; d. c. 1753), German rabbi and au- 
thor. Baruch Benedict was called Wesel after the town where 
he was born. He was a member of the distinguished *Gomperz 
family of Germany and western Europe. His grandfather, Eli- 
jah Gomperz, was a Court Jew of Frederick William 1 of Prus- 
sia and through his influence greatly assisted his coreligion- 
ists. His father was a wealthy Berlin merchant. In 1724 Wesel 
was appointed one of the three members of the Breslau bet din 
and wrote a commendation for the Shaarei Tefillah of Solomon 
Zalman Hanau. In 1728 the ^Council of Four Lands appointed 
him rabbi of the Polish community in Breslau. That same year 
he wrote a commendation for the printing of the Pentateuch 
in Dyhernfurth. He inherited a considerable fortune from his 
father, engaged in business, and did not take a salary from the 
community. Unsuccessful management of his business affairs, 
however, led to his financial ruin, and in 1733 the community 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


reinstated his salary. He subsequently applied to be exempted 
from the high taxes imposed upon wholesale merchants and 
to be transferred to the category of second-class taxpayers. 
His application was rejected, however, and he was impris- 
oned, compelled to pay, and deprived of the title rabbi. He 
was expelled from Breslau in 1738, but was permitted to take 
up residence in the neighboring villages. When Frederick 11 
conquered Silesia in 1740, Wesel sent him a laudatory poem 
in Hebrew and German, written as an acrostic of his name, 
and Frederick noted this. Subsequently, in 1744, when 12 Pol- 
ish-Jewish families were granted a permanent permit to live 
in Breslau, and when a special privilege was granted to Polish 
merchants, Wesel was elected chief rabbi of Breslau, and the 
Prussian government recognized him and his community. The 
same order also permitted the Jews to establish a cemetery in 
Breslau (previously they had to use the cemetery of Dyhern- 
furth). Wesel suggested that the funds for the cemetery and for 
taxes generally be raised from a special tax imposed on meat. 
However, he did not live long enough to consecrate the cem- 
etery, and he himself was buried in Dyhernfurth. Ten of his 
responsa were published in 1745 under the title Mekor Barukh 
and republished with additions by his son in 1771. 

bibliography: D. Weinryb, in: Tarbiz, 9 (1938), 65IT, 85; 
M. Brann, in: Jubelschrift . . . Graetz (1887), 229, 237ff.; idem, in: Fest- 
schrift ... /. Guttmann (1915), 237; Halpern, Pinkas, 474. 

[Itzhak Alfassi] 

WESKER, ARNOLD (1932- ), English playwright. Born of 
immigrant Yiddish -speaking parents (the father was a tailor) 
in London's East End, Wesker held various jobs after he left 
school, including kitchen porter and pastry cook. These laid 
the foundations of his early plays, which have an autobio- 
graphical content. The Kitchen (i960), for example, is at once 
a literal representation of life behind the scenes in a restaurant 
and an allegory of the struggle, competition, and near-slavery 
of the social world. Wesker is best known for the trilogy of 
plays entitled Chicken Soup with Barley, Roots, and I'm Talk- 
ing about Jerusalem (1959-60). These constitute an ambitious 
attempt to probe the symptoms of a sick society. Chicken Soup 
with Barley deals with Jewish society in the East End of Lon- 
don during the 1930s and 1940s; it shows the idealistic social- 
ism, which was the main barricade against Sir Oswald Mosley's 
fascist movement, giving way to an easy, postwar conformity. 
Roots represents these same decadent values subsisting in a 
country community. In I'm Talking About Jerusalem, Wesker 
shows a young couple endeavoring to establish an ideal com- 
munity in the country in the immediate postwar period of 
1946. These plays are written in realistic prose with a poetic 
undercurrent. Though partly inspired by the disillusionment 
of his time, Wesker also exhibits a visionary quality and a de- 
sire for reform and renewal. 

In Chips with Everything (1962), apparently based upon 
Wesker s own period of national service in the Royal Air Force, 
the characters are shallow stereotypes, the officers tyrants and 
decadents, the men simple philistines or easily led slaves. In 

the 1960s a great deal of Wesker's energy went into forming 
and administering "Centre 42." This organization, named af- 
ter a Trade Union Congress resolution supporting the arts, 
was intended to sponsor festivals and eventually to institute 
its own cultural program. Its cultural basis at the beginning 
rested solidly on Wesker's own plays, which took an unasham- 
edly propagandist turn in Their Very Own and Golden City 
(1966). A late play is Denial (2000). 

Six Sundays in January has some Jewish interest. The title 
is that of the first story in the volume and was published in the 
Jewish Quarterly in 1958 and in Modern Jewish Stories in 1963. 
Wesker's writings have been translated into 17 languages. With 
Harold * Pinter, he is probably the best-known contemporary 
Anglo -Jewish playwright. He has written an autobiography, 
As Much As I Dare (1994). 

bibliography: G. Leemingand S. Trussler, The Plays of Ar- 
nold Wesker: An Assessment (1972). add. bibliography: R.W. 
Dornan, Arnold Wesker Revisited (1995); idem, (ed.), Arnold Wesker: A 
Casebook (1998); G. Leeming, Arnold Wesker -The Playwright (1982); 
R. Wilcher, Understanding Arnold Wesker (1991). 

[Philip D. Hobsbaum] 

WESSELY, NAPHTALI HERZ (Hartwig; 1725-1805), Has- 
kalah poet, linguist, and exegete. Wessely's ancestors had fled 
Poland during the Chmielnicki pogroms and settled in We- 
sel on the Rhine, from where the family took its name. Born 
in Hamburg, Wessely spent his childhood in Copenhagen, 
where his father was a purveyor to the king of Denmark. He 
received his religious education at the yeshivah of Jonathan 
* Eybeschuetz, who influenced him greatly, and read literature 
and scientific works in a number of European languages, As- 
sociated with the Feitel Bank, Wessely's business affairs took 
him to Amsterdam and Berlin. In Berlin he met Moses ^Men- 
delssohn and contributed a commentary on Leviticus (Berlin, 
1782) to the Biur. 

Wessely began his literary career with the Hebrew trans- 
lation of the apocryphal work Wisdom of Solomon (from Lu- 
ther's German translation), to which he appended a brief com- 
mentary, later elaborated into a full-length exegesis, Ruah Hen 
(Berlin, 1780; Warsaw, 1885). He pioneered in the revival of 
biblical Hebrew, and his translation, written in the vivid and 
lofty style of the Scriptures, prompted later Haskalah writers 
to translate apocryphal works into biblical Hebrew. The lin- 
guistic problems he encountered led to a number of philo- 
logical works such as Gan Naul (or Levanon; 2 vols., Amster- 
dam, 1765-66; Lemberg, 1806), a work on Hebrew synonyms 
and roots, and Yein Levanon, a commentary on the mishnaic 
tractate Avot (Berlin, 1775; Warsaw, 1884), which also con- 
centrates on linguistic aspects. While Wessely's focus is often 
linguistic, his exegesis shows also wide knowledge and learn- 
ing, and his commentaries were well received by orthodox 
scholarship. He is, however, mainly known as a poet - Shirei 
Tiferet (1789-1802) is the major literary work of the German 
Haskalah - and as a pioneer in education and an advocate of 
the Enlightenment through his Divrei Shalom ve-Emet (1782), 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



a call in support of the Edict of Tolerance (*Toleranzpatent, 
1782) of Joseph 11 of Austria. 


Shirei Tiferet ("Poems of Glory"), Wessely's magnum opus, is 
a long epic on the life of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt, 
modeled after similar epical works by Klopstock and Schiller. 
Embellished with legends from the Talmud and the Midrash, 
the work is essentially didactic and is suffused with the ration- 
alist spirit of the age. Thus the concept of the mission of the 
Jewish people is reflected in the description of the revelation 
at Sinai; the quest for salvation and for an end to the suffering 
of the Jewish people also clearly echo throughout the poem. 
Divided into six parts, containing 18 cantos, the narrative of 
the poem stretches from the persecution of the Jews by Pha- 
raoh and Moses' birth to the giving of the Law. Wessely's great 
prosodic innovation was the introduction of the alexandrine 
(the 12-syllable heroic line of contemporary French poetry) 
into modern Hebrew poetry. The poem, however, is little more 
than a narrative in verse of the Bible story, its principal aim 
being didactic rather than aesthetical. Wessely, in the rabbinic 
tradition, intended his poem to be a commentary on certain 
obscure passages in the Bible, yet at times he used the narra- 
tive only as a pretext to display his poetic virtuosity and his 
structural prowess. 

While the work as a whole may be of little literary merit, 
there are certain beautiful poems, such as the lyrical intro- 
ductions to the cantos which are invocations to God. There 
are also a number of fine poetic passages in the cantos them- 
selves: some describe feelings, while others are didactic in con- 
tent, such as the depiction of Israel's mission and its destiny 
in the seventh canto. Shirei Tiferet served as a model to later 
Hebrew poets. The epic was published in full after the poet's 
death (Prague, 1809), and sections of it were translated into 
German and French. 

Among his other poetic works is Mehallel Rea, an intro- 
duction to the translation of Exodus. In his commentary to 
Exodus, Wessely criticizes the inadequate, faulty educational 
methods in the contemporary Jewish schools. He also wrote 
a number of occasional poems. 

Wessely was a trailblazer in style. The syllabic meter and 
the strophic structure he introduced became standard models 
for Hebrew poets for over 60 years. He also revived the bib- 
lical Hebrew style in literature and lent to the language flex- 
ibility and vividness. 

Linguistic Method 

Striving to use a lofty biblical style in order to recreate the fla- 
vor and form of biblical writing, Wessely tried to arrive at the 
original meaning of synonyms in the Bible. His approach was 
philological rather than exegetical, and he viewed the problem 
not only from a theoretical and abstract point of view, but pri- 
marily practically, i.e., how to use the synonyms for rhetorical 
purposes. This pragmatic approach also determined Wessely's 
method in his studies of the Hebrew language. He demanded 
that biblical Hebrew provide him with the necessary linguistic 

means and devices for his literary needs. His great sensitivity 
to the language allowed him to grasp the spirit of the biblical 
tongue and to penetrate its mysteries. Psychology for him was 
the key to an understanding of the language in general, and 
of the individual meaning of synonymic words in particular. 
The Hebrew language seemed to him as vital in his time as it 
had been in the ancient past and, though it was not spoken, it 
remained superior to all other living tongues. Hence his phil- 
ological assumption that there are no synonyms in Hebrew 
(an assumption which is in accord with the principle accepted 
in linguistics that language does not suffer excess and either 
rejects superfluous words or invests them with new mean- 
ing), a characteristic he ascribed only to Hebrew because of 
his mystical relation to the language. Wessely, however, was 
extreme in his theory and refused to acknowledge the pos- 
sibility of synonyms even in poetry; he thus attributed new 
meaning to an idea repeated in different words. The starting 
point of his philological research is not the word itself, but the 
concept that the written words give rise to. He therefore as- 
cribed a separate meaning to each word and disregarded the 
connotations that have accrued to a word in the course of the 
historical development of the language. 

Wessely's linguistic theory also influenced his style and 
he showed the way for the writing of pure biblical Hebrew. His 
prose style, however, is a fusion of Hebrew styles of different 
historical periods. 


Imrei Shefer, a commentary on Genesis, is the fruit of lectures 
given by Wessely to young audiences in Berlin. Portions of the 
work were published by *Mekize Nirdamim (Lyck, 1868-71). 
Mendelssohn also asked him to write a commentary to Leviti- 
cus (Berlin, 1782) for the Biur. Writing in a light and flowing 
style, Wessely explains every Hebrew word and refers to earlier 
commentators. He attempted to reconcile the plain meaning 
of the Scriptures with the commentaries in the Talmud and 
the Midrashim by means of a detailed analysis of every word, 
a method which often led to lengthy and sophistic distor- 
tions of the simple meaning of the text. Mendelssohn edited 
the work; he shortened it, interpreted difficult passages that 
Wessely had failed to explain, and added comments to pas- 
sages in which the opinions of the two scholars differed. The 
Gaon of Vilna, *Elijah b. Solomon Zalman, praised the work, 
but the maskilim considered it too scholarly. 

Educational and Public Activities 

Wessely's epistle Divrei Shalom ve-Emet (Berlin, 1782), is a call 
to the Jewish community of Austria to comply willingly with 
the order of the Edict of Tolerance of the Austrian emperor 
Joseph 11 to open schools for Jewish children in which Ger- 
man would be taught. The work is the first methodical com- 
position in Hebrew on Jewish education written in the spirit 
of the Haskalah. Wessely distinguishes between two types of 
studies: what he called Torat ha-Adam ("human knowledge"), 
and instruction in the Law of God. The acquisition of human 
knowledge demands instruction in subjects which are neces- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


sary to man's relationship with man, namely, a training in gen- 
eral subjects and ethics, i.e., secular studies common to the hu- 
man race. The divine teachings are the heritage of the people of 
Israel alone and are identical with the To rah of Moses. Jewish 
education should be founded on both studies, with a school- 
ing in human knowledge preceding divine subjects, since these 
should serve as a basis for the study of Torah. Without gen- 
eral education it is impossible to understand divine teachings. 
Wessely came to the conclusion that he who studies the Torah 
without acquiring common human knowledge, will, when he 
grows up, become a burden upon society. 

His opinions were strongly opposed by the Orthodox, 
especially by Ezekiel b. Judah *Landau of Prague, *David 
Tevele b. Nathan of Lissa, and the Gaon Elijah of Vilna. A bit- 
ter controversy ensued. Wessely responded to the rabbis in his 
epistles Rav Tov le-Veit Yisrael (Berlin, 1782); Rehovot (Berlin, 
1785); and Mishpat (Berlin, 1784), all of which were later col- 
lected under the title Divrei Shalom ve-Emet; sections were 
translated into French, German, Dutch, and Italian. 

Wessely also wrote a number of other works, the most 
important of which is Sefer ha-Middot or Musar Haskel (Ber- 
lin, 1784), a collection of essays on the essence of the soul and 
its faculties. The work reflects contemporary philosophical 
and ethical German thought. Sefer ha-Middot became popu- 
lar among learned Jews in Eastern Europe. Some of Wessely s 
works are still in manuscript. 

bibliography: Z. Fishman, in: Maanit (1926), 17-20; incl. 
bibl.; J.S. Raisin, Haskalah Movement in Russia (1913), index; Zeitlin, 
Bibliotheca, 413-18; J.L. Landau, Short Lectures on Modern Hebrew 
Literature (19382), 62-74: P. Sandler, Ha-Be'ur la-Torah shel Moshe 
Mendelssohn ve-Siato (1940), 136-45; E. Carmoly, Wessely etses ecrits 
(1829); W.A. Meisel, Leben und Wirken Naphtali Hartwig Wessely s 
(1841); Klausner, Sifrut, 1 (19522), 103-50; incl. bibl.; D. Sadan, Be- 
Zetekha u-ve-Oholekha (1966), 51-54; M.S. Samet, in: Mehkarim... 
le-Zekher Zevi Avneri (1970), 233-57. add. bibliography: G. El- 
koshi, Introduction to Mivhar Ketavim (1952); B. Shahevitch, Beayot 
be-Signon ha-Perozah ha-Masa'it shel Reshit ha-Sifrut ha-Ivrit ha- 
Hadashah (1963); N.H. Rosenbloom, Ha-Epos ha-Mikrai me-Idan ha- 
Haskalah ve-ha-Parshanut (1983); E. Breuer, "Naphtali Herz Wessely 
and the Cultural Dislocations of an 18 th Century Maskil," in: S. Feiner 
and D. Sorokin (eds.), New Perspectives on the Haskalah (2001). 

[Joshua Barzilay (Folman)] 

WESSELY, WOLFGANG (1801-1870), Hebrew scholar and 
jurist; the first Jew to hold a full professorship in Austria. Born 
at Trebitsch, Moravia, in 1829, he was the first Jew to receive 
a doctorate in philosophy from Prague University; four years 
later he received a doctorate in civil law, and later published 
legal studies. He also applied for a doctorate in canon law, but 
as a Jew, was rejected. Wessely first served as a teacher of reli- 
gion at a Jewish school in Prague and compiled a catechism, 
Netib Emuna (1841), which went through eight editions. In 
1844, after the death of the Hebrew censor, Carolus *Fischer, 
Wessely applied for the post of translator at this office, also 
presenting the authorities with a proposal for the "establish- 
ment of an institute for the science of Judaism [*Wissenschaft 

des Judentums] and its rabbinical literature at the local uni- 
versity." The conservative leaders of the Prague community, 
M. *Landau, Samuel Freund, and S. Rapoport, were hostile 
to Wessely s proposal, and also questioned his qualifications 
for initiating it. However, Christian academic opinion was 
on Wessely s side. In 1846 Wessely began to lecture at Prague 
University on Hebrew and rabbinical literature before a mixed 
Christian and Jewish audience. In 1851 he was appointed, in 
addition, extraordinary professor of criminal law. He pro- 
moted the introduction of the jury system into Austria. In 
1861 he became a full professor at the university. 

bibliography: O. Muneles (ed.), Bibliographical Guide to 
Jewish Prague (1956), index; G. Kisch, Die Prager Universitaet und 
die Juden (1969), index. 

WEST, MAE (1893-1980), U.S. actress, writer, and singer. 
Born Mary Jane West in Brooklyn, New York, to John P. West 
and Matilda Delker-Dolger, a German Jewish model and 
dressmaker, at seven West was winning talent shows. A year 
later she joined Hal Claredon's stock company in New York. 
By 1907, she was a vaudeville performer with Frank Wallace, 
whom she married in 1911 and separated from a few months 
later. In September 1911, West appeared on Broadway in A la 
Broadway and then in Hello, Paris. In 1912, she appeared in A 
Winsome Widow and developed a solo act later that year. In 
1918, she starred in the comedy musical Sometime, followed 
by the musical revue The Mimic World (1921). In 1926, West 
wrote and starred in the play Sex, which drew the attention 
of censorship groups. After more than a year on stage, po- 
liced arrested West and the cast of Sex on obscenity charges; 
West served ten days in jail and paid a $500 fine, becoming a 
national celebrity. West became a success with such plays as 
Diamond Lil (1928), which featured the line, "Why don't you 
come up sometime and see me?"; Pleasure Man (1928); and 
The Constant Sinner (1931) (the latter two closed over cen- 
sorship issues). West went to Hollywood in 1931, appearing 
in the film Night After Night (1932). She went on to write her 
next eight films, which included She Done Him Wrong (1933), 
based on Diamond Lil; I'm no Angel (1933), with Cary Grant; 
Belle of the Nineties (1934); Goin to Town (1935); Klondike An- 
nie (1936); Go West Young Man (1936); Every Day's a Holiday 
(1938); and My Little Chickadee (1940), which paired West with 
WC. Fields. In 1942, Wallace returned to sue West for divorce 
and alimony; West made an undisclosed settlement. Her 1943 
film The Heat's On did not fare well with critics, and West re- 
turned to Broadway with Catherine Was Great (1944). In 1948, 
West starred in the short-lived Ring Twice Tonight, which was 
followed with a revival of Diamond Lil (1948-51). West toured 
with the nightclub act Mae West and Her Adonises from 1954 
to 1956, and released several albums of her songs, starting with 
The Fabulous Mae West (1955). She made an appearance on the 
television sitcom Mister Ed (1964) and an ill-fated return to 
the silver screen in the sex-change comedy Myra Breckinridge 
(1970) and Sextette (1978), an adaptation of her play Sex. 

[Adam Wills (2 nd ed.)] 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



WEST, NATHANAEL (pseudonym of Nathan Wallenstein 
Weinstein; 1903-1940), U.S. novelist. Widely regarded as one 
of the most distinguished American novelists of the 1930s, 
West was the son of Russian- Jewish immigrants who had set- 
tled in New York City, and a brother-in-law of the writer S.J. 
* Perelman. He began his first novel during his student days at 
Brown University. Later published as The Dream Life ofBalso 
Snell (1931), this was a surrealistic fantasy dwelling on human 
corruption. It shows the influence of western European sym- 
bolists such as James Joyce and other modern experimental 
writers, particularly those of France. For six years, beginning 
in 1927, he was a hotel manager in New York. During that time 
he worked at developing a prose style marked by economy of 
diction, poetic richness, and psychological depth, and pub- 
lished his second novel, Miss Lonelyhearts (1933). Though it 
was his masterpiece, it was not a popular success. It depicted 
a once-cynical newspaper columnist dispensing compassion, 
love, and help to victims of personal or social failure. A Cool 
Million (1934) satirized American fascists veiling themselves 
in democratic values, myths, and history. From 1935 he worked 
in Hollywood, remaining there as a scriptwriter until his death 
in an automobile accident. His fourth novel, The Day of the 
Locust (1938), was a grim satire of American life set in Holly- 
wood. West's achievement rested primarily upon his ability to 
portray the sordidness, violence, humor, and tragedy of Amer- 
ican life. Self- rejection was epitomized in his change of name 
from Nathan Weinstein and was perhaps the cause of his vir- 
tually antisemitic ridicule of Jews and Jewishness in his nov- 
els. West was active in movements against Nazism, economic 
exploitation, and abridgment of democratic rights. 

bibliography: V. Comerchero, Nathanael West: The Ironic 
Prophet (1964); J.F. Light, Nathanael West (1961); S.E. Hyman, Na- 
thanael West (1962), University of Minnesota Pamphlets on American 
Writers, no. 21; J. Martin, Nathanael West: The Art of His Life (1970); 
J. Herbst, in: Kenyon Review, 23 (1961), 611-30; R.H. Smith, in: Satur- 
day Review, 40 (1957), 13-14- r „ TAr , , 

L-Brom WeberJ 

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, county in New York State. Lo- 
cated immediately north of New York City, and ranked 12 th 
among American counties in per capita personal income, 
Westchester County is home to the eighth largest Jewish com- 
munity in the nation, numbering 129,000 in 2002. 

Established in 1683, the 500 square mile county was pre- 
dominantly rural before the introduction of commuter rail- 
roads in the mid-i9 th century. Jews have lived in Westchester 
since colonial times. In the early 18 th century the family of 
Jechiel Hays migrated from Holland. His sons and grandsons 
were farmers and shopkeepers in Rye, New Rochelle, Bedford, 
North Castle, and Pleasantville. The Hays family has preserved 
Jewish continuity in the county ever since, though some have 
maintained residences in both New York City and Westches- 
ter. Prominent figures were Daniel Peixotto *Hays (d. 1923), 
Democratic Party figure, Jewish communal activist, and sec- 
ond mayor of Pleasantville; and Arthur Hays ^Sulzberger 
(d. 1968), publisher of the New York Times. 

The Hays family was not typical; the Jewish population 
grew only after the eastern European migration of 1880-1924 
that formed America's core Jewish population. Most of the im- 
migrants were storekeepers and artisans living and working in 
cities and villages in the southern, eastern and western fringes 
of the county. They labored long hours to feed, clothe, and 
provide simple comforts for local residents and sustain their 
own large families. Some Jews ventured into the countryside 
as itinerant peddlers. A few owned and operated farms. Jew- 
ish communal life revolved around self-help organizations, 
kosher grocery and butcher shops, and 17 traditional syna- 
gogues. A smaller group of acculturated Jews owned large lo- 
cal businesses or commuted to work in New York City. Along 
with prospering Russian-born Jews, they established Reform 
synagogues in the southernmost cities of Yonkers, Mount Ver- 
non, and New Rochelle. 

In the 20 th century, Westchester Jewry underwent three 
periods of rapid expansion. The first was the 1920s. A boom 
in cheap transportation facilitated commutation to Manhat- 
tan and the Bronx. When modestly priced automobiles, a new 
parkway system, and comfortable railroad cars made subur- 
ban living attractive, a Jewish middle class found its way to 
the county. The pattern of settlement was uneven. Jewish com- 
muters and established local businessmen resided comfortably 
along the tree-lined streets of the southern tier cities and cen- 
trally located White Plains. Jewish developers sold Scarsdale 
lots to other Jews. Jews were not, however, welcome in the 
other "first class villages" of Bronxville, Rye, Larchmont, and 
Pelham Manor; nor were they wanted in sections of northern 
Westchester and some Hudson River villages. 

Until the Great Depression Jewish-owned stores and fac- 
tories brought prosperity to Westchester cities and villages. 
New wealth facilitated the formation of synagogues as well as 
the expansion of local communal institutions and chapters of 
the major Jewish organizations. 

Some Jews, however, never made it to the middle class; 
they remained in low-income, low status occupations, toiling 
as milkmen, trolley conductors, prison guards, ferry opera- 
tors, and junkmen, unable to accumulate enough capital to 
establish stable businesses. 

A cohort of radical factory workers and storekeepers 
from New York City formed summer camps and colonies in 
northern Westchester. During the summer months they en- 
joyed fresh air, green grass, wholesome recreation, and end- 
less political debates. 

The second period of Westchester Jewry's rapid expan- 
sion was the post World War 11 era (1946-1970), when new 
social and political factors facilitated increased Jewish set- 
tlement. As a result of the increased openness in American 
society and new laws, heretofore -insurmountable barriers 
crumbled. After the federal government outlawed restric- 
tive residence clauses in 1948, Jews purchased houses in vil- 
lages along the Hudson River and Long Island Sound, as well 
as in developing sections of Mt. Vernon, Yonkers, New Ro- 
chelle, and White Plains. The Jewish concentration in Scars- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


dale swelled incrementally to form about a third of the pop- 

That antisemitism was not dead, however, is indicated by 
two phenomena, one far more disconcerting than the other. 
Country clubs, long the bastion of upper-class snobbery, re- 
mained closed to Jews (who formed 11 of their own). Much 
more serious were the Peekskill Riots. For several years a con- 
sortium of the summer camps and colonies invited bass-bari- 
tone Paul Robeson, a multi-talented African- American singer, 
actor, and political radical, to perform. After the Labor Day 
concert of 1949, local ruffians, screaming anti-black, anti- 
Communist and anti-Jewish epithets, pelted cars and buses 
exiting the grounds. Police looked on impassively while the 
rioters damaged vehicles, inflicting injuries upon the pas- 

Untouched by the Peekskill incident, many Jews wel- 
comed new opportunities to live and work in the county. 
Teachers found positions heretofore denied them. Some West- 
chester-born college-educated sons (and later, daughters) re- 
turned from war and university to apply new technology and 
selling techniques to their fathers' businesses. Others pre- 
ferred to practice law and medicine near home to commut- 
ing to New York. 

During the immediate postwar period Jewish communal 
life flourished. People who had seldom attended religious ser- 
vices in the city joined synagogues when they moved to West- 
chester. They raised money to help Orthodox, Conservative 
and Reform congregations relocate existing institutions and 
construct new ones in villages where none had existed before. 
Premier architects Philip Johnson, Marcel Breuer, and Louis 
Kahn designed houses of worship in Port Chester, Scarsdale, 
and Chappaqua. 

As the excitement of newness abated, economic and so- 
cial circumstances again restructured the Westchester Jewish 
community. In the 1970s and 1980s embattled school systems, 
high taxes, and societal problems rendered the southernmost 
cities less desirable. Major synagogues in Yonkers and Mt. Ver- 
non merged, relocated further north, or gave up the ghost. The 
second wave of feminism and inflated housing prices brought 
women into the workplace; consequently fewer devoted en- 
ergy to congregational sisterhoods and Hadassah. As well, 
predominantly male Jewish organizations, such as the Jewish 
War Veterans and B'nai B'rith, no longer attracted newcom- 
ers. Remaining service, defense, and charitable organizations 
moved their headquarters to south-central Westchester - i.e., 
the area centered in White Plains, Scarsdale, and northern 
New Rochelle. 

Change was also apparent in the business and profes- 
sional profile of Westchester Jewry. While many Jews con- 
tinued to commute to New York City, an ever-increasing mi- 
nority worked closer to home. The professional staffs of area 
hospitals became disproportionately Jewish. Corporate chains 
slowly ground down the independent pharmacies, privately 
owned clothing stores, and dry goods emporia. The result 
was that few shops along the Main Streets of Port Chester and 

New Rochelle, for example, heavily Jewish in the early 20 th 
century, remained under Jewish ownership. Consequently 
sons and daughters who returned to Westchester after col- 
lege took over only those family businesses that were size- 
able or cutting-edge. Otherwise, they found opportunity in 
the corporate parks and professional offices constructed all 
over the county. 

The most recent Jewish influx began in the early 1990s. 
At a time when the population of American Jewry and New 
York Jewry remained static, Westchester Jewry experienced 
a 40% growth, from 91,000 in 1991 to 129,000 in 2002. Hous- 
ing costs and lack of space in built-up areas moved the pop- 
ulation northward. By 2005, northern Westchester matched 
south-central Westchester in Jewish population and affluence. 
A case in point is the fact that the Reform congregations of 
Chappaqua and Bedford nearly match the largest temples in 
Scarsdale and White Plains in size, beauty and membership. 

Judaism in northern Westchester presents an uneven pat- 
tern. On the one hand Jewish religious practice is weaker in 
northern Westchester than in areas closer to New York City. 
More Jews in this area are married to non-Jews, and for many 
others, Judaism is a seasonal matter. In 2002 about three-quar- 
ters attended a seder and fasted on Yom Kippur, but only 16% 
lit Shabbat candles and 7% kept kosher. On the other hand, 
recent arrivals to northern Westchester have launched a num- 
ber of new Jewish institutions. Pleasantville, home to the pio- 
neering Hays family, but with a weak Jewish presence through 
most of the 20 th century, now hosts the Richard J. Rosenthal 
jcc and the Pleasantville Community Synagogue. Newcomers 
have initiated Jewish study groups, havurot, and congregations 
in villages with no previous Jewish address. Most Northern 
Westchester synagogues identify as Reform, but with a decid- 
edly independent streak. Publicity for The Jewish Family Con- 
gregation, South Salem, for example, boasts that it "practices 
Reform Judaism with a traditional flavor." 

In the early 21 st century, however, the core of Westchester 
Jewish life nevertheless remained in south-central Westches- 
ter. More Jews there than in other sections of the county ob- 
serve Jewish rituals and attend synagogue on a regular basis, 
contribute to Jewish causes, visit Israel with some regularity, 
enroll their children in Jewish schools, and supply leadership 
for Jewish organizations in the county and New York City. 

For all Westchester Jewry, there was a discernable Jew- 
ish profile. In 2002 Westchester Jews constituted 9% of Jew- 
ish households in the eight counties of the ujA/Federation 
of New York service area (New York City, Long Island and 
Westchester). Half (51%) belonged to synagogues, a consider- 
able advance over the 43% regional total. Among Westchester 
Jews 42% identifed as Reform, 31% as Conservative and 9% 
as Orthodox, a deviation from the comprehensive New York 
profile, where the percentages are more balanced: 29%, 26% 
and 19% respectively. In a child-centered region, over half of 
the Jewish children are enrolled in supplementary schools 
connected to synagogues, while 31% attend four Jewish day 
schools and two high schools that follow Orthodox or Conser- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



vative models. A few adolescents travel to Jewish high schools 
in New York City. 

Virtually all children in Jewish families attend college or 
university, and many do not return to Westchester. The future 
of Westchester Jewry depends upon opportunities in business 
and the professions and the continued appeal of life in New 
York and its environs. 

bibliography: B.R. Shargel and H.L. Drimmer, The Jews 
of Westchester, a Social History (1994); B.R. Shargel, "Leftist Summer 
Colonies of Northern Westchester County, New York," in: American 
Jewish History, 83:3 (September, 1995); New York Population Studies, 
uja Federation of New York, 1991 and 2002. 

[Baila Round Shargel (2 nd ed.)] 

repair of clothes and shoe shops, a bathhouse, and a post office. 
At the end of the war, only 900 Jews remained in Westerbork 
when the Canadians liberated the camp. The German com- 
mander, A.K. Gemmeken, was sentenced by a Dutch court to 
10 years' imprisonment. Among those deported from West- 
erbork on one of the last trains in September 1944 was Anne 
* Frank and her family. 

bibliography: J. Presser, The Destruction of Dutch Jewry 
(1969), 406-64, and index; P. Mechanicus, Waiting for Death (1968); 
W. Warmbrunn, The Dutch under Nazi Occupation 1940-1945 (1963), 
61-68, 167-80; A.J. Herzberg, Kroniek der Jodenvervolging (1956), 

[Abel Jacob Herzberg / Michael Berenbaum (2 nd ed.)] 

WESTERBORK, the main transit camp for Dutch Jewry dur- 
ing the German occupation of Holland. The camp, situated 
in an extremely isolated region in the northeast of the coun- 
try, had been set up by the Dutch government in 1939 with a 
financial guarantee from Dutch Jewry, in order to shelter nu- 
merous Jewish refugees fleeing from Germany who crossed 
the Dutch frontiers illegally. The first group came on Oct. 9, 
1939. The camp held some 750 refugees when, on July 1, 1942, 
the Germans took command, after extending it considerably. 
From that date, more than 100,000 Jews arrested throughout 
the country remained for several days or weeks in Westerbork, 
where they had to work before being deported to other camps, 
primarily Nazi death camps, as part of the "final solution of 
the Jewish problem" (see ^Holocaust: General Survey). During 
this period the camp was continually overcrowded. On Oct. 2, 
1942, 13,000 Jews were imprisoned in Westerbork in one single 
Aktion. Thousands of them had to sleep on the floor without 
mattresses or blankets. Food and sanitary conditions were de- 
plorable. By September 1944, a total of 93 trains, consisting of 
20 trucks and containing 1,000-2,000 Jews, left Westerbork. 
Jewish officials were in charge of the internal organization 
and held responsible for maintaining law and order among 
the internees. Of those deported 54,930 went to Auschwitz 
in 68 transports, and 34,313 to Sobibor on 19 transports; most 
of these prisoners were killed upon arrival. In addition, 4,771 
went to Theresienstadt, which itself was a transit camp. Nine 
transports were sent to Bergen-Belsen with 3,762 inmates. A 
special Jewish police force was created for this purpose. The 
most important task of these Jewish officials was to determine 
the order in which Jewish families were to be deported. Most 
of the Jewish officials, including their president, had been se- 
lected from the German-Jewish refugees who constituted the 
older segment of the Westerbork population. This frequently 
gave rise to serious conflicts, especially between Dutch and 
German Jews. Westerbork had its own theater, where famous 
German artists who had fled to Holland gave performances, 
as well as an orchestra. An excellent hospital, with a capacity 
of 1,725 beds, had 120 surgeons, more than 1,000 employees, 
and a completely equipped operating theater, various clinics, 
a pharmacy, and laboratories. The camp also maintained vari- 
ous schools and a playground for children, workshops for the 

WESTERN WALL (Heb. ^~Mm ^riSH), that section of the 
western supporting wall of the *Temple Mount which has 
remained intact since the destruction of the Second Temple 
(70 c.e.). It became the most hallowed spot in Jewish religious 
and national consciousness and tradition by virtue of its prox- 
imity to the Western Wall of the Holy of Holies in the Temple, 
from which, according to numerous sources, the Divine Pres- 
ence never departed. It became a center for mourning over 
the destruction of the Temple and Israel's exile, on the one 
hand, and of religious - and in the 20 th century also national - 
communion with the memory of Israel's former glory and 
the hope for its restoration, on the other. Because of the for- 
mer association, it became known in European languages as 
the "Wailing Wall" (or similar appellations). Most of the 
Western Wall of the Temple Mount, which was about 1,580 ft. 
(485 m.) long, is hidden by the buildings adjoining it. The 
accessible portion of the Wall was (until June 1967) no lon- 
ger than 91 ft. (28 m.) from the Mahkama building garden 
on the north to the Prophet's Gate (Barclay's Gate below the 
Moghrabis' Gate) on the south. In front of it ran a stone- 
paved alley no wider than 10 ft. (3.3 m.) bordered on its west 
by a slum area, the Moghrabi Quarter, established in the 14 th 
century. The Wall above ground consisted of 24 courses of 
stones of different types of dressing and decreasing in size and 
age, reaching a total height of 58 ft. (18 m.) with 19 ft. (6 m.) 
above the level of the Temple Mount. In Warren's work in the 
19 th century 19 more courses were detected buried under- 
ground, the lowest founded on the natural rock of the Tyro- 
poeon Valley. 

In 1968 the ground in front of the Wall was excavated to 
reveal two of the buried courses of stone, and the Wall as it ex- 
ists today consists of eight courses of huge, marginally dressed 
("Herodian") stones from the Second Temple period, above 
which are four layers of smaller, plainly dressed stones from 
the Moslem (Umayyad) period, eighth century. The upper 
stones were constructed from the Mamluk period and later. 
Jewish travelers since the Crusader period used to marvel at 
the immense dimensions of the lower stones - average height 
3 J /4 ft. (1 m.), and length 10 ft. (3.3 m.), but some as long as 
39 ft. (12 m.) and weighing over 100 tons - and believed (in- 
correctly) that they were part of Solomon's Temple. In order 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


to withstand the pressure of the soil and debris fills situated 
behind the Wall, the courses of stone were laid with a slight 
batter, with each row being set back about two inches relative 
to the one beneath it. The Wall thus slants slightly eastward. 
This factor, the weight of the stones, and the accuracy of the 
cutting accounts for the unusual stability of the Wall. 

In Jewish Tradition and History 

Since 135 c.e. (the failure of the *Bar Kokhba revolt), the 
prayers of Israel both in Erez Israel and throughout the Dias- 
pora were directed toward the site of the destroyed Temple. 
The Temple itself as well as all the structures on the Temple 
Mount were completely effaced, and thus the walls, the only 
remnants of the Temple Mount, became endeared to the 
Jews. It cannot be determined with certainty from what point 
prayers were offered just at this particular section of the West- 
ern Wall. The Midrashim already refer to the general sanctity 
of the Western Wall of the Temple in the fourth century c.e., 
perhaps referring to the time of Julian the Apostate. They 
speak of "the Western Wall of the Temple" or of "the Western 
Gate," from which the Divine Presence never moves, which 
was not destroyed and never will be destroyed (Ex. R. 2:2; 
Num. R. 11:2, etc.). It seems probable, however, that the rabbis 
were referring to the Western Wall of the Holy of Holies and 
that its indestructibility is symbolic rather than actual, since 
that wall was in fact destroyed. The notion of the ever-present 
*Shekhinah therefore became associated with the Western Wall 
(of the Temple Mount). An n th -century source - referred to as 
the "prayer at the gates" document - is known from the Cairo 
*Genizah, and according to it Jews conducted prayers next to 
the Western Wall not in the present location but farther north 
immediately opposite the Holy of Holies of the Jewish Temple, 
i.e., in the area in front of "Warrens Gate." In the 12 th century 
* Benjamin of Tudela mentions Jews coming to the Western 
Wall for prayers and to the "Mercy Gate," but it is possible 
that the other walls to the south and east also served a similar 
purpose. Later visiting rabbis (i2 th -i5 th centuries) also refer 
to the walls of the Temple Mount, but they, too, are not site- 
specific in terms of a gathering spot for Jewish worship along 
the Western Wall. The Western Wall is not mentioned at all 
by *Nahmanides (13 th century) in his detailed account of the 
Temple site in 1267 nor in the report of *Estori ha-Parhi (14 th 
century). It does not figure even in descriptions of Jerusalem 
in Jewish sources of the 15 th century (e.g., Meshullam of Volt- 
erra, *Obadiah of Bertinoro, etc.). The name Western Wall, 
used by Obadiah, refers - as can be inferred from the con- 
text - to the southwestern corner of the wall, and there is no 
hint that there was a place of Jewish worship there. 

It is only from the 16 th century that Jews began pray- 
ing at the present location and this is clear from the avail- 
able sources. 

Thenceforth all literary sources describe it as a place of 
assembly and prayer for Jews. According to a tradition trans- 
mitted by Moses *Hagiz, it was the sultan Selim, the conqueror 
of Jerusalem, who recovered the Wall from underneath the 

dungheap which was hiding it and granted permission to the 
Jews to hold prayers there. No Muslim sources about Jeru- 
salem bear any evidence of Arab interest in the Western Wall. 
The nearby area became Muslim religious property at least as 
early as in the 13 th century, and from 1320 there is mention of 
the Moghrabi Quarter established there. 

With the expansion of the Jewish population in Erez 
Israel from the beginning of the 19 th century onward, and with 
the increase in visitors, the popularity of the Western Wall 
grew among Jews. Its image began to appear in Jewish folk- 
loristic art (upon ritual articles, seals, and title pages) and later 
also in modern art drawings (B. Shatz, J. Steinhardt, M. Cha- 
gall, and others). It also became a subject of literary creation. 
The 19 th century also saw the beginning of the archaeological 
study of the Western Wall. In 1838 * Robinson discovered the 
arch since named after him, immediately south of the West- 
ern Wall, and in the 1850s J. Barclay investigated the lintel of 
an ancient gate (now in the corner of the women's section; 
see Temple, The Second). In 1865 C.W *Wilson described 
the arched structure previously discovered by Tobler in the 
1830s. From 1867 Sir Charles *Warren sank shafts around the 
perimeter walls of the Temple Mount and was able to ascer- 
tain its full height on three sides. Excavations were conducted 
to the south of the Western Wall, beneath Robinsons Arch, to 
the southwest corner of the Temple Mount, as well as along 
the southern Temple Mount Wall, by B. Mazar from 1967 to 
1978. More recently excavations were made beneath Robin- 
son's Arch by R. Reich and Y. Bilig. To the north of the West- 
ern Wall, excavations were made along the Western Wall of 
the Temple Mount by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and 
following that systematically by D. Bahat. 

During the 19 th century attempts were made on behalf 
of the Jewish community in connection with the Wall. In the 
1850s Hakham Abdullah of Bombay failed in his efforts to buy 
the Wall. Sir Moses Montefiore tried in vain to obtain permis- 
sion for placing benches or for installing a protection against 
rain there. Permission to pave the street was, however, granted. 
Occasionally a table for the reading of the To rah was placed 
near the Wall, but had to be soon removed at the demands 
of the Muslim religious authorities. In 1887 Baron Rothschild 
offered to buy the whole Moghrabi Quarter, and have it de- 
molished. He proposed to the government that for the funds 
received the Waqf should obtain other lands and resettle there 
the residents evacuated from the Moghrabi Quarter. Although 
negotiations reached an advanced stage the plan never mate- 
rialized for reasons not properly clarified to the present day. 
It is probable that objections were raised not only on the part 
of the Waqf, but also on the part of the rabbis and communal 
leaders of the Sephardi community on whose full coopera- 
tion Rothschild made conditional his handling of this deli- 
cate matter. It appears that certain rabbis observed that the 
conditions laid down for the designated Jewish sacred trust 
(hekdesh) would convert the area into a public domain (reshut 
ha-rabbim) with regard to carrying on the Sabbath and thus 
create halakhic difficulties. In addition interests and counter- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



interests among the trustees of the various Sephardi sacred 
trusts foiled the plan. 

Shortly before World War i, a further attempt to pur- 
chase the surroundings of the Western Wall was made by the 
Anglo- Palestine Bank. These negotiations were interrupted 
by the outbreak of the war. In 1912 the Turkish authorities or- 
dered the removal of a partition between men and women, 
benches, a glass cupboard for candles, a table for reading the 
Torah, etc., about the introduction of which the Waqf had 

After the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate 
had given the Jews a recognized national status in Erez Israel, 
they began to add national significance to the traditional re- 
ligious significance of the Western Wall. The Arab mufti in- 
cited his community against the Zionists (who, he claimed, 
intended to seize control of the Wall) by proclaiming it a sa- 
cred Muslim site which he named after the legendary horse 
"Al-Burak," upon which Mohammed is supposed to have rid- 
den to Jerusalem and which he allegedly tied to this wall dur- 
ing his visit. Many intercommunal conflicts about the Western 
Wall occurred in the 1920s. In order to antagonize the Jews 
the mufti ordered the opening of a gate at the southern end 
of the street thus converting it into a thoroughfare for pass- 
ersby and animals. In addition the Muslims deliberately held 
loud-voiced ceremonies in the vicinity. They also complained 
again about the placing of accessories of worship near the 
Wall, and a partition (between men and women) was forc- 
ibly removed - by the British police - on the Day of Atone- 
ment 1928. In August 1929 an instigated Muslim crowd rioted 
among the worshipers and destroyed ritual objects and, fol- 
lowing the excitement and unrest this created, murderous ri- 
ots broke out a few days later. 

The British set up a committee of inquiry and conse- 
quently an international committee (consisting of a Swede, a 
Swiss, and a Dutchman) was appointed by the League of Na- 
tions to resolve "the problem of the Wall." Although this com- 
mittee ascertained that the place was indeed holy to Jews well 
before the time of Saladin (i.e., 1187), this was most likely a ref- 
erence to the holiness of the Temple Mount as a whole, with no 
clear chronological data as to the origins of the worship at the 
Western Wall being available to them. The committee met in 
Jerusalem, in the summer of 1930, and the results of "the trial 
of the Wall," as it became known, were as follows: 

(a) the Muslims had absolute ownership of the Wall; 

(b) the Jews had the uncontested right to worship and to 
place seats in the street; 

(c) the Jews were not to blow the shofar there. 

The Arabs objected. The Jews accepted, except for the 
prohibition to blow the shofar ', which was considered a sear- 
ing humiliation. Indeed, each year nationalist youths would 
blow the shofar near the Wall at the termination of the Day 
of Atonement, which would always lead to the intervention 
of the British police. 

From December 1947, after bloody incidents with the 
Arabs, Jews were no longer able to approach the Western Wall, 

and after the capitulation of the Jewish Quarter (of the Old 
City) in May 1948, Jews were prevented for 19 years from even 
looking at the Wall from afar. The paragraph in the cease-fire 
agreement granting freedom of access to the holy places was 
not kept by the Jordanians. 

The Wall was liberated on the third day of the Six-Day 
War (June 7, 1967) by Israel's parachutists breaking through 
the "bloody gate," which the mufti had opened. The Moghrabi 
Quarter was immediately demolished and on the first day of 
Shavuot, one-quarter of a million Jews swarmed to the place. 
Subsequently the buildings placed against the Wall in its con- 
tinuation southward were removed. The entire cleared area 
in front of the Western Wall was leveled and converted into 
a large paved open space. The lower square near the Wall is 
the prayer area, where one may find people praying or study- 
ing, either singly or in groups, day and night throughout the 
year. Since the liberation of the Wall, it has hosted national 
events and ceremonies, such as bar mitzvahs, the swearing in 
of new idf troops, and memorial and religious services with 
the attendance of government officials. Under Israeli admin- 
istration, the excavations made by Warren in 1867, north of 
the Wall beneath the Muslim structures, were renewed and 
extended, uncovering the continuation of the Wall northward 
beyond Wilsons bridge. To the south, too, archaeological ex- 
cavations progressively revealed the impressive extent of the 
Wall. One of the main findings of the excavations was the 
Walls tunnel, 488 meters in length. The tunnel passes near the 
foundations of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount and is 
considered the closest point to the Holy of Holies (Kodesh ha- 
Kodashim). Inside the tunnel is located the Warren Gate, one 
of the gates to the Temple which were closed by the Muslim 
Waqf. The tunnel was opened to the public in 1996 by order 
of Binyamin * Netanyahu, then Israels prime minister. It led 
to violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police and 
soldiers which cost the lives of 15 Israelis and numerous Pales- 
tinians. Another site in the Wall complex is the archeological 
garden, located south of the Wall and consisting of remains 
of Jerusalem from the Second Temple period, mainly mikvabt 
(see *mikveh). In addition, there is a Herodian commercial 
street, with the remains of shops, which led visitors towards 
the Temple Mount. At the southern edge of the Wall a pile of 
hewn stones bears witness to the destruction of the Temple. 
Among the stones, archeologists have found a special one chis- 
eled on five sides. The inscription led them to believe that it 
was the one used by the priest to announce the beginning of 
the Sabbath to the people of Jerusalem. Near the archeologi- 
cal garden is the Davidson Center, a glass building with four 
underground floors where exhibits from the Second Temple 
and Byzantine periods are on display. 

bibliography: A.M. Luncz, in: Yerushalayim y 10 (1913), 
1-58; idem, in: Lu'ah Erez Yisrael, 20/21 (1914-15-16), 1-8; The West- 
ern or Wailing Wall in Jerusalem; Memorandum by the Secretary of 
State for the Colonies, Cmd. 3229 (1928); Protocol of the 14 th Session 
of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations 
(1928), 205-7; C. Adler, Memorandum on the Western Wall (1930); 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


Report of the Commission of the Palestine Disturbances of August 
1929, Cmd. 3530 (1930); J. Yaari-Poleskin, Baron Edmond Rothschild, 
1 (Heb., 1930), 206-19; J- Triwaks, Mishpat ha-Kotel (1931); CD. Mat- 
thews, in: The Muslim World, 22 (1932), 331-9; P. Grayewsky, Sippu- 
rei Kotel ha-Maaravi (1936); E.R. Malachi, in: Luah Yerushalayim, 12 
(1951/52), 275-81; Z. Vilnay, Yerushalayim - Ha-Ir ha-Attikah (1967 3 ), 
97-109; M. Hacohen, Ha-Kotel ha-Maaravi (1986 2 ); M. Natan, Ha- 
Milhamah al Yerushalayim (1968 6 ), 311-21; M. Har El, Zot Yerusha- 
layim (1969), 229-40; M.A. Druck and Z. Steiner (eds.), Album ha- 
Kotel ha-Maaravi (1969). add. bibliography: D. Bahat, The 
Illustrated Atlas of Jerusalem (1990); D. Bahat, "The Western Wall 
Tunnels," in: H. Geva (ed.), Ancient Jerusalem Revealed (1994; ex- 
panded ed., 2000), 177-90; D. Bahat, "Since When Have Prayers 
Been Made at the Western Wall?" in: Eretz-Israel, Kollek Volume 
(2006); "The Archeological Garden in Jerusalem," in: Yedioth Aha- 
ronoth (Aug. 15, 2001). 

[Jacob Auerbach / Dan Bahat and Shaked Gilboa (2 nd ed.)] 

°WESTERWEEL, JOHAN ("Joop '; 1899-1944), Dutch ed- 
ucator and Righteous Among the Nations. Born in Zutphen, 
the Netherlands, to parents belonging to the Darbyite Church, 
also known as the Plymouth Brethren, Johan (better known as 
Joop) Wester weel attended a denominational teachers college 
and developed a personal philosophy that combined elements 
of socialism with his own version of evangelical Christianity. 
His first teaching job was in the Dutch East Indies (today In- 
donesia), but he was soon in trouble for protesting the exploi- 
tation of the native population by the Dutch masters. When 
he refused to report for compulsory military training because 
of his pacifistic beliefs, he was expelled from the colony. Re- 
turning home, he joined the teaching faculty of a school, and 
later became principal of a Montessori school in Rotterdam. It 
was there, some while later, that he first came into contact with 
Jewish refugees from Germany and learned about the plight of 
the Jews under Hitler. Thus came about his contact with the 
Dutch branch of *He-Halutz, an organization that prepared 
young people for a life of pioneering and agricultural work in 
Palestine and which had a training farm in Loosdrecht, near 
Amsterdam. In August 1942, when the 50-or-so trainees and 
instructors at the farm learned that they were slated for de- 
portation within a few weeks, the group's leaders, Menachem 
Pinkhof and Joachim ("Shushu") Simon, turned to Westerweel 
for help; he had already temporarily hidden several Jews in his 
home. After listening attentively to their plans to help build a 
new society in Palestine, though opposed to nationalism in any 
form, he was impressed by their idealism and concluded that 
he had at least found a cause worthy of his fundamentalist pi- 
ety, combined with his faith in socialism and his contempt for 
the Nazis. Immediately swinging into action, Westerweel set in 
motion a far- ranging plan to temporarily hide the farms staff 
and students with friendly gentile families, assisted by trust- 
worthy persons since then known as the Westerweel group, 
and then gradually move them to neutral Spain, whence they 
would proceed to Erez Israel. To get to Spain meant travel- 
ing hundreds of miles across German-occupied Belgium and 
France, armed with forged papers. Westerweel organized and 

personally directed virtually every aspect of this operation, 
aided by his wife, Wilhelmina, and about a dozen underground 
activists, escorting most of the escapees all the way from the 
Netherlands to the Franco -Spanish border on the peak of the 
Pyrenees mountains. One of them recalled his parting words 
one freezing afternoon in 1944 high up in the mountains. "You 
are on the threshold of freedom. Soon you will arise in the land 
of freedom and will fulfill your goal of building Erez Israel as 
a homeland for the world's Jews. I wish each of you happi- 
ness and good luck, but do not forget your comrades who fell 
along the road and by sacrificing their lives paved the way for 
your journey to freedom.. . . Remember the worlds suffering, 
and build your land in such a way that it justifies its existence 
by providing freedom for all its inhabitants and abandoning 
war." Not long afterward, on March 11, 1944, he was arrested 
by the Germans at a Dutch-Belgium border-crossing point; 
Wilhelmina had already previously been arrested and confined 
to the Vught concentration camp. Brutally tortured, Joop re- 
fused to divulge the names of his associates. He was executed 
on August 11, 1944, just a few days after an attempt to rescue 
him ended in failure. He had once told his Jewish associ- 
ates, "You're wrong in thinking I am helping you because you 
are Jewish. Even if you were blacks or Hottentots, no matter 
what, I would help you in the name of justice, for you are in 
need." While awaiting execution, Joop Westerweel penned a 
farewell message to his Jewish friends. It reads in part: "There 
they are ... all my comrades, standing side by side with me; 
together we have advanced along this road to confront the en- 
emy.. . . Whether I die or live is now all the same to me. A great 
light has dawned within me, enriching me. It is time for silent 
thoughts. The night is dark and long. But I am fully aglow from 
the splendor within me." His wife, Wilhelmina, was dispatched 
to Ravensbrueck concentration camp and luckily survived. The 
couple's four children were in hiding with friends. In 1963, Yad 
Vashem awarded Joop and Wilhelmina Westerweel the title of 
Righteous Among the Nations. 

bibliography: Yad Vashem Archives M31-32; I. Gutman 

(ed.), Encyclopedia of the Righteous Among the Nations: Netherlands, 

Vol. 2 (2004), 823-25; M. Paldiel, The Path of the Righteous (1993), 


[Mordecai Paldiel (2 nd ed.)] 

WESTHEIMER, FRANK HENRY (1912- ), U.S. organic 
chemist. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and educated 
at Dartmouth College and Harvard University, where he re- 
ceived his M.A. and Ph.D. He was National Research Fellow at 
Columbia University (1935-36) before joining the department 
of chemistry at the University of Chicago (1936-1954) where 
he became professor (1948). During this period he supervised 
the National Development Research Council's Explosives Re- 
search Laboratory (1944-45). He was Morris Loeb Professor of 
Chemistry at Harvard (1954-83) after which he became pro- 
fessor emeritus. Westheimer was among the first chemists to 
apply physical techniques to analyzing biochemical reactions, 
and he made outstanding contributions to understanding the 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



molecular mechanics of reactions involving phosphate esters, 
biphenyls, and beta-keto acids. He was a renowned teacher 
with a great interest in chemistry education; the Westheimer 
Report (1965) was the first to assess its relevance to U.S. public 
affairs. His many honors include the Cope Award (1982), the 
National Medal of Science (1986), the Priestley Medal (1988), 
and the Willard Gibbs Medal (2003). He was a foreign mem- 
ber of the Royal Society of London and was a member of the 
Presidents Science Advisory Committee (1967-70). 

[Michael Denman (2 nd ed.)] 

WESTHEIMER, RUTH (1928- ), sexologist and broad- 
caster. Born Karola Ruth Siegel to an affluent family in Frank- 
furt, Germany, she was sent to boarding school in Switzerland 
while her parents attempted to arrange passage for the rest of 
the family out of Nazi Germany. She was never to see them 
again; it is probable that they died in Auschwitz. 

A staunch Zionist, she immigrated to Palestine at age 
16, where she joined the Haganah and learned Hebrew. She 
moved to Paris in 1950, where she earned a degree in psy- 
chology from the Sorbonne. Moving to the U.S. in 1956, she 
received her doctorate in education from Columbia Univer- 
sity in 1970. 

Westheimer became familiar to millions of radio and tv 
viewers and listeners as Dr. Ruth, dispensing frank, unambig- 
uous, commonsensical advice on sexual matters in a thickly 
European-accented English to callers. She received her initial 
break in the media in 1980 when wyny-fm, a New York City 
radio station, gave her a late-night slot for her show Sexu- 
ally Speaking. By 1983 it was the top-rated radio show in New 
York City and cleared the way for her to move into television 
with the widely syndicated The Dr. Ruth Show (1984-91). She 
also hosted the tv talk show What's Up, Dr. Ruth? (1989-90). 
From 2000 she appeared as Dr. Ruth Wordheimer in the edu- 
cational/fantasy tv series Between the Lions on pbs. She also 
had a syndicated newspaper column called "Ask Dr. Ruth." 

Advocating good sex in the context of loving relation- 
ships, Dr. Ruth also used books to spread her message. Her 
many publications include Dr. Ruths Guide to Good Sex (1983); 
Dr. Ruths Guide to Married Lovers (1986); an autobiography, All 
in a Lifetime (1987); Sex and Morality (1991); Dr. Ruths Guide 
to Safer Sex (1992); The Art of Arousal (1993); Dr. Ruth's Ency- 
clopedia of Sex (1994); Sex for Dummies (1995); Heavenly Sex: 
Sexuality in the Jewish Tradition (with J. Mark, 1995); The Value 
of a Family (with B. Yagoda, 1996); Grandparenthood (1998); 
Pregnancy Guide for Couples (with A. Grunebaum, 1999); 
Power: The Ultimate Aphrodisiac (2001); Romance for Dummies 
(2002); and Human Sexuality (with S. Lopater, 2002). 

She maintained ties with Israel, visiting frequently and 
cooperating in joint projects with Israeli academics and pub- 
lishers. In that sphere, she wrote Surviving Salvation: The Ethi- 
opian Jewish Family in Transition (1993). 

bibliography: B. Multer, The Dr. Ruth Phenomenon (1987); 
M. Scariano, Dr. Ruth Westheimer (1992). 

[Rohan Saxena and Ruth Beloff (2 nd ed.)] 

WESTPHALIA, region in Germany. During the Middle 
Ages Jews lived not only in the duchy of Westphalia but also 
in many of the bishoprics, cities, and earldoms of the region 
known as Westphalia. Jews were present in most areas by the 
beginning of the 13 th century; many came from ^Cologne, 
where a nourishing community existed at the end of the 12 th 
century. They generally settled in small numbers; the first 
organized communities existed in *Muenster, *Minden, and 
*Dortmund, where Archbishop Conrad of Cologne granted 
the Jews a charter of privileges in 1250. Until the middle of the 
14 th century, they were under the jurisdiction of the country 
nobles. Later, with the strengthening of the towns, the Jews 
were placed under the municipal jurisdiction, and the number 
permitted to settle was limited. They earned their livelihood 
primarily by moneylending. The Jews of Westphalia were vic- 
tims of the *Black Death persecutions in 1348-49, but during 
the second half of the 14 th century they returned to the towns 
from which they had fled or had been expelled. Despite local 
expulsions, Jewish settlement continued in Westphalia. In the 
latter part of the 17 th century, as well as in the 18 th century, Jew- 
ish autonomy was severely restricted by governmental control 
and regulation. Nevertheless, the number of Jews increased. 
They were engaged not only in moneylending but also as mer- 
chants in gold, silver, cloth, and livestock. 

The establishment of the Kingdom of Westphalia by 
Napoleon in 1807 brought a dramatic change in the status 
of the Jews. The Napoleonic kingdom was located to the 
west of Westphalia and was made up of portions of Hanover, 
Hesse, and other states. On January 27, 1808, the Jews were 
granted civic rights and - as the first Jews of Germany - could 
settle throughout the kingdom, engage in the profession of 
their choice, and had total freedom of commerce. After a few 
months, a * consistory was founded using the French institu- 
tion as a prototype, and existed from 1808 to 1813 in the capital, 
*Kassel. Its president was Israel Jacobson, financial adviser to 
King Jerome Bonaparte, assisted by rabbis Loeb Mayer Berlin 
(1738-1814), Simon Kalkar (1754-1812), and Mendel Sternhardt 
(1768-1825). Also participating in the work of the consistory 
were two scholars, David Fraenkel (1779-1865), publisher of 
Sulamity and Jeremiah *Heinemann (1778-1855). The secre- 
tary was S. Markel, the attorney for the municipal council of 
Kassel. Its task was the supervision of all Jewish activities in 
Westphalia. Innovations in the religious service were intro- 
duced that aroused considerable controversy, and new schools 
were formed, including a seminary in Kassel for the training 
of teachers and rabbis in 1810. Of particular interest was the 
experimental school in Kassel that combined secular and Jew- 
ish studies. Westphalia was divided into seven districts, each 
with its rabbi and his assistant. Jews were compelled to choose 
family names. Many were attracted by the liberal policies of 
the kingdom, and by 1810 the number of Jews had risen to 
19,039. In 1813, however, the kingdom was abolished, and with 
it the consistory was dissolved. 

Parts of the region known as Westphalia were included 
in the Prussian province of Westphalia in 1816, and the sta- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


tus of the Jews became similar to that of their coreligionists 
of Prussia. Together with them, they gradually obtained their 
^emancipation between 1847 and 1867. In 1881 an organization 
of Westphalian communities was formed. The notorious anti- 
semite Adolf * Stoecker was active in Westphalia at the end of 
the 19 th century. The Jewish population of Westphalia num- 
bered 21,595 hi 1932 (0.45% of the total). The principal com- 
munities were *Gelsenkirchen (population 1,440); Muenster 
(600); *Bielefeld (860); *Bochum (1,152); Dortmund (3,820); 
and *Hagen (650). 

The rise of Nazism led to considerable Jewish emigration 
from Westphalia, as well as intensive adult education efforts 
on the part of the Jewish community. Many synagogues were 
destroyed in November 1938, and mass deportations emptied 
Westphalia of its Jews by 1941. 

The community was renewed after the war, and a number 
of synagogues rebuilt. In 1946 Westphalia became a part of the 
modern federal state of North Rhine -Westphalia. There were 
924 Jews living there in 1970. In 1989 the nine Jewish com- 
munities in Westphalia numbered 745. In 2004 there were ten 
communities with 7,204 members. The biggest communities 
are Dortmund (3,409); Bochum (1,147); an d Muenster (753). 
This remarkable increase of membership is explained by the 
immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union after 1990. 
In 1992 the Jewish museum of Westphalia was opened in the 
small town of Dorsten. 

bibliography: A. Gierse, Die Geschichte derjuden in West- 
falen waehrend des Mittelalters (1878); F. Lazarus, in: mgwj, 58 
(1914), 81-96, 178-208, 326-58, 454-79, 542-61; B. Brilling, in: West- 
falische Forschungen, 12 (1959), 142-61; idem., Rheinisch Westfalische 
Zeitschrift fuer Volkskunde, 5 (1958), 133-62; 6 (1959), 91-99; H.C. 
Meyer, Aus Geschichte und Leben derjuden in Westfalen (1962), bib- 
liography, pp. 242-57; B. Brilling and H. Richtering (eds.), Westfalia 
Judaica (1967), includes bibliography; Germania Judaica, 2 (1968), 
880-1; 3 (1987), 2055-60; L. Horwitz, Die Israeliten unter dem Koenig- 
reich Westfalen (1900); A. Lewinsky, in: mgwj, 50 (1906); G. Samuel, 
in: zgjd, 6 (1935), 47-51; M. Stern, in: Ost und West, 17 (1917), 255-68. 
add bibliography: H. Stratmann and G. Birkmann, Jue dische 
Friedhoefe in Westfalen und Lippe (1987); W. Stegemann (ed.), Juedi- 
sches Museum in Westfalen (1992); C. Gentile (ed.), Begegnungen mit 
juedischer Kultur in Nordrhein -Westfalen (1997); K. Menneken (ed.), 
Juedisches Leben in Westfalen (1998); G. Birkmann, Bedenke, vor wem 
du stehst. 300 Synagogen und ihre Geschichte in Westfalen und Lippe 
(1998); E. Brocke, Zeitzeugen. Begegnungen mit juedischem Leben in 
Nordrhein-Westfalen (1998); M. Sassenberg, Zeitenbruch 1933-1945 
(1999); M. Brocke, Feuer an Dein Heiligtum gelegt (1999); A. Kenk- 
mann (ed.), Verfolgung und Verwaltung (2001 2 ); S. Gruber and H. 
Ruessler, Hochqualifiziert und arbeitslos (2002). website: www. 

[Zvi Avneri / Larissa Daemmig (2 nd ed.)] 

WEST VIRGINIA, state in the E. Central section of the U.S. 
Coal mining has been the predominant industry, but with au- 
tomation the number of coal miners has declined and there 
has been some migration out of the state. The Jewish popula- 
tion has also declined. From a reported high in 1956 of 6,000, 
the Jewish population fell to 4,755 in 1967 and, in 2001, 2,300 





O O 






Total Jewish population of West Virginia 


% of Jews in general population of West Virginia 


% of West Virginia Jews in Jewish population of U.S. 


Jewish communities in West Virginia. Population figures for 2001. 

out of the total population of 1,808,000. The 2001 figures 
for the major Jewish communities were Beckley, 120; Blue- 
field-Princeton, 200; Charleston, 975; Clarksburg, 110; Fair- 
mont, 140; Morgantown 200; Parke rsburg, 110; and Wheeling, 
290. Jewish life in the state has been largely a coextension of 
the religious organization. The first congregation, Leshem 
Shomayim, was formed in Wheeling in 1849; Charlestons 
B'nai Israel was formed in 1873. West Virginias congregations, 
their numbers permitting, have always tried to maintain rab- 
binical leadership on a regular basis. The smaller congrega- 
tions, unable to do so, have, especially in the southern part 
of the state, welcomed Reform student rabbis. Over a period 
of two or three decades more than 60 such rabbis served the 
smaller communities. 

In addition to the congregations themselves, there are 
congregational women's organizations in most of the commu- 
nities and congregational men's organizations in a few. Both 
the Zionist Organization and Hadassah are represented in five 
of the communities. The National Council of Jewish Women 
has a chapter only in Charleston. Fund-raising is conducted 
by a Federated Jewish Charities organization in Charleston, 
Huntington, and Bluefield- Princeton; in Wheeling it is con- 
ducted under the auspices of a Jewish community council. 
In the last few years there has been a considerable influx of 
Jewish students from the northern cities. Morris Harvey Col- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



lege in Charleston has roughly 300 Jewish students; Marshall 
University in Huntington, 65; and West Virginia University 
in Morgantown, 300. The state university has a Hillel Foun- 
dation which was directed by Rabbi Herbert J. Wilner, who 
also served as spiritual leader of Morgantown's Congregation 
Tree of Life. Jews have always taken a vigorous part in pub- 
lic affairs. In 1957-58, Harold L. Frankel served as mayor of 
Huntington. Serving in the West Virginia House of Delegates 
(lower division of the state legislature) in the early 1970s were 
Ivor F. Boiarsky, Simon H. Galperin, Jr., and Leo G. Kopel- 
man. Paul J. Kaufman was a member of the Senate. Fred H. 
Caplan was a member of the five-man Supreme Court of Ap- 
peals. Others serving in the previous decade in the House 
of Delegates were David A. Abrams, David M. Baker, Stan- 
ley E. Deutsch, and Fred H. Caplan. Rabbis, too, have been 
prominently involved in state affairs. Rabbi Martin Siegel of 
Wheeling was chairman of the West Virginia Arts and Hu- 
manities Council; Rabbi Samuel Cooper, from 1932 rabbi of 
Charlestons B'nai Jacob Congregation, was chairman of the 
West Virginia Human Rights Commission. Rabbi Samuel 
Volkman, rabbi of Charleston's B'nai Israel Congregation from 
1952 and regional director of the Union of American Hebrew 
Congregations from 1957 to 1959, served as a member of the 
West Virginia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission 

on Civil Rights. 

[Samuel Volkman] 

There were two synagogues in Charlestown, a traditional 
congregation with an Orthodox rabbi and a Reform Congre- 
gation. There was a Conservative Synagogue in Clarksburg 
and a joint Conservative/ Reform Congregation in Hunting- 
ton. There were Reform Synagogues in Logan, Martinsburg, 
Parkersburg, Welsch, Wheeling, and Williamson 

bibliography: A.I. Shinedling, West Virginia Jewry: Origins 
and History, 1850-1958, 3 vols. (1963). 

1849), German biblical scholar and theologian; born at Ulla, 
near Weimar, and died in Basle. De Wette came from a family 
of Protestant clerics of Dutch origin. He was appointed privat- 
docent in theology at the University of Jena in 1805. From 1807 
to 1810 he was professor of biblical exegesis at Heidelberg. At 
* Schleiermacher's suggestion he was invited to join the newly 
established faculty of theology in Berlin, but his liberal views 
caused his dismissal in 1819. He returned to Weimar and 
stayed there until he was offered the post of professor of eth- 
ics and theology at Basle in 1822. This marked the beginning 
of the second phase of his scholarly activity, during which he 
became more and more conservative in his views, thereby 
arousing the antagonism of the rationalists, to whom he had 
himself previously belonged. 

In his lifetime, de Wette was one of the most renowned 
theologians and religious scholars. In Bible criticism, his main 
contributions are to be found in his early writings - his disser- 
tation on Deuteronomy, written in Latin (Dissertatio critico- 
exegetica, qua Deuteronomium a prior ibus Pentateuchi libris 

diversum . . . , 1805) and his book Beitraege zur Einleitung in das 
Alte Testament (2 vols., 1806-07). As against the "fragments" 
hypothesis prevailing at the time, he maintained the unity of 
the Book of Deuteronomy and pointed out its unique quali- 
ties, both in form and contents. It was he who linked Deuter- 
onomy to the reform introduced by *Josiah (11 Kings 22-23), 
concluding that the book had been composed in that period. 
He also asserted that the Former Prophets were edited by the 
Deuteronomistic school, and deprecated the historical reli- 
ability of the books of Chronicles. These conclusions eventu- 
ally became cornerstones of modern biblical scholarship and 
established de Wette as one of the great biblical scholars of 
the 19 th century. Another noteworthy work of de Wette in the 
field of biblical criticism was his Commentar ueber die Psalmen 
(1811, 183 6 4 ) which betrays J.G. Herder's influence, stressing as 
it does the aesthetic aspect of the text. This was also the first 
attempt to classify the Psalms on the basis of literary genres, 
a method subsequently developed by Hermann * Gunkel. De 
Wette's German translation of the Bible (1809-11), including 
the Apocrypha, is distinguished by its strict adherence to the 
original, sometimes to the extent of sacrificing the fluency of 
the translations. 

bibliography: E. Staehelin, Dewettiana, Forschungen und 

Texte zu W.M.L. de Wettes Leben und Werk (1956); H.J. Kraus, Ge- 

schichte der historisch-kritischen Erforschung des Alten Testaments 

(1956), 160-79; R- Smend, W.M.L. de Wettes Arbeit am Alten und am 

Neuen Testament (1958). 

[Menahem Haran] 

WETTSTEIN, FEIVEL HIRSCH (1858-1924), Polish his- 
torian. Wettstein spent his whole life in his native Cracow, 
where he owned a bookstore. Through the influence of his 
teacher, Hayyim Nathan *Dembitzer, and while still young, 
he began to study the history of the Jews in Poland, espe- 
cially in Cracow, from material available in old responsa and 
in the minute books and archives of communities and societ- 
ies. His monographs (published in various periodicals) illu- 
minated obscure periods in the history of the Jews of Poland 
and served as valuable sources for historians of Polish Jewry 
such as Meir *Balaban and others. Wettstein's studies are dis- 
tinguished by careful scholarship and the avoidance of un- 
founded conjectures. 

His works include Kadmoniyyot mi-Pinkesabt Yeshanim 
le-Korot Yisrael be-Polin bi-Khelal u-vi-Cracow bi-Ferat (1892); 
a biography, Le-Toledot S.J. Rapaport (1900); Devarim Attikim 
mi-Pinkesei ha-Kahal bi-Cracow (1901); and Le-Korot ha-Ye- 
hudim be-Polin u-ve-Yihud bi-Cracow ... (1918). 

bibliography: A. Cuch, in: Haaretz (July 24, 1924); G. Bader, 

Medinah va-Hakhameha (1934), 93. 

[Gedalyah Elkoshi] 

WETZLAR, city near Koblenz, Germany. Evidence for the 
presence of Jews in Wetzlar dates from after 1250, but Jews 
probably settled there as early as 1200. Although in 1265 Arch- 
bishop Werner of Mainz promised to protect the Jews of Wetz- 
lar, toward the end of the century they were among those Jews 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


accompanying R. *Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg in his at- 
tempted emigration from Germany. A Judengasse (see * Jewish 
Quarter) in Wetzlar dates from 1292; a synagogue was estab- 
lished by 1318. Both Jews and Christians acted as moneylenders 
in the city, lending a considerable sum to Emperor Louis iv in 
1347. In 1349 the * Black Death persecutions brought an end to 
the community, but by 1360 Jews were once more residing in 
the city In 1382 King *Wenceslaus extended the privilege of 
admitting Jews to the municipal council of Wetzlar. There were 
20 Jews in the city in 1385 and 30 in 1442. In 1524 the municipal 
authorities sought to regulate kasher slaughtering, and in 1544 
they unsuccessfully attempted to expel the entire Jewish com- 
munity. By 1546 there were 50 Jews in Wetzlar. They were all 
expelled in 1598, but by 1604 some had returned, their number 
growing to 80 by 1625. A cemetery was consecrated in 1626; un- 
til then burial had taken place in Frankfurt. In the second half 
of the 16 th century Isaac Levita, a Jew born in Wetzlar, was ap- 
pointed to teach at the University of Cologne after he had con- 
verted to Protestantism. Also of prominence during the period 
were R. Joel of Wetzlar (d. 1698) and R. Solomon b. Simeon 
Wetzlar, author of Hakirot ha-Lev (Amsterdam, 1731). 

The 18 th century brought with it a significant rise in Jew- 
ish economic activity. Around 1735 Leib Wetzlar was a known 
business associate of Joseph Suess *Oppenheimer, and Abra- 
ham Wetzlar (1715-1799) became a financier of the imperial 
court. Although the population was legally limited to 12 fam- 
ilies of *Schutzjuden for most of the 18 th century, in actuality 
18 to 20 families, comprising some 100 persons, lived in Wetz- 
lar during that time. In 1756 a synagogue was dedicated by 
the Jewish community. Some amelioration of discriminatory 
practices against Jews was brought about by Napoleonic re- 
forms, beginning in 1803, but a reaction to this followed again 
after Wetzlar s incorporation into Prussia in 1815. By 1823 there 
were 101 Jews in the city. In 1880 there were 210; and in 1933 
there were 132. Although the community supported a religious 
school, it considered itself under the jurisdiction of the rab- 
binate of Marburg. It maintained a synagogue, a cemetery, and 
a philanthropic organization. During the Holocaust, 41 Jews 
from the district emigrated and 68 perished. 

bibliography: Germania Judaica, 2 (1968), 882-5; K. Watz, 

Geschichte der juedischen Gemeinde in Wetzlar von ihren Anfaengen 

bis zur Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts (1200-1850) (1966); Aronius, Re- 

gesten, 291 para. 706; A. Kober, Cologne (Eng., 1940), 174-5; Fjw, 

226; Statistisches Jahrbuch des deutsch-israelitischen Gemeindebundes 

(1903), 78. 

[Alexander Shapiro J 

trian family. The first identifiable member of the family was 
amschel wetzlar of Frankfurt (d. 1605?); one of his de- 
scendants moved to Offenbach where Abraham wetz- 
lar (c. 1714-1799) was born. During the Seven Years' War 
(1756-63) Abraham became an army contractor for Austria 
and amassed a large fortune. In 1763 he received the title of 
court agent and six years later obtained permission (together 
with Isaac *Arnstein) to live among the Christians of Vienna 

(other distinguished Jews received this privilege only in 1782). 
On Feb. 17, 1776, he converted to Catholicism and adopted the 
name Karl from his godfather, Count Palffy Shortly thereafter 
he addressed an obsequious letter to the emperor, enumerat- 
ing his services to the state, and requesting to be elevated to 
the nobility with the title of imperial counselor, the one sign 
of favor from which he had been excluded by his former re- 
ligion. His request was granted by Joseph *n who remarked: 
"Since part of his family is already baptized and the rest will 
soon follow, I agree to the requested ennoblement." During 
the next three years his ten children were all baptized and re- 
ceived the title von Plankenstern; only leonore (1732-1813), 
his wife, remained true to her religion, unsuccessfully oppos- 
ing the apostasy of her family. Karl Abraham, determined to 
become the equal of his fellow noblemen, was accepted into 
the ranks of the aristocracy and was invested with the estates 
he had acquired in Lower Austria. 

Karl Abraham's daughters married into respected aristo- 
cratic families, as did his four sons. The latter did not possess 
their father's business acumen and the family fortunes gradu- 
ally declined. All his grandsons entered the army or navy. His 
son R aymund (1752-1810) married Joanna Theresia von Pic- 
quigny (1749-1793), herself a daughter of a recently converted 
French army supplier. Raymund, a music lover, was Mozart's 
landlord, patron, and godfather to his eldest child. Other dis- 
tinguished descendants were ignaz (1787-1841), who married 
into the Arnstein family and received Austria's highest military 
decoration in 1815; heinrich adolf (1813-60), who joined 
the Ottoman army and became a Muslim; gustav (1813-1881), 
who attained the rank of field marshal-lieutenant; and karl 
von bembrunn, who became an actor in 1810 after being cap- 
tured by the French and forced to swear not to fight against 
them. He appeared on the stage under the pseudonym Carl 
Carl, much to the displeasure of his former comrades. 

bibliography: B. Wachstein, Archiv fuer juedische Famili- 
enforschungi (1913); 2 (1914). 

WEXLER, HARRY (1911-1962), U.S. meteorologist. Born 
in Fall River, Mass., Wexler entered the Federal Weather Bu- 
reau in 1934 and was appointed head of the research section 
of its scientific services in 1946. From 1955 until his death, he 
was research director of the Weather Bureau and was also 
chief scientist in the U.S. Antarctic Expedition during the 
Third International Geophysical Year, of which he was one 
of the main organizers. One of Wexler's important published 
contributions dealt with the high concentration of ozone in 
the Antarctic atmosphere. He advanced a theory which shed 
light on the mechanism of air circulation at the South Pole 
and stressed the importance of ozone as a trace element. He 
studied volcanic dust and its influence on the world's climate 
and climatic variations and on the expansion of storms in the 
upper atmosphere. 

bibliography: Modern Men of Science (1966), 520-1; Nature, 
196 (Oct. 27, 1962), 318-9. 

[Dov Ashbel] 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



WEXLER, ROBERT D. (1951- ), U.S. educator. Wexler was 
born in Los Angeles in 1951 and received his early Jewish edu- 
cation at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, a Reform congregation. 
He was introduced to traditional Judaism when he attended a 
local Orthodox summer camp, where he met his future wife, 
Hannah Goldhaar, and became profoundly influenced by her 
family, who were Holocaust survivors and deeply committed 
to Zionism. 

While attending ucla as an undergraduate, Wexler be- 
gan taking classes at the Los Angeles branch of the Hebrew 
Union College (huc), with the intention of becoming a Re- 
form rabbi. But he was increasingly drawn to a more obser- 
vant life style and a more traditional theology, and in 1969 
he left huc and enrolled part-time at the University of Ju- 
daism (uj). 

After receiving his B.A. in sociology in 1971, he enrolled 
full-time at the uj s new pre-rabbinic program, and later spent 
three years in the rabbinical school of the Jewish Theologi- 
cal Seminary in New York, where he was ordained in 1977. In 
order to prepare himself for possible future immigration to 
Israel, Wexler spent those same three years in New York earn- 
ing an M.B.A. degree from Baruch College of the City Uni- 
versity of New York. Wexler also taught at jts's Prozdor High 
School. Before returning to Los Angeles in 1978, he spent a 
year on the faculty of Princeton University in the Department 
of Near Eastern Languages. 

At the invitation of then-president David Lieber, Wex- 
ler was invited to join the faculty of the University of Judaism 
in 1978. Wexler also enrolled in a doctoral program at ucla, 
where he received both an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Depart- 
ment of Near Eastern Languages. At the University of Juda- 
ism, Wexler filled a variety of administrative positions before 
succeeding David Lieber as president in 1992. 

Wexler became an adherent of the social philosophy of 
Mordecai Kaplan and the concept of Judaism as a civilization. 
Recognizing the growing trend away from denominational- 
ism, Wexler quickly steered the uj toward a nondenomina- 
tional position within the Jewish mainstream. 

During the first decade of his presidency, Wexler 
launched three major initiatives: the Ziegler School for Rab- 
binic Studies, the Center for Israel Studies, and the Ziering 
Institute. In 1995 he founded at the uj the Ziegler School of 
Rabbinical Studies, which was the first American rabbinical 
school in the western United States. 

The Center for Israel Studies was created in response to 
Wexler s growing conviction that American Jews needed to be 
educated more fully about the history, politics, and culture of 
the modern state of Israel. In 2001 the uj inaugurated a lec- 
ture series at the Universal Amphitheater, which has been at- 
tended by over 5,000 people annually. Serving as moderator 
of the series, Wexler gained a reputation for his interviews 
with national political figures, such as former U.S. president 
Bill Clinton, former Israeli prime ministers Ehud Barak and 
Shimon Peres, and former U.S. secretaries of state, Henry Kiss- 
inger and Madeleine Albright. 

In addition to his work at the University of Judaism, 
Wexler served in a variety of community leadership roles. He 
chaired the Los Angeles Federations Commission on Israelis 
and the Committee on Jewish Education. 

[Iris Waskow (2 nd ed.)] 

WEXLER, WILLIAM ABE (1913-2000), U.S. communal 
leader. Wexler, born in Toledo, Ohio, was an optometrist prac- 
ticing in Savannah, Georgia, from 1938. He served a term as 
alderman in Savannah in 1946-47. He first took on a national 
leadership position as chairman of the United Jewish Appeal 
from 1951 to 1956 and led the Israel Bond drive from 1957 to 
1963. Wexler was president of B'nai B'rith from 1965 until 
1971. Under his aegis B'nai B'rith maintained an action policy 
that encouraged participation by young people through Hil- 
lel Foundations and the Young Adult groups, despite turbu- 
lence and disaffection among students; solidified the Jewish 
community's efforts to support Israel, through B'nai B'rith and 
through the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jew- 
ish Organizations, which Wexler chaired from 1968 to 1972; 
and aided in the campaign in support of Soviet Jewry. In 1971 
he succeeded Nahum *Goldmann as president of the * Wo rid 
Conference of Jewish Organizations. 

WEXNER, LESLIE H. (1937- ), U.S. entrepreneur, civic 
leader, and philanthropist. Born in Dayton, Ohio, Wexner 
moved to Columbus, Ohio, when he was a teenager. After 
graduating from Ohio State University, he worked briefly in 
his father's clothing shop. In 1963 his own merchandising ca- 
reer began when he borrowed $5000 from an aunt and opened 
the first "The Limited" store in Columbus, Ohio. "The Lim- 
ited" (now "Limited Brands") has grown to encompass thou- 
sands of stores throughout the United States, but Wexner s 
corporate headquarters and home remain in Columbus. In 
recent assessments by Forbes magazine, his wealth has been 
estimated at $2.6 billion. 

The Wexner Foundation and the Wexner Heritage Foun- 
dation (now part of The Wexner Foundation) were established 
by Wexner in 1984. The Wexner Heritage program was de- 
signed to provide young American Jewish lay leaders with a 
two-year intensive Jewish learning program, thus deepening 
their understanding of Jewish history, values, and texts and 
enriching their leadership skills. By the end of 2005, approxi- 
mately 1,500 North American Jewish leaders from 31 cities had 
participated in the program. 

In 1988 The Wexner Foundation introduced a Fellow- 
ship Program for outstanding rabbinical students and gradu- 
ate students in Jewish education and Jewish communal ser- 
vice programs. The same year the foundation established a 
grants program for academic institutions of all types to build 
and improve training programs for Jewish community pro- 
fessionals. Eventually, the Fellowship Program was expanded 
to include top candidates for academic Jewish studies and the 
cantorate. By the end of 2005, approximately 3 o o outstanding 
Jewish professional leaders from a wide array of religious af- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


filiations and professional groupings had participated in the 
Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program. 

Additionally, in 1988, the Wexner Israel Fellowship Pro- 
gram was created. Annually, up to 10 outstanding mid-career 
Israeli public officials are selected to study for a masters de- 
gree in the mid-career program of Harvard's Kennedy School 
of Government. The goal of the fellowship is to provide Israel's 
next generation of public leaders with advanced leadership 
and public management training. As of the end of 2005, 163 
Israeli public officials had participated in the Israel Fellowship, 
including leaders who had gone on to become director gener- 
als of government ministries, generals and commanders in the 
Israeli military, and top advisors to prime ministers. 

The Wexner Foundation appeared early on the scene of 
Jewish private philanthropy and in many ways pioneered a 
new field that has grown to include dozens of private founda- 
tions that devote themselves on a national and international 
scale to the needs of the Jewish people. The Wexner Founda- 
tion has never wavered from its focus upon Jewish leadership, 
and its professionalism, standards of program excellence, and 
strong relationships with Jewish communities and organiza- 
tions have created a model of practice for Jewish private phi- 
lanthropy that has passed the test of time. 

Wexner's leadership among major Jewish philanthropists 
was evidenced by his role in helping to convene and ultimately 
lead a group of some two dozen philanthropic peers in an ef- 
fort that was known technically as the "Study Group" but 
more widely as the "Mega Group." This group of elite Jewish 
philanthropists was formed in 1991 and developed as an effort 
to conduct a high-minded philanthropic discussion about the 
pressing issues of the Jewish people. The group motivated a 
number of individual and collaborative philanthropic initia- 
tives that, arguably, would not have otherwise occurred, in- 
cluding the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education, 
Birthright Israel, the upgrading of national Hillel, and more. 
Wexner co-chaired the group with Charles Bronfman during 
the final years of its existence. While the group no longer ex- 
ists in its original form, successor groups have surfaced and 
many of the original members continue to work closely with 
each other as a result of the associations they developed within 
the Study Group. 

Leslie Wexner's wife, Abigail Wexner, an accomplished 
attorney, has emerged as a major civic and philanthropic 
leader in her own right, and has also worked closely with The 
Wexner Foundation in shaping its programs and future. Mrs. 
Wexner has served as Chair of The Columbus Foundation and 
as Chairman of the Board of Children's Hospital, Columbus. 
She is nationally recognized as a leader who has spearheaded 
cutting edge programs and services addressing domestic vio- 
lence in central Ohio and beyond. 

Leslie Wexner's philanthropy revolves around a belief in 
the centrality of leadership and its potential to shape the fu- 
ture. This passion for developing leaders is at the heart of the 
programs of the Foundation, but extends far beyond them 
as well. 

In business, his storied rise as the son of working class 
immigrants who became the innovator of specialty retailing 
in America is near legendary. Wexner began his company in 
1963 with one store in Columbus, Ohio. "The Limited" had 
sales of $473 on the first day of business and first year sales 
of $160,000. Today, as Chairman, President and ceo of Lim- 
ited Brands, he leads a company that operates more than 
3700 stores, including Victoria's Secret, Express, The Lim- 
ited, Henri Bendel, Bath and Body Works, and The White 
Barn Candle Company. Sales for Limited Brands exceeded 
$9.4 billion in 2004. 

In civic life, Wexner's leadership was the force behind 
the development of the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio 
State University, behind the creation of the Wexner Institute 
for Pediatric Research at Children's Hospital, and that elevated 
Columbus' United Way to successes never before imagined. 
By example, he has sought to "give back" to the community in 
many ways. He is also a founding member of the Ohio State 
University Foundation, Chairman of the Columbus Partner- 
ship, and Chairman Emeritus of the Ohio State University 
Board of Trustees. 

Wexner serves as Visiting Instructor of Leadership at 
Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, where 
he also sits as a member of the Visiting Committee. His an- 
nual lectures on leadership at Harvard are attended by a wide 
cross-section of students, faculty, and community leaders. 
The Wexners also spearheaded the development of the Cen- 
ter for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School. Directed by 
David Gergen, the Center has already become one of North 
America's most prestigious academic initiatives for the study, 
teaching, and development of public leadership. 

In Jewish life, his leadership activities have been widely 
acknowledged, including honorary degrees from Yeshiva Uni- 
versity, Hebrew Union College, the Jewish Theological Semi- 
nary of America, and Brandeis University. In Central Ohio, 
Wexner's leadership of the Columbus Jewish Federation and 
his role in developing Wexner Heritage Village (a campus 
of services and residences for the elderly), the Wexner Jew- 
ish Student Center at Ohio State University, and other model 
programs underscore a personal philosophy that integrity in 
philanthropy must begin at home, in one's own community, 
and expand outward from that basis. 

In the final analysis, Wexner's impact upon the Jewish 
people will be his investment in Jewish leaders - in Israel and 
in North America. Wexner's leadership programs take seri- 
ously the responsibility and capacity of leaders to shape a new 
future for the Jewish people. His programs are pluralistic and 
embrace the wide sweep of diversity within Jewish life, while 
building community and commonality from that diversity. 
Many imagine that there will be Wexner Israel Fellows who 
will become prime ministers of the State of Israel, Wexner 
Graduate Fellows who transform Jewish professional leader- 
ship into a new force for change in the coming century, and 
Wexner Heritage alumni who will rethink and rebuild their 
Jewish communities into more relevant, responsive and dy- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



namic organizational forms. Meanwhile, Wexner and his wife 
continue to exercise their own leadership, in business, politics, 
and civic and Jewish life - forever learning and teaching the 
meaning and promise of mobilizing others around the endur- 
ing values and challenges of human life. 

[Larry Moses (2 nd ed.)] 

WEYL, MEIR BEN SIMHAH (1744-1826), German rabbi. 
Weyl was born in *Lissa and studied under Zevi Hirsch of 
Janow. He arrived in Berlin in 1783 and was soon elected 
head of the bet midrash and dayyan. After Hirschel Levins 
death (1800) the reform-minded community leaders delayed 
his appointment as rabbi until 1809, when they reluctantly 
made him Vize-Ober-Landrabbiner. His patriotic sermons of 
1809-13 won him renown. One such sermon of 1813 was re- 
published after World War 1 as proof of Jewish patriotism. 
Weyl battled against the Berlin *Haskalah movement and its 
chief representative, David *Friedlaender. An acknowledged 
talmudic authority as well as a vehement opponent of Reform, 
in 1818 the Orthodox elements in the community of Copen- 
hagen appealed to him in their conflict with a Reform group. 
He sharply attacked the use of German in prayer, and largely 
through his efforts a royal order was issued dated Dec. 23, 
1823, that Jews were to pray only according to their previous 
custom. When in 1824 the elders of the Berlin community 
contemplated establishing a teachers seminary and invited L. 
*Zunz and L. *Bendavid to plan the syllabus, Weyl retaliated 
by appealing directly to Altenstein, the minister of religion, 
with his own plan, which was approved. For lack of com- 
munity support, however, the plan for a seminary was soon 
dropped. Weyl held halakhic discussions with Akiva * Eger of 
Posen and Solomon Zalman *Posner of Warsaw. 

bibliography: mgw j, 28 (1879), 568-70; M. Stern, Aus der 
Zeit der deutschen Befreiungskriege, 1 (1918); idem, in: Jeschurun, 13 
(1926), 187-95, 290-308; G, Weil, in; mgwj, 76 (1932), 385-9; idem, 
in; jjs, 8 (1957), 91-101; H. Fischer, Judentum, Staat und Heer in Preus- 
sen (1968), 107-9. 

WHEAT, grain belonging to the genus Triticum, of which 
many species exist. Several species of Triticum are grown in 
Israel, some called hittah (pi. hittim) and others kussemet, kus- 
miriy and shippon (for this identification see *Five Species). 

(1) Hittah is the name applied to two species grown in 
Israel: hard wheat - Triticum durum, and bread wheat - Trit- 
icum vulgare (aestivum). The former is called "dark" and the 
latter "white" in the Mishnah (bb 5:6). The name hittah, with 
slight variations, is common to all the Semitic languages, 
mostly in the form of hintah, connected with the verb hanot 
("to project"), because the grains project from the pales of the 
ear of the wheat when it ripens. In rabbinic literature these 
are termed levush ("garment"). When threshed, these lev- 
ushim disintegrate and the grain emerges. Hence the saying: 
"In the time to come [at the resurrection] the righteous will 
rise [dressed] in their own clothes. This can be deduced a for- 
tiori from a grain of wheat. If a grain of wheat that is buried 

naked sprouts up with many garments ..." (Ket. 111b). Hittah 
is the most valuable of the five species of cereal. According to 
one aggadah, "the tree of knowledge was hittah" (Sanh. 70b). 
It is mentioned first among the seven species with which 
Israel is blessed (Deut. 8:8). It requires good and well- tilled 
land, and an abundance of hittim symbolizes well-being and 
peace (Ps. 81:17). 

Wheat, like *barley, is sown at the beginning of the win- 
ter, but it develops more slowly (Ex. 9:31-32) and ripens about 
two months after barley, from which the Omer is brought on 
Passover. Seven weeks later "the firstfruits of the hittim har- 
vest" are offered (Ex. 34:22). Ezekiel (27:17) mentions a hittim 
of Minnith" which "Judah and Israel" peddled, the reference 
being to the locality of Minnith in the land of Ammon (Judg. 
11:33). Similarly, Arbelite and Midian hittim are mentioned 
as excellent varieties (tj, Sot. 9:13, 24b; Shab. 9:6, 12b). The 
aggadah refers to 500 confections made from hittim (Lam. R. 
3:17 no. 6). The choicest hittim, used in meal-offerings, came 
from Michmas and Zonihah (Men. 8:1). Wheat was dearer 
than barley, and according to Josephus (Wars 5:427), it was the 
food of the rich. During the time of the Mishnah and Talmud, 
however, when the agricultural situation in Israel improved, 
wheat became the common food of all. "One who grows wheat 
is sure of his bread, but one who buys wheat in the market, 
his future is doubtful" (Men. 103b). 

(2) Kussemet or kusmin has been identified with emmer 
wheat - Triticum dicoccum, a plant which has grown in Israel 
from earliest times. Remnants have been found in excavations 
in Israel and in Egyptian tombs. A similar species, Triticum 
dioccoideSy grows wild in Israel and apparently is the species 
from which emmer wheat originated. The discovery of this 
species by Aaron *Aaronsohn in Rosh Pinah in 1906 caused 
a sensation in the botanical world. He maintained that it was 
the "mother" of all species of wheat, an opinion still upheld by 
some botanists. The general opinion, however, is that it is the 
"mother" of emmer wheat only. Like the hittah, the kussemet 
was not smitten by the hail in Egypt because it ripens late 
and its growth is slow (Ex. 9:32). Isaiah (28:25) enumerates it 
among the crops sown by the farmer, and it was also included 
in the mixed bread that Ezekiel ate for 390 days (Ezek. 4:9). In 
rabbinical literature it is always included among the five spe- 
cies of corn. In taste it is very like hittah (Hal. 4:2; Pes. 35a), 
but its nutritional value in relation to bulk is less because of 
the chaff that sticks to the grains (bm 40a). To remove these 
husks the wheat was moistened and trodden by cattle so as 
to release the grain (bm 89b and Rashi). In Aramaic kussemet 
is called gulba (Men. 70a), a word meaning "cut" or "shorn," 
a similar connotation to kussemet y which comes from kasam 
meaning "clipper of hairs" (cf. Ezek. 44:20). The name derives 
from the short hairs of the ears which look as though they 
have been cut. Another species of wheat, spelt wheat or Triti- 
cum spelta, identified by some commentators with kussemety 
has similar characteristics, but no remnants of spelt from the 
biblical period have been found in the region. It seems that it 
is the shippon of rabbinical literature. 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


(3) Shippon is also enumerated among the five species of 
corn. For the law of ^mixing of species it is regarded as belong- 
ing to the same species as kussemet (kusmin; Kil. 1:1), but in 
taste it is associated with barley (Pes. 35a). These indications 
are compatible with spelt, which resembles emmer wheat but 
has a barley flavor. Apparently its growth was not very wide- 
spread (at the present day also, its growth is very limited), and 
it is mentioned only a few times in rabbinical literature. This 
identification is mentioned by the Arukh (s.v. dashr). Now, 
however, it is usual, following Rashi, to identify shippon with 
rye - Secale cereale. This identification cannot be accepted, 
as this plant is not suited to the conditions of Erez Israel and 
was not grown there. It is also erroneous, as is usually done, 
to apply the name kussemet to buckwheat - Fagopyrum escu- 
leutum - since it was never grown in Israel and does not fit 
any of the descriptions of kussemet. 

bibliography: Loew, Flora, 1 (1926), 767-801; J. Feliks, Olam 

ha-Zomeah ha-Mikrai (1968 2 ), 142-51; idem, Kilei Zera'im ve-Har- 

kavah (1967), 27-32. add. bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Zomeah, 

60, 83, 161. 

[Jehuda Feliks] 

WHITE, HARRY D. (1892-1948), U.S. economist. Born in 
Boston, Mass., White spent his early years in his father's hard- 
ware business, and for several years taught on Sunday morn- 
ings at the Home for Jewish Children in Dorchester. After 
serving overseas during World War 1, White became head 
of Corner House, a settlement house in New York City, and 
worked as director of a summer camp for boys. While study- 
ing for his doctorate at Harvard, he was an instructor in eco- 
nomics; from 1932 to 1934 he taught at Lawrence College in 

White moved to Washington in 1934 to serve as a finan- 
cial expert at the U.S. Treasury. He became the chief economic 
analyst for the U.S. Tariff Commission, but soon returned to 
the Treasury Department to serve as the principal economic 
analyst in the division of research and statistics, and in 1936 as 
assistant director of research. In 1938 White was made director 
of monetary research. His monetary proposals were accepted 
as the basis for the Bretton Woods Conference, attended by 
representatives of 44 nations. The "White Plan," which was ac- 
cepted over the "Keynes Plan," called for the establishment of 
international trade based on the gold monetary unit. White 
became assistant secretary of the Treasury in charge of mon- 
etary research and foreign funds control in 1945 and the fol- 
lowing year was made U.S. executive director of the Interna- 
tional Monetary Fund. While in the Treasury Department, 
he managed the currency stabilization fund, represented the 
Treasury at committee meetings of the Economic Defense 
Board, and was a trustee of the Export- Import Bank. He is 
considered the author of the "Morgenthau Plan" for dealing 
with postwar Germany, and of other postwar economic plans. 
White was accused of giving information to a wartime Soviet 
spy ring and of pushing certain employees toward positions 
in government in which they would have access to informa- 

tion. He endured a congressional investigation while suffering 
from heart trouble, which was greatly aggravated by the strain 
of the sessions, and he died before the investigations had been 
concluded. White wrote The French International Accounts: 
1880-1913 (1933) and he updated F.W Taussig's Some Aspects 
of the Tariff Question (1934 3 ). 

bibliography: N.I. White, Harry Dexter White; Loyal Amer- 
ican (1956); New York Times (Aug. 18, 1948). 

WHITE, MORTON GABRIEL (1917- ), U.S. philosopher. 
Born in New York, White received his Ph.D. from Colum- 
bia University in 1942. He taught physics at City College, 
Columbia, and at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1948 he 
joined the staff at Harvard as professor of philosophy, where 
he taught until 1970. From 1954 to 1957 he served as chair- 
man of the philosophy department. From 1970 to 1987 he was 
a professor at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study. After 
retiring from teaching, he was named philosophy and intel- 
lectual history professor emeritus at the institute's School of 
Historical Studies. 

White's main philosophical contributions are in the ar- 
eas of epistemology and social and political philosophy. Such 
works as The Origin of Dewey's Instrumentalism (1943) and So- 
cial Thought in America (1949) reveal the influence of Ameri- 
can pragmatism in his thought. White also wrote on the par- 
adox of analysis, a dilemma which holds that all analysis is 
either trivial or false, and on the analytic -synthetic distinc- 
tion. In his paper "The Analytic and the Synthetic: An Un- 
tenable Dualism" in John Dewey: Philosopher of Science and 
Freedom (ed. by S. Hook, 1950), White contends that the dis- 
tinction is one of degree and not one of kind, as traditional 
philosophers maintain. 

Among his other important publications are Toward Re- 
union in Philosophy (1956); Religion, Politics and the Higher 
Learning (1959); The Intellectual vs. the City (with L. White, 
1962); Foundations of Historical Knowledge (1965); Science 
and Sentiment in America (1972); The Question of Free Will 
(1993); his autobiography, A Philosophers Story (1999); A Phi- 
losophy of Culture (2002); and From a Philosophical Point of 

View (2004). 

[Arthur Stroll / Ruth Beloff (2 nd ed.)] 

WHITE, ROBERT MAYER (1923- ), U.S. meteorologist. 
Born in Boston, Mass., White received a B.A. degree in ge- 
ology from Harvard University and M.S. and Sc.D. degrees 
(1950) in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology. White was president of the National Academy 
of Engineering from 1983 to 1995. Prior to that, he was presi- 
dent of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research 
(ucar). He served in scientific leadership positions under five 
U.S. presidents. He was appointed chief of the U.S. Weather 
Bureau and the first administrator of the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration. His years of government service 
include positions as U.S. Commissioner to the International 
Whaling Commission and U.S. Permanent Representative to 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



the World Meteorological Organization. He is credited with 
bringing about a revolution in the U.S. weather warning sys- 
tem with satellite and computer technology. Before joining the 
government, he founded one of the first corporations devoted 
to environmental science and services. 

White was the Karl T. Compton Lecturer at the Massa- 
chusetts Institute of Technology in 1995-96. He was a senior 
fellow at ucar and the H. John Heinz 111 Center for Science, 
Economics, and the Environment. His many awards include 
the Rockefeller Public Service Award for the Protection of 
Natural Resources and the International Meteorological Or- 
ganization Prize. 

[Bracha Rager (2 nd ed.)] 

WHITE, THEODORE H. ("Teddy"; 1915-1986), U.S. jour- 
nalist and author. White was born in Boston, Massachusetts. 
He studied at Harvard University, graduating in 1938. His 
grandfather was a rabbi from Pinsk who spent his last days in 
pious devotion at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. In his auto- 
biography In Search of History (1978), White refers to his Jew- 
ish and Hebrew education. "What I learned, then, from age 10 
to age 14, when I went on to evening courses at the Hebrew 
College of Boston was the Bible . . . ." "We learned it, absorbed 
it, thought in it, until the ancient Hebrew became a working 
rhythm in the mind, until it became a second language. Mem- 
ory was the foundation of learning at the Hebrew school, and 
the memory cut grooves on young minds that even decades 
cannot erase. Even now, when a biblical phrase runs through 
my mind, I am trapped and annoyed unless I convert it into 
Hebrew - whereupon the memory retrieves it from Boston, 
Mass., where little Jewish- American boys were forced to learn 
of nomads and peasants of three thousand years ago, forced 
to learn of spotted lambs, of the searing summer and of the 
saving rains (Yoreh and Malkosh)." In later years, he used 
to make his own Haggadah for Passover written on special 
cards and assigning the parts to his children. In his youth, 
Teddy White helped to organize the student Zionist activ- 
ists on the New England campuses in the Avukah (Torch) 
Society. He helped organize a boycott of German goods in 
Boston. White was "lured" however to other interests which 
he defined as Harvard and history. A year after graduating 
from Harvard, Teddy White was Time magazines war cor- 
respondent in China and, by 1945, at the age of 30, he was 
Time Bureau Chief. His first book (with Annalee Jacoby) was 
Thunder Out of China (1946). Between 1948 and 1953, White 
was in Europe and wrote Fire in the Ashes (1953). Returning 
to the U.S., White became a national political correspondent 
for The Reporter magazine, then for Colliers, and then for Life. 
He also published two novels (The Mountain Road [1958] on 
the evacuation of Chinese and American armed forces and 
The View from the Fortieth Floor [i960] on his 1950s stint at 
Collier's magazine) and one play and wrote several television 

White achieved his greatest acclaim as the author of a 
series of books called The Making of the President for i960, 

1964, 1968, and 1972 elections, for which he won the Pulitzer 
prize, and a wrap-up volume called America in Search of It- 
self published in 1982. He had planned a 1976 "Making of the 
President" book, but the Watergate scandal led him to write 

Breach of Faith instead. 

[Shimshon Arad (2 nd ed.)] 

WHITE PAPERS, British government statements of policy 
presented to parliament; they played an important part in the 
history of Mandatory Palestine. Six such documents were is- 
sued between the years 1922 and 1939: 

(1) Statement of Policy June 1922 (Churchill White Pa- 

(2) Statement of Policy October 1930 (Passfield White 

(3) Statement of Policy July 1937 (on the Peel Commis- 
sion's report); 

(4) Statement of Policy December 1937 (appointment of 
the Woodhead Commission); 

(5) Statement of Policy November 1938 (on the Wood- 
head Commissions report); 

(6) Statement of Policy May 1939 (MacDonald White 

The Churchill White Paper (1922) 

This document, for which Winston *Churchill was respon- 
sible as colonial secretary, contained the first important offi- 
cial statement of British government policy after the *Balfour 
Declaration. While reaffirming the declaration, it stated that 
there was no question of Palestine becoming "as Jewish as 
England is English" and that the Arabs need have no fear of 
"the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic popu- 
lation, language or culture in Palestine." The Balfour Declara- 
tion, the statement continued, did not "contemplate that Pal- 
estine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National 
Home, but that such a Home should be founded in Palestine." 
The development of the Jewish National Home meant "not 
the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants 
of Palestine as a whole, but the further development of the 
existing Jewish community [which, in another passage, was 
said to have "national" characteristics] with the assistance of 
Jews in other parts of the world, in order that it may become 
a center in which the Jewish people as a whole may take, on 
grounds of religion and race, an interest and a pride." To en- 
able this community to develop, however, "it is essential that 
it should know that it is in Palestine as of right and not on suf- 
ferance," the statement declared. That was why international 
guarantees were necessary. 

The statement went on to say that Jewish immigration 
must continue, but must not exceed "whatever may be the 
economic capacity of the country at the time to absorb new 
arrivals"; that the government intended "to foster the estab- 
lishment of a full measure of self-government"; and that, as 
the next step, it proposed to set up a Legislative Council con- 
sisting of 12 elected and ten appointed members, headed by 
the high commissioner. The Zionist Executive reluctantly ac- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


cepted the policy set out in the statement, while the Palestin- 
ian Arabs did not. 

The Passfield White Paper 

This was issued by the colonial secretary, Lord Passfield (Sid- 
ney Webb), in the wake of the riots of 1929. The causes of the 
riots and the situation in Palestine had been investigated by 
the Shaw Commission (see * Palestine, Inquiry Commissions), 
and an inquiry into land settlement, immigration, and de- 
velopment had been carried out by Sir John Hope Simpson, 
who was pessimistic as to the possibilities of further Jewish 
immigration and settlement without displacing Arabs (see 
Palestine, Inquiry Commissions). A central theme in the 
White Paper, which was issued simultaneously with the Hope 
Simpson report, was the argument that under the terms of the 
^Mandate and the Balfour Declaration, "A double undertak- 
ing is involved, to the Jewish people on the one hand and to 
the non- Jewish population on the other." It rejected the view 
that the passages regarding the Jewish National Home were 
the principal feature of the Mandate. 

The statement dealt with practical policy under the heads: 
security, constitutional development, and economic and so- 
cial development. It declared that the government "will not be 
moved from their duty by pressure or threats" and that "any in- 
citements to disorder or disaffection, in whatever quarter they 
originate, will be severely punished." It proposed the estab- 
lishment of a Legislative Council, with a composition similar 
to that proposed in the Churchill White Paper. If any section 
of the population failed to cooperate, steps would be taken to 
ensure the appointment of the requisite number of unofficial 
members. In any case, the statement continued, the high com- 
missioner would continue to have the necessary power to en- 
able the Mandatory to carry out its obligations. 

The White Paper accepted Hope Simpsons conclusion 
that "for the present and with the present methods of Arab 
cultivation there remains no margin of land available for ag- 
ricultural settlement by new immigrants," with the exception 
of reserves held by Jewish agencies. It severely criticized the 
principle of Jewish labor, which, it implied, was detrimental to 
the Arab population, and "difficult to reconcile" with Zionist 
declarations of a desire to live in friendship with the Arab 
people. Transfers of land would be permitted only insofar as 
they did not interfere with the land development plans of the 
Palestine Administration. In determining the "economic ca- 
pacity" of the country to absorb new immigrants, not only 
Jewish but Arab unemployment must be taken into account, 
and Jewish immigration would be suspended if it was held to 
prevent Arabs from obtaining employment. 

The White Paper was severely criticized by some British 
statesmen as a departure from the obligations of the Man- 
date. *Weizmann resigned from the presidency of the Jewish 
Agency in protest, declaring that the White Paper went far 
toward "denying the rights and sterilizing the hopes of the 
Jewish people in regard to the National Home" and aimed at 
"crystallizing the development of the Jewish National Home in 

its present stage." A special British cabinet committee entered 
into negotiations with representatives of the Jewish Agency, 
which resulted in a letter from Prime Minister Ramsay Mac- 
Donald to Weizmann on Feb. 13, 1931, which was to be com- 
municated as an official document to the League of Nations 
and embodied in a dispatch as an instrument to the high com- 
missioner. Ostensibly, the letter was no more than an interpre- 
tation of the Passfield White Paper, but in reality it canceled 
much of its anti- Zionist implications. It reemphasized "that 
the undertaking of the Mandate is an undertaking to the Jew- 
ish people and not only to the Jewish population of Palestine" 
and reaffirmed the preamble of the Mandate, which includes 
the Balfour Declaration and the historical connection of the 
Jewish people with Palestine. The letter also stressed the posi- 
tive obligations of the Mandate, such as facilitating Jewish im- 
migration and encouraging settlement by Jews on the land. 

The White Paper of July 1937 

This was a statement of British government policy issued to- 
gether with the report of the Royal Commission on Pales- 
tine (the Peel Commission). It stated that the British govern- 
ment accepted the commissions partition plan in principle 
and would take the necessary steps to put it into effect. Until 
the establishment of Jewish and Arab states, the government 
would not surrender its responsibilities for peace, order, and 
good government throughout Palestine. In the interim period, 
two steps would be taken: "to prohibit any land transactions 
which might prejudice such a scheme" and to limit immigra- 
tion between August 1937 and March 1938 to 8,000. 

The White Paper of December 1937 

This consisted of a dispatch from W Ormsby-Gore, the co- 
lonial secretary, to A.G. Wauchope, the high commissioner 
for Palestine, announcing the appointment of the Woodhead 
Commission to consider the details and practical possibilities 
of a partition scheme. If the government regarded the new par- 
tition scheme as "equitable and practicable," it would refer it 
to the League of Nations. After that body's approval "a further 
period would be required for the establishment of new systems 
of government," possibly including a system of cantonization 
or separate Mandates for the new Arab and Jewish areas. 

The White Paper of November 1938 

After the publication of the Woodhead Commissions find- 
ings, which, in effect, canceled out the recommendations of 
the Peel Commission, the British government came to the 
conclusion that the political, administrative, and financial 
difficulties involved in the "proposal to create Arab and Jew- 
ish independent states inside Palestine are so great that this 
solution of the problem is impracticable." Instead, the gov- 
ernment would "make a determined effort" to promote "an 
understanding between the Arabs and the Jews." With this 
end in view the government would convene a conference (see 
* Saint James' Conference) with representatives of the Pales- 
tinian Arabs and of neighboring states ... and of the Jewish 
Agency to confer about "future policy, including the question 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



of immigration into Palestine." If no agreement was reached 
"within a reasonable period of time" the British government 
would take its own decision. 

The Malcolm MacDonald White Paper (May 1939) 

The failure of the St. James' Conference led to the publication 
of the White Paper of May 1939. Since the Royal Commission's 
partition proposal had "been found to be impracticable," the 
British government had devised "an alternate policy." In order 
to remove any doubts, the statement continued, "His Majesty's 
Government now declares unequivocally that it is not part 
of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State." 
Moreover, they would indeed regard it as "contrary to their 
obligations to the Arabs under the Mandate . . ." The govern- 
ment was charged with the development of self-governing 
institutions and regarded it as "contrary to the spirit of the 
Mandate" to keep the Palestinian population for ever under 
a Mandatory regime. It announced that "The objective of His 
Majesty's Government is the establishment within ten years 
of an independent Palestine State" in which the essential in- 
terests of both Arabs and Jews should be safeguarded. There 
would be a transitional period during which the "people of 
Palestine will be given an increasing part in the government 
of the country." Both sections would have an opportunity to 
participate, but "the process will be carried on whether or 
not they both avail themselves of it." In the first stage, steps 
would be taken to place Palestinians - Arabs and Jews in pro- 
portion to their respective populations - in charge of govern- 
ment departments. 

immigration. The government decided to curtail Jewish 
immigration. The principle of economic absorptive capacity, 
established in the White Paper of 1922 was to be replaced by 
a new, political, principle. The British government claimed it 
could not find in the Mandate any support for the view that 
immigration must be allowed to "continue indefinitely," or 
that economic absorptive capacity must be the only consid- 
eration. Although Jewish immigration had been absorbed ec- 
onomically, the Arabs' fear of indefinite Jewish immigration 
had also to be taken into account in deciding immigration 
policy. To expand the Jewish National Home indefinitely, the 
government believed, would mean "rule by force," and it had 
therefore decided "to permit further expansion of the Jewish 
National Home by immigration only if the Arabs are prepared 
to acquiesce in it." During the next five years Jewish immigra- 
tion would be limited to 75,000, bringing the Jewish popu- 
lation up to approximately one-third of the total population 
of Palestine. After the end of the five-year period no further 
Jewish immigration would be permitted "unless the Arabs of 
Palestine are prepared to acquiesce in it," and the government 
"will not be under any obligation to facilitate the further de- 
velopment of the Jewish National Home by immigration re- 
gardless of the wishes of the Arab population." 

land transfer. In certain areas, the statement declared, 
there was no room for further transfers of Arab land, and in 

other areas transfers must be restricted. The high commis- 
sioner would, therefore, be given general powers to prohibit 
and regulate transfers of land, and on Feb. 28, 1940, the high 
commissioner promulgated the Land Transfer Regulations, in 
fact dividing the country into three zones: Zone a, including 
the hill country and certain other areas - 64% of Palestine - 
in which the transfer of land to anyone other than a Palestin- 
ian Arab was prohibited, save in exceptional circumstances; 
Zone b, including the Jezreel Valley, eastern Galilee, most of 
the Coastal Plain (except for the Tel Aviv district), and the 
Negev - 31% of the area - in which transfers were permitted 
only in specified circumstances; and Zone c - 5% of the coun- 
try's area - which would remain a "free zone." 

The White Paper was regarded by the Zionist movement 
and many outside it as a final betrayal of Britain's obligations 
to the Jewish people under the Balfour Declaration and the 
Mandate. The announcement of this policy at the outset of 
the Jewish mass flight from Europe became the starting point 
for the active struggle of the yishuv against the Mandatory re- 
gime in Palestine. 

bibliography: H.N. Howard, The King-Crane Commis- 
sion (1963); Great Britain, Colonial Office, Palestine Disturbances in 
May 1921 Report (Cmd. 1540, 1921); idem, Palestine Disturbances of 
1929 Report (Cmd. 3530, 1930); idem, Palestine Royal Commission 
Report (Cmd. 5479, 1937); idem, Palestine Partition Commission Re- 
port (Cmd. 5854, 1938); idem, Statement on British Policy in Palestine 
(Cmd. 1700, 1922) - The Churchill White Paper; ibid. (Cmd. 3692, 
1 93°) _ The Passfield White Paper; ibid. (Cmd. 5513, 1937) - On 
the Peel Commission Report; Dispatch to the High Commissioner 
of Palestine (Cmd. 5634, 1937) - Appointment of Woodhead Com- 
mission; idem, British Statement of Policy (Cmd. 5893, 1938); ibid. 
(Cmd. 6019, 1939) - MacDonald White Paper; Anglo-American 
Commission of Inquiry ... Report (1946); Proposals for the Future of 
Palestine (Cmd. 7044, 1947); United Nations Special Committee on 

Palestine Report (1947). 

[Daniel Efron] 

WICKED PRIEST (Heb. J7t£nn ]7p,Kohen ha-Resha), charac- 
ter mentioned in the *Dead Sea Scrolls as the inveterate enemy 
of the Teacher of Righteousness. He was a man of whom bet- 
ter things were once expected: "He was called by the name of 
truth when first he arose, but when he ruled in Israel his heart 
was exalted and he forsook God, and dealt treacherously with 
the ordinances for the sake of wealth. He looted and amassed 
the wealth of the men of [vjiolence who rebelled against God; 
and he took the wealth of nations, adding to himself iniquity 
and guilt, and acted in ab[om]inable ways with every defil- 
ing impurity" (lQpHab. 8:8-13). He is described as "the priest 
who rebelled [and transgressed] the ordinances of [God]" 
(lQpHab. 8:16 ff.), "the priest whose shame was mightier than 
his glory, for he did not circumcise the foreskin of his heart 
but walked in the ways of drunkenness to quench his thirst" 
(lQpHab. 11:12 ff.). He "wrought abominable works and defiled 
the sanctuary of God" and in the cities of Judah he "plundered 
the wealth of the poor" (lQpHab. 12:8-10). 

He is chiefly reprobated for his attack on the Teacher 
of Righteousness: he laid hands on him in an attempt to kill 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


him. But God, according to the commentary (from Cave 4) on 
Psalm 37, delivered the Teacher from him and reserved a fear- 
ful judgment for the Wicked Priest, "delivering him into the 
hands of the violent of the gentiles to execute [vengeance] on 
him" (on Ps. 37:320°.). There was one special occasion when he 
manifested his enmity toward the Teacher: that was when he 
"pursued after the Teacher of Righteousness to swallow him up 
in his hot fury, even to his place of exile, and on the occasion of 
the sacred season of rest, the Day of Atonement, he appeared 
among them to swallow them up and make them stumble on 
the fast-day, their sabbath of rest" (lQpHab. 11:4-8). This sug- 
gests that the Teacher and his company observed a different 
^calendar from the Wicked Priest, so that what was the Day of 
Atonement for the former was a secular day for the latter. 

But condign judgment awaited the Wicked Priest. "Be- 
cause of the [evil] done to the Teacher of Righteousness 
and the men of his council, God gave him into the h [ands 
of]his[en]emies, to afflict him with a stroke, to make him 
waste away in bitterness of soul, because he acted wickedly 
toward His elect" (lQpHab. 9:9-12). Because of his rebellion 
against the ordinances of God, "they smote him with the 
judgments of wickedness, and wrought horrors of sore dis- 
eases on him and deeds of vengeance on his body of flesh" 
(lQpHab. 8:17-9:2). Because of his shameful drunkenness, "the 
cup of[Go]d's fury will overwhelm him, to add to his [shame 
and] ignominy" (lQpHab. 11:15 ff.). Because of his plunder- 
ing "the poor" (by whom perhaps the members of the Qum- 
ran community are specially intended), "God will condemn 
him to destruction even as he plotted to destroy the poor" 
(lQpHab. 12:5 ff.). 

Since the Qumran community apparently maintained the 
exclusive right of the house of Zadok to the high priesthood, 
a high priest of any other line would be to them a wicked (i.e., 
illegitimate) priest ex hypothesi. But the references quoted 
above point to one Wicked Priest par excellence. Many sug- 
gestions about his identity have been made, ranging in date 
from the apostate Menelaus, appointed by Antiochus iv in 
171 b.c.e. (so H.H. Rowley) to Eleazar b. Ananias, captain 
of the Temple at the outbreak of the war against Rome in the 
autumn of 66 c.e. (so C. Roth, G.R. Driver). He has even 
been identified with Paul of Tarsus (so J.L. Teicher). But the 
majority verdict favors one of the Hasmonean priest-rulers, 
though there is no unanimity as to which of them should be 
preferred. The principal choices are Jonathan (so G. Vermes, 
J.T. Milik, E.F. Sutcliffe); Simeon (so KM. Cross); Alexander 
Yannai (J.M. Allegro, WH. Brownlee, J. van der Ploeg) and 
Hyrcanus 11 (A. Dupont-Sommer). In some cases these iden- 
tifications (e.g., those with Menelaus and Eleazar) are closely 
tied in with identifications of the Teacher of Righteousness, 
and since the description of the Wicked Priest is generally 
applicable to so many figures known to the history of the pe- 
riod, only an agreed conclusion (which is not yet in sight) on 
the time when the teacher arose and his community was or- 
ganized will carry with it a definitive solution to the problem 
of identifying the Wicked Priest. 

bibliography: H.H. Rowley, Zadokite Fragments and the 
Dead Sea Scrolls (1952), 6yff., passim; J.M. Allegro, Dead Sea Scrolls 
(1956), 95 ff.; J.T. Milik, Ten Years of Discovery in the Wilderness of Ju- 
daea (1959), 65 ff., 84ff.; E.F. Sutcliffe, Monks of Qumran (i960), 42 ff.; 
F.M. Cross, Ancient Library of Qumran (1958), i07ff.; A. Dupont-Som- 
mer, Essene Writings from Qumran (1961), 35iff.; C. Roth, Historical 
Background of the Dead Sea Scrolls (1958), 10 ff., passim; G.R. Driver, 
Judaean Scrolls (1965), 267ff. 

[Frederick Fyvie Bruce] 

WIDAL, FERNAND (1862-1929), French physician, born in 
Algeria, where his father served as an army doctor. He studied 
medicine in Paris and worked there. In 1894 he was appointed 
associate professor, in 1911 full professor, and in 1912 he was 
elected member of the Academy of Sciences. He instituted a 
vaccination against typhoid fever in 1888. The innovation was 
adopted universally and it was used by all the armies that par- 
ticipated in World War 1. In 1896 he discovered a method for 
the serological diagnosis of typhoid fever, which was named 
after him and became the prototype for the serodiagnosis of 
other communicable diseases. He also developed methods 
for diagnosing different diseases by determining the types of 
cells in inflammatory exudates, thus establishing the basis of 
cytodiagnosis. His most important contribution to pathologi- 
cal physiology was his recognition of the significance of chlo- 
ride (in table salt) in causing edema, and he instituted a low- 
salt diet in cases of fluid retention in the body, which is used 
nowadays universally. In his research on kidney diseases, he 
worked on the significance of renal failure, which manifested 
itself in the defective ability of the body to excrete blood ni- 
trogen. He described the various forms of jaundice, especially 
those caused by hemolysis, and demonstrated the fragility of 
red blood cells in cases of familial jaundice. He also did re- 
search work on anaphylaxis, streptococcal infections, cardio- 
vascular diseases, and the nervous system. 

bibliography: S.R. Kagan, Jewish Medicine (1962), 250-1; 
Achard, in: Progres medical, 44 (1929). 

[Joshua O. Leibowitz] 

stadius, or Lucrecius; 1506-1557), Austrian statesman, human- 
ist, and Orientalist. An outstanding Catholic scholar, Widman- 
stetter became chancellor of Lower Austria and rector of the 
University of Vienna. He traveled widely, learning Arabic in 
Spain and Hebrew among Spanish Jewish exiles in Naples. He 
was also able to conduct a correspondence in Hebrew and his 
bookplate was phrased in Latin, Hebrew, and Syriac. Widman- 
stetter s teachers included Johann Reuchlin, David b. Joseph 
ibn Yahya, Baruch of Benevento, and Benjamin d'Arignano. 
In 1529, he met the Christian Hebraist Egidio (Aegidius) da 
*Viterbo in Venice, and three years later attended lectures on 
the Kabbalah held at the Naples home of Judah Abrabanel's 
brother Samuel. Widmanstetter collaborated with Guillaume 
*Postel in the publication of the first edition of the Syriac New 
Testament (Vienna, 1555) and attributed errors in the Koran to 
the influence of the Kabbalah. He collected many rare Hebrew 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



and Oriental manuscripts and printed works (some obtained 
from Elijah Levita), which were later bequeathed to the Mu- 
nich Royal Library. 

bibliography: J. Pedes, Beitraege zur Geschichte der he- 
braeischen und aramaeischen Studien (1884), i84f.; M. Mueller, Johann 
Albrecht von Widmanstetter (1907); U. Cassuto, Gli ebrei a Firenze nell' 
eta del Rinascimento (1918, s.v.; H. Striedl, in: Franz Babinger Stud- 
ies (1952); F. Secret, Les kabbalistes chretiens de la Renaissance (1964), 
121-3; Baron, Social 2 , 13 (1969), 180, 397, 405. 

[Godfrey Edmond Silverman] 

WIDOW (Heb. HJ^K, almanah; pi. J113»^X, almanot). 

Biblical Period 

The Hebrew substantive almanah, usually translated "widow," 
often does not simply denote a woman whose husband is 
dead, but rather a once-married woman who has no means 
of financial support, and is therefore in need of special legal 
protection. Many widows would fall into such a classification 
because of their husbands' death, but others who could rely 
on the support of a new husband (by levirate marriage or oth- 
erwise), an adult son, or a father-in-law, would not. Thus, the 
almanot as a class in Israelite society in biblical times were of- 
ten considered as comprising not merely women whose hus- 
bands had died but, rather, once-married women who no lon- 
ger had any means of financial support. Such being the case, 
many famous biblical widows (e.g., Ruth, Orpah, and Naomi 
(Ruth 1-4); Abigail (1 Sam. 25); Bath-Sheba (11 Sam. 11)), will 
not be discussed in this article. Since they are never referred 
to as almanot , there is doubt as to whether they were regarded 
as such. All of them must have had some means of financial 
support. Only women who are specifically called almanah 
will be dealt with here. 

in early legal codes. The main evidence for the above 
definition of the Hebrew word almanot comes from several 
sections of the Middle Assyrian Laws, where the Akkadian 
etymological equivalent of almanah, almattu, denotes the 
woman in question: 

[If], while a woman is still living in her fathers house, her hus- 
band died and she has sons [she shall live where she chooses 
in] a house of theirs. [If] she has no [son, her father-in-law 
shall marry her to the son] of his choice... or if he wishes, he 
may give her in marriage to her father-in-law. If her husband 
and her father-in-law are both dead and she has no son [only 
then] has she the status of a woman without male support (al- 
mattu); she may go wherever she pleases (par. 33; in: Pritchard, 
Texts, 182). 

When a woman has been given [in marriage] and the en- 
emy has captured her husband, if she has no father-in-law and 
no son, she shall remain for two years [at her husbands estate]. 
During those two years, if she has not sufficient to live on, she 
shall come forward and [so] declare; she shall became a ward 
of the palace; . . .She will stay for two years [at her husbands es- 
tate] and then she may live with the husband she chooses. They 
[the judges] will draw up a document for her [stating she is] 
a woman without male support (almattu). If in later days, her 
missing husband has returned home, he may take back his wife 

who was married to an outsider... (par. 45; in: Pritchard, Texts, 
184; cf. also pars. 28, 34, in: Pritchard, Texts, 182, 183) and Ham- 
murapi Law Code, par. 177 (in: Pritchard, Texts, 174)). 

In all the Akkadian codes, women whose husbands have died, 
but who do have some means of support, are not given any 
particular title and are never called almattu (e.g., Middle As- 
syrian Laws, par. 46). According to G.R. Driver, "these consid- 
erations suggest that a woman became an almattu only when 
there is no one with a duty to support her" (in: Driver and 
Miles, The Assyrian Laws, in bibl., 225). Further evidence for 
this definition of almattu is found in the usage of the Akkadian 
almanutu, "lack of support by a male householder" (abstract 
formation of almattu): bel biti imdtma bltu su almanutam illak, 
"The owner of the house will die, and that house will have no 
male to support it" (A. Boissier, Documents assyriens relatifs 
aux presages (1894-99), 5:2; cf. cad, vol. 1, pt. 1 (1964), 362). 
There are only a few cases in the biblical law codes where al- 
manah does not agree with the definition of the Akkadian al- 
mattu. These are the laws concerning the ineligibility of the 
almanah to become the wife of the high priest (Lev. 21:14) or, 
unless she is the widow of a priest, to become the wife of any 
priest (Ezek. 44:22; the rabbis, however, by artificial exegesis, 
make this verse mean the same thing as Lev. 21:14 - ordinary 
priests are not prohibited from marrying any widow): the 
right of the priest s daughter to return to her father's house 
and partake of terumah should she become an almanah (Lev. 
22:13), an d the vow of the almanah being legally binding on 
her (Num. 30:10). In these cases, but only in these, almanah 
must be translated as "widow." Note that in each of these 
cases the term almanah is juxtaposed to terms having to do 
with marital status - betulah, "unmarried woman" (Lev. 21:13, 
Ezek. 44:22) and gerushah, "divorced woman" (Lev. 22:13; 
Num. 30:10; cf. Lev. 22:12; Num. 30:7 ff.). Elsewhere, there is 
a general pronouncement against the mistreatment of the 
almanah (Ex. 22:21) and there are many other cases, where 
the humanitarian nature of the author of Deuteronomy (cf. 
Weinfeld, in bibl.) caused him to prescribe many new laws 
concerning the protection of the ger, "stranger," yatom, "fa- 
therless," almanah, and levite. In these cases, almanot must 
refer to "women once- married who no longer have any means 
of financial support." One may not keep the garment of the 
almanah as a pledge (Deut. 24:17), nor turn back and pick up 
dropped sheaves during harvest time (Deut. 24:19), dropped 
fruit from olive trees (Deut. 24:20), or grapes that have fallen 
off the vine (Deut. 24:21); for these must go to the alma- 
nah and the other classes mentioned above. These socially 
disadvantaged groups must be permitted to partake of the 
third-year tithes (Deut. 14:29; 26:12, 13), the freewill contribu- 
tions made on the occasion of Shavubt (Deut. 16:11), and to 
rejoice during Sukkot (Deut. 16:14). There is also a curse 
against anyone who would subvert the legal rights of these 
disadvantaged groups (Deut. 27:19), and God is described 
as the protector of the rights of these classes (Deut. 10:18). 
It should also be mentioned that some scholars claim that 
there is evidence in the Ugaritic texts for the giving of a spe- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


cial dispensation to the almnt during time of war. However, 
the passages in question from the Keret Epic (i Krt 96-97, 
184-5) are very obscure and have been interpreted by other 
scholars quite differently No conclusions should be drawn 
until some additional evidence of a more concrete nature is 

as title of individuals. The earliest and by far the most 
famous biblical personage given the title of almanah was 
Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah (Gen. 38). When Judah's 
son Er died, leaving Tamar a childless widow, Judah told Onan, 
his secondborn, to live with Tamar as husband and wife so as 
to beget an offspring for his dead brother (see Deut. 25:5-10). 
Onan, bearing in mind the fact that the offspring, whom he 
would have to bring up, would not count as his, practiced only 
coitus interruptus with her (Gen. 38:9). For this, God punished 
him with death, and the responsibility passed on to the third 
and youngest of the three sons, Shelah. However, Judah, fear- 
ing that marriage to Tamar was unlucky, claimed that Shelah 
was too young to fulfill his duty and sent Tamar away to live 
in the house of her own father "as an almanah" (Gen. 38:11). 
Given paragraph 33 of the Middle Assyrian Law Code quoted 
above, it is interesting to note that Tamar was called an alma- 
nah only when Judah, her father-in-law, sent her out of his 
house. It might reasonably be asked whether Tamar would 
have been called an almanah at all had she remained in the 
house of her father-in-law. 

When Shelah grew up and Judah still did not give him 
to her as a husband, she resorted to the following ruse. At a 
time when Judah was likely to be attracted by a sexual op- 
portunity, she removed "her garments of almanah-hood" i.e., 
"the clothes of her status as almanah" and sat down, veiled, 
in a spot where she knew that Judah was to pass and where 
a woman sitting alone was likely to be taken for a prostitute. 
Judah, not recognizing her because of her veil, became her 
customer. When he later learned that his daughter-in-law 
was pregnant, Judah at first ordered that she be burned (Gen. 
38:24). When Tamar, however, privately proved to him that 
he was the father of her child, he publicly declared that not 
she but he was at fault, since her conception through him was 
justified by his failure to give her to Shelah. The legal back- 
ground of the episode is not only Deuteronomy 25:5 ff (levi- 
rate marriage), but also the Middle Assyrian Laws referred to 
above, for only the latter provides evidence that the father- 
in-law has the privilege of deciding to which of his surviving 
sons the widow is to be given or even of taking her for him- 
self. Elsewhere, the woman hired by Joab to play the part of 
an almanah so as to induce David to take back his son Absa- 
lom (11 Sam. i4:iff) claims (verse 5): "I am an almanah. My 
husband died." Both Hiram (1 Kings 7:14) and Jeroboam 1 
(1 Kings 11:26) are designated as sons of an almanah. With 
respect to the latter, who was responsible for the splitting of 
the United Monarchy, there is a very interesting, somewhat 
parallel, Akkadian omen, which occurs many times: mar al- 
mattim kussiam isabbat. "The son of an almattum will seize 

the throne" (A. Goetze, Old Babylonian Omen Texts; Yale Ori- 
ental Series, 10 (1947), 41:30). 

Finally, Elijah is sent by a divine call to the house of an 
almanah whose son he later revives (1 Kings 17). This woman 
is described as having no means of livelihood, living in abject 
poverty, and being on the verge of starvation (1 Kings 17:12). 
Clearly, she is not merely a widow, but rather "a woman once 
married who no longer has the means of financial support." 

TED. From the time of Urukagina of Lagash (c. 2400 b.c.e.), 
there is recorded evidence concerning the special responsi- 
bility of the Mesopotamian king to protect socially disad- 
vantaged groups. In law codes, both in the prologue of Ur- 
Nammu (c. 2100 b.c.e.) and the epilogue of Hammurapi 
(c. 1800 b.c.e.), the king claims to have fulfilled this obliga- 
tion. Hammurapi, for example, states that he wrote his laws: 

dannum ensam ana la habalim 

ekutam almattam sutesurim, 

In order that the mighty shall not wrong the weak, 

In order to provide justice for the homeless girl 

and the once married woman without financial support 

(Epilogue, xxvb:59~62). 

Also the two Ugaritic kings mentioned in the epics are spo- 
ken of as either having fulfilled or not fulfilled this responsi- 
bility. In the Keret epic, King Keret's son twice accuses him of 
neglecting his duties: 

ltdn dn almnt 

Ittpt tpt qsr nps, 

You do not judge the cause of the almnt, 

Nor adjudicate the case of the wretched (11 Krt 6:33-34; cf- 


Ipnk Itslhm ytm 

b c d kslk almnt, 

You feed not the fatherless before you, 

Nor the almnt behind your back (11 Krt 6:48-50) 

Conversely, in the Aqhat Epic, King Daniel is portrayed as a 
righteous king: 

ydn dn almnt 

ytpt tpt ytm 

Judging the cause of the almnt, 

Adjudicating the case of the fatherless (11 d 5:7-8; cf. 1 d 23-25 


Here it should be observed that the parallelism ytm/ / almnt, 
used in two of the above Ugaritic quotations, is also present 
in Hebrew poetry (e.g., Isa. 1:17, 23; Ps. 68:6). Another paral- 
lel pair of words which exist in both Hebrew and Ugaritic is 
Hebrew Jbfo$//^tolfJ (Isa. 47:8, 9) = Ugaritic tkV/ulmn (ss 8-9), 
which is probably to be translated "bereavement//status of be- 
ing an almnt? 

The Hebrew prophets often spoke out against the upper- 
class exploitation of the almanah and the other disadvantaged 
social groups. These protests can be found in the words of First 
Isaiah (e.g., 1:17, 23; 10:2), Jeremiah (e.g., j:6, 22:3), Ezekiel (e.g., 
22:7), Zechariah (7:10), and Malachi (3:5). Perhaps the clearest 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



parallels to the Ugaritic and Mesopotamian evidence quoted 
above, however, are those biblical passages which speak of God 
as the protector of these disadvantaged classes: 

Father of the fatherless, and judge of the almanot is God in his 
holy abode (Ps. 68:6; cf. 146:9). 

as a description of a city. The above definition of alma- 
nah is indirectly supported by those biblical passages in which 
cities are called almanah (Isa. 47:8, 9; 54:4; Jer. 51:5; Lam. 1:1). 
In those passages where the city involved is Israel (Isa. 54:4; Jer. 
51:5; Lam. 1:1), the traditional interpretation has always been 
to translate almanah as some kind of temporary widow whom 
God has left for the time being. This image would correspond 
with the divorce imagery of Hosea concerning God and Israel 
(Hos. 1-3). However, aside from the problem of understand- 
ing what a "temporary widow" is (cf. Rashi, Lam. 1:1), there 
is also the much more severe problem of understanding how 
this imagery could apply to Babylon (Isa. 47:8, 9). However, 
if almanah is understood as referring to a city with no means 
of independent support, i.e., a vassal or tributary nation, all 
cases of this metaphor then make sense. In the case of Babylon, 
the nation which was once "mistress of kingdoms" (Isa. 47:5, 
7) will now become like an almanah. Thus, according to this 
interpretation, "mistress of kingdoms" and almanah are exact 
opposites and Babylon's punishment becomes much more fit- 
ting - she who once subjugated many nations will now become 
subjugated herself. In the case of Israel becoming an almanah, 
in Lamentations 1:1 this interpretation is further corroborated 
by the parallelism in that verse: "She has become like an alma- 
nah/ /She has become like a tributary nation." 

[Chayim Cohen] 

In Jewish Law 

From the legal point of view, a widow is a woman who was 
married in a valid marriage and whose husband has died; if 
any doubt arises as to her widowhood, she will have to prove 
that she was so married (for the origin of the word "widow," 
see Levy, J., Neuhebr Tal, s.v. alman). The rabbis of the Talmud 
exegetically explained the name almanah ("widow") as being 
derived from the words al maneh ("because of the maneh"), 
i.e., because her statutory ^ketubbah is a maneh (= 100 zuz) 
and not 200 as in the case of a virgin (Ket. 10b). 

personal status. A widow is generally free to marry any 
man except a high priest (Lev. 21:14); if she marries the latter 
she becomes a halalah (see *Yuhasin; Lev. 21:15; Kid. 77a; Sh. 
Ar., eh 7:12). For the prohibitions imposed upon her in con- 
sequence of her previous marriage, see Prohibited ^Marriages, 
and for the law prohibiting the widow of a childless brother to 
marry without prior *levirate marriage or halizah. 

rights and obligations. The widow is entitled to the re- 
turn of all her property of whatever kind, since her ownership 
of it is not affected by marriage (see * Husband and Wife; for 
the difference in this respect between the different kinds of 
her property, see *Dowry). In Jewish law a widow does not 
inherit her husband (see ^Succession), but she is entitled to 

her ketubbah and the rights due to her by virtue of its provi- 
sions, which the husbands heirs must satisfy out of the estate; 
the most important of these provisions relate to her mainte- 
nance. She is entitled to the said rights by virtue of her being 
the widow, and it is therefore unimportant whether and to 
what extent she possessed property during the marriage. Her 
said rights arise upon marriage by virtue of law: "a man, upon 
marrying a woman, becomes bound to her in respect of the 
statutory ketubbah.. . and her right to be maintained out of his 
property and to live in his house after his death throughout 
her widowhood" (Maim. Yad, Ishut 12:1; Sh. Ar., eh 59:1-2); 
but they become due only upon her husband's death, since the 
ketubbah is "like a debt payable at some future date and will 
be recoverable only after the husband's death. . ." (Maim. Yad, 
Ishut, 16:3; Sh. Ar., eh 93:1). Since the said rights accrue to the 
widow by virtue of her ketubbah , they do not exist if she has 
lost her right to the ketubbah (see ^Divorce). 

Inasmuch as the rights of the widow arise upon her mar- 
riage and not upon the husband's death, he cannot prejudice 
them by his will, and any testamentary disposition to the ef- 
fect that the widow shall not be entitled to her ketubbah or 
maintenance out of his estate is void (Ket. 68b; Sh. Ar., eh 
69:2; 93:3). No express reference need be made to these rights 
in the ketubbah deed since they arise upon the marriage as a 
condition laid down by the bet din (tenai bet din), i.e., by vir- 
tue of law, although they are based upon her being entitled to 
a ketubbah (Ket. 52b; Sh. Ar., loc. cit). 


estate. According to talmudic law, a widow can enforce 
her ketubbah and its provisions, including maintenance, only 
against the immovable property which forms part of the estate 
(Ket. 81b; Sh. Ar., eh 100:1). However, since the development 
of trade and the decrease of landholding among Jews led credi- 
tors to rely also upon the movables of debtors for repayment 
of their debts, the geonim ordained that the movable property 
of the estate should also be attachable for the widow's rights 
(Tos. Ket. 51a; Rosh to Ket. ch. 6:5; Sh. Ar., eh 100:1). Since 
the time of Maimonides, it has become customary to include 
in every ketubbah deed a provision rendering the husband's 
movable property so attachable, whether acquired at the date 
of the marriage or to be acquired by him thereafter (Maim. 
Yad, Ishut, 16:8; see *Lien). 

CHASERS. The husbands property being subject to the ke- 
tubbah , the widow may, in the event of the estate being in- 
sufficient to cover it, follow the property in the hands of the 
purchasers, i.e., recover the amount of the ketubbah out of im- 
movable property which the husband or his heirs have trans- 
ferred to others. This remedy, however, is not available with 
regard to movables so transferred, since, contrary to the case 
of immovable property, where the purchaser can be required 
first to find out whether the vendor can indeed transfer it free 
from all encumbrances, in the case of movables, owing to 
regulations of furthering commerce (takkanot ha-shuk), that 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


cannot be required lest commercial stability would thereby 
be impaired (Ket. 51a; Sh. Ar., eh 100:1). On the other hand, 
if the husband has transferred his property by way of donatio 
mortis causa (see * Wills), the widow is entitled to be satisfied 
for her ketubbah out of the movable property also, inasmuch 
as in such a case the property has passed upon death, subject 
to her rights which accrued to her already in his lifetime (Sh. 
Ar., hm 252:1, eh 100:1, and Rema ad loc). The rabbis, how- 
ever, also prescribed that for her maintenance the widow can- 
not proceed against purchasers (see above) even in respect 
of immovable property, since the amount to be recovered is 
not a determinate sum but may vary periodically with her 
requirements, and a purchaser cannot know the precise debt 
for which the property is charged (Git. 48b, 50b and Rashi ad 
loc; Sh. Ar., eh 93:20). On the other hand, as in the case of 
the ketubbah, the widow here may also recover from property 
transferred by way of donatio mortis causa (Sh. Ar., hm 252:1, 
eh loc. cit.). The said limitations upon the right of the widow 
to receive her ketubbah and maintenance from the husbands 
property which has been transferred to others do not apply if 
it was transferred fraudulently in order to deprive the widow 
of it, as "the sages of the Talmud set themselves against any- 
one who intends to defraud and negate his act" (Resp. Rosh, 
78:1 and 3). Accordingly, upon proof that the heirs intend as 
a means of evasion to dispose of the immovable property of 
the estate and that her maintenance rights will be prejudiced 
thereby, she may apply to the court for a prohibitory injunc- 
tion against them; but she cannot do so in regard to movable 
property of the estate, since the above-mentioned geonic reg- 
ulation does not extend to such property (Yad, Ishut, 18:11-13 
and Maggid Mishneh thereto; Sh. Ar., eh 93:21). 

the widow's maintenance. The widow is generally en- 
titled to receive the same maintenance as she was entitled to 
receive during the husband's lifetime. The same rules therefore 
apply, e.g., maintenance will include clothing, residence, medi- 
cal expenses, use of household articles, and the like. Similarly, 
the principle also applies that "she rises with him but does not 
descend with him," i.e., that she is entitled to the same stan- 
dard of maintenance she was entitled to during her late hus- 
band's lifetime (Ket. 48a and 103a; Sh. Ar., eh 94:1 and 5). To 
some extent her said right to maintenance is affected by the 
very fact of her widowhood, since the personal relationship 
upon which her rights were based during her husband's life- 
time is now absent, and she is now alone, so that her require- 
ments are reduced. For this reason, although entitled to reside 
in the same apartment in which she lived with her husband, 
she is no longer entitled to occupy the whole of it if she, being 
alone, is not in need of it even in order to maintain her social 
status (Sh. Ar., eh 94:1; Rema ad loc. and commentaries pd 19, 
pt. 2 (1965), 338). Similarly, she is not entitled to transfer own- 
ership of the apartment to others nor to let the whole or part 
of it, since the right of residence is conferred upon her in order 
to enable her to maintain her social status but not to make a 
profit (Sh. Ar., loc. cit.). The right of the widow with regard to 

the apartment is merely to have the use of it; therefore, upon 
her death, it returns to the heirs of the husband only, and does 
not form part of her estate (Beit Shemuel 94, n. 4). 

This right of residence is not affected by sale of the apart- 
ment by the heirs, and the new owner cannot evict the widow 
from it (Sh. Ar., eh 94:4). Where the widow is unable to live 
in the apartment, for instance, if it is destroyed, she is enti- 
tled to receive out of the estate an amount necessary for rent- 
ing another suitable apartment (Helkat Mehokek 94, nos. 6, 
7). If the widow survives with small children of the husband, 
both boys and girls, and the estate is insufficient to maintain 
all of them, her right prevails; if, however, the young children 
surviving with her are either all boys or all girls, they all take 
equally (Ket. 43a and Tos. ad loc; note the alternative opin- 
ion in Sh. Ar., eh 93:4; see also eh 113:6 regarding the prior- 
ity of the widow's maintenance to the right of the daughters 
to their dowry out of the estate, and for the reason for the 
aforesaid distinction, see Beit Shemuel and Helkat Mehokek 

to EH 93:8-9). 


is entitled to maintenance, also for the time prior to her claim, 
since there is no reason to assume that she has waived her 
right to it. This contrasts with the right to maintenance of a 
wife who is entitled to it only as from the date of claim on- 
ward. If the widow has not claimed for a long period - such 
as when, being a wealthy woman, she delays for three years 
or, being poor, she delays for two years - she is presumed to 
have waived the past maintenance unless the presumption 
is rebutted by the facts, such as by the fact of her right hav- 
ing been secured by a pledge or mortgage (eh 93:14 and see 
""Limitation of Actions). 


from her property. Parallel to the rule prevailing during 
the husband's lifetime concerning his right to the wife's earn- 
ings, the heirs are entitled to the widow's earnings in consider- 
ation of her maintenance (Sh. Ar, eh 95:1). On the other hand, 
they are not entitled to the income from her property, as is 
the husband to the income from the wife's property - since to 
the husband it is due in consideration of her redemption only, 
i.e., of his obligation to ransom her if she is taken captive so 
that she can return and live with him as his wife, a reason not 
applicable in respect of the heirs. Correspondingly, the heirs 
are under no obligation to ransom her either when she has 
fallen into captivity or finds herself in a similar situation, for 
instance, when she cannot return from abroad except upon 
payment of a considerable sum which she does not possess 
(Ket. 52a; Yad, Ishut, 18:5 and 8; Sh. Ar., eh 78:8; 94:7; 94:4). 


Since the widow is entitled to maintenance by virtue of the 
provisions of the ketubbah (see above), i.e., only while en- 
titled to the ketubbah , her right to maintenance will expire 
upon her no longer being entitled to the ketubbah, i.e., if she 
has lost her right to it by virtue of law or if she has actually 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



received payment of it from the heirs. Likewise, since one of 
the conditions in law connected with her maintenance is that 
she shall not be "ashamed," i.e., to enable her to preserve the 
honor of her husband, she will lose such right upon her vol- 
untarily claiming her ketubbah in court - for by doing so she 
implicitly declares herself no longer concerned with the honor 
of her husband or with his heirs (Ket. 54a; Sh. Ar., eh 93:5; and 
Helkat Mehokek, n. 13). 

The widow's right to maintenance also ceases if she re- 
marries (see ^Marriage), because under the ketubbah, which 
is the source of her right, she is entitled to maintenance dur- 
ing widowhood only. According to most of the authorities, 
she even loses her maintenance upon her engagement for a 
new marriage - although by it alone she does not create a new 
personal status - because by it she shows that she no longer 
wishes to preserve the honor of her first husband and remain 
his widow (Ket. 52b; 54a; Sh. Ar., eh 93:7 and Rema ad loc). 

TARY receipt of the ketubbah. Since the widow - if she 
has not lost her right to maintenance otherwise (see above) - is 
entitled to maintenance only so long as she has not received 
or claimed her ketubbah by legal process, opinion was divided 
already in the time of the Mishnah as to whether the heirs may 
compel her to receive it and thereby be released from their 
obligation to maintain her. It was finally decided that this 
question depends upon custom, because maintenance of the 
widow is one of the provisions of the ketubbah, and in all mat- 
ters relating to the ketubbah, "local custom," i.e., the custom 
of the place of marriage, applies, such custom being consid- 
ered a condition of the marriage and therefore not to be var- 
ied but with the consent of both spouses (Sh. Ar., eh 93:3 and 
Helkat Mehokek, n. 5). According to the custom of the people 
of Jerusalem and Galilee, the choice lay with the widow alone, 
and therefore they inserted in the ketubbah deed a term, "You 
shall dwell in my house and be maintained in it out of my es- 
tate throughout the duration of your widowhood" (Ket. 52b; 
54a and Tos. ad loc). According to the custom of the people 
of Judea, however, the choice was left with the heirs, and there 
the corresponding term in the ketubbah deed was therefore, 
"until the heirs shall wish to pay you your ketubbah" (ibid.). 
As regards this difference in custom it was said that, while the 
people of Jerusalem cared for their honor, the people of Judea 
cared for their money (tj, 4:15, 29b). The halakhah was de- 
cided in accordance with the custom of Jerusalem and Gali- 
lee, i.e., whenever there is no other fixed custom or rabbinical 
takkanah, the choice lies solely with the widow, and the heirs 
cannot deprive her of maintenance against her wishes (Ket. 
54a and Tos. ad loc; Yad, Ishut, 18:1; Sh. Ar., eh 93:3; and see 
^Conflict of Laws). 

Inasmuch as economic conditions during marriage may 
so change that the estate might be insufficient to provide both 
for the maintenance of the widow and for inheritance for the 
heirs - a state of affairs which the husband certainly did not 
intend - many of the authorities were of the opinion that it is 

proper to make a takkanah permitting the heirs to deprive the 
widow of her maintenance by payment to her (against her will) 
of her ketubbah (Rema eh 93:3 and Pithei Teshuvah thereto, 
n. 5). Accordingly, various takkanot were made in the matter 
and the most well known, cited also in the Shulhan Arukh, are 
those known as the Takkanot of Toledo, Spain, of the 13 th cen- 
tury, which in their main provisions laid down that the heirs 
may discharge their obligation for the widow s maintenance 
by payment unto her of her ketubbah, which, if it amounts to 
more than half the value of the estate, shall be deemed to be 
discharged by payment unto her of half such value (Resp. Rosh 
55; Sh. Ar, eh 118 and commentaries). 

In Erez Israel there is a distinction between the Sephardi 
and Ashkenazi communities. The former follow the author of 
the Shulhan Arukh, i.e., that the choice lies with the widow 
alone and the heirs cannot rid themselves of the obligation 
for her maintenance against her wishes (Sh. Ar., eh 93:3). The 
Ashkenazim permit the heirs to do so by payment unto the 
widow of the ketubbah even if she does not agree to it. That is 
certainly the situation when the widow was the second wife 
of the deceased, but it is also customary with a first wife, al- 
though the rabbinical courts endeavor to get the parties to 
agree to a fair arrangement under which the widow will not 
lose her maintenance. At any rate, the heirs are not entitled 
to evict the widow from the marital home, and she is to be 
provided with the household utensils and silverware forming 
part of the estate, the size of the estate being taken into account 
(Pithei Teshuvah, nos. 5 and 6 to Sh. Ar., eh 93; Shaarei Uzziel, 
2 (1946), 244, nos. 14, 15; Beit Me 'ir, eh 93:3; 94:1). 

the state of Israel. As to the personal status of the 
widow in the State of Israel, the rules of the halakhah gen- 
erally apply, both in the rabbinical courts and in the secular 
civil courts, in the latter except insofar as private international 
law imports other rules. With regard to the widow s financial 
rights, however, the Succession Law of 1965 provides that the 
halakhah shall apply in the rabbinical courts alone, and only 
if all the interested parties have expressed their consent to it 
in writing (sec. 155). Failing such consent, jurisdiction is in 
the civil courts alone, and these apply the provisions of the 
said law only (sees. 148 and 151). Under these provisions the 
widow is entitled to a part of the estate as an heir. In addition, 
if she is in need of it, she is also entitled to maintenance out 
of the estate; the amount of such maintenance is fixed by the 
court, taking into account all the circumstances, and partic- 
ularly to what she is entitled as an heir and the extent of her 
ketubbah (sees. 56-65). 

[Ben-Zion (Benno) Schereschewsky] 

bibliography: G.R. Driver and J.C. Miles, The Assyrian 
Laws (1935); idem, The Babylonian Laws (1952); H.L. Ginsberg, The 
Legend ofKingKeret (1946); M. Held, in: Leshonenu, 18 (1953), 117, 
154-5; A. van Selms, Marriage and Family Life in Ugaritic Literature 
(!954); M. Weinfeld, in: Tarbiz, 31 (1962), 1-17; F.C. Fensham, in: jnes, 
21 (1962), 129-39; A.L. Oppenheim et al. (eds.), The Assyrian Dic- 
tionary of the Oriental Institute (1963), 362-64; A.F. Rainey, A Social 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


Structure ofUgarit (1967). legal aspects: Gulak, Yesodei, 3 (1922), 
38-40, 88-91, 95 f., 99; Gulak, Ozar, 98, 156 f.; et, 2 (1949), 16-20; 4 
(1952), 744; B. Schereschewsky, Dinei Mishpahah (1967 2 ), 236-70; M. 
Elon, in: ilr, 4 (1969), 130-2; Elon, Mafteah, 4L add. bibliog- 
raphy: M. Elon, Ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri (1988), 1:191, 253, 325, 373, 428, 
458, 461, 470, 531, 640, 649, 651, 653, 67if., 6y6, 682f., 689, 692; 3:1413; 
idem, Jewish Law (1994) 1:215, 2 9^> 389, 452; 2:522, 559, 562, 573, 646, 
792, 803, 805, 808, 829 f., 834, 84if., 850, 854; 4:1683; idem, Mamad 
ha-Ishah, Mishpat ve-Shipput, Masoret u-Temurah, Arakhehah shel 
Medinah Yehudit ve-Demokratit (2005) 278-90. 

WIEDENFELD, DOV (1881-1965), roshyeshivah and posek, 
popularly known as the "Tshebiner Rav." Belonging to a prom- 
inent Galician rabbinic family, he received his education from 
his father Jacob, the author of the Kokhav mi-Yaakov (1933), 
and from his own brothers, R. Isaac, the rabbi of Grimailov, 
and R. Nahum, the rabbi of Dubrovitsa. Although widely rec- 
ognized as a scholar, R. Dov refused to enter the rabbinate 
and instead became a businessman in Trzebinia. In 1923, fol- 
lowing the death of Trzebinia's rabbi, Wiedenfeld acceded to 
the requests of the community to become its spiritual leader. 
He now officially opened a yeshivah in Trzebinia which soon 
attracted 70 students, and his opinion in halakhic questions 
was eagerly sought by his colleagues throughout Galicia and 
Poland. Many of his decisions were later recorded in his Dover 
Meisharim (3 vols., 1937-51). During World War 11 he escaped 
from Trzebinia to Lvov and was later exiled to Siberia by the 
Communists. Here, under the most trying conditions, he still 
continued his talmudic studies, recording his new interpreta- 
tions on scraps of paper and pieces of wood. In 1946 Wieden- 
feld arrived in Jerusalem following Chief Rabbi Isaac *Herzog's 
intervention with the British government. There he reestab- 
lished his yeshivah, which he named Kokhav mi-Yaakov and 
continued to respond to the many inquiries on Jewish law 
which he received. Following the death of R. Isaac Zeev *So- 
loveichik in i960, Wiedenfeld was considered the final author- 
ity of his generation by many Orthodox Jews. 

bibliography: B. Landau, Ha-Gabn mi-Tshebin (1967). 

[Aaron Rothkoff] 

WIELICZKA, town in Cracow province, S. Poland, in the 
historic region of *Lesser Poland. Rights to exploit the cele- 
brated salt mines in Wieliczka were leased by Jews, including 
Saul *Wahl, from the 14 th to the end of the 18 th century. How- 
ever, an organized Jewish community was established there 
only in the second half of the 19 th century. The Jewish popu- 
lation numbered 614 in 1890, 981 (15.5% of the total) in 1900, 

and 1,700 in 1921. 

[Abraham N. Poliak] 

Holocaust Period 

On the outbreak of World War 11 there were about 1,300 Jews 
in Wieliczka. The Germans occupied the town on Sept. 7, 1939. 
In summer 1942 the Jews from the whole county were con- 
centrated in Wieliczka. The Jewish community was liquidated 
on Aug. 27, 1942, when 8,000 Jews from Wieliczka and its vi- 

cinity were deported to *Belzec death camp, 500 to Stalowa- 
Wola forced labor camp, and 200 to Plaszow concentration 
camp. After the war the Jewish community of Wieliczka was 
not reconstituted. 

WIELUN (Pol. Wieluri, Rus. Velyun), district town in the 
province of Lodz, Poland. Jewish merchants settled in Wielun 
about the middle of the 16 th century when the town pros- 
pered as a station on the commercial route from Poland and 
Lithuania to Silesia. A privilege, de non tolerandis Judaeis,was 
granted to Wielun in 1566. A Jewish settlement was reestab- 
lished at the close of the 18 th century. There were 70 Jews (6% 
of the population) in Wielun in 1808; 642 (16.5% of the popu- 
lation) in 1857; and 2,732 (38%) in 1897. When the town was 
rebuilt after the great fire of 1858, the head of the local commu- 
nity, Leib Kon, succeeded in thwarting the plans for erecting 
a Jewish quarter. The overwhelming majority of Jews earned 
their livelihoods as craftsmen and a minority engaged in com- 
merce. The first synagogue (1799) was situated in an ancient 
building acquired from a monastery. A large synagogue was 
built in its place in 1855. Until 1848 the Jews buried their dead 
in the cemetery of Dzialoszyn. In the early 1850s, as a result of 
a cholera epidemic, a local cemetery was acquired. From the 
1850s the influence of *Hasidism began to be felt in the com- 
munity. At the close of the century R. Menahem Mendel Gryn- 
berg held rabbinical office. During World War 1 hundreds of 
Jewish workers from Lodz found refuge in Wielun. In 1921 
Jews numbered 4,818 (44% of the population). Between the 
two world wars Jewish craftsmen (65% of the working popu- 
lation in the community) formed trade unions (as builders, 
carpenters, tinsmiths, locksmiths, barbers, etc.). The town's 
transportation was developed by Jewish initiative in provid- 
ing buses and lorries. The community's educational institu- 
tions included a talmud torah, Yesodei ha- To rah, *Yavneh 
schools, a *Beth Jacob school, and a large yeshivah in which 
about one- third of the Jewish pupils studied. Both the ^Zionist 
movement and *Agudat Israel were active in the community, 
and delegates from the Jewish population were an important 
factor in the municipal council. Before the Holocaust there 
were outbreaks of antisemitism in the town: a boycott of Jew- 
ish trade, attacks on the synagogue and its worshipers, and 
there was an attempt to provoke a blood libel (1937). 

[Arthur Cygielman] 

Holocaust Period 

About 4,200 Jews lived in Wielun in 1939. During World 
War 11 the town underwent heavy bombardment and the Jew- 
ish hospital was among the numerous buildings destroyed. The 
ancient synagogue of Wielun was also destroyed and part of 
the Jewish population escaped to the nearby city of *Zelow. 
When that town was occupied by German forces, most of the 
Jews returned and found shelter in barracks and in damaged 
buildings. The Germans soon began to kidnap able-bodied 
Jews in the streets for slave labor in what became daily raids. 
Jewish slave labor was used for the construction and repair of 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



the roads and buildings, and in demolition work (including 
that of the synagogue). Another group of Jews was forced to 
build a swimming pool for the Germans, using tombstones 
from the Jewish cemetery for paving it. Pillage of Jewish prop- 
erty went on without interruption. Even the liturgical objects 
and the library of manuscripts in the synagogue were looted 
by the Nazis. Several hundred Jews from the neighboring vil- 
lages escaped to Wielun, but the Jewish population constantly 
decreased as a result of either "voluntary" or forced transfers 
to other parts of Poland. In February 1942, the Germans pub- 
licly executed ten Jews on the pretext that they violated the 
prohibition against the preparation of kosher meat. In June 
1942, the president of the *Judenrat was murdered by the 
Germans, and during that same summer the ghetto was sur- 
rounded by German police and a large number of Jews were 
deported to an unknown destination. The liquidation of all 
the Jewish communities in Wielun county began on Aug. 22, 
1942, when the entire Jewish population (about 10,000) from 
the neighboring towns and villages were driven to Wielun 
and kept in the Augustine Church without food or water for 
several days. The sick, the weak, and the old were murdered 
in the church, and the rest, together with the Jews of Wielun, 
were sent to the death camp at * Chelmno. Only a small num- 
ber of physically fit were sent to * Lodz Ghetto. 

[Danuta Dombrowska] 

bibliography: R. Mahler, Yidn in Amolikn Poyln in Likht 
fun Tsifern (1958), index: M. Bersohn, Dyplomataryusz dotyczqcy 
Zydow w Polsce (1910), no. 190; J. Goldberg, Stosunki agrarne w mia- 
stach ziemi wietunskiej w drugiej polowie xvii wxviii wieku (i960); W. 
Wilczyriski, in: Informator Wielunski (1934); I. Schiper, Dzieje handlu 
zydowskiego na ziemiach polskich (1937), index. 

WIENER, family of medalists active in Belgium, jacques 
(1815-1899) was the oldest of three brothers who were to 
become famous as medalists. Born in the Rhineland of Hun- 
garian immigrants, he was apprenticed at the age of 13 to 
his uncle L. Baruch, a fine engraver in his own right. The two 
signed some earlier medals jointly. At the age of 30 Wiener 
was the first to conceive the idea of engraving in precise de- 
tail the exterior and interior of a monument on the obverse 
and reverse of a medal. He engraved with great delicacy ten 
medals of famous Belgian churches. This he followed with 
a series of 41 medals, issued between 1850 and 1865, illustrat- 
ing the most famous European buildings. He also engraved 
the first Belgian stamps, and for many years was head of 
the government plant issuing these stamps. Among the hun- 
dreds of medals of this master, there are several of Jewish 
interest, e.g., the 1841 Opening of the Jewish Home for the 
Aged in The Hague and the 1861 Opening of the Synagogue 
at Cologne. 

Leopold (1823-1891) studied with his older brother 
Jacques and then became a pupil of David d'Angers in Paris. In 
1847 he returned to Belgium and started engraving a series of 
large historical medals which commemorated contemporary 
events and became very popular. In 1864 he was appointed first 

engraver to the Belgian mint, holding the post until his death. 
He was responsible for all the currency of Leopold 11 - some 
150 pieces. At the same time he continued striking medals. He 
also had a considerable reputation as a sculptor; several of his 
monumental works still adorn public places in Belgium. One 
medal of special Jewish interest is his 1859 portrait study of 
Henri Loeb, chief rabbi of Belgium. 

Charles (1832-1888) was the third and youngest of the 
Wiener brothers and, perhaps, had the most brilliant career. 
He studied at Brussels and Paris where he was a student of 
Oudine. In 1865 he settled at The Hague as engraver to the king 
of Holland, but moved to London, where he was assistant en- 
graver at the Royal Mint. He then went to Lisbon as chief en- 
graver of the Portuguese coins. Returning to Brussels in 1867, 
Charles devoted himself to medals, which he produced in large 
number, some in conjunction with his brother Jacques. His 
English pieces have best withstood the test of time. Of Jewish 
interest are three portrait medals: E. A. Astruc, chief rabbi of 
Belgium; Jules Anspach, mayor of Brussels; and a dual por- 
trait of Sir Moses and Lady Judith Montefiore. 

[Daniel M. Friedenberg] 

WIENER, ALEXANDER S. (1907-1976), U.S. immunohe- 
matologist. Born and educated in New York, he was appointed 
professor of forensic medicine at the New York University 
School of Medicine in 1938. Together with Karl *Landsteiner, 
Wiener discovered the Rh human blood factor. He also worked 
out in detail the serology, genetics, and nomenclature of the 
entire Rh blood group system. He discovered the Rh blocking 
antibody and was the first to introduce exchange transfusion 
for the treatment of erythroblastosis fetalis. Other blood group 
factors discovered by Wiener include Kell, Ca, U, M e , and the 
I-i blood group system. Wiener wrote books and articles in 
the field of blood groups and acted as a member of the edito- 
rial boards of several leading medical publications. 

bibliography: S.R. Kagan, Jewish Medicine (1952), 273-4. 

[Fred Rosner] 

WIENER, ALFRED (1885-1964), public figure. An Arabist 
by education, he served as secretary to Paul *Nathan from 1911 
to 1914. After serving in World War 1 Wiener became active in 
the cv (*Central-Verein deutscher Staatsbuerger juedischen 
Glaubens) of which he became secretary general. He belonged 
to the pro-Palestine wing of the cv which, from 1929, collabo- 
rated in the non-Zionist part of the enlarged Jewish *Agency 
and the Keren *Hayesod. At the end of 1933, with the help of 
Professor David *Cohen, he founded the Jewish Central In- 
formation Office in Amsterdam which was brought over to 
London in 1939 and was later named Wiener ^Library The 
rest of his life was dedicated to this institute. 

bibliography: C.C. Aronsfeld, in: wlb, 18, no. 2 (1964), 
13-14; idem, in: Theokratia, 1 (1967/69), 144-59; R- Weltsch, in: ylbi, 
9 (1964), xxvin-xxx; A. Paucker, Der juedische Abwehrkampf 


[Yehuda Reshef ] 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


WIENER, ERNEST EDOUARD (1882-1973), Belgian soldier 
and engineer. A grandson of Jacques * Wiener, he was born in 
Brussels to a family which played a prominent role in Belgian 
arts, finance, and politics. He entered the Military Academy 
in 1899. While a lieutenant, he studied electrical engineering 
at the Montefiore Electro-Technical Institute in Liege, from 
which he graduated in 1909. During World War 1, he was ap- 
pointed to important commands and was wounded while try- 
ing to rescue some soldiers under artillery fire. From 1929 to 
1936, he was in charge of studies at the Military Academy, first 
as assistant director and then as director. In 1940, he was a ma- 
jor-general commanding Transmission Troops and Services 
at Supreme Headquarters. As a prisoner of war for five years 
in German camps during World War 11, he showed great dig- 
nity both as a soldier and as a Jew, and when he retired from 
active service in 1946, he was made a lieutenant-general, the 
highest rank in the Belgian Army. 

During his life, Wiener was active in scientific and tech- 
nical societies and was president, inter alia, of the Belgian 
section of the International Electro -Technical Committee. 
Following the family tradition, he became a member of the 
Consistoire Central Israelite de Belgique, the official represen- 
tative body of Belgian Jewry. He was elected president in 1938, 
but could only act as a delegate until 1950, when he assumed 
the post with full title, occupying it until 1956. Most of his ef- 
forts were devoted to the reconstruction of the religious com- 
munities throughout the country and to the reorganization of 
several communal services. General Wiener was decorated by 
the British, French, and Belgian governments. 

[Willy B ok] 

WIENER, HAROLD MARCUS (1875-1929), English Bible 
scholar. Wiener was born in London. Although a lawyer by 
profession, he devoted most of his life to biblical research. He 
settled in Palestine in 1924, believing that a religious renais- 
sance was imminent. His main objective was to minimize the 
conflict between the various religions in the land, and he de- 
voted the last five years of his life to a rapprochement between 
Arabs and Jews. He supported an Arab school and provided 
funds for scholarships for young Arabs. His house was called 
the House of Humanity. Despite these activities, Wiener was 
killed by an Arab gang on Aug. 13, 1929. He said to his attack- 
ers, who did not recognize him, anayahud ("I am a Jew"), and 
these words sealed his fate. 

In his studies Wiener insisted that the Pentateuch was 
written by Moses, but developed a critical method of bibli- 
cal interpretation, by which, using the ancient versions, he 
attempted to establish a correct text. Wiener was prominent 
among those who opposed the J. *Wellhausen school of Bible 
research by scholarly methods. Among his major works are 
Essays in Pentateuchal Criticism (1909); The Origin of the Pen- 
tateuch (1910); Prophets of Israel in History and Modern Criti- 
cism (1923); Early Hebrew History and Other Studies (1924); 
and Posthumous Essays (1932). In addition, the following essays 
were reprinted separately: Notes on Hebrew Religion (1907); 

The Date of the Exodus (1916); The Religion of Moses (1919); 
The Main Problem of Deuteronomy (1920); and Altars of the 
Old Testament (1927). 

bibliography: jl, s.v. (incl. bibl.); Waxman, Literature, 4 

(i960 2 ), 650-3. 

[Yehuda Komlosh] 

WIENER, JEAN (1896-1982), French pianist and composer. 
He was born in Paris to a family of Austrian origin. He stud- 
ied at the Conservatoire de Paris with A. Gedalge. After World 
War 1 he was among the first to defend jazz music in France. 
Between 1920 and 1924 he organized the Concerts Wiener, 
which contributed to making known his friends, the French 
"Group of Six" (Honegger, *Milhaud, Auric, Poulenc, Taille- 
ferre, Durey), as well as the works of M. de Falla, I. Stravin- 
sky A. Schonberg, A. Berg, and A. Webern. It was in that 
framework that D. Milhaud conducted the first performance 
of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire. Along with Clement Doucet 
he formed a piano duo, which gave 2,000 concerts between 
1925 and 1939. His compositions were strongly influenced 
by American jazz, which he helped to popularize in France. 
Among his works are Franco -American Concerto (1922-23), 
piano and violin music, an operetta, and music for the cin- 
ema, theater, radio, and television. 

[Amnon Shiloah (2 nd ed.)] 

WIENER, LEO (1862-1939), philologist and historian of Yid- 
dish language, literature, and folklore. Born in Bialystok, Po- 
land, he studied at the University of Warsaw in 1880, and then 
in Berlin. In 1882 he immigrated to the U.S. He became a lec- 
turer in the department of Germanic and Romance languages 
at the University of Kansas (1892-95), and taught in the De- 
partment of Slavic Studies at Harvard University (1895-1930), 
becoming assistant professor in 1901 and professor in 1911. 
Wiener published articles on Yiddish linguistic elements in 
Polish, German, Ukrainian, and Belorussian (1893-1904). In 
his work The Popular Poetry of the Russian Jews (1899), he not 
only studied Yiddish folk poems but analyzed the poetry of 
badhanim. He was the first to introduce the poetry of Morris 
*Rosenfeld, who had been a sweatshop worker, to the general 
public by translating his poems into English (Dos Liderbukh, 
"The Songbook," 1897) under the title Songs from the Ghetto 
(1898). In 1898, Wiener traveled to Europe to collect material 
for his pioneering volume, The History of Yiddish Literature 
in the Nineteenth Century (1899). I.L. *Peretz encouraged him 
and Abraham Elijah *Harkavy, librarian at the Asiatic Mu- 
seum of St. Petersburg, presented him with a thousand Yid- 
dish books, which formed the basis of the Yiddish collection 
of the Harvard University library. After the turn of the century 
Wiener's interest in Yiddish declined. He compiled a valu- 
able anthology of Russian literature (2 volumes, 1902-03) and 
translated Tolstoy into English (24 volumes, 1904). 
He was the father of Norbert * Wiener. 

bibliography: Rejsen, Leksikon, 1 (1926), 984-6; lnyl, 
3 (i960), 447-9; N. Wiener, Ex-Prodigy; My Childhood and Youth 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



(!953)> S. Niger, Bleter Geshikhte fun der Yidisher Literatur (1959), 

2 83~93- 

[Sol LiptzinJ 

WIENER, MAX (1882-1950), Reform rabbi, author, and theo- 
logian. Born in Oppeln (Germany), he studied at the Uni- 
versity of Berlin, where he received his Ph.D. in 1906, and at 
the Juedisch-theologisches Seminar in Breslau and the Leh- 
ranstalt fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin. He 
was ordained there in 19 08. Wiener served the congregations 
in Duesseldorf, where he was assistant to Rabbi Leo *Baeck 
(1909-12), and then as rabbi in Stettin. He was a chaplain in 
France with the German Army during World War 1. In 1926 
he moved to Berlin where he was a communal rabbi for the 
liberal congregations. He succeeded Julius *Guttmann at the 
Lehranstalt fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums. He was ac- 
tive as a member of the national board of directors of the Jue- 
discher Kulturverband, which was constituted to give work 
to unemployed Jewish artists and musicians by having them 
perform in concerts and theatrical performances, as well as 
lectures for the Jewish community. He was one of the great 
scholars saved by the Hebrew Union College and its vision- 
ary president Julius *Morgenstein, and brought to the United 
States, literally plucked from the fire. Together with other 
scholars, including Abraham Joshua *Heschel, he was in- 
vited to huc, where he became a member of the faculty and 
a congregational rabbi in Fairmont West, Virginia. He later 
moved to Congregation Habonim in New York, which was a 
synagogue in Washington Heights composed of German Jew- 
ish refugees, in what euphemistically became known as the 
"Fourth Reich" in Manhattan. 

Wiener saw the essence of Judaism in the teaching of the 
prophets (Die Anschauungen der Propheten von der Sittlichkeit 
("The Prophetic View of Ethics," 1909)), but he was critical of 
i9 th -century Reform (Juedische Religion im Zeitalter derEman- 
zipation, 1933 - a standard work) and took a position sympa- 
thetic to Zionism and the historical character of Judaism and 
the Jewish people. Wiener also published Juedische Froem- 
migkeit und religioeses Dogma (1924); Religion in dieser Zeit 
(1934); and compiled Abraham Geiger und lib er ales Judentum 
(posthumous 1962). He was on the board of the Reconstruc- 
tionist and served as editor of the Jewish Lexicon (1927; his 
work was adapted for the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia). 

His son Theodore wiener (1918- ) was librarian at 
the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cin- 
cinnati, from 1959, after serving as rabbi in a number of Re- 
form congregations. From 1964 Wiener was supervisor of the 
Hebrew Language Unit in the Descriptive Cataloging Divi- 
sion at the Library of Congress. He published bibliographies 
of Leo Baeck (1954), Samuel *Cohon (1956), and Solomon B. 
Freehof (1964) and was co- translator with E. Spicehandler of 
B. Felsenthals letters to J.H. Schorr (1958). 

bibliography: Liebeschutz, in: ylbi, 5 (i960), 35-57; K.M. 
Olitzsky, L.M. Sussman, and M.H. Stern (eds.), Reform Judaism in 
America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1993). 

[Jakob J. Petuchowski / Michael Berenbaum (2 nd ed.)] 

WIENER, MEIR (1893-1941), poet, novelist, and literary 
critic. Born in Cracow, Wiener received a traditional and 
secular education and was influenced by his tutor, Ben-Zion 
Rappaport. During World War 1 he studied at the universities 
of Basel and Zurich, later living in Vienna, Berlin, and Paris 
(1918-26). After immigrating to the Soviet Union in 1926, he 
became a Soviet citizen, living and working in Kharkov, Kiev, 
and, from 1933, Moscow. During World War 11 he volunteered 
for the Soviet army and was killed near the city of Vyazma 
during the defense of Moscow. Until his departure for the 
Soviet Union he wrote mostly in German, including Messias 
("Messiah," 1920), a collection of mystical meditative elegies; 
Die Lyrik der Kabbalah ("The Lyric of the Kabbalah," 1920), a 
selection of Hebrew religious poetry in free translation with 
introductory notes; Von den Symbolen ("On Symbols," 1924), 
an aesthetical-philosophical treatise; political articles, philo- 
sophical essays and book reviews, mostly on Jewish subjects, 
published in the periodicals Jerubbaal y Esra y Der Jude y Me- 
norahy Wiener Morgenzeitung and others. Together with H. 
*Brody he published Mivhar ha-Shirah ha-Ivrit ("Selection 
of Hebrew Lyric," 1922) from the Middle Ages, with his own 
Hebrew introduction. He began writing Yiddish poetry and 
fiction in the early 1920s, but was unable to find a publisher 
for his works outside the Soviet Union. His extensive literary 
activity up to 1926, which also includes the expressionistic 
Yiddish novel Ele Faleks Untergang ("Ele Falek's Downfall"; 
written in Berlin in 1923, published in Kharkov 1929), reflects 
his search for a mode of expression adapted to the conceptual 
and emotional struggle of the young Jewish intelligentsia be- 
tween the world wars. He attempted to define Jewish identity 
and destiny while vacillating between spiritual Zionism and 
Martin *Buber , s teaching on the one hand, and social political 
radicalism and expressionistic trends in art and literature on 
the other. He probed deeply into traditional Hebrew poetry 
and Jewish mysticism and their human and religious signifi- 
cance for modern people in general, and the Jews in particu- 
lar. His personal and ideological disappointments, lack of a 
sense of mission, and absence of a place in the intellectual life 
in Western and Central Europe, as well as his contacts with 
leftist circles in Berlin and Vienna, including Soviet Yiddish 
authors Leyb * Kvitko and *Der Nister, caused him to immi- 
grate to the Soviet Union, where he concentrated his energy 
and talents on Yiddish literature. His main work there was 
devoted to the research and publications of the Jewish scien- 
tific institutes in Kharkov, Kiev, and Moscow in the 1920s and 
1930s, where he also played an important role as counselor, 
editor, and teacher. He headed the Department of Yiddish 
Language and Literature at Moscow State Pedagogical Insti- 
tute (1934-38) and directed and participated in the editing of 
Yiddish literature ranging from folk-song collections and the 
anonymous comedy Di Genarte Velt y to the writings of Solo- 
mon *Ettinger, Israel *Axenfeld, Sholem Yankev *Abramovitsh, 
and *Sholem Aleichem. His editions have served as models 
ever since; his prefaces to these editions were collected along 
with additional articles and published in his book Tsu der Ge- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


shikhte fun der Yidisher Literatur in Nayntsentn Yorhundert 
(2 vols., 1945-6 2 ). Although this book had not been planned 
as a comprehensive study, it is, together with his later book, 
Vegn Sholem Aleichems Humor (1941), one of the most nota- 
ble achievements of criticism and investigation of i9 th -cen- 
tury Yiddish literature. Wieners books evince penetrating 
knowledge of the subject against a broad literary and cul- 
tural background, but also show the authors dependence on 
Marxist conceptions and Soviet ideological trends predomi- 
nant at the time. He also published works on Marxist liter- 
ary theory, theoretical problems in folklore, and criticism of 
such contemporary Yiddish writers in Russia and abroad as 
H. Leyvick, David *Bergelson, Perez *Markish, Leib Kvitko, 
and Itzik *Kipnis. Despite his declared allegiance to Marxist 
criticism, he had to defend himself in 1932 against critics who 
accused him of "dangerous deviationism." Towards the end of 
the 1930s, the emphasis of his research shifted from the socio- 
logical aspects of literature towards the issues of style and psy- 
chology of literary characters. He continued to write fiction, 
including the story of Cracow Jews in the 17 th century, Kolev 
Ashkenazi (1934, 1939 2 ) and the unfinished novel Baym Mitl- 
lendishn Yam ("At the Mediterranean Sea," 1936) set in Ven- 
ice of the first half of the 17 th century. Some of Wiener s works 
were published posthumously in *Sovetish Heymland: the 
story Los Khudios ("The Jews"; 10, 1968), and his fascinating 
memoirs which include vivid descriptions of his family and 
the Jewish Cracow of his childhood and youth (9, 10, 1969). 
But his major novel, tentatively titled Der Groyser Roman 
("The Great Novel"), portraying the Jewish literary and artis- 
tic scene of Berlin of the early 1920s in which Wiener actively 
participated, remains unpublished. 

bibliography: lnyl, 3 (i960), 449-50; Ch. Shmeruk (ed.), 
Pirsumim Yehudiyyim bi-Verit ha-Moazot (1961), index; 466; G. 
Scholem, in: Der Jude, 6 (1921), 55-69; N. Mayzel, in: Yidishe Kultur, 
1 (1965), 17-27; E. Rosenthal, in: Di Goldene Keyt, 66 (1969), 63-96. 
add. bibliography: E. Shulman, in: Pinkasfar Forshungfun der 
Yidisher Literatur un Prese, 2 (1972), 77-144; M. Krutikov, in: R. Rob- 
ertson and J. Sherman (eds.), The Yiddish Presence in European Lit- 
erature: Inspiration and Interaction (2005), 73-86. 

[Chone Shmeruk / Mikhail Krutikov (2 nd ed.)] 

WIENER, NORBERT (1894-1964), U.S. mathematician; 
inventor of the science of cybernetics. Born in Columbia, 
Missouri, Wiener was a child prodigy. He was the son of Leo 
* Wiener, historian of Yiddish language, literature, and folk- 
lore and professor of Slavic languages, who made incessant 
intellectual demands on his son (and who did not reveal their 
Jewishness - a fact discovered by Norbert Wiener only when 
he was in his teens). Wiener began to read scientific books 
at four, and by seven was familiar with the theories of natu- 
ral scientists, such as Darwin, and with psychiatrists such as 
Charcot and Janet. He entered Tufts University at 11, and ob- 
tained his Ph.D. at Harvard University at 18. At Cambridge, 
England, he studied under such world-famous personalities 
as the philosopher Bertrand Russell and the mathematician 

G.H. Hardy. Wieners main innovation as a mathematician 
was to develop a mathematics based upon imprecise terms 
reflecting the irregularities of the physical world. He sought 
to reduce these random movements to a minimum in order to 
bring them into harmony. During World War 11, he applied his 
concepts to work connected with antiaircraft defense, and this 
led to advances in radar, high-speed electric computation, the 
automatic factory, and a new science he created called cyber- 
netics, a word he coined from the Greek word for "steersman," 
meaning the study of control. This followed his attempt as a 
mathematician to find the basis of the communication of in- 
formation, and of the control of a system based on such com- 
munication. Wiener suggested the use of cybernetics in diag- 
nostic procedures and indicated the similarity between certain 
types of nervous pathology and servomechanism (goal-di- 
rected machines such as guns which correct their own fixing 
malfunctioning). His book Cybernetics (1948) was a scientific 
bestseller and transformed him into a public figure as the pio- 
neer of computer development. For the last 17 years of his life 
he refused to take part in any military research. His book The 
Human Use of Human Beings (1950) sought to alert the lay- 
man to the dangerous social consequences of his theories. He 
wrote an autobiography in two parts: Ex-Prodigy (1953) and I 

Am a Mathematician (1956). 

[Maurice Goldsmith] 

WIENER, PHILIP PAUL (1905-1992), U.S. philosopher. 
Born in New York, Wiener taught at City College from 1933. 
He was a founder of the Journal of the History of Ideas (1940) 
and was its executive editor. In i960 he became the vice presi- 
dent of the International Society for the History of Ideas, and 
in 1958-59 was the president of the Peirce Society. Wieners 
interest was in examining the development of ideas in terms 
of their cultural connections and relationships. 

He wrote Evolution and the Founders of Pragmatism 
(1949) and Readings in Philosophy and Science (1953); He ed- 
ited works on the history and philosophy of science, on the 
history of ideas, and on C.S. Peirce, and translated works from 
the French. His edited works include Leibnitz Selections (1951); 
Roots of Scientific Thought (with A. Noland, 1957); Ideas in Cul- 
tural Perspective (with A. Noland, 1962); Charles S. Peirce: Se- 
lected Writings (1966); Renaissance Essays (with P. Kristeller, 
1968); Basic Problems of Philosophy (et al., 1972); The Diction- 
ary of the History of Ideas (1973); and Violence and Aggression 
in the History of Ideas (1974). 

add. bibliography: J. Miller, Evolution and the Founders 
of Pragmatism (1950). 

[Richard H. Popkin / Ruth Beloff (2 nd ed.)] 

WIENER, SAMUEL (1860-1929), Hebrew bibliographer. 
In 1887 Samuel Wiener was called upon by the Royal Acad- 
emy of Sciences in St. Petersburg to work in its department of 
Hebrew and Yiddish books at the Asiatic Museum attached 
to the Academy. He assisted Moses Aryeh Leib *Friedland 
(1825-1899), the wealthy St. Petersburg communal worker and 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



philanthropist, in acquiring and arranging a large and valu- 
able collection of Hebrew books and manuscripts entrusted 
to the Asiatic Museum in 1892. 

His large bibliographical work Kohelet Moshe (Biblio- 
theca Friedlandiana), which lists all the books in Hebrew 
characters of the Asian Museum, remained unfinished; the 
first seven volumes, covering the letters alef to kaf and a total 
of 5,507 entries, were published (1893-1918), and the eighth 
volume, containing the letter lamed, was edited by Joseph 
Bender, and published in 1936. This bibliography is unequaled 
in Hebrew for its accuracy and itemization. In his work Reshi- 
mat Haggadot Pesah ("List of Passover Haggadot" 1901), Wie- 
ner describes about 900 Passover Haggadot. He also edited 
and completed the work of I.T. Eisenstadt, Da'at Kedoshim 

bibliography: A. Marks, in: Hadoar, 8 (1929), 387 8; A. Tau- 
ber, in: ks, 6 (1930), 108; lnyl, 3 (i960), 451-2; E. Simon, in: Mittei- 
lungen der Soncino-Gesellschaft, 6 (1930), 27-28. 

[Gedalyah Elkoshi] 

WIENER GESERA, persecutions of Jews in * Vienna and its 
environs in 1421. The early 15 th century was a period of rising 
hatred of the burghers of Vienna against the Jews, kindled in 
part by Jewish wealth. The *Hussite heresy had widespread 
reverberations in Austria at the time, and it was generally 
held that Jews and Hussites maintained close contact. Duke 
Albert v, inclined to religious fanaticism and disturbed by the 
Hussite rebellion, was also deeply in debt to Jewish money- 
lenders and without the means of repayment. At Easter 1420 
a rumor was spread among the population of Vienna that a 
rich Jew named Israel had bought consecrated *Hosts from 
the wife of a Church sexton in Enns, and distributed them 
among other Jews who desecrated them. The Jews who were 
implicated were brought to Vienna, imprisoned, and tortured. 
On May 23, 1420, the Jews were rounded up in all the cities 
and towns of Austria and their possessions taken from them. 
The wealthy were imprisoned in Vienna, while the poor were 
put into boats without oars on the Danube at the mercy of the 
stream. Some Jews were held captive in houses, others in the 
synagogues. Children were separated from parents and hus- 
bands from wives, and an attempt was made to convert them 
to Christianity. The rabbis of Italy appealed to Pope Martin v 
for his intervention on behalf of the Jews of Austria. He re- 
acted by threatening with excommunication anyone who 
forced Jews to convert. Nonetheless, many of the children 
taken from their parents were carried off to monasteries and 
there forcibly converted. A great many of those imprisoned 
committed suicide, including those held in the synagogues; 
the last one alive, R. Jonah, set fire to the corpses and died 
on the funeral pyre. The Jews who were left, 120 women and 
92 men, were burned at the stake on March 12, 1421. All the 
property of the Jews passed to Duke Albert. The stones of the 
synagogue were used in building the university. Some Jews es- 
caped to Bohemia; a very few managed to maintain an illegal 
existence in Austria. The proud Vienna community number- 

ing between 1,400 and 1,600 existed no longer, and the city 
became known in Jewish tradition as "Ir ha-Damim" ("The 
City of Blood"). 

bibliography: S. Krauss, Die Wiener Gesera (1920); M. 
Grunwald, Vienna (1836), 34-37: A. Zehavi-Goldhammer, in: Arim 
ve-Immahot be-Yisrael, 1 (1946), 191-3; O.H. Stowasser, Zur Geschichte 
der Wiener Gesera von 1421 (1920). 

[B. Mordechai Ansbacher] 

WIENER LIBRARY, Jewish information institute in London, 
founded in 1934 in Amsterdam as the Jewish Central Informa- 
tion Office, by David Cohen, its president, and Alfred *Wie- 
ner, its director. The aim of the institute was to communicate 
material on the realities of ^national socialism to Jewish orga- 
nizations and leaders for effective action with the authorities 
of their respective countries. It collected, inter alia, Nazi news 
publications (up to the end of World War 11). The institute sup- 
plied information for the defense of David * Frankfurter and 
for the trial of the publishers of The Protocols of the Elders of 
Zion in Switzerland. At the end of 1938 a special collection of 
material on the November Kristallnacht was initiated. In the 
spring of 1939 the seat of the institute was transferred to Lon- 
don. The Amsterdam branch and most of its personnel be- 
came victims of the Nazis. During World War 11 the library 
collaborated with the British authorities and the bbc. Special 
stress was laid on the collection of material on war criminals, 
which was supplied to the International Military Tribunal 
in Nuremberg. In recognition of these services the library 
received the bulk of the copies of prosecution documents. In 
1946 a bi-monthly, The Wiener Library Bulletin, was initiated. 
With volume xix, no. 3 (1965), its publication ceased, but 
it was replaced by a new publication under the same title 
with a change in interests and contents. The 19 volumes are 
a treasure of information on Nazism, Fascism (including 
neo-Nazism and neo- Fascism), Jewish affairs, and the Holo- 
caust in particular. After the death of Alfred Wiener in 1964, 
Walter Z. * Laqueur became director of the library. He inau- 
gurated the Journal of Contemporary History (1966), catalogs 
of the book collection, and monographs on the library's re- 
search subjects. Four catalogs of the library had been previ- 
ously published. 

[Yehuda Reshef ] 

At the end of 1974 it was announced that the Wiener 
Library would be transferred to Tel Aviv University; the move 
was completed in 1980 with a microfilm library, covering 
periodicals, press archives, and rare books, to be maintained 
in London. From 1974 to 1980 Tel Aviv University contrib- 
uted to the maintenance of the library in London. Despite the 
move of some of its holdings to Israel, it continues as the 
Institute of Contemporary History and Wiener Library, at 
Devonshire Street in central London. It contains one of 
the largest libraries of books and archives relating to the Ho- 
locaust period in Europe, over 50,000 items. Its director in 
2005, Ben Barkow, was the author of Alfred Wiener and the 
Making of the Holocaust Library (1997). The Library pub- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


lishes a newsletter and other works and holds lectures and 

bibliography: J. Robinson and P. Friedman, Guide to Jewish 
History under Nazi Impact (1960), 108-9; Wiener Library; The Wie- 
ner Library, Its History and Activities, 1934-1945 (1946); R. Weltsch, 
in: ylbi, 9 (1964), xxix-xxx. 

WIENER NEUSTADT, city in Lower Austria. Jews were liv- 
ing there soon after the city's foundation in 1192. Gravestones 
in the Jewish cemetery date from 1252 and 1261. In 1277 the 
rights of the Jews in the city were somewhat curtailed, but the 
Jewish community developed, flourishing in particular in the 
15 th century. In proximity to the synagogue were a square, a 
garden, and a poorhouse. The name of one communal leader, 
Joseph b. Moses Knoblauch, who "did many good deeds for 
the congregation," is mentioned in Leket Yosher (ed. by J. Fre- 
imann, 2 (1903), 40). In 1416, when the Jews of Wiener Neus- 
tadt were ordered to pay more than one-fifth of their income 
in taxes, a "communal regulation was drawn up for collection 
of the tax by two persons in authority and the other scholars 
among them" (Israel Isserlein, Terumat ha-Deshen). The Jews 
of Wiener Neustadt took part in its defense, and their rabbi 
"would permit them to do all manner of work on the Sabbath 
to protect [the city] from its enemies, in accordance with the 
instructions of the gentile citizens and noblemen" (Leket Yo- 
sher, pt. 1, 68). 

From the mid-13 th century on, many noted rabbis lived in 
Wiener Neustadt, including *Hayyim b. Moses; Moses *Taku; 
*Hayyim b. *Isaac; R. Shalom; Isaac *Tyrnau; and Israel *Is- 
serlein. There was an important yeshivah there during the 15 th 
century. In the second half of that century John *Capistrano 
visited Wiener Neustadt and preached against the Jews. After 
several anti- Jewish decrees, the Jews were expelled from the 
city in 1496. The synagogue was converted into a church. Refu- 
gees from Oedenburg (Sopron), Hungary, settled in the city in 
the early 18 th century, totaling 535 persons in 1708. However, 
clerical agitation and popular pressure forced them to leave 
soon afterward. Jewish peddlers and merchants, mainly from 
nearby *Burgenland, continued to visit the city but they were 
not allowed to stay overnight. In 1848 J.H. Friedenthal settled 
in Wiener Neustadt, and by 1869 there were 173 Jews living 
there. Permission to open a cemetery was not granted until 
1889. A Moorish-style synagogue was built in 1902; it served 
1,059 persons in 1923 when Rabbi H. Weiss officiated. 

In the early 1930s there were 1,300 Jews. In May of 1938, 
there were 347. During Kristallnacht (Nov. 9-10, 1938) homes, 
furniture, and bank accounts of Jews were confiscated by the 
S.A.; the Jews there who did not emigrate were expelled or 
transported to Vienna. In January 1968 three Jews lived in 
Wiener Neustadt. 

bibliography: Germania Judaica; M. Pollak, Ju den in Wie- 
ner Neustadt (1927); S. Eidelberg, Jewish Life in Austria in the xv th 
Century (1962); L. Moses, Juden in Niederoesterreich (1935), index; 
mhj, 4 (1938), index s.v., Newnstat, 6 (1961); 8 (1965); 9 (1966), in- 
dex s.v. Becsujhely. 

[Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson] 

WIENIAWSKI, HENRI (1834-1880), Polish violinist and 
composer. Born in Lublin, Wieniawski entered the Paris Con- 
servatory at the age of eight and three years later won the 
first prize in violin. After his first concert in St. Petersburg in 
1848, he appeared in Finland, the Baltic provinces, and Po- 
land. After further study in Paris (1849), he toured Europe 
with his brother Joseph, pianist, and in 1850 was appointed 
solo violinist to the czar. He taught at St. Petersburg for a 
year and then toured the U.S. with the pianist Anton ^Ru- 
binstein from 1872 to 1874. From 1874 to 1877 he taught in 
Brussels. Wieniawski's perfect technique, combined with 
warmth and delicacy, gained him wide admiration. After 
the fashion of other virtuosos, he also composed many works 
for the violin, including two concertos and his popular Le- 
gende, which he frequently played with his brother. His mu- 
sic is notable for its Slavic idiom and temperament, often ex- 

His brother, Joseph (1837-1912), studied in Paris and 
later in Weimar under Liszt. From 1866 he taught at the Mos- 
cow Conservatory and founded his own piano school. After 
a sojourn in Warsaw, where he directed the Music Society, 
1875-76, he settled in Brussels and became professor at the 
conservatory. His works include a piano concerto, waltzes, 
mazurkas, and Etudes. 

bibliography: J. Reiss, Henryk Wieniawski (Pol., 1931); I. 
Yampolski, Genrik Venyavskiy (Rus., 1955); L. Delacroix, Joseph Wie- 
niawski (Fr., 1908); mgg, s.v.; Grove, Diet., s.v. 

[Meir Katz] 

WIERNIK, PETER (1865-1936), U.S. Yiddish journalist. Wi- 
ernik was born in Vilna, but emigrated to the U.S. in 1885 and 
settled in Chicago, where he wrote for the Yiddish Chicago 
Daily Courier. From 1901 to 1936 he was editor for New York's 
most important Yiddish daily, the Jewish Morning Journal. His 
editorials, possessed of intelligence, good taste and tolerance, 
advocated a fusion of modern Orthodoxy and Americanism, 
and evinced a coolness to political Zionism and hostility to 
socialism. In addition to Yiddish, he also wrote in Hebrew 
and English, and was for a time editor of the Amerikaner. Be- 
sides the editorials, Wiernik's most important work was his 
History of the Jews in America (1912; 1931, reprinted 1972). His 
Yiddish autobiography, written in 1934, appeared weekly in 
the Morning Journal, Sept. 2-Dec. 23, 1951. He was also active 
in communal matters and was a member of the executive of 
the Joint Distribution Committee. 

bibliography: Reisen, Lexicon, 1, 990-93, lnyl, i-ii, 


[Joseph Hirsch (2 nd ed.)] 

WIERNIKORSKI, JUDAH (1823-1901), Russian rabbi. Born 
in Slonim, Judah was known as an illui ("child prodigy"). At 
the age of 10, he is said to have been completely conversant 
with three of the six orders of the Talmud: Moed, Nashim, and 
Nezikin. At the age of 11, he married a cousin and remained in 
his father-in-law's house until he was 13. He then went to study 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



with R. Isaac of Volozhin and in 1840 under R. Israel * Lip kin 
in Vilna. Deciding to devote himself to teaching rather than 
accept a rabbinical appointment, Judah was given the posi- 
tion of rosh yeshivah of Slonim by R. Joshua Isaac in 1861. He 
remained there until 1900 when he immigrated to Erez Israel 
to spend his last days. He died in Jerusalem. 

His works include Penei Yehudah, novellae on the trac- 
tates Shabbat and Ketubbot (1870); Leket Yehudah, sermons 
(1872); and Penei Yehudah on Bava Kamma and Keritot (1890). 
The manuscript of his Penei Yehudah on Pesahim and a com- 
mentary on the Sefer ha-Bahir ascribed to *Nehunya b. ha- 
Kanah were burnt in a fire in his town. 

bibliography: Ahi asaf, 9 (1901), 428-9. 

WIERUSZOWSKI, HELENE (1893-1978), German-U.S. his- 
torian. Born in Elberfeld, her career in historical research was 
ended in 1933 by the Nazis. After teaching in Spain and Italy, 
she emigrated to the United States in 1940. In 1949 she joined 
the history faculty at City College, New York, becoming the 
first full-time female member of City Colleges department of 
history. Her most important books are Vom Imperium zum 
nationalen Koenigtum (1933), The Era of Charlemagne (with 
S. Easton, 1961), The Medieval University (1966), and Politics 
and Culture in Medieval Spain and Italy (1971). She wrote an 
essay on "Peter von Aragon und die Juden; Eine Politik des 
gerechten Ausgleichs" (in Estudis Universitares Catalans, 22 
(1936), 239-62). 

add. bibliography:E. Polak, A Medievalist's Odyssey: He- 
lene Wieruszowski, Scholar (2004). 

WIESBADEN, city in Germany. Individual Jews lived in 
Wiesbaden in the 14 th and 15 th centuries. During the 16 th cen- 
tury the local count gave them protection against the opposi- 
tion of the city. In 1620 a number of Jewish refugees arrived 
there but had to leave after six years. Other Jews, however, 
were permitted to reside there from 1638. They numbered 
five families in 1697, nine in 1724, and 11 in 1747. At that time 
a synagogue, cemetery, and a bathhouse were established. The 
countess Charlotte in 1732 prohibited the establishment of fur- 
ther synagogues, the public discussion of religion, and profits 
on moneylending exceeding 5-6 percent. By 1803 there were 
14 Jewish families living in Wiesbaden and 42 in the vicinity. 
Abraham *Geiger introduced his first reforms while acting 
as rabbi there (1832-38). Forty Orthodox families established 
an independent community in 1876. The Jewish population 
numbered 990 in 1875; 2,744 (2.5 percent of the total) in 1910; 
3,088 (3 percent) in 1925; 2,713 (1.7 percent) in 1933; and 1,232 
(0.7 percent) in 1939. The teacher and reader of the adjacent 
community of Biebrich was the celebrated scholar Seligmann 
*Baer. The community maintained a number of educational 
and welfare institutions, including a "Lehrhaus" for Jewish 
adult education. 

After the rise of the Nazis to power, the Jews of Wies- 
baden suffered persecution like those in the rest of Germany. 
The synagogues were burned in 1938. In 1942, 1,100 Jews were 

deported from Wiesbaden; during August 1942, 40 Jews com- 
mitted suicide. 

In 1965 there were 350 Jews living in Wiesbaden (0.1 per- 
cent of the total population). A new synagogue was opened 
in 1966. The Jewish community numbered 319 in 1989; 400 
in 1990; and 692 in 2004. The increase is explained by the 
immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union. A small 
museum, financed by the city, has an exhibition of the Jewish 
history of Wiesbaden. 

bibliography: P. Lazarus, Die juedische Gemeinde Wies- 
baden 1918-1947, (1949); H. Thomae (ed.), Weg und Schicksal. Aus der 
Geschichte der Wiesbadener Juden (1966); Germania Judaica, 2 (1968), 
904; 3 (1987), 1642-43; Festschrift zur Fuenfzigjahrfeier des Synagogen- 
Gesangvereins zu Wiesbaden (1913). add bibliography: B. Post 
(ed.), Juden in Wiesbaden. Von der Jahrhundertwende biszur (< Reichs- 
kristallnacht" (1988); D. Lottmann-Kaeseler (ed.), Osteuropaeisches Ju- 
dentum in Wiesbaden (1991) (Begegnungen,vol. i);L. Bembenekand 
H. Dickel, "Ich bin kein deutscher Patriot mehr, jetzt bin ich Jude," in: 
Die Vertreibung juedischer Buerger aus Wiesbaden (1933 bis 1947) (1991); 
H-G. Buschmann and E. Vollmer, Die sieben juedischen Friedhoefe Wi- 
esbadens (1997). website: 

[Zeev Wilhem Falk] 

WIESEL, ELIE (Eliezer; 1928- ), journalist, novelist, pro- 
fessor, human rights activist, and Nobel Peace Prize recipi- 
ent. Born in Sighet, Romania, in a town that became part of 
Hungary in 1940, Wiesel was raised in a fervently Orthodox 
and hasidic milieu. Prior to 1944, life in Sighet seemed nor- 
mal, at least to a young studious boy. The Germans invaded 
Hungary in March 1944, Jews were ghettoized in April, and 
in May 1944, Elie, his parents, and three sisters were deported 
along with the rest of Sighet s Jews to Auschwitz, where his 
mother and younger sister were killed and he survived with 
his father and two older sisters. He remained in Auschwitz 
until the infamous death marches of January 1945 and then 
was forcibly evacuated to Buchenwald, where his father died 
from exhaustion, starvation, and despair. After his liberation at 
the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 11, 1945, he was 
among the 400 Jewish war orphans transferred by the Oeu- 
vre de Secours aux Enfants (Children's Aid Society) to France, 
where he was later reunited with his older sisters, Hilda and 
Bea. From 1948 to 1951, he studied philosophy, psychology, and 
literature at the Sorbonne, and continued his Jewish learning 
with a talmudic scholar named Shushani, a figure who later 
would appear in a number of his novels and lectures. He sup- 
ported himself by writing for the French newspaper IJArche 
and the Israeli daily Yedioth Aharonoth. Wiesel was drawn to 
the writings of the contemporary French existentialists Al- 
bert Camus, Andre Malraux, and Jean- Paul Sartre, and the 
Catholic writer Francois Mauriac, who encouraged the young 
reporter to write about the suffering of the Jews in the Nazi 
death camps. 

Wiesel had in fact taken notes of his experiences and 
thoughts from the first days of his liberation, even while recov- 
ering in the hospital. He felt compelled "to trace the tragedy 
back to its origins and causes," but fearing that the event was 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


"so profound that it cannot be transmitted at all," he vowed 
to wait ten years before publishing a book on the subject. 
In 1956, the same year he left Paris and settled in New York, 
Wiesel's 250-page abbreviated memoir of life in the camps, 
Und di Velt hot Geschvign ("And the World Was Silent"), ap- 
peared in Buenos Aires. An abridged version, translated from 
Yiddish to French (La Nuit) with an introduction by Francois 
Mauriac, was issued in 1958, and two years later in English 
(Night). A classic in Holocaust literature that is widely used in 
high schools and colleges, Night paved the way for publication 
of other first-person accounts by Shoah survivors, whom Wi- 
esel recalls "were afraid or shamed to broach the subject." 

Night was followed by two novels, L'Aube (i960; Dawn, 
1961) and Lejour (1961; The Accident, 1962), both dealing with 
the postwar experiences of Holocaust survivors. Writing in 
French, Wiesel established his characteristic themes and sto- 
rytelling style in three subsequent novels: La ville de la chance 
(1962; The Town Beyond the Wall, 1964), Lesportes de laforet 
(1966; The Gates of the Forest, 1966), and Le mendiant de Jeru- 
salem (1968; A Beggar in Jerusalem, 1970), which won the Prix 
Medicis in Paris. Wiesel also publicized the plight of Soviet 
Jews in a nonfiction account based on his visit to the Soviet 
Union, Les Juifs du silence (1966; The Jews of Silence, 1966). 

Wiesel's essays on the importance of memory and the 
struggle against injustice in a post-Holocaust world are in- 
cluded in several collections: Le chant des morts (1966; Legends 
of Our Time, 1968), Entre deux soleils (1970; One Generation 
After, 1970), Un Juifaujourd'hui (1977; A Jew Today, 1978), and 
the three-volume collection, edited by Irving Abrahamson, 
Against Silence: The Voice and Vision ofElie Wiesel (1985). His 
later essay collections include From the Kingdom of Memory 
(1990) and After the Darkness (2002). His autobiography ap- 
peared in two volumes: Tous les fleuves vont a la mer (1994; 
All Rivers Run to the Sea, 1995) and Et la mer nest pas remplie 
(1996; And the Sea Is Never Full, 1999). 

Drawing on his childhood hasidic roots, Wiesel based 
several books on the stories and folklore of famous rebbes, 
their religious struggles and the battles they waged against de- 
spair: Celebration hassidique (1972; Souls on Fire, 1972), Four 
Hasidic Masters (1978), and Contre la melancolie: celebration 
hassidique 11 (1981; Somewhere a Master, 1982). From 1967, 
Wiesel gave an annual lecture series at New York's 92 nd Street 
Y, popularizing Jewish learning and the midrashic style of 
teaching. These and other lectures, which focus on portraits 
of biblical, rabbinic, and hasidic figures, are collected in Cele- 
bration biblique (1975; Messengers of God, 1976), Images from 
the Bible (1980), Five Biblical Portraits (1981), Silences et me- 
moire d'hommes (1989), Sages and Dreamers (1991), and Wise 
Men and Their Tales (2003). 

Wiesel wrote two plays - Zalmen, ou lafolie de Dieu 
(1968; Zalmen, or the Madness of God, 1974) and Leproces de 
Shamgorod (1979; The Trial of God, 1979), and a cantata, Ani 
Maamin (music by Darius Milhaud, 1973). The idea of The 
Trial of God came from an event he witnessed in Auschwitz - 
a bet din called to put God on trial for failing to act. This play, 

with its perplexing, unanswered questions, generated consid- 
erable dialogue with Christian theologians. As Wiesel wrote 
in Night, "I did not deny God's existence, but I doubted His 
absolute justice." Many of Wiesel's works question God's si- 
lence, but even more, they question human silence in the face 
of persecution and injustice. 

Wiesel wrote several essays emphasizing the importance 
of historical memory, particularly in reaction to Holocaust de- 
niers and anti-Zionists. "Anyone who does not actively, con- 
stantly engage in remembering and making others remem- 
ber," he wrote, "is an accomplice of the enemy." For Wiesel, the 
Holocaust is "the ultimate event" that has changed everything 
that follows and consequently should change our response to 
human suffering. This theme reverberates through his later 
novels: Le serment de Kolvillag (1973; The Oath, 1973), Le tes- 
tament dun poete juif assassine (1980; The Testament, 1981), 
Le cinquieme fils (1983; The Fifth Son, 1985), Le crepuscle, au 
loin (1987; Twilight, 1988), Lbublie (1989, The Forgotten, 1992), 
Lesjuges (1999; The Judges, 2002), and Le temps des deracines 
(2002; The Time of the Uprooted, 2005). His books are written 
in French, and many were translated into English by his wife, 
Marion (married 1969; they have one son, Elisha). 

Wiesel has taught the humanities, religion, philosophy, 
and literature at several colleges and universities, including 
City College, City University of New York from 1972 to 1976, 
Yale University from 1982 to 1983 as a Henry Luce Visiting 
Scholar, and Boston University in 1976. As a survivor, au- 
thor, professor, and public figure (he was the chairman of the 
United States President's Commission on the Holocaust, then 
founding chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial 
Council in Washington, d.c), Wiesel has leveraged his moral 
authority in support of the State of Israel, Soviet Jewry, and op- 
pressed peoples everywhere. He brought world attention to the 
plight of Miskito Indians in Nicaragua, Cambodian refugees, 
South Africans under apartheid, Muslims in Bosnia, Tutsis 
in Rwanda, Sudanese in Darfur, and other victimized groups. 
Wiesel was also a vocal critic of those who would dishonor the 
memory of the victims by the denial, trivialization, or political 
exploitation of the Holocaust. His most famous intervention 
came on April 19, 1985, on the occasion of President Ronald 
Reagan's presenting him with the United States Congressional 
Gold Medal. Wiesel publicly implored the president to cancel 
his planned visit to the cemetery in Bitburg, Germany, where 
members of the ss are buried. Speaking "truth to power," 
Wiesel stated, "that place is not your place, Mr. President. Your 
place is with the victims of the ss." 

Wiesel received a number of international honors, in- 
cluding the Nobel Peace Prize (1986); Grand-Croix de la Legion 
d'Honneur (France, 2001); Gra-Cruz da Ordem Nacional do 
Cruzeiro do Sul (Brazil, 2001); Order of Merit of the Republic 
of Hungary (2004); the King Hussein Award of the Hashem- 
ite Kingdom of Jordan (2005); and more than 100 honorary 
degrees from universities worldwide. 

In awarding him the Peace Prize, Nobel Committee 
Chairman Egil Aarvik characterized Wiesel as "a man who 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



has gone from utter humiliation" to become a "messenger to 
mankind... to awaken our conscience, because our indiffer- 
ence to evil makes us partners in the crime." In 1987, using his 
Nobel Prize money, he and his wife, Marion, established the 
Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, which organizes inter- 
national conferences in pursuit of strategies to combat hatred 
and indifference. 

Refusing to surrender to despair, Wiesel's literary works 
and public activism continue to stress "the importance of re- 
maining human in an inhumane world, of affirming hope in 
man - in spite of man." 

[Aron Hirt Manheimer and Bonny V. Fetterman (2 nd ed.)] 

WIESELTIER, MEIR (1941- ), Hebrew poet and translator. 
Born in Moscow, Wieseltier came to Israel as an eight- year- old 
child. He grew up in Netanyah and later studied English litera- 
ture, history, and philosophy at the Hebrew University. In the 
early 1960s, having spent some time in England and France, 
he became one of the leading figures of the so-called "Tel Aviv 
Circle" (with Yona *Wallach and Yair Hurvitz) which sought 
to break with the ironic, impersonal, and non-political writ- 
ing of poets such as Nathan *Zach and imbue Hebrew poetry 
with a refreshing, avantgardist and experimental spirit. Wie- 
seltier was co-founder of the literary magazine Siman Keriah. 
His first collection of poems, Perek Alef, Perek Beit ("Chapter 1, 
Chapter 2"), appeared in 1967, followed two years later by Meah 
Shirim ("100 Poems"). Other collections include Kah ("Take 
It," 1973), Davar Optimi, Asiyat Shirim ("Something Optimistic, 
The Making of Poems," 1976), Penim va-Huz ("Interior and Ex- 
terior," 1977), Moza el ha-Yam ("Exit into the Sea," 1981), Kizzur 
Shenot ha-Shishim ("The Concise Sixties," 1984), Ii Yevani 
("Greek Island," 1985), Mikhtavim ve-Shirim Aherim ("Letters 
and Other Poems," 1986), and Mahsan ("Storehouse," 1994). 
Wieseltier s poetry is subjective, often unconventional in dic- 
tion and tone, and occasionally deliberately full of pathos. Loss, 
death, and the ambiguities of the human predicament are the 
major themes of his oeuvre. Underlying some of the poems is 
a pronounced disdain for bourgeois norms and superficial ide- 
ologies and at the same time an ambivalent relationship to Tel 
Aviv, the city in which he resides. His "poetry of iconoclasm," 
as it was once defined, shows the influence of French surreal- 
ism and of modern Anglo-American poetry. Wieseltier is also 
known as one of the finest translators of English, French, and 
Russian poetry into Hebrew. He translated a number of Shake- 
spearean tragedies and novels by Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, 
and Charles Dickens. In 2000 he was awarded the Israel Prize 
for literature. A collection of selected poems in English trans- 
lation appeared under the title The Flower of Anarchy in 2003; 
individual poems have been translated into various languages. 
Further information concerning translation is available at the 
ithl website at 

bibliography: E. Sharoni, "Poem-Making as Life's Way of 
Struggle," in: Modern Hebrew Literature* 3:3 (1977), 41-47; Y. Hurvitz, 
"Ha-Shabt ha-Gedolot ve-ha-Temunah ha-Nidahat" in: Siman Keriah, 
7 ( 1 977)> 464-67; O. Bartana, "Lo Navi be-Doro," in: Davar (Septem- 

ber 21, 1984); Y. Besser, "Ha-Raav le-Millim ve-Koved ha-Adamah" 
in: Yedioth Aharonoth (August 7, 1981); M. Perri, "Kol ha-GufPanim" 
in: Siman Keriah, 18 (1986), 402-12; G. Moked, "A/ Mikhtavim' shel 
M. Wieseltier" in: Akhshav, 51-54 (1986), 548-51; Y Oppenheimer, 
"Dibbur ke-Davar Optimi: Al M. Wieseltier" in: Hadarim, 6 (1987), 
70-80; Sh. Yaniv, "Wieseltier and the Evolution of the Modern He- 
brew Ballad," in: Prooftexts, 9:3 (1989), 229-46; A. Hirschfeld, "Mul 
ha-Even ha-Kashah ha-Mitkatevet" in: Efes Shetayim, 2 (1993), 34-43; 
S. Nash, "Elohim ve-Adam be-Shirat M. Wieseltier," in: Hadoar, 81:10 
(2002), 27-29; N. Buchwitz, "Shittut be-Merhav Lo Mukar: Safah Po- 
etit Hadashah bi-Khtivato shel Wieseltier ha-Zair" in: Alex Siah, 48 

• • • * 

(2002), 106-21; idem, u Ha-Postmoderniyyim ha-Rishonim" in: Gag, 

10 (2004), 26-43. 

[Anat Feinberg (2 nd ed.)] 

WIESENTHAL, SIMON (1908-2005), the worlds most fa- 
mous "Nazi -hunter," the personification of the efforts to bring 
Nazi war criminals to justice after World War 11. Born in the 
Galician city of Buczacz, then part of the Austro-Hungarian 
Empire and after World War 1 part of independent Poland (to- 
day located in Ukraine), Wiesenthal was forced to study ar- 
chitectural engineering at the Technical University in Prague 
due to restrictive Polish quotas on Jewish students. After com- 
pleting his studies, he returned to Poland, obtained certifica- 
tion as an architect, and began working in his profession in 
the (then) Polish city of Lwow (Lvov). 

During World War 11, Wiesenthal was incarcerated in 
nine concentration and labor camps, among them Janowska, 
Plaszow, Auschwitz, Gross-Rosen, and Mauthausen, from 
which he was liberated, barely alive, on May 5, 1945, by the 
United States Army. During the course of the war, he narrowly 
escaped death several times, and twice attempted to commit 
suicide to avoid being tortured. It was these close encoun- 
ters with almost certain death, and his conviction that many 
Jews far more worthy than himself had perished in the war, 
to which he attributed his strong motivation to lend signifi- 
cance to his own survival. A postwar incident, shortly after 
liberation, in which Wiesenthal was beaten by a former kapo 
in Mauthausen, who was summarily punished by the Ameri- 
can commander of the camp, who assured the Jewish survi- 
vor that the supremacy of the rule of law had been restored, 
deeply influenced his decision to abandon his profession and 
devote his life to the efforts to facilitate the prosecution of 
Holocaust perpetrators. 

Wiesenthal began his career with the War Crimes Unit 
of the U.S. Army in Austria and later, in 1947, established the 
Jewish Historical Documentation Center in Linz, where he 
collected the testimonies of hundreds of Holocaust survivors. 
In 1954, however, Wiesenthal closed the center due to waning 
interest in the prosecution of Nazi war criminals, which he pri- 
marily attributed to the growing tensions of the Cold War. In 
his opinion, the perpetrators of the Holocaust were the biggest 
beneficiaries of the hostility between the superpowers, which 
severely limited the efforts to bring them to justice. He sent 
his files to Yad Vashem, and went to work for Jewish organi- 
zations assisting refugees from Eastern Europe. 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


In 1961, however, following the *Eichmann trial in Jeru- 
salem, Wiesenthal opened the Documentation Center in 
Vienna and resumed his efforts to bring Nazi war criminals to 
justice, a mission which he continued virtually until his death. 
Although he played no role in the actual capture of Eichmann, 
who was kidnapped by the Mossad in Argentina in i960 and 
brought to Israel to stand trial, Wiesenthal gained interna- 
tional stature due to his connection to the case. In 1947 he 
had prevented Eichmanns wife, Vera, from having Eichmann 
declared officially dead by an Austrian court (which would 
have led to the removal of his name from the lists of wanted 
criminals) and was the first to point to Argentina as his pos- 
sible haven. After he closed his office in 1954, Eichmanns file 
was the only one he kept. 

Over the years, Wiesenthal played a crucial role in the 
exposure and apprehension of numerous Nazi war crimi- 
nals, many of whom were prosecuted and punished. Among 
his most famous cases were those of Treblinka and Sobibor 
commandant Franz Stangl, whom he tracked down to Bra- 
zil; notoriously cruel Majdanek guard Hermine Braunsteiner 
Ryan, whom he found in the United States; Sobibor deputy 
commander Franz Gustav Wagner (Brazil); and Karl Silber- 
bauer (Austria), the Gestapo operative who arrested Anne 
*Frank and her family in their hiding place in Amsterdam. 
In addition, Wiesenthal played a prominent role in the ulti- 
mately successful worldwide efforts to convince the West Ger- 
man government not to impose a statute of limitations on the 
prosecution of Nazi war criminals whose implementation was 
scheduled to go into effect in 1979. 

Throughout his life, Wiesenthal stressed the impor- 
tance of remembering the crimes of the Holocaust and pre- 
serving the accuracy of the historical record. In that respect, 
he achieved worldwide status as a spokesperson for both the 
survivors and the victims of the Holocaust, an achievement 
which perhaps surpasses his role as a "Nazi-hunter." His ac- 
complishments in this role were largely significant during the 
1950s and 1960s, when there was little public interest in the 
subject of the Holocaust. 

Wiesenthal's work was guided by three major principles: 
the primacy of the rule of law, his refusal to categorize people 
by their religion or ethnic origin, and the importance of not- 
ing the fate of the Nazis' non- Jewish victims. Thus he stead- 
fastly opposed revenge attempts, emphasized the fact that the 
nations that produced killers also had Righteous Gentiles, and 
consistently stressed the fact that the Jews were not the Nazis' 
only victims. These points found expression in the numerous 
books he wrote, especially in his best-known works, The Mur- 
derers among Us (1970) and Justice Not Vengeance (1989). In 
The Sunflower (1970) and the novel Max and Helen (1982), he 
explored the themes of forgiveness and reconciliation. 

A stubborn defender of his views, Wiesenthal was in- 
volved in two well-publicized controversies, one with Austrian 
chancellor Bruno * Kreisky, whom he criticized for including 
former Nazis in his government, and a second with the World 
Jewish Congress, which questioned his apparent lack of en- 

thusiasm for their campaign to prosecute Austrian president 
(and former un secretary-general) Kurt Waldheim for war 
crimes he ostensibly committed during World War 11. Various 
detractors accused him of claming credit for the achievements 
of others, particularly in the Eichmann case. 

In 1979, the *Simon Wiesenthal Center was established 
by Rabbi Marvin *Hier in Los Angeles. While a separate or- 
ganization, its high-profile activities, both in the fight against 
antisemitism and the continued efforts to bring Nazi war 
criminals to justice, have added to Wiesenthal's international 
stature and fame, though his association with the organiza- 
tion that bore his name was limited. The recipient of numer- 
ous honors, doctorates, and prizes, his efforts to perpetuate the 
memory of the victims and hold their killers responsible were 
most appreciated during his last years, when public interest in 
the Holocaust reached unprecedented heights. 

[EfraimZuroff(2 nd ed.)] 

WIESNER, JEROME BERT (1915-1994), U.S. electrical engi- 
neer and educator; president of the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology (mit). Wiesner, who was born in Detroit, Michi- 
gan, was associate director of the broadcasting station at the 
University of Michigan from 1937 to 1940 and assisted in de- 
veloping modern electronic techniques for use in the speech 
department. In 1940 Wiesner was appointed chief engineer of 
the Acoustical and Record Laboratory in the Library of Con- 
gress. During World War 11, he was consecutively: associate 
leader of the radio frequency development group at mit's ra- 
diation laboratory; project engineer of a key radar develop- 
ment program; group leader of Project Cadillac which was as- 
signed to devise an airborne radar system; and a member of 
the Los Alamos Laboratory staff (1945). Wiesner returned to 
mit as assistant professor (1946), and subsequently held sev- 
eral other university posts before being appointed provost in 
1966. In 1971 he was named its president - the first Jew to be 
appointed to that position, which he held until 1980. He was 
a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee 
(1957), served as staff director of the American Delegation to 
the Geneva Conference for the Prevention of Surprise Attack 
(1958), and in 1961 was appointed special assistant for science 
and technology by President Kennedy. From 1962 to 1964 he 
was director of the Office of Science and Technology. Wiesner 
played an important role in the development of the concept of 
scatter transmission and in the application of statistical meth- 
ods to communications engineering. He was a member of the 
board of governors of the Weizmann Institute from 1964, and 
advised on education and science policy in Israel. He wrote 
Where Science and Politics Meet (1964). 

WIESNER, JULIUS VON (1838-1916), Austrian botanist. 
Born in Moravia, Wiesner showed an early bent for botany, 
publishing his first scientific paper, on the flora of the vicin- 
ity of Brno, when he was hardly 16 years old. After receiving 
his Ph.D. at the age of 22, he taught plant physiology at the 
Vienna Polytechnic Institute and at Mariabrunn. In 1873, Wies- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



ner was made professor of plant anatomy and physiology at 
the University of Vienna, where he remained for 36 years, un- 
til his retirement in 1909. Wiesner was one of the founders of 
modern economic botany 

His major work in this area was Die Rohstoffe des Pflan- (1873), a comprehensive treatment of the worlds 
plants as sources of gums, resins, fibers, and other economi- 
cally valuable products. No less outstanding were Wiesner s 
contributions to basic botanical science. He did important re- 
search on the effect of light on plants, on the process of chlo- 
rophyll formation, and on the power of movement in plants. 
In his Die Elementarstructur und das Wachstum der lebenden 
Substanz (1892), Wiesner put forward a theory (now only of 
historical interest) that the cell is not the ultimate unit of life 
but is composed of simpler elementary units, which he called 

bibliography: K. Linsbauer et al. (eds.), Wiesner und seine 

Schule (1903); Molisch, in: Berichte der deutschen botanischen Gesell- 

schaft, 34 (1916), 88-99. 

[Mordecai L. Gabriel] 

WIEVIORKA, ANNETTE (1948- ), historian. She was 
born in Paris to a Jewish family of Polish origin. Her grand- 
father Aby was a noted Parisian Yiddish poet and a transla- 
tor from Yiddish into French. In her youth, Wieviorka was 
a convinced Maoist who went to China with her husband 
and her son, and worked as a French teacher in Canton, be- 
tween 1974 and 1976. She wrote a book about her experience 
in China (Lecureuil de Chine, 1979). A high school teacher in 
Paris from 1976 to 1990, she started doing research in French 
history and opened a new field, the history of collective mem- 
ory of the Holocaust in France. Her important dissertation 
on the making of the memory of deportation in France just 
after the liberation, published in 1992, proved to be a path- 
breaking work. In her book she thoroughly studied the way 
French public opinion discovered the atrocities of the Nazi 
camps, and how the French administrations and the French 
army helped in liberating the camps. In addition, she focused 
on the reception of the very first testimonies given in France 
by Jewish survivors. In her complete scanning of these testi- 
monies, she argued that, far from being shy of testifying, the 
survivors were immediately active in trying to describe the 
horror they had witnessed and had gone through, but that 
nobody was then ready to hear their statements: the hand- 
ful of survivors wrote numerous books, which were not read. 
With the passing of time, the French leaders were ready to ac- 
knowledge the sufferings of Resistance fighter deportees, more 
of whom survived their deportation as they were not sent to 
Auschwitz. The historian concluded that "Buchenwald masked 
Auschwitz." As a researcher Wieviorka entered the National 
Center for Scientific Research (cnrs) in 1990, and she con- 
tinued her work on the memory of the Holocaust in France. 
Among many other books, she wrote a short work, The Era of 
the Witness (Here du temoin, 1998; English, 2006), in which she 
asserted the central role of witnesses in the remembrance of 

the Shoah in contrast to works of scientific research. Starting 
in 1961 with the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, she described 
this trend up to the early 21 st century, when the words of an 
Auschwitz survivor are almost sanctified. Between 1997 and 
2000, she was a member of the official commission, appointed 
by the prime minister, in charge of searching for looted Jewish 
assets and properties in France. An advocate for the rights of 
Jewish families to fully recover what had been taken, she ex- 
plained the necessity of this research to appease the tensions 
that arose in France. In France, Wieviorka is a public figure, 
who regularly appears in the media to explain the Holocaust 
to a wider audience. Her short book on Auschwitz, targeting 
a teenage audience, Auschwitz explique a mafille (1999), is a 
worldwide bestseller, translated into a dozen languages. Her 
publications include Les livres du souvenir, memoriaux juifs de 
Pologne (1983); Le proces Eichmann (1989); Deportation et ge- 
nocide, entre la memoire et Ibubli (1992); Mille ans de cultures 
ashkenazes (ed. et al., 1994); Passant, souviens toi... (1995); Le 
Proces de Nuremberg (1995); Les Proces de Nuremberg et de To- 
kyo (1996); and Auschwitz, 60 ans apres (2005). 

[Jean-Marc Dreyfus (2 nd ed.)] 

WIGNER, EUGENE PAUL (1902-1995), Nobel laureate in 
physics. Wigner was born in Budapest and was one of a small 
number of extraordinarily talented Hungarian- born physi- 
cists who contributed to the transformation of Newtonian 
physics. Wigner obtained his doctorate from the Technische 
Hochschule (later Universitaet) in Berlin in 1925, where his 
contacts with physicists of equal standing were established at 
colloquia of the German Physical Society. He worked at a Kai- 
ser Wilhelm Institute, followed by the University of Goettin- 
gen, until his recruitment by Princeton University in 1930, a 
move precipitated by his early perception of the Nazi menace. 
In 1936-38 he worked at the University of Wisconsin before 
returning to Princeton. He moved to the University of Chi- 
cago (1942-45) to contribute to the Manhattan Project, before 
becoming director of research and development at the Clinton 
Laboratories (later Oak Ridge National Laboratory) (1946-48). 
However, from preference for teaching and research, he re- 
turned to Princeton for the rest of his career. His main inter- 
ests in theoretical physics concerned quantum mechanics and 
nuclear reactions but later became more philosophical. He was 
awarded the Nobel Prize in 1963 (jointly with Maria Goeppert- 
Mayer and Hans Jensen) for the invariance principle, which 
concerns the rules governing observable physical events. He 
was also a practical engineer. His involvement in the Manhat- 
tan Project arose from his fear that the Nazis might develop 
nuclear weapons, and he helped to prepare Einstein's letter to 
President Roosevelt. He contributed to the design of the first 
experimental fission reactor in Chicago and the first reactor 
for plutonium production at Hanford. His honors included 
the U.S. Medal of Merit (1946), the Fermi Prize (1958), the 
Atoms for Peace Award (i960), and the U.S. National Medal 
of Science (1969). In 1970 he was elected a fellow of the Royal 
Society and other learned societies, including the National 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Art and 
Sciences. He was a member of the General Advisory Com- 
mittee to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission from 1952 to 
1957, was reappointed to the Committee in 1959, and served 

on it until 1964. 

[Michael Denman (2 nd ed.)] 

WIGODER, BASIL THOMAS, BARON (1921-2004), Brit- 
ish lawyer. Wigoder was born in Manchester, son of Philip 1. 
Wigoder, a prominent local Zionist, and educated at Manches- 
ter Grammar School and Oxford. At Oxford he was president 
of the Union. After his military service in World War 11, he 
joined the Liberal Party and unsuccessfully contested a num- 
ber of elections. From 1963 to 1965 he was chairman of the Lib- 
eral Party executive and in 1965-66 of the Liberal Party Orga- 
nizing Committee. He ceased much of his political activity in 
the mid-1960s and concentrated on his legal work, acquiring 
recognition through his appearances in leading criminal cases. 
In 1966 he was made a Queen's Counsel and in 1971 a Recorder 
of the Crown Court. In 1974 he was created a life peer, and 
served as Liberal Whip in the House of Lords. 

WIGODER, GEOFFREY (1922-1999), editor. Born in Leeds, 
England, Wigoder was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, 
Oxford, Jews' College, London, and the Jewish Theological 
Seminary, New York. In 1949 he settled in Jerusalem. He was 
director of Israeli radio's Overseas Broadcasts, founder- direc- 
tor of the Oral History department and Jewish Film Archives 
in the Hebrew University's Institute of Contemporary Jewry, 
historical adviser to the Diaspora Museum (Beth Hatefut- 
soth) in Tel Aviv, and founder-director of the Steven Spielberg 
Film Center at the Hebrew University. In 1991 he was visit- 
ing professor of Modern Jewish Studies at the University of 
Manchester. Wigoder succeeded Cecil Roth as editor in chief 
of the Encyclopaedia Judaica in 1970 (having previously been 
deputy editor in chief) and edited its year books from 1981 
and the cd-rom edition. He is author of Abraham ben Hayyas 
Meditation of the Sad Soul, The Story of the Synagogue, Jewish- 
Christian Relations after World War n, and Jewish Culture. He 
edited many reference works, including The Standard Jewish 
Encyclopedia, Dictionary of Jewish Biography, Encyclopedia of 
Judaism, The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion (with 
R.J.Z. Werblowsky), New Encyclopedia of Zionism and Israel, 
Illustrated Dictionary and Concordance of the Bible, Jewish Art 
and Civilization, and the three-volume Encyclopedia of Jewish 
Life Before and During the Holocaust. 

Wigoder was one of the pioneers in the field of interfaith 
relations and Jewish-Christian dialogue. He served as the 
Israeli representative of the International Jewish Committee 
for Inter- Religious Consultations for over 20 years, becoming 
its chairman late in life. 

WIHL, LUDWIG (1807-1882), German poet and journalist. 
Born in Wevelinghofen, near Aachen, Wihl received a good 
Jewish education and then studied philosophy and Oriental 

languages. His doctoral thesis on Phoenician inscriptions so 
impressed his teacher at the Munich University, the philoso- 
pher F.W von Schelling, that he was recommended for a pro- 
fessorship. As he refused to abandon Judaism, the post was 
denied him, and he had to earn his living as a journalist. Wihl 
contributed to the periodicals of the Young Germany move- 
ment, especially to *Gutzkow's Phoenix. After the publication 
of his first volume of poems in 1836 he visited Paris. There he 
met * Heine, about whom he wrote in unflattering terms, and 
Heine's retaliatory attack was so vicious that it destroyed Wihl's 
reputation as a poet. During the revolution of 1848 Wihl pub- 
lished an article which was so outspoken that he had to flee 
to France to escape a prison sentence. He taught German lit- 
erature and philosophy at Grenoble until the outbreak of the 
Franco- Prussian War in 1870, when he sought a final refuge 
in Brussels. 

Wihl's works include Geschichte der deutschen National- 
literatur (Altona, 1840); Westoestliche Schwalben (Mannheim, 
1847), a collection of verse; and Le mendiant pour la Pologne 
(Paris, 1864), poems in French and German. 

bibliography: L. Fraenkel, in: adb, 42 (1897), 469-72 (incl. 
bibl.); T. Zlocisti, in: Ost und West, 1 (1901), 269-70. 

[Sol Liptzin] 

WIJNKOOP, DAVID (1876-1941), Dutch Communist. Born 
in Amsterdam, Wijnkoop was the son of the Amsterdam rabbi 
Joseph David (1842-1910), who manifested himself as a a rebbe 
of the people," a position, which led to a serious break with 
the chief rabbi of Amsterdam, J.H. Diinner (1833-1911). This 
conflict was one of the factors which turned his son, David, 
into a rebel. David Wijnkoop, future first leader and talented 
propagandist of Dutch Communism, was attracted to Marx- 
ism as a student. At first he joined the Labor Party (sdap) 
and in 1905 he became a member of its executive. But as one 
of the founders of the radical-Marxist newspaper De Tribune 
he was expelled from the party. In 1909 Wijnkoop founded 
his own social democratic party, initially called the Social 
Democratic Party, which became the Communist Party of 
Holland (cph; later: cpn) in 1918. He was the cph's chair- 
man and sat in the Second Chamber of parliament from 1918 
to 1940 as a Communist representative. He was also a mem- 
ber of the Amsterdam municipal council and the North Hol- 
land provincial council. Between 1925 and 1930 Wijnkoop 
became involved in a heated party struggle and was dropped 
by Moscow. He then founded an independent Communist 
Party. In 1930 the two parties fused after Wijnkoop publicly 
confessed his guilt. 

Though David Wijnkoop is said to have expressed his 
support for the Second Zionist World Congress, in 1898, 
this sympathy was short-lived. In 1903, in protest against the 
^Kishinev pogrom, the Dutch Zionist Movement and the 
Labor Party (sdap) each organized a protest. It was Wijnkoop 
who, on behalf of the sdap, gave a Marxist interpretation of 
the Russian anti- Jewish violence. According to him the po- 
grom was both an expression of the conflict between peasant 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



and moneylender, and an instrument of the czarist regime to 
suppress the revolutionary tide. 

After his comeback in 1930 Wijnkoops position within 
the cph was fairly weak. He died in May 1941, a few months 
after the February strike against the Nazis in Amsterdam, and 
was accompanied to his grave by hundreds of people. 

bibliography: A.J. Koejemans, David Wijnkoop. Een mens 
in de strijd voor het socialisme (1967); L. Giebels, De zionistische be- 
weging in Nederland 1899-1941 (1975); S. de Wolff, Voor het land van 
belofte. Een terugblik op mijn leven (1978); A.F. Mellink, in: Biografisch 
Woordenboek van het Socialisme en de Arb eider sbeweging in Neder- 
land, 1(1986) 155-59; H. de Liagre Bohl, Met al mijn bloedheb ik vooru 
geleefd. Herman Gorter 1864-192/ (1996); E. Gans, De kleine verschil- 
len die het leven uitmaken. Een historische studie naarjoodse sociaal- 
democraten en socialistisch-zionisten in Nederland (1999); J.W. Stutje, 
De man die de weg wees. Leven en werk van Paul de Groot 1899-1986 
(2000); Gt Voerman, De meridiaan van Moskou. De cpn en de Com- 
munistische Internationale, 1919-1930 (2001). 

[Evelien Gans (2 nd ed.)] 

WILBUSCHEWITZ, family of pioneers in Erez Israel. The 
head of the family, ze'ev wilbuschewitz, was a landowner 
who lived near Grodno, Lithuania, and whose children joined 
the Zionist movement. His eldest son, isaac, went to Erez 
Israel with the *Bilu group in 1882, but contracted yellow fever, 
returned to Russia, and drowned in the Neimen River, geda- 
liah wilbuschewitz (1865-1943), a mechanical engineer, 
went to Erez Israel in 1892 and was a founder of a machine 
and metal- casting factory in Jaffa. This was the first Jewish 
enterprise of its kind in the country. During World War 1 
he served as chief engineer of Jamal Pashas headquarters in 
Damascus. After the war he worked as an engineer in Haifa. 
He published "Mi-Zikhronot Halutz ha-Taasiyyah ha-Ivrit" 
in Sefer ha-Aliyah ha-Sheniyyah (1947). moshe wilbus- 
chewitz (1869-1952), a chemical engineer and inventor, 
improved the margarine production process and invented a 
type of whole-meal bread (lehem hai). He went to Palestine 
in 1919 and was one of the founders of the Shemen edible-oil 
products factory in Haifa. He held novel opinions on meteo- 
rology and climatology and established a special laboratory 
bearing his name at The Hebrew University campus on Mount 
Scopus in order to engage in research in this field, nahum 
wilbush (wilbuschewitz; 1879-1971) was a mechani- 
cal engineer. He moved to Erez Israel in 1903 and founded 
Atid, the first edible-oil factory in the country, at first situ- 
ated in Ben Shemen and later in Haifa. He was a member of 
the Zionist Organizations delegation to East Africa to sur- 
vey the possibilities for Jewish settlement in Uganda, and his 
book Ha-Massa le-Ugandah (1963) is a diary of this journey. 
During World War 1, he served as an engineer in the Turkish 
army and was responsible for supplying water to the forces 
stationed in the Damascus region. Their sister was Mania Wil- 
buschewitz *Shochat. 

bibliography: Tidhar, 2 (1947), 939, 95054 (1950), 1705: 5 

(1952), 2430. 

[Yehuda Slutsky] 

WILCHEK, MEIR (1935- ), biophysicist. Born in Warsaw, 
Wilchek saw his youth disrupted by World War 11, which he 
spent in Russia, mostly in Siberia. His family came to Israel 
in 1949 and eventually settled in Rehovot where he finished 
high school. He received his doctorate from the Weizmann 
Institute and joined the department of biophysics, becom- 
ing professor in 1974 and later chairman. He was awarded 
numerous prizes, including the Rothschild prize for chemis- 
try in 1987, the Wolf Prize for medicine in 1987, and the Israel 
Prize in life sciences (1990) for his discovery and develop- 
ment of the technology of chromotographic linkage. He was 
a foreign associate of the U.S. Institute of Medicine and Na- 
tional Academy of Science and a member of the Israel Acad- 
emy of Sciences. 

WILD BULL (Heb. DX1, re c em or D , "l, reim), a powerful animal 
(Num. 23:22) whose strength is primarily in its horns (Deut. 
33:17). It is parallel to the strong ox (ibid.; Isa. 34:7) but, un- 
like the ox, cannot be domesticated (Job 39:10-11). The animal 
referred to, the Bos primigenius, is called in Akkadian rimu y 
and was an extremely powerful animal which is depicted in 
many Assyrian hunting scenes. It was relentlessly hunted and, 
as a consequence, was entirely exterminated a few genera- 
tions ago. In Arabic the name rim is given to the *antelope, 
the Oryx leucoryx. The biblical re em apparently applies to this 
animal also, as in Psalms 92:11, which refers to the yard-long 
horns of the antelope. Similarly, the Sifrei Deuteronomy (323) 
declares that "the horns of the re em are beautiful but it is not 
strong." In the aggadah the reem is depicted as an animal of 
fabulous size. Because of its size, Noah could not bring it into 
the ark and tied it to the outside (Gen. R. 31:13). To David it 
looked like a mountain (Mid. Ps. to 22:25). I n later Midrashim 
the shor ha-bar ("wild ox") is reserved, like the *Leviathan, 
for the banquet arranged for the righteous in the world to 
come. In earlier sources, however, the reference is to the be- 
hemoth. In the halakhah there is a discussion as to whether 
the shor ha-bar is a *kilayim with the ox (Kil. 8:6; Tosef, ibid., 
1:8). R. Yose in the Mishnah (Kil. 8:6) regards it as belonging 
to the category of beasts (non-domesticated animals), while 
the sages classify it as a (domesticated) animal. The Jerusalem 
Talmud explains the difference, in that the latter regard it as 
an animal that was originally domesticated but escaped and 
reverted to its wild state, while the former holds that it was 
always wild (ibid. y 8:6, 31c). R. Yose identifies it with the teb 
of Deuteronomy 14:5, but it is not clear whether he means the 
bison or the *buffalo. 

bibliography: Lewysohn, Zool, 127!?.; Tristam, Nat. Hist, 
146-50; J. Feliks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 9, 21. 

[Jehuda Feliks] 

WILDENSTEIN, French family of art collectors, connois- 
seurs, and dealers, nathan (1851-1934) opened a small shop 
in the Rue Laffitte in Paris in 1890 and by the end of the cen- 
tury was considered one of the five most important art dealers 
in Paris. He opened a gallery in New York in 1903. 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


His son georges (1892-1963), born in Paris, followed 
the family tradition, studied French art and joined his father 
in the business. In 1902 his catalog for the Fragonard exhibi- 
tion at the Louvre became the model for all later catalogs. He 
wrote several biographies of French painters: Aved (1922), 
Louis Moreau (1923), a book on Lancret (1924), and one on 
Chardin (1933). He opened two more branches of the gallery 
in London and one in Buenos Aires. In 1941 he settled in the 
United States. 

Daniel Leopold (1917-2001), Georges' son, an art dealer, 
was born in France. He went to the United States in 1940 and 
from 1959 to 1962 was chairman of the board of Wildenstein 
and Company Inc., New York. He wrote articles on art for 
many magazines both in the United States and in France. 

bibliography: Gazette des Beaux-Arts (July 1963), supple- 

WILDER, BILLY (1906-2002), U.S. film director and writer. 
Born in Vienna, Wilder began as a newspaperman, and got 
his start in the film industry in Berlin by writing scripts. He 
left Germany in 1933 and reached Hollywood in 1934. At Par- 
amount studios he collaborated with Charles Brackett, a for- 
mer drama critic for The New Yorker, and together they wrote 
14 successful films, including Ninotchka (1939); Ball of Fire 
(1941); Double Indemnity (1944); The Lost Weekend (1945); A 
Foreign Affair (1948); The Emperor Waltz (1948); and Sunset 
Boulevard (1950). After they had parted in 1950, Wilder wrote 
successes such as Stalag 17 (1953); Sabrina (1954); The Seven 
Year Itch (1955); Love in the Afternoon (1957); and Witness for 
the Prosecution (1958). Wilder, whose films were character- 
ized by novel situations and swift dialogue, teamed with I.A.L. 
Diamond to make Some Like it Hot (1959); The Apartment 
(i960); Irma la Douce (1961); The Fortune Cookie (1966); and 
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970). Many of these he 
also produced and directed. 

Other Wilder films include The Spirit of St. Louis (1957); 
One, Two, Three (1961); Kiss Me, Stupid (1964); Avanti! (1972); 
The FrontPage (1974); Fedora (1978); and Buddy Buddy (wrote, 

For more than a quarter of a century, Wilder was one of 
the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood. His many ac- 
complishments and accolades include six Oscars - two for 
direction, three for screenwriting, and one for producing. 
In 1986 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the 
American Film Institute. In 1988 he received the Irving G. 
Thalberg Memorial Award, given to "a creative producer who 
has been responsible for a consistently high quality of motion 
picture production." 

add. bibliography: T. Wood, The Bright Side of Billy 
Wilder, Primarily (1970); M. Zolotow, Billy Wilder in Hollywood 
(1977); C. Crowe, Conversations with Wilder (1999); E. Sikov, On Sun- 
set Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder (1999); R. Horton 
(ed), Billy Wilder: Interviews (2001); C. Chandler, Nobody's Perfect: 
Billy Wilder, a Personal Biography (2002). 

[Stewart Kampel / Ruth Beloff (2 nd ed.)] 

WILDER, GENE (Jerry Silberman; 1933- ), U.S. actor. Born 
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Wilder received a B.A. from the 
University of Iowa. He taught fencing before making his off- 
Broadway debut in Arnold Wesker s Roots in 1961. Moving on 
to the Broadway stage, Wilder appeared in The Complaisant 
Lover (1961); Mother Courage and Her Children (1963); One 
Flew over the Cuckoos Nest (1963); The White House (1964); 
and Luv (1964). 

He made his film debut as the undertaker in Bonnie and 
Clyde (1967). Wilder was nominated for an Academy Award 
for his next film, The Producers (1968), and from then has 
starred in a variety of comedy vehicles (also writing and di- 
recting some of them), including Start the Revolution without 
Me (1970); Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971); Every- 
thing You Always Wanted to Know about Sex but Were Afraid 
to Ask (1972); the drama Rhinoceros (1974); Blazing Saddles 
(1974); Young Frankenstein (written with Mel Brooks; Oscar 
nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, 1974); The Adven- 
tures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (wrote, directed, 
1975); Silver Streak (1976); The Worlds Greatest Lover (1977); 
The Frisco Kid (1979); Stir Crazy (1980); Hanky Panky (1982); 
The Woman in Red (1984); Haunted Honeymoon (1986); See 
No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989); Funny about Love (1990); Sun- 
day Lovers (1990); and Another You (1991). 

Wilder also appeared in several tv movies; had guest 
roles on a number of television shows; starred in the sitcom 
Something Wilder (1994-95); and was the voice of the Letter- 
man on the children's educational program The Electric Com- 
pany (1972-77). In 2003 he was nominated for an Emmy for 
his appearance on the sitcom Will and Grace. 

Wilder has been married four times, with his marriage 
(1984-89) to comedienne and co-star Gilda *Radner the 
most publicized. After she died of ovarian cancer, Wilder 
co-founded Gilda's Club, a support group to raise awareness 
about the disease. 

His autobiography, Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search 
for Love and Art, was published in 2005. He also wrote Gilda's 
Disease (with Dr. S. Piver, 1996). 

bibliography: G. Radner, It 's Always Something (1989). 

[Jonathan Licht / Ruth Beloff (2 nd ed.)] 

WILDER, HERTZ EMANUEL (1888-1948), activist, Yiddish 
journalist, and newspaper editor. Wilder was born in a Roma- 
nian village at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains. He was 
educated in heder and public schools in Craiova, and graduated 
from a commercial state school in Bucharest, where he became 
active in Jewish literary and Zionist circles. He immigrated to 
Canada in 1903 and settled in Winnipeg, where he lived until his 
death. He was employed in banking, business, and printing. 

Wilder was active in Winnipeg Jewish institutional life, 
and played leadership roles in causes such as education, war 
relief, and immigrant aid. He also served as first English sec- 
retary of the Canadian Jewish Congress, and as vice president 
of the Zionist Organization of Canada. His Yiddish poems, 
short stories, and articles on Jewish and non- Jewish issues and 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



historical materials on Jewish settlement in Western Canada 
appeared in the Winnipeg Dos Folk and Der Kanader Yid (re- 
named Dos Yidishe Vort, 1915). In 1915 Wilder assumed owner- 
ship of the Israelite Press, and until 1933 served as president and 
managing editor of the bilingual Yiddish- English weekly Dos 
Yidishe Vort/ Israelite Press, which briefly appeared as a daily 
in 1928. As editor, Wilder fostered Yiddish literature and en- 
couraged contributions by young Yiddish writers. Wilder was 
a pioneer of the Anglo- Jewish press in Western Canada, and 
in 1920 he founded the short-lived weekly Guardian, where 
he published his English translations of Yiddish literature. 
Wilder left the weekly Dos Yidishe Vort for financial reasons, 
but returned as co-publisher in 1946 and contributed a regu- 
lar English language column until his death. 

bibliography: C.L. Fuks, Hundert Yor Yidishe un Hebrey- 

ishe Literatur in Kanade (1982), 106; H. Gutkin, Journey into Our 

Heritage: The Story of the Jewish People in the Canadian West (1980), 

179; L. Levendel, A Century of the Canadian Jewish Press: 1880S-1980S 

(1989), 24. 

[Rebecca E. Margolis (2 nd ed.)] 

WILDERNESS or desert; (Heb. 1TTB, Jitt^, 7V>X)- In most 
biblical passages midbar refers principally to an uninhab- 
ited, uncultivated land (e.g., Jer. 2:2; 22:6; Ps. 107:4, 33-36) 
but sometimes also denotes complete desolation (e.g., Num. 
20:4-5; Deut. 8:15). In defining desolation there is, in effect, 
no difference between midbar and the corresponding nouns, 
yeshimon and ziyyah, which are partially identical with it. 
However, midbar is the more comprehensive concept since it 
includes also marginal land on the borders of the yeshimon, 
"the pastures of the wilderness," and even settlements on its 
fringes (cf. Isa. 42:11, "the wilderness and the cities thereof"). 
At times midbar signifies a pasturage for flocks (Ex. 3:1; Ps. 
78:52), the word being derived, it is suggested, from the Ara- 
maic dbr, which denotes leading sheep to pasture. 

In the Bible various tracts of wilderness are called after 
adjacent territories or settlements, such as the wilderness of 
Edom (11 Kings 3:8), Moab (Deut. 2:8), Damascus (1 Kings 
19:15), Judah (Judg. 1:16), En-Gedi (1 Sam. 24:2), Beer-Sheba 
(Gen. 21:14), Maon (1 Sam. 23:24, 25), Shur (Ex. 15:22), Kadesh 
(Ps. 29:8), Gibeon (11 Sam. 2:24), Jeruel (11 Chron. 20:16), and 
Tekoa (20:20). 

Palestine was a frontier country which was sometimes 
raided by marauders from the wilderness who spread havoc 
and destruction. During the second millennium b.c.e., a 
period of decline, which continued for centuries, overtook 
Transjordan as a result of the incursion of nomads of the wil- 
derness. In the Israelite period (first millennium b.c.e.) too, 
marauders made inroads into the country and pillaged the 
permanent settlements, leaving devastation in their wake. The 
rural culture and urban settlement in Palestine and in coun- 
tries of the East generally were based on a constant state of 
vigilance against the tribes of the wilderness. 

The Bible mentions perils of the wilderness which en- 
danger man's life - hunger, thirst, wild animals. The wilder- 
ness is an "evil place" (Num. 20:4-5), an d its wide expanses 

constitute a threat to human beings (Deut. 1:19; 8:15; Isa. 21:1). 
It is described as a land of the shadow of death, or of thick 
darkness (Jer. 2:6, 31). 

While not ignoring the hardships of the wilderness, the 
distress of the Israelites, who had come out of Egypt, in Sinai 
and in the Negev, their hunger and thirst, their complaints and 
rebelliousness against the terrors of the yeshimon, the Bible 
sometimes regards the wilderness as the cradle of Israel's sins. 
The sins in the wilderness - whether the making of the golden 
calf (Ex. 32-33), the rebellion of Korah and his company 
(Num. 16-17), or the episode of Baal Peor (Num. 25) - became 
a symbol for all succeeding generations. Thus several Psalms 
refer to the Israelites' grave sins in the wilderness which de- 
termined their fate (Ps. 78:14-41; 106:14-33). Ezekiel makes 
particularly strong references to the sins of the generation of 
the wilderness, both fathers and children, and sees in these 
sins an original sin, as it were, which persisted from the time 
the Hebrews lived in Egypt, and the punishment for which is 
visited upon all generations (Ezek. 20:7-26). 

In contrast to the negative view of the wilderness period 
as an age of sin, several prophets refer to it as a time of the na- 
tion's purification at the dawn of its history. Thus Hosea and 
Jeremiah compare Israel to the youthful wife of God whom 
he found "in the land of great drought," and who followed and 
cleaved to Him "in a land that was not sown" (Jer. 2:2-4:6; Hos. 
2:16-17; 9-ics 13:5)- Engraved in the people's memory was the 
tradition of God's revelation at Sinai and in the wilderness 
of Seir and the Negeb (Ex. 19:20; Judg. 5:4-5; Hab. 3:3-7). At 
Sinai, according to this tradition, the Israelite religion crys- 
tallized, the Ten Commandments, the laws, and the statutes 
were given, and the covenant between Israel and its God was 
made. There, too, Israel enjoyed the special providence of God 
and was chosen as His people, a theme emphasized particu- 
larly in Deuteronomy. 

However, the view of the wilderness as the scene of the 
purification from sin does not mean that the prophets ideal- 
ized either the essential character of the wilderness or nomadic 
existence as a way of life (see * Nomadism). This theory, whose 
main protagonists have been Budde, Stade, Meyer, Flight, and 
others, is without foundation. The prophets never set the wil- 
derness in opposition to an agricultural civilization, frequently 
used by them to symbolize a life of abundance and tranquility. 
Even the *Rechabites did not advocate a return to the wilder- 
ness, and there is no proof that they in fact had their home 
there (cf. the interpretations of Hos. 2:16-17; 12:10 in the Book 
of *Hosea, and the articles referred to in connection with those 
interpretations). What can be said on the positive side is that 
as early as in biblical times the wilderness served as a refuge 
for anguished, embittered men, whether rebels against society 
or recluses in search of seclusion (1 Sam. 24:1-2; 26:1-4; J°b 
30:3-8). It is against this background, and not on the basis of 
idealization, that Jeremiah's yearning, "Oh for a lodging place 
for wayfarers in the wilderness, that I might leave my people" 
(Jer. 9:1) is understood. Seclusion in the wilderness, as a his- 
torical phenomenon, is known from Second Temple times. 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


In the Aggadah 

The two ways of evaluating the generation of the wilderness, 
alluded to in the Bible, persisted in the aggadah, though in a 
new idiom, and formed the subject of conflicting views be- 
tween R. Eliezer and R. Akiva. Whereas the latter held that 
the generation of the wilderness has no share in the world to 
come and will not stand at the last judgment, R. Eliezer ap- 
plied to them the verse (Ps. 50:5); "Gather My saints together 
unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacri- 
fice" (Sanh. 10:3). The entire subsequent midrashic tradition 
follows his line of approach. The Israelites of the wilderness 
generation are called Darda (Heb. STTH = TT, "generation," 
and 577, "knowledge"; cf. 1 Kings 5:11), "because they were ex- 
tremely knowledgeable [Tiyi *22]" (Mid. Prov. to 1:1). The verse 
(Song 3:6) "Who is this that cometh up out of the wilderness" 
is interpreted as "her [Israel's] rise dates from the wilderness" 
(Song R. 3:6, no. 1), since from it came all Israel's virtues in 
To rah, prophecy, and kingship. However, the diasporas are 
also compared to the wilderness. 

bibliography: J.W. Flight, in: jbl, 42 (1923), 158-226; S. Nys- 
troem, Beduinentum und Yahwismus (1946); N. Glueck, The Other 
Side of the Jordan (1940); A. Reifenberg, Milhemet ha-Mizra ve-ha Ye- 
shimon (1950); S. Talmon, in: A. Altmann (ed.), Biblical Motifs (1966), 
31-63; S. Abramsky, in: Eretz Israel, 8 (1967), 31-63. 

[Samuel Abramsky] 

WILDMANN, ISAAC EISIK (Haver; 1789-1853), rabbi in 
Poland -Lithuania. He served as rabbi in the communities of 
Rozinoi, Volkovysk, Tikocyn, Siauliai, and Suwalk. In addition 
to his eminence in halakhah, he was a kabbalist in the tradi- 
tion of the school of *Elijah b. Solomon Zalman, the Gaon of 
Vilna, and wrote Magen ve-Zinnah (Koenigsberg, 1855), a de- 
fense of Kabbalah against the attacks of Judah Leone *Mode- 
na's Ari Nohem. Wildmann was a prolific writer in both hala- 
khah and Kabbalah. 

His works include Beit Yizhak (Suwalk, 1836), on the 
negative and positive commandments; Binyan Olam, responsa 
on halakhah (Warsaw, 1851); Beit Olamim (1889) on the Idra 
Rabba, a part of the Zohar; Yad Hazakah (1842), a commen- 
tary on the Passover Haggadah; Pithei Shedrim (1888), a de- 
tailed exposition of Isaac *Luria's kabbalistic system; Beer 
Yizhak (1889), a commentary on the rabbinical collectanea 
Likkutei ha-Gra of the Gaon of Vilna. 

bibliography: Fuenn, Keneset, 95. 

[Zvi Meir Rabinowitz] 

WILENSKY, MICHAEL (1877-1955), Hebrew philologist. 
Born in Kremenchug, Ukraine, Wilensky was raised in a ha- 
sidic family of the *Chabad movement. He studied at a Chabad 
yeshivah and at the University of Berne, where he received his 
doctorate in 1912. He went on to specialize in mathematics 
at the University of Kazan, Russia. After the 1917 Revolution 
he settled in Odessa. There his interest in Jewish studies was 
aroused by H.N. *Bialik, and he worked on the staff of Tar- 
but until 1920. In 1921 he left for Berlin to join *Dvir Publish- 

ing. He edited Abraham ibn Ezra's grammatical works, Safah 
Berurah and Moznayim (both not published), contributed ar- 
ticles to historical journals and to the German Encyclopaedia 
Judaica, and worked with the Verein zur Gruendung einer 
Akademie fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums. His principal 
accomplishment in Berlin was his publication of Jonah *ibn 
Janah's Sefer ha-Rikmah, accompanied by his own elaborate 
annotations (vol. 1, 1929; vol. 2, 1931, 1964 2 ). In 1934 Wilensky 
escaped from Germany to Lithuania, and in 1935 he arrived 
in the U.S. There, upon the invitation of Julian Morgenstern 
of Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, he compiled a catalog 
of all the manuscripts in the institution's library. 

bibliography: N.H. Tur-Sinai et al, in: M. Wilensky (ed.), 
Sefer ha-Rikmah, 1 (i964 2 ), introd. 

WILENSKY, MOSHE (1910-1997) Israeli composer. Born 
in Warsaw, he studied composition and conducting at the 
state conservatory of Warsaw. After graduating there he left 
in 1932 for Israel. He was pianist at the "Matate" satiric the- 
ater and composed music for songs, as well as background 
music for documentary movies made by the Carmel studios. 
At the Matate Theater Wilensky discovered Yemenite songs 
through the repertoire of singer Esther Gamlieli. When the 
Li-la-lo Theater was created in 1944, Wilensky was offered 
the job of "house composer" and met there singer Shoshana 
*Damari, who was to become the principal performer of his 
songs. During the War of Independence, Wilensky and Dam- 
ari toured army posts and performed for soldiers. In 1949, they 
left for a series of performances in the United States where 
they remained almost a year. Wilensky wrote the melodies 
for many of the songs of the Chizbatron, the first of the army 
bands created during the War of Independence. From the 
1950s onwards Wilensky set to music hundreds of songs for 
singers and army bands. He also wrote the scores for a num- 
ber of musical comedies such as Shulamit (1957), Fishka, and 
Sameah ba-Namal. 

Wilensky was among the founders of the Artists and 
Composer's Union. In 1961 he became director of the light mu- 
sic division of Kol Israel, a position he held for many years. 

Many of his songs are considered to be among the best of 

Hebrew music, and Wilensky was awarded the Israel Prize in 

1983. He composed songs to the texts of many famous Israeli 

poets, and his songs appear in hundreds of booklets and discs. 

Among the books containing selections of his songs are Ta- 

mid Kalaniyyot Tifrahna ("Poppies Will Always Bloom," 1978) 

Al ha-Kevish Yareah ("On the Road Is a Moon," 1982), Moshe 

Wilensky, Zer Kalaniyyot ("Moshe Wilensky, a Bouquet of 

Poppies," 1980). 

[Nathan Shahar (2 nd ed.)] 

WILENSKY, YEHUDAH LEIB NISAN (1870-1935), Zionist 
leader. He was born in Chechersk, Belorussia. In 1891, while 
a student in Berlin, he joined the Benei Moshe Society and 
the Russian- Jewish Scientific Society. He was a delegate to 
the First Zionist Congress and attended all subsequent con- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



gresses until his death. Responding to Theodor Herzl's call for 
the "conquest of the communities," he gave up his profession 
as chemist and became government -appointed rabbi of the 
Nikolayev community from 1903 to 1906. He democratized 
the life of the community, introduced modern Hebrew educa- 
tion, and promoted Jewish ^self-defense against pogroms. His 
activities on behalf of an investigation into the role played by 
the authorities in the pogrom that took place in Nikolayev in 
October 1905 led to his arrest and expulsion from Russia. For 
the next five years, Wilensky lived in Berlin, where he was on 
the staff of the Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden and utilized his 
position to further understanding between German and East 
European Jewries. In 1911 he returned to Russia and, after the 
1917 Revolution, was elected chairman of the Kharkov Jewish 
community. In 1919 he led a Jewish delegation that met with 
the "White" Army general Anton *Denikin to urge the cessa- 
tion of pogroms by his troops. When the Red Army took over 
southern Russia, Wilensky had to flee the country by way of 
the Caucasian border, reaching Palestine in 1920. During the 
period 1921-32 he served as a Keren Hayesod emissary in Eu- 
rope and South America (Chile made him its honorary consul 
in Jerusalem) and was particularly successful in propagating 
Zionism in Romania. His memoirs and letters, together with 
a monograph about him written by his daughter Miriam * Ya- 
lan-Stekelis, were published in 1968. 

bibliography: M. Yalan-Stekelis, in: He-Avar, 13 (1966), 


[Yehuda Slutsky] 

WILENTZ, ROBERT N. (1927-1996), U.S. jurist. Born in 

Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Wilentz attended Princeton Univer- 
sity, received his B.A. from Harvard, and his law degree from 
Columbia. He joined his father's law firm in Perth Amboy and 
practiced from 1952 to 1979. He was elected to the New Jersey 
legislature in 1966 and served until 1969. He was in the U.S. 
Navy in World War 11. In 1979 he was appointed chief justice of 
the New Jersey Supreme Court for a seven-year term, and his 
appointment was made permanent in 1986. Under his admin- 
istration, the New Jersey Supreme Court achieved a reputation 
for not being reluctant to move creatively towards adjudication 
in areas previously untouched by judicial action. 

david wilentz (1896-1988), father of the chief justice, 
was the attorney general of New Jersey who prosecuted Bruno 
Richard Hauptmann in 1932 for the kidnapping- murder of the 
twenty- mo nth -old son of Charles A. Lindbergh. In 1919 he 
founded the law firm Wilentz, Goldman, and Spitzer, which 
grew to become the largest law firm in Central New Jersey. 

[Milton Ridvas Konvitz / Ruth Beloff (2 nd ed.)] 

WILHELM, KURT (1900-1965), rabbi. Born in Germany, 
he studied at German universities, at the Jewish Theological 
Seminary in Breslau, and in New York. Wilhelm officiated as 
rabbi in Germany from 1925 until 1933 when he immigrated to 
Palestine. In 1936 he founded the Liberal congregation Emet 
ve-Emunah in Jerusalem where he served as rabbi until 1948, 

when he went to Stockholm to officiate as chief rabbi of Swe- 
den. He also lectured at Stockholm University on Jewish sub- 
jects. Wilhelm advocated a positive and moderate liberalism, 
similar to Conservative Judaism. He belonged to the circle 
which supported Arab- Jewish understanding, and was active 
in promoting Jewish dialogue with Christianity and other re- 
ligions. He published a number of scholarly collections: Jue- 
discher Glaube (1961) on Judaism and Wissenschaft desjuden- 
tums (1967) on German Jewish scholarship, among others. 

bibliography: Weltsch, in: ajr Information (July 1965); 
ylbi, 11 (1966), 356, no. 5186; H. Tramer, in: Theokratia, 1 (1967-69), 
160-85; H. Bergman, in: K. Wilhelm (ed.), Wissenschaft des Juden- 
tums im deutschen Sprachbereich, 1 (1967), v-ix. 

[Hugo Mauritz Valentin] 

sylvania with a Jewish population of 3,000 (in 2005). The 
first Jews were Moses Libien from France (1835), Hirsch Koch 
(1836), and Martin Long (1838) from Bavaria. By the 1840s, 
13 Jews lived in Wilkes-Barre and held Orthodox services 
as Congregation B'nai B'rith which became Reform in i860. 
Rabbi Albert Friedlander was their leader. In 1970 they moved 
to Kingston, had 220 members, and were led by Rabbi Arnold 
Shevlin. By 2005 they had 200 households, with Rabbi Fred 
Davidow officiating. 

East European Jews arrived in the 1870s, forming five Or- 
thodox congregations. The principal Orthodox congregation 
is Ohav Zedek, founded by Hungarian Jews in 1902. Rabbi Isa- 
dore Mayer Davidson became chief rabbi in 1920. 

Conservative Temple Israel was founded in 1922 and is 
the largest with 450 families, led by Rabbi Larry Kaplan and 
Cantor Ahron Abraham. Abraham D. Barras was rabbi from 
1952 to 1983 and initiated bat mitzvah ceremonies. He took 
Christian clergy on Temple Israel tours to Israel and Egypt 
and led a mission to Israel and Rome, where they had an au- 
dience with the pope and the chief rabbi of Rome. 

The Jewish Community Center was founded as the ymha 
in 1863. Louis Smith was the director of the jcc from 1925 until 
1976. He was very influential and recognized for his excellence 
by national uja. Julia Lieberman created Home Camp, and 
K'Ton Ton camp was directed by Evelyn Gurbst. In 2005 jcc 
membership was 901 families, its executive director was Don 
Cooper. The jcc lists 1,500 men and women who served in the 
military. A senior kosher meal program and day care were ini- 
tiated, and the jcc camp was renovated. The Jewish Federation 
sponsors the United Jewish Campaign. In 1999 there appeared 
a book on Wilkes-Barre Jewry, The Jews of Wilkes-Barre: 150 
Years 1845-1995 in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania, edited 
by S. Spear, P.J. Zbiek, E.C. Levin, and M. Levin. 

The first Jew elected to office was Abram Salsburgh who 
served as district attorney of Luzerne County from 1904 to 
1910. Some long- serving communal leaders were Rabbi Mar- 
cus Salzman, 35 years; Rabbi Isadore Davidson, 43 years; Rabbi 
Mayer Pernikoff, 47 years; Rabbi Abraham D. Barras, 31 years; 
Arnold Shevlin, 22 years; and Louis Smith, 52 years. 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


Men and women of achievement were Judge Max Ro- 
senn and Jesse Choper, who became dean at the University of 
California Law School; Dr. David Rutstein, first chair of Har- 
vard Medical School's department of preventive medicine, and 
Harry Reich, the first surgeon to perform a laparoscopic hys- 
terectomy; Me ndy Rudolph, nbca referee, and Sandy Padwe, 
dean of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. 
Barbara Weisberger was with the Pennsylvania Ballet; Louis 
Teicher joined Arthur Ferrante playing duo pianos. Martin 
Yudkovitz was president of nbc Interactive Media. Sanford J. 
Ungar, author, editor, and former npr host, was President of 
Goucher College. David Horowitz was a United Nations jour- 
nalist, and his brother Emanuel Winters Horowitz wrote short 
stories. Their father was Cantor Aaron Horowitz. 

The United Hebrew Institute is the local Jewish day 
school. It provides an academic foundation with modern 
technology in secular and religious studies. The current di- 
rector is Rabbi Eli Kugielsky There are two other denomina- 
tional Hebrew schools. The Jewish Family Service, directed by 
Dorothy Schwartz (1952-74) and now by Howard Grossman, 
offers counseling and assistance. 

Wyoming Valley has excellent interfaith relationships. 
Five churches contributed to the construction of Temple B'nai 
B'rith's first building. Esther B. Davidowitz was the Jewish edi- 
tor of Your Life is Worth Livingby Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. 

The five local colleges exemplify this cooperation. Penn 
State, w.b., had many Jewish advisory board members, faculty, 
and administrators. Mimi Unger Fredman has been chair of 
the Penn State Board of Trustees. King's College has Jewish 
members on its board, faculty and administration. Attorneys 
Harold Rosenn and Murray Ufberg served on the College 
Misericordia Board of Trustees as vice chairmen with other 
Jewish board members. Sister Carol Rittner and Sister Siena 
Finley taught Holocaust courses. College Misericordia has 
an outstanding Jewish Elderhostel program. The first presi- 
dent of Wilkes University, Dr. Eugene S. Farley, invited Jew- 
ish participation. There were many Jewish faculty, adminis- 
trators, and trustees. Robert S. Capin was a teacher, dean and 
president of Wilkes College. Buildings were named by Aaron 
Weiss, Max Roth, Nathan Schiowitz, Robert Fortinsky, Arnold 
Rifkin, and Robert S. Capin. Louis Schaffer, Joseph Savitz, and 
Eugene Roth served as chairmen of the board of Wilkes Uni- 
versity. Luzerne County Community College was founded in 
1966. William Davidowitz was co-chairman of the building 
committee. Jewish citizens served on their Board of Trustees 
and as faculty members. Sheldon Spear taught a Holocaust 
course. Generous Jewish philanthropy has been consistent 
for all institutions. 

In 1911 Seligman J. Strauss was elected judge on the Lu- 
zerne County Court of Common Pleas, followed by Jacob 
Schiffman from 1962 to 1970. Perry J. Shertz sat on the Su- 
perior Court as an associate judge in 1980. Nochem Win- 
net became judge of the Municipal Court. The Honorable 
Max Rosenn has a life appointment as judge of the U.S. Court 
of Appeals on the Third Circuit, with a courthouse named 

after him. Rosenn, Jenkins and Greenwald was the first 
law firm with Jewish partners, followed by Winkler, Dan- 
off and Lubin. There were approximately 60 Jewish lawyers 
(in 2005). 

Wilkes- Barre city councilmen included Joseph K. Weit- 
zenkorn, Maurice Ziegler, and Jacob D. Groh. Marvin Rappa- 
port, Sallyanne Rosenn, Mimi Cohen, and Wilbur Troy were 
elected to Kingston Borough Council. Ethel Price served as 
County Commissioner. In 1931 Herman J. Goldberg was an 
assistant district attorney. Richard Goldberg became chief Lu- 
zerne County solicitor and retired as a full colonel in the pa 
National Guard. Arthur Silverblatt was first assistant district 
attorney. David Schwager became solicitor for the county as- 

The physicist David Bohn wrote a quantum mechanics 
text and reformulated Einstein's theories. Architect Samuel Z. 
Moskovitz designed 600 buildings and was president of the 
American Institute of Architects. Photographer Mark Cohen 
exhibited at the New York Museum of Modern Art. 

Judge Rosenn said, "The Jews of Wilkes -Barre and Kings- 
ton have the support and friendship of the larger community. 
And we have a history of over one hundred and fifty years to 
learn from and build upon." 

bibliography: S. Spear et al. (eds.), The Jews ofWilkes-Barre: 
150 Years 1845-1995 in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania (1999); M. 
Greenwald, Temple B'nai Brith: A Chronological History, 1845-198/, 
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (1989). 

[Esther B. Davidowitz, Alfred S. Groh, and 

Steven Davidowitz (2 nd ed.)] 

WILLEN, JOSEPH (1897-1985), U.S. social welfare and fund- 
raising executive. Born in Kushnitsa, Russia, Willen immi- 
grated to the U.S. in 1905. He served in the U.S. Army in World 
War 1. Subsequently he joined the staff of the Federation of 
Jewish Philanthropies of New York. After serving in a num- 
ber of capacities, he was executive vice president of the federa- 
tion from 1942 to 1967, serving as executive consultant from 
1967. During his tenure, the federation raised approximately 
$360,000,000 in its annual campaigns. Willen pioneered the 
federation's fund-raising techniques, organizing donors into 
separate committees for professions, localities, and frater- 
nal and benevolent societies, as well as professionalizing the 
Women's Division fund-raising efforts. Known as a master of 
philanthropic fund-raising, Willen initiated and directed the 
federation's successful $200,000,000 "City of Life" campaign 
for new buildings and institutions. He also served as director 
of the Greater New York Community Council, on the New 
York City Welfare and Health Council, and on many Jew- 
ish institutions. He was a member of the board of trustees of 
Brandeis University (1963-73). 

Willen's first wife, pearl larner willen (1904-1968), 
was a communal leader in human welfare organizations. She 
served the National Council of Jewish Women as chairman 
of the committee on public affairs (1951-54), vice president 
(1951-63), and president (1963-66), and was president of the 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



International Council of Jewish Women (1954-57). She was 
also a member of the board of governors of The Hebrew Uni- 
versity and was active in civil rights and poverty programs 
and organizations. In 1965 she was one of the driving forces 
in the Women in Community Services coalition to help at- 
risk young women in the U.S. find employment through the 
Job Corps. 

°WILLIAM OF AUVERGNE (c. 1180-1249), French theolo- 
gian and philosopher. Born in Aurillac, William was profes- 
sor of theology at the University of Paris and bishop of that 
city from 1228 until his death. His principal work is Magis- 
terium divinale y a collection of treatises which includes De 
primo principhy or De trinitate (1228), De anima (1230), and 
De universo (between 1231 and 1236). Williams writings are 
contained in Opera omnia (2 vols., Paris, 1674; repr. 1963). In 
his writing William combined two tendencies, which during 
their development in the 12 th century had been kept apart: the 
systematization of theological doctrines and the philosophic 
investigation of man's position in the universe. But method- 
ologically he distinguished between philosophy and theology, 
holding that philosophy is an independent discipline with its 
own rules. A member of the first generation of Paris masters 
to utilize Aristotelian, Islamic, and Jewish thought, William 
followed Aristotle and Maimonides in his psychology and 
cosmogony and the Platonic-Neoplatonic tradition, which 
he knew to a large extent through Augustine, in metaphysics, 
cosmology, and epistemology 

William had high regard for the Jewish Neoplatonist Sol- 
omon ibn *Gabirol, whose Mekor Hayyim he read in a Latin 
translation. However, William considered Gabirol, whom 
he knew as Avicebron, an Arab by nationality and perhaps a 
Christian by religion. Although he admired Gabirol, William 
disagreed with him in holding that the world was created di- 
rectly and freely through God s will without any intermedi- 
ary beings. 

William was also familiar with, and drew upon, Maimo- 
nides' Guide of the Perplexed y which became known in Latin 
translation in the West in the 1240s. He utilized, especially, 
Maimonides' description of the sublunar world and his criti- 
cism of the Greek doctrine of the eternity of the world. How- 
ever, although William cites Avicebron by name, he does not 
mention Maimonides, probably because he knew Maimo- 
nides was a Jew. Evidence for this view is William's contention 
that the Jews betrayed their own religion and were worthy of 
condemnation. He held that at first the Hebrew people were 
content with the Torah and Prophets, but later they were 
seduced into believing incredible stories, referring to the 
Talmud. He felt there were only a few exceptions - men who 
had lived among the Arabs and became philosophers (De 
universo 1:3, 31). This view is paralleled in a papal legate re- 
port defending the suppression of the Talmud (1239-47) as 
not conflicting with the Church's consideration of Judaism 
as a religio licita. William had been a member of the legate's 
court in Paris. 

bibliography: S. Grayzel, The Church and the Jews in the 
xiii Century (1966 2 ), index; D. Knowles, in: The Encyclopedia of Phi- 
losophy, 8 (1967), 302-3; J. Guttmann, Die Scholastik des dreizehnten 
Jahrhunderts in ihren Beziehungen zum Judenthum und zur juedischen 

Literatur (1902), 13-32. 

[Hans Liebeschutz] 

WILLIAMS, CHARLES (1893-1978), British film and broad- 
casting music composer. Born Isaac Cozerbreit in east Lon- 
don, the son of a Jewish concert singer, Charles Williams - as 
he was known from the time of World War 1 - worked as a 
freelance musician in silent films in London in the 1920s, be- 
coming one of the most distinguished writers of film music 
for the British cinema and, later, an equally important com- 
poser of theme music for British radio and television. His best- 
known works include "The Dream of Olwen," often played as 
a serious short piano concerto, While I Live (1947), and "The 
Jealous Lover," originally composed in 1949 for the film That 
Dangerous Age and revived in i960 as the theme from Billy 
Wilder's The Apartment, winning an Oscar. Williams also 
composed the theme music for the Australian Broadcast- 
ing Corporation's television programs, played several times 
a day on Australian television, "Majestic Fanfare" (1952), and 
such bbc theme music as "The Young Ballerina" (1951) for 
The Potters Wheel. 

bibliography: odnb online. 

[William D. Rubinstein (2 nd ed.)] 

WILLNER, ITAMAR (1947- ), Israeli chemist. He was 
born in Bucharest, Romania. He completed his Ph.D. studies 
in chemistry in 1978 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 
After postdoctoral research at the University of California, 
Berkeley, he joined the Institute of Chemistry at the Hebrew 
University of Jerusalem in 1982. In 1986 he was appointed as 
professor at the Hebrew University. His research activities over 
the years attempted to combine biomolecules with synthetic 
and chemical assemblies to yield materials and systems of new 
functions and properties, and to prepare man-made materials 
that mimic biological functions. The research fields developed 
by him include light-induced electron-transfer and artificial 
photosynthesis, molecular electronics and optoelectronics, 
biomolecular electronics and optoelectronics, nanotechnol- 
ogy and nanobiotechnology, and the control of surface prop- 
erties by functional monolayers and thin films. Until 2004 he 
co-authored over 420 papers and scientific chapters in books, 
and presented the research results at numerous worldwide 
symposia. His pioneering accomplishments were recognized 
with many international and national awards and distinctions. 
Among them are the Kolthoff Award (1993), the Max- Planck 
Research Award for International Cooperation (1998), the 
Israel Chemical Society Award (2001), and the Israel Prize in 
chemistry (2002). He is a fellow of the American Association 
for the Advancement of Science (aaas), a member of the 
Israel Academy of Sciences, and a member of the European 

Academy of Sciences. 

[Bracha Rager (2 nd ed.)] 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


WILLOW (Heb. H11S7, aravah). The Bible describes the wil- 
low as a tree that grows rapidly near water (Isa. 44:4) and in 
whose shade the ^Behemoth reclines (Job 40:22). The exiles 
from Judea hung their harps on willows by the rivers of Baby- 
lon, loath "to sing the Lord's song in a foreign land" (Ps. 137:2). 
The willow is one of the * Four Species and is characterized 
as possessing "neither taste nor fragrance," thus symbolizing 
those among Israel "who are neither learned nor possessed 
of good deeds" (Lev. R. 30:12). Although the identification of 
the aravah with the willow is undoubted, it should be noted 
that in the time of the Mishnah philological problems had al- 
ready arisen in connection with this identification. The amor a 
Hisda states that after the destruction of the Temple the name 
of the aravah (Salix) and zafzafah (poplar, Populus) were in- 
terchanged (Shah. 36a), and in fact in Arabic it is the poplar 
which is called drb (Heb. aravah) and the willow, zafzaf (Heb. 
zafzafah). The rabbis pointed out the difference between these 
two genera with regard to validity for the precept of the Four 
Species: "The willow has a red stalk, an elongated leaf and a 
smooth [leaf] edge. The zafzafah has a white stalk and a round 
leaf with a serrated edge" (Suk. 34a). The conclusion finally 
reached is that the willow with the serrated leaf is also valid 
(ibid.). The willow was also used during the festival of Taber- 
nacles, the altar being decorated with willow branches which 
were brought from Moza near Jerusalem. There is undoubt- 
edly a connection between the willow growing by the water- 
side and the prayer for water on Hoshana Rabba, as well as 
the prayer for rain on Shemini Azeret (eighth day of solemn 
assembly), the last day of Tabernacles, when "they are judged 
in respect of water" (rh 1:2). 

The willow is a very useful tree. Its soft branches were 
used for wicker work (Bik. 3:8). The wood withstands rot and 
was therefore used for building boats called arba y the spell- 
ing for aravah in Aramaic and Syrian. Its fruit contains soft 
fibers, which are the petilat ha-idan ("wick of bast"), used as 
wicks for lamps (Shab. 2:1). Though not a fruit tree, accord- 
ing to the agricultural folklore of the period fruit trees could 
be grafted on to it (see tj, Or. 1:2, 61a). Two species of wil- 
low, the Salix acmophylla and Salix alba y as well as hybrids of 
both species, grow wild in Israel on the bank of streams and 
rivers. Another species, Salix babylonica, the weeping willow, 
originated in China. 

bibliography: Loew, Flora, 3 (1924), 323-37; J. Feliks, Olam 

ha-Zomeah ha-Mikrai (1968 2 ), 113-5. add. bibliography: Feliks, 

Ha-Zomeah, 115. 

[Jehuda Feliks] 

Ridbaz; 1845-1913), Lithuanian talmudist and rosh yeshivah 
in Erez Israel. Willowski was born in Kobrin, Russia. In his 
youth his brilliant attainments were already recognized. In 
1868 he was appointed rabbi at Izballin; in 1876 of Bobruisk; 
and in 1881 "moreh zedek and Maggid meisharim" (teacher and 
preacher) of Vilna, the title accorded to the spiritual leader of 
that community, since it had no official rabbi. He later suc- 

cessively served as rabbi of Polotsk, Vilkomir, and Slutsk. At 
Slutsk he founded a yeshivah which soon became famous 
throughout Russia. In 1903 he moved to the United States 
where he was appointed chief rabbi of a group of Orthodox 
congregations in Chicago. He was also designated the zekan 
ha-rabbanim ("elder rabbi") of America by the then newly or- 
ganized * Union of Orthodox Rabbis. However, due to what he 
considered to be the neglect of religious life there, he left the 
United States in 1905 and immigrated to Erez Israel. He settled 
in Safed where he founded a large yeshivah named To rat Erez 
Israel, popularly known as "Yeshivat ha-Ridbaz." He took is- 
sue with R. Abraham Isaac *Kook, then rabbi of Jaffa, for his 
lenient ruling permitting farmers to work the land during the 
Sabbatical Year. When the Sabbatical Year came in 1910, Wil- 
lowski urged them not to work the land, and established an in- 
ternational charity fund to sustain those who followed his de- 
cision. His published talmudic works and responsa gained him 
a worldwide reputation as a preeminent rabbinical scholar. 
He was particularly renowned for his two commentaries to 
the Jerusalem Talmud, one of which followed the method of 
*Rashi in explaining the meaning of the text, while the other, 
in the manner of the *tosafot y was a deeper and more critical 
exposition. These commentaries, together with the text of the 
Jerusalem Talmud, were published in 1898-1900. 

He also wrote Migdal David (1874) and Hanah David 
(1876), both containing novellae and comments on the Baby- 
lonian and Jerusalem Talmuds; Responsa (1881); Nimmukei 
Ridbaz, a commentary to the Pentateuch (1904); Responsa 
Beit Ridbaz (1908); and annotations on R. Israel of Shklov's 
Peat ha-Shulhan (1912). 

bibliography: A. Rothkoff, in ajhsq, 57, 4 (1967/68), 

557-72; Yahadut Lita, 3 (1967), 46; O.Z. Rand (ed.), Toledot Anshei 

Shem (1950), 44. 

[Aaron Rothkoff] 

WILLS (Heb. HXl^). A will is a persons disposition of his 
property in favor of another in such manner that the testator 
retains the property or his rights to it until his death. There 
are three different forms of wills, each governed by differ- 
ent legal rules as regards their time of coming into effect and 
their scope and manner of execution. These are mattenat (or 
zavvdat) bari y i.e., a (literally) gift by a healthy person; matte- 
nat (or zavvdat) shekhiv me-ra, i.e., a gift by a person critically 
ill; and mezavveh mehamat mitah y i.e., a gift in contempla- 
tion of death. There are detailed biblical provisions regarding 
the legal order of * succession (Num. 27:8-11; Deut. 21:16-17). 
However, save for isolated hints (see e.g., Job 42:15), there is 
no biblical provision regarding the possibility of a person de- 
termining the disposition of his property after his death in a 
manner not according with the rules laid down for the legal 
order of succession. 

Mattenat Bari 

A person who wishes to give his property to a person who is 
not his legal heir must divest himself of it during his lifetime 
so that the property shall not, on his death, automatically be 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



dealt with in accordance with the laws of succession (Rash- 
bam, bb 135b). He may, however, donate the body of the prop- 
erty by way of a gift taking immediate effect, while retaining 
for himself the usufruct of the property until his death (bb 
8:7: "From today and after my death"). This is a mattenat bari. 
In form this disposition by will is identical to donation in the 
case of regular gift. Since the legator transfers his property to 
the legatee "from today," he may not afterward retract from 
the will, although the legatee only becomes entitled to the 
usufruct of the property after the legators death (Sh. Ar., hm 
257:6, 7). A will from which it maybe inferred that the transfer 
(*kinyan) is "from today and after death," is regarded as one in 
which these words are expressly stated (bb 136a; Tur and Sh. 
Ar., hm 258). It is not possible for the legator to bequeath by 
way of mattenat bari any property except that which is then 
in his possession (Rema, hm 257:7; see also ^Contract). If the 
legator employs the words, "from today if I should not retract 
until after my death," or "from today if I do not retract during 
my lifetime," he is free to retract from the bequest (Tos. bm 
19b; Sh. Ar., hm 257:7). 

Mattenat Shekhiv me-Ra 

A shekhiv me-ra is a person who is "ill and confined to bed." 
According to Maimonides, a shekhiv me-ra is "a sick man 
whose entire body has been weakened and whose strength has 
waned because of his sickness, so that he cannot walk outside 
and is confined to bed" (i.e., critically ill; Yad, Zekhiyyah 8:2). 
Unlike the mattenat bari, the provisions of a mattenat shekhiv 
me-ra come into effect on the death of the legator (ibid.), since 
the scholars enacted that the latter form of testacy should be 
regarded in law as a form of inheritance which comes into ef- 
fect on the benefactors death (bb 149a). The scholars enacted 
far-reaching alleviations with regard to the formalities of con- 
veyance by mattenat shekhiv me-ra, dispensing with the need 
for a formal kinyan since "the instruction of a shekhiv me-ra 
has the same force as a document written and delivered" (Git. 
13a) and because this was a takkanah of the scholars aimed at 
easing the mind of the sick person (Yad, Zekhiyyah 8:2). The 
wishes of the testator may be expressed orally or in writing, or 
by implication (bb 156b; Git. 15a; Sh. At., hm 250:7). The will 
may be an unwitnessed, handwritten deed, to be delivered to 
the beneficiary (Git. 71a; see Yad, Nahalot 4:1). 

If this form of will is formulated orally by a shekhiv me-ra 
before witnesses, the latter may reduce its terms to writing for 
delivery to the beneficiary. The delivery may take place dur- 
ing the testators lifetime or after his death, since this instru- 
ment is written solely as a record of the testator s oral state- 
ments which immediately on recital take effect as the will 
(Sma, hm 253, n. 77). 

The special validity which attaches to a shekhiv me-ra will 
is forfeited if the testator should employ one of the regular 
forms of kinyan for gift (Ket. 55b), since in so doing he mani- 
fests his intention to effect no more than a regular mattenat 
bari. This result would follow, for instance, if the benefactor 
should effect a kinyen sudor or hazakah, a lifting or pulling, or 

a gift aggav karka (incidental to land generally; Tos. bb 152a; 
Tur, hm 250:28; Yad, Zekhiah 8:10, 11; Sma, hm 250, n. 54), or, 
similarly, if he should draw up a deed, or declare his will and 
tell the witnesses to draw up a deed for delivery to the benefi- 
ciary (Yad, Zekhiyyah 8:12, 13). If the testator declares, orally 
or in writing, that his resort to a kinyan customary for a gift 
is meant to add rather than detract from his true purpose (a 
procedure known asyippui koah), or if it should be apparent 
that he erroneously believed a kinyan was required to effect 
a mattenat shekhiv me-ra, the fact of the kinyan will not de- 
tract from the validity of the will as a mattenat shekhiv me-ra 
(Taz, hm 250:17). 

The will of a shekhiv me-ra is valid only if the testator 
"gave all his property and left nothing [for himself]; but if he 
left a part it is like the mattenat bari which is only acquired 
by a formal kinyan? The explanation for this is that a shekhiv 
me-ra who only disposes of part of his property does not do 
so in the expectation of his death - otherwise he would dis- 
pose of all his property; hence it is inferred that he intends to 
make a regular mattenat bari, which leaves no room for ap- 
plication of the rabbinical enactment that his instruction "has 
the same force as a document written and delivered" (Sh. Ar., 
hm 250:4; bb 151b). At the same time, even if a shekhiv me-ra 
leaves part of his property (for himself), his disposition will 
require no kinyan if it is made mehamat mitah - that is, when 
it appears from his statements, explicitly or implicitly, that the 
disposition is made by him in the apprehension of death (Sh. 
Ar., hm 250:7; bb 151b). This is in fact the position in practi- 
cally every case of a will made by a shekhiv me-ra. The will of 
a shekhiv me-ra may be retracted from by the testator (Yad, 
Zekhiyyah 9:15) by way of his oral or written expression of the 
wish to revoke the will (Rashbam, bb 152b). The revocation 
need not be express and will be implied if the testator makes 
another will relating to the same property (tj, bb 8:7, 16b; bb 
135b; Yad, loc. cit.). Revocation of part of a will is regarded 
as a revocation of the whole (bb 148b), and the same conse- 
quence follows if the testator should will his estate to several 
persons and afterward revoke his bequest to any one of them 
(Rema, hm 250:12). The will of a shekhiv me-ra is automati- 
cally revoked on the latter s recovery from his illness (Git. 72b), 
notwithstanding any prior express stipulation by him to the 
contrary. This is explained on the grounds of an enactment 
by the scholars that the expressed wishes of a shekhiv me-ra 
should be fulfilled out of apprehension for the mental agony 
which the latter might suffer if left in doubt about the fulfill- 
ment of his wishes; hence, on his recovery, the justification 
for the takkanah falls away, since he is once again in a posi- 
tion to make the disposition in any manner he desires (Resp. 
Rashba, vol. 1, no. 975). 

Mezaweh Mehamat Mitah 

The scholars widened the concept of a shekhiv me-ra in recog- 
nizing as equally valid the will of a "healthy" person if made 
mehamat mitah, that is, in contemplation of death - mortis 
causa. A "healthy" person is regarded as having willed his 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


property mehamat mitah in one of the following circum- 
stances: when he is seriously ill (even though he does not fall 
within the definition of a shekhiv me-ra - see above); when 
he is about to be executed under the law of the land; when 
he sets out with a caravan on a desert journey; and when he 
leaves on a sea voyage (Git. 65b, 66a and Rashi ad loc). These 
four circumstances correspond to those in which it is incum- 
bent to offer thanksgiving to the Almighty (Psalm 107; Ber. 
54b). A disposition mehamat mitah requires no formal kinyan, 
whether it relates to all or only a part of the testators property 
(Yad, Zekhiyyah 8:24; Sh. Ar., hm 250:8). The manner of evo- 
lution of the law concerning a mehamat mitah disposition is 
described in the language of the Mishnah, pertaining mainly 
to the laws of divorce but extended also to the laws of wills, 
as follows: "At first they used to say: If a man was led forth 
in chains and was about to be executed under the law of the 
land and said, 'Write out a bill of divorce for my wife,' they 
would write it out and deliver it [because being in a state of 
bewilderment he said only 'write out' and did not manage to 
say also 'deliver'] . . . Then they changed this and said, 'Also if 
a man went on a voyage or set out with a caravan.' R. Simeon 
Shezuri says, 'Also if a man was at the point of death'" (Git. 
6:5). The halakhah was decided according to R. Simeon (tj, 
Git. 6:7, 48a). 

Some scholars held that it was only in the matter of grant- 
ing a divorce that a valid mehamat mitah disposition was con- 
stituted in anyone of the four above-mentioned circumstances 
(Piskei ha-Roshy bb 9:18; Beit Yosef y hm 250, no. 13), and that 
any other mehamat mitah disposition was only valid in the 
case of a person seriously ill or one about to be executed, but 
not in the other two cases. The scholars made this distinction 
on the basis that in the latter two cases the testator harbors 
the intention of returning to his home (Rosh, loc. cit.), or that 
death is not imminent (Nov. Rashba, bb 146b; Maggid Mish- 
neh, Zekhiyyah 8:24). Other scholars (Beit Yosef, loc. cit., quot- 
ing Alfasi, Maimonides, and Nahmanides) took the view that 
there was no reason for distinguishing between a divorce and 
the disposition of property by will for this purpose. 

A "healthy" person whose will is not made within the 
framework of one of the above-mentioned circumstances is 
not regarded as a person willing his property mehamat mi- 
tah , notwithstanding his express declaration that he is acting 
as such out of fear that he might die suddenly (Resp. Rashba, 
vol. 1, no. 975; vol. 3, no. 118; Sh. Ar., hm 250:14). Hai Gaon was 
of the opinion that if a "healthy" person willed his property 
in the apprehension of sudden death and in fact died shortly 
thereafter, his will was to be regarded as one mehamat mitah 
(Judah b. Barzillai, Sefer ha-Shetarot, no. 54; Keneset ha-Gedo- 
lah, hm 250, Beit Yosef, no. 131). 

Undertaking and Acknowledgment or Admission (Odita, 

One of the telling limitations imposed by Jewish law on the 
different forms of testamentary disposition is the fact that the 
disposition is valid only in respect of property in the posses- 

sion of the testator at the time the will is made (Yad, Mekhirah 
22:1, 5). To overcome this limitation there evolved the use of a 
will formulated as an undertaking, since the law, although it 
precluded any possibility of a person transferring property not 
yet in existence or possessed by him (in his reshut), presented 
no obstacle to undertaking an obligation in respect of such 
property (Resp. Rashba, vol. 3, no. 118). Such an undertaking 
could be affected in writing or before witnesses, and also by 
way of an acknowledgment (of indebtedness) called odita. Ac- 
cording to one view an odita may only be affected by a shekhiv 
me-ra (Ittur, s.v., Hodaah; Or Zarua, no. 477, 4). 

If the aforesaid undertaking is made in writing and the 
instrument is delivered before witnesses, the beneficiary may 
recover it even from nekhasim mesh'ubadim (i.e., encumbered 
and alienated property; see *Lien; but if not so delivered, the 
beneficiary may only recover from nekhasim beneihorin ("free 
property"; Maggid Mishneh, Mekhirah 11:15; Sh. Ar., hm 40:1 
and Siftei Kohen thereto, no. 3). In the case of an undertaking 
before witnesses, the benefactor declares, "Be witnesses unto 
me that I obligate myself," and the witnesses acquire from him 
(Yad and Sh. Ar., loc. cit.). The acknowledgment may also be 
made by the benefactor acknowledging indebtedness in writ- 
ing or by declaring before witnesses: "Be witnesses unto me 
that I am indebted"; in this event the witnesses do not require 
a formal acquisition (kinyan) from the benefactor (Sma 40:1; 
Netivot ha-Mishpat 40 , Mishpat ha- Urim n. 1 and Mishpat ha- 
Kohanim, n. 3). 

A testamentary disposition by undertaking or acknowl- 
edgment is irrevocable, whether effected by a bari or a shekhiv 
me-ra y and in the latter case the disposition is not revoked on 
the benefactor's death (R. Isaac, in Tos. bb 149a; Sh. Ar., hm 
250:3). The usual time specified for fulfillment of the under- 
taking is an hour before the death of the benefactor so that 
the beneficiary should be unable to demand fulfillment dur- 
ing the benefactor's lifetime, since the due date of fulfillment 
is ascertainable only after the latter s death. However, it is es- 
sential that the due time of fulfillment be fixed at a date within 
the benefactor's lifetime, since an undertaking falling due for 
fulfillment after the promisor's death is void (Resp. Maharik, 
no. 89). Testamentary dispositions of this nature have been 
customary throughout the Diaspora in various forms and 
degrees of complexity. It is possible that the use of this form 
of will was adopted to avoid giving the appearance that the 
inheritance was being diverted from the legal heir - conduct 
of which the Mishnah says "The sages do not approve of him" 
(bb 8:5); it was therefore preferred through the means of such 
an undertaking to avoid a legal devolution of the estate. Wide- 
spread use of such an undertaking was made in the shetar hazi 
zakhar y a deed by means of which a father gave his daughter a 
share of the property equal to one-half of a son's portion (un- 
der the laws of succession). This deed, given to the daughter 
upon her marriage, may be regarded as a form of irrevocable 
will of the father (the deed being irrevocable in order to ensure 
the father's donation to his daughter and her husband). In this 
case, too, the time of fulfillment usually specified is one hour 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



before the father's death. In order to overcome the difficulty of 
donating a specified portion of one's estate upon a daughter's 
marriage, at a time when the exact extent of the estate is still 
unknown, the following procedure was laid down: the father 
acknowledges that he owes his daughter a sum of money ex- 
ceeding the estimated value of one-half of a son's share, add- 
ing a condition that the heir shall have the option either to pay 
this amount to the daughter of the deceased, or to give her a 
share of the estate equal to one-half of a son's portion (Nahalat 
Shivahy no. 21; Rema y hm 281:7 an d eh 108:3). 

Mitzvah to Carry out the Wishes of the Deceased 

Although a will may be invalid for one reason or another, it 
may still be recognized in certain circumstances in terms of 
the rule that "It is a mitzvah to carry out the wishes of the de- 
ceased" (Ket. 70a, Git. 14b). Thus it is the duty of the legal heirs 
to carry out the wishes of the testator, and this is a duty which 
the courts will enforce. However, the above rule is not always 
to be applied as a strict legal duty, and when the duty is merely 
a moral one, the court will not compel compliance with the 
testator's directions (Shevut Ya'akov, vol. 1, no. 168). The rule 
applies to the bequest of both a bari and a shekhiv me-ra (Yad, 
Zekhiyyah 4:5; Sh. Ar., hm 252:2) whether made orally or in 
writing (Tos., bb 149a). The rule's scope of operation is a mat- 
ter of scholarly dispute; there are three different views: 

(1) that it applies only in respect of property deposited 
with a trustee, at the time of the bequest, so that he should 
carry out the latter (Resp. Ritba, no. 54; Rema y hm 242:2); 

(2) that it applies even when the property is not de- 
posited as mentioned above, provided that the legal heir of 
the deceased has been directed to carry out the bequest and 
does not object thereto (Resp. Ritba, loc. cit.; Shaarei Uzziel, 
1 (i944)> no. 21); 

(3) that it is applicable in every event, and even if the be- 
quest has not been directed to any of the legal heirs, the latter 
are obliged to carry it out (Haggahot Mordekhaiy bb no. 666). 
According to the aforementioned rule, ownership of the be- 
quested property does not automatically pass to the benefi- 
ciary, but the duty is imposed on the legal heirs to transfer the 
said property to him (Rashi, Git. 14b; Mordekhaiy bb, no. 630), 
from which derives an important distinction between a will 
taking effect by virtue of the above-mentioned rule and the 
wills of a bari and a shekhiv me-ra y namely: in the former case 
the beneficiary is not entitled to recover the bequested prop- 
erty from third-party purchasers (Haggahot Mordekhaiy bb, 
no. 666), where he does have this right in the latter case (Resp. 
Rosh 86:5; Sh. Ar., hm 111:9 an d 257:6). 

Capacity to Bequeath 

A person's legal capacity to make a bequest is generally coex- 
tensive with his capacity to make a regular gift, but there are 
a number of special rules relating to the former: 

(1) Although, according to some of the pose k im y a minor 
generally requires his guardian's approval in order to make a 
gift (Yad, Mekhirah 29:7; Sh. Ar., hm 235:2), such approval is 

unnecessary as regards a mattenat shekhiv me-ra. The explana- 
tion for this apparently lies in the fact that a mattenat shekhiv 
me-ra falls due after the benefactor's death, whereas guard- 
ianship terminates on the minor's death, and also because the 
primary task of a guardian is to safeguard the minor's inter- 
ests, a task which falls away on the minor's death (Resp. Ma- 
haram Alshekh, 101). 

(2) It is doubtful whether the tacit shekhiv me-ra be- 
quest of a deaf-mute (heresh) y is valid, even though his tacit, 
regular gift is valid. The doubt arises from the fact that both 
the possibility of alienating by implication and a mattenat 
shekhiv me-ra derive from rabbinical enactment, whereas 
the rule is that "one does not add one takkanah to another" 
(bm 5b). On the other hand, it is possible that the rule, "the 
instruction of a shekhiv me-ra has the same force as a docu- 
ment written and delivered," applies also to the tacit acts of a 
deaf-mute - even with regard to his disposition of land and 
despite the fact that he cannot do so by way of a regular gift 
(Kesef ha-Kedoshim y 250:6). 

(3) A proselyte has no capacity to make a shekhiv me-ra 
bequest: "A mattenat shekhiv me-ra has been given the same 
force by the rabbis as an inheritance; therefore where there can 
be inheritance there can also be gift and where there cannot 
be inheritance there also cannot be gift" (bb 149a). Hence, in 
view of the fact that a proselyte who leaves no offspring con- 
ceived after his proselytization has no heirs (Tos. bb 149a), he 
cannot make a mattenat shekhiv me-ra (Sh. Ar., hm 256:1 and 
Rema thereto). According to some scholars, his capacity to be- 
queath is only limited as regards offspring conceived before his 
proselytization and who are not his legal heirs, but his shekhiv 
me-ra bequest made to any other person is valid (Sh. Ar., hm 
256, Sma thereto n. 3). Other scholars hold that the shekhiv 
me-ra bequest of a proselyte is of no effect, regardless of who 
the beneficiary may be (Hassagot Rabad on Rif y bb 149a, in the 
name of Hai Gaon; Hassagot Rabad on Yad, Zekhiyyah 9:7). 
According to another view, the rule that it is a mitzvah to carry 
out the wishes of the deceased does not apply to a proselyte 
(Tos., bb 149a; Tur, hm 256:7-9; Remay hm 256:1). 

Capacity to Benefit from a Bequest 

A person's legal capacity to benefit from a bequest is gener- 
ally coextensive with his capacity to receive a regular gift, but 
here, too, there exist a number of special rules: 

(1) According to some of the posekim a proselyte cannot 
receive a mattenat shekhiv me-ra (Rabad, quoted in Shitah 
Mekubbezety bb 149a and Tosefot Rid y ad loc, end of no. 14). 

(2) Even the posekim who hold that a person cannot give 
a regular gift to his offspring as long as they are *embryos, 
agree that it is acceptable for him to make them a shekhiv 
me-ra bequest (Beit Yosef and Derishah y hm 210, no. 3; Siftei 
Kohen y hm 210, n. 1). 

A person who lacks capacity to benefit from a bequest, 
may benefit from it if it is executed in the form of assignment 
to a third party on his behalf. This possibility also applies in 
the case of a mattenat shekhiv me-ra y and it is possible to ben- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


efit an embryo in this manner, even according to the posekim 
who reject the possibility of a mattenat shekhiv me-ra in favor 
of an embryo (Tur, hm 210:1). 

Subject Matter of the Bequest 

In general the restrictions placed on the possible subject mat- 
ter of a regular gift are applicable also as regards the subject 
matter of a bequest. According to certain posekim y a person 
cannot make a mattenat shekhiv me-ra and retain for himself 
the usufruct of the property in question, even though this may 
be done in the case of a regular gift (Rabad, quoted in Beit 
Yosefy hm 209:10; opinion quoted by Rema y hm 209:7). The 
reason for this is that a mattenat shekhiv me-ra is acquired af- 
ter the benefactors death so that his retention of the usufruct 
is solely for the benefit of his legal heirs and not for himself. 
A bequest may be made of property in kind and also in the 
form of a fixed payment (Ta'an. 21a; Ket. 69b), or by establish- 
ing a fund, with the income from it designated for a particu- 
lar purpose (Pithei Teshuvah y hm 246, n. 2). It is possible for 
the testator to nominate an executor (apotropos) of his estate 
(Tur, hm 250:1 and 33). There is also an opinion that a shekhiv 
me-ra may entrust the executor with the actual decision as to 
division of the estate (Mordekhai y bb, no. 600). 

At times wills have included charitable bequests. When 
such a bequest is made in a manner whereby the principal is 
established as a perpetual fund, while the income from it is 
dedicated to the charitable purpose, the estate - or the por- 
tion concerned - is known as a keren kayyemet (Resp. Rashba, 
vol. 3, no. 295; Keneset ha-Gedolah y yd 253; see also ^Conse- 
cration and Endowment). 

Form and Wording of Wills 

It is desirable that it be indicated in the will whether the tes- 
tator is a bari or a shekhiv me-ra y although omission to do so 
does not affect the will's validity (Yad, Zekhiyyah 9:22; Tur, 
hm 251:3). In the case of a dispute between the legal heirs and 
the beneficiaries under the will, the burden of proof as to the 
testator s state of health devolves on the latter, since the legal 
heirs are deemed entitled (muhzakim) to the estate's assets and 
"the burden of proof rests on the claimant" (Yad and Tur, loc. 
cit.; Sh. Ar., hm 251:2). The following are the customary ver- 
sions, since talmudic times, to describe the testator's state of 
health: for a mattenat bari y "while he was walking on his feet 
in the market"; for a mattenat shekhiv me-ra y "while he was ill 
and confined to his bed"; and for a shekhiv me-ra will reduced 
to writing only after the testator's death, "and from his illness 
he died" (bb 153a, 154a), this version being essential since the 
disposition will be void if the testator should not die from the 
illness (bb ibid.; Sh. Ar., loc. cit.). 

The testator must employ the phraseology which is ef- 
fective for transfer of title in regular gifts. Thus it is necessary 
for the testator to use a verb denoting gift (natan y "gave," etc.; 
bb 148b; Sh. Ar., hm 253:2). A shekhiv me-ra testator who be- 
queathes in favor of his legal heir may employ a verb denot- 
ing inheritance (hm 281:3). The phraseology used by the tes- 

tator must clearly show that the testator is alienating the asset 
concerned and not that he is promising to transfer title to it 
(Rashi y Git. 40b). Use of the past or present tense confers title 
but not use of the future tense (Yad, Zekhiyyah 4:11; Sh. Ar., 
hm 245:1). On the other hand, a shekhiv me-ra will couched in 
the future tense, is valid since in this case the testator speaks 
of a gift to take effect in the future - after his death. However, 
even a shekhiv me-ra will is invalid if phrased as a mere prom- 
ise (Beit Yosef y eh 51-end of s.v. D'lttf; Maggid Mishneh y Yad, 
Mekhirah 2:8; Bah, hm 253:2). Language phrased in the form 
of a request to the testator's legal heirs to give specific assets 
to the beneficiaries under the will is valid and effective (Piskei 
Maharam y no. 99; Rema y hm 250:21). 

As in all cases of gift, the will of both a healthy person 
and that of a shekhiv me-ra must be executed in public, and the 
testator must direct the witnesses to sign the will in like man- 
ner: ". . . Sit in the markets and public places and write for him 
openly and publicly a deed of gift" (Yad, Zekhiyyah 5:1, 4; bb 
40b; Tur, hm 242:7). A mehamat mitah testator is not required 
to direct that the disposition be made public (Yad, Zekhiyyah 
9:2), but if he should expressly direct the witnesses to keep his 
will secret, it will be invalid (Perisha y hm 242:4). 

Interpretation of Wills 

Wills are generally subject to the same principles of interpre- 
tation as are all other documents (see ^Interpretation). The 
process of umedana ("estimation") is of particular application 
to the interpretation of wills - that is the process of endeavor- 
ing to fathom the mind of the testator in order to understand 
his true intention - and the will itself is virtually the exclusive 
means to do this. The legal heirs of the deceased are deemed 
to be in possession of his property. Hence, a person claiming 
under the will is subject to the rule that "the holder of a deed 
is always at a disadvantage," for the reason that "the burden 
of proof rests with the claimant" (Bik. 2:10; Ket. 83b), and the 
beneficiary under the will accordingly has the burden of prov- 
ing that the testator's intention was such that the will should 
be interpreted in his favor. The aforementioned rule only ap- 
plies where doubt has arisen with regard to the interpretation 
of the will, and it does not operate in order to void the will 
entirely (Resp. Ribash, no. 145; Sh. Ar., hm 42:9). 

The principle of estimation may serve to entirely invali- 
date a will. Thus in a case where a shekhiv me-ra y in the belief 
that his son is dead, bequeaths all his property to another, the 
disposition will be invalid if it should subsequently transpire 
that the son is alive - and in this event the latter will inherit 
from his father (bb 146b). Similarly, in certain circumstances 
a beneficiary under a will may become the mere custodian of 
the estate assets should it be so determined as an outcome of 
estimation that it was this that the testator intended (bb 131b; 
Sh. Ar., eh 107 and hm 246:4-12). 

Various rules were determined with regard to the inter- 
pretation of certain expressions in a will. Thus with reference 
to a shekhiv me-ra will, it was laid down that the term banim 
means "sons" and excludes daughters (tj, Ket. 13:1, 35d) and 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



that the intention of the testator who bequeaths all his prop- 
erty to his banirriy when he has one son only and daughters, 
is to bequeath all to his son (bb 143b and see the biblical texts 
there cited; Yad, Zekhiyyah 11:1). Disputed in the Talmud 
is the intention of the testator who bequeaths to his banim 
when he has a single son and a grandson, and it was decided 
that in such a case it is not intended that the grandson be in- 
cluded (ibid.). 

If a will contains contradictory directions which cannot 
possibly be reconciled with each other, the direction recorded 
last in the will prevails, on the assumption that the testator has 
repudiated the earlier direction (bb 10:2; Yad, Malveh 27:14; 
Sh. Ar., hm 42:5). However, when the contradiction emerges 
from the directions contained in one and the same passage 
of the will, the later reference is of no special import and the 
rule that "the holder of a deed is always at a disadvantage" 
applies (ibid.). 

Authority to interpret documents is in general entrusted 
to the courts. With regard to a shekhiv me-ra will this author- 
ity is sometimes entrusted to the persons present at the time 
of its execution (bb 113b; Sh. Ar., hm 253:1). Thus if a shekhiv 
me-ra bequeathed his property in the presence of three per- 
sons, the latter may adjudge in the matter of the will and with 
reference to any doubt arising in connection with its inter- 
pretation (Rema, hm 253:1). However, if these persons were 
requested to be present as witnesses to the will, they will be 
disqualified from acting as judges in matters concerning the 
will (Beit Yosefy hm 7:6; Sh. Ar., hm 7:5). Another opinion that 
they will be disqualified even if they were not requested to 
serve as witnesses but intended to act as such (Rashbam, bb 
113b) was rejected by a majority of the posekim (Tos. bb 114a; 
Sh. Ar., loc. cit.). Three persons present at the time of the tes- 
tamentary disposition may only act as judges in connection 
with it when the will is made in the daytime, since the hala- 
khah is that the adjudication shall not take place at night (see 
*Bet Din; Sh. Ar., hm 5:2 and 253:1). If sums of money are be- 
queathed by a shekhiv me-ra to several persons, and it tran- 
spires that the latter s estate is lacking in funds, the position 
will depend on the way in which the bequest is worded. If the 
wording is, "give two hundred zuz to A, three hundred zuz to 
B, and four hundred zuz to C," each of the persons mentioned 
receives only his proportionate share of the available amount; 
if, however, the wording is, "give two hundred zuz to A, there- 
after three hundred zuz to B and thereafter four hundred zuz 
to C," the parties will take precedence in turn in accordance 
with the order in which their names are mentioned (Yad, Ze- 
khiyyah, 10:13, H)- 

Accrual of Rights under a Will 

The beneficiary under a mattenat bari becomes entitled to the 
disposition in accordance with the terms of it, that is to the 
body of the property immediately and to its fruits upon the 
donors death. In this case the beneficiary's right to the body 
of the donated property is a regular proprietary right, which 
he may, therefore, sell even during the donors lifetime, and 

if the beneficiary should predecease the donor, the former s 
heirs become entitled to the donation (Sh. Ar., hm 257:4). 
The beneficiary under a shekhiv me-ra will becomes entitled 
to the bequeathed property upon the testators death since a 
shekhiv me-ra will is subject to the same law as is succession 
according to law (see above). Therefore, if the beneficiary 
should predecease the testator, the formers heirs do not be- 
come entitled to anything at all (Sh. Ar., hm 125:9 and Siftei 
Koheriy thereto, 36). 

Renunciation of Rights under a Will 

In general, a persons refusal to accept property given to him 
as a gift will be effective if the refusal is made before the prop- 
erty comes into his possession, and in this event he does not 
become entitled to it (Ker. 24b). In the case of a gift or bequest 
made in the beneficiary's presence, the latter must at this very 
stage express his refusal of it (Sh. Ar., hm 245:10); if he should 
wish to renounce a gift or bequest not made in his presence, he 
must do so immediately on becoming aware of it (Rif, Hala- 
khoty bb 138a; Piskei ha-Rosh, ibid.; Yad, Zekhiyyah 9:13). A 
renunciation made by a beneficiary who remains silent for a 
period after having become aware that the gift or bequest has 
been made is ineffective (Yad, Zekhiyyah 9:14; Sh. Ar., hm 
245:10). The renunciation must be made in an unequivocal 
manner, and the beneficiary must clearly state that he has no 
intention at all of becoming entitled to the gift or bequest and 
that it is a nullity ab initio (Yad, Zekhiyyah 9:13; Sh. Ar., hm 
245:7 and Sma thereto, n. 18). 

Fideicommissary Bequests 

The testator may direct that particular assets shall be given to 
the beneficiary for a limited period and that after this period 
these assets shall pass to another. A will is generally made in 
this form when the testator wishes to ensure that his property 
shall not, after the beneficiary's death, pass to the latter's heirs 
but shall go to some other person (Yad, Zekhiyyah 3:9; Sh. Ar., 
241:6; Rema y hm 248:3). In principle there is no restriction on 
the possible order of successive beneficiaries which the tes- 
tator may determine, but in practice this right is qualified by 
the requirement that all the beneficiaries must be alive at the 
time the gift or bequest is made (Resp. Rosh, no. 84:1 and 2). 
Each beneficiary under such a will in turn enjoys the usufruct 
of the bequeathed property and has the right to deal with the 
latter as with his own property - even to sell it. 

A moral prohibition was imposed on the sale of such 
property by any one of the fideicommissaries - save for the 
last beneficiary mentioned in the will - since this was held to 
amount to a frustration of the testator's original intention; a 
sale effected by one of the fideicommissaries contrary to the 
above prohibition is nevertheless valid (bb 137a; Yad, Zekhi- 
yyah 12:8, 9). A disposition of the bequeathed property by 
way of a shekhiv me-ra will on the part of a fideicommissary 
is ineffective, since the property only passes into the new ben- 
eficiary's possession after the testator's death and at this time 
the property is no longer the latter's but that of the fideicom- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


missary next in line in terms of the original will (bb 137a; Yad, 
Zekhiyyah 12:10). 

In the case where property is bequeathed to an unmar- 
ried woman, "to you and thereafter to A," and the woman 
subsequently marries, the property will not pass in turn to 
A but the woman's husband will become entitled to it (Ket. 
95b); however, if a bequest of this nature is made to a married 
woman, the beneficiary next in line will in turn succeed to the 
property, since this will be assessed to have been the testator's 
true intention (Ket. loc. cit.;Yad, Zekhiyyah 12:12; Sh. Ar., eh 
91:2 and hm 248:8). 

Where property is bequeathed by a shekhiv me-ra will 
to a legal heir of the testator "to you and thereafter to A," the 
property will not upon the beneficiary's death pass to A but 
to the beneficiary's legal heirs (Yad, Zekhiyyah 12:7; Sh. Ar., 
hm 248:1; bb 129b and Rashbam, ad loc). The explanation for 
this is as follows: since in a shekhiv me-ra will the property 
only passes to the beneficiary after the testator's death, and 
since the beneficiary is a legal heir of the testator, the former 
becomes entitled to the property by virtue of the law of the 
Torah and the testator may not stipulate that his property shall 
after the beneficiary's death pass to A and not to the benefi- 
ciary's legal heirs, for this is a stipulation contrary to the law 
of the Torah and therefore void; this rule is referred to in the 
Talmud as yerushah ein lah hefseh ("an inheritance cannot be 
terminated"; bb 129b, 133a). 

Takkanot Concerning the Form and Execution of Wills 

In many communities different takkanot were enacted with re- 
gard to various documents which, in particular, obliged those 
executing the documents to do so before a scribe or rabbi 
(Sh. Ar., hm 61:1), both as a protection against forgeries and in 
order to make the documents publicly known (Bah, hm 61:1). 
At times it was laid down that a document executed contrary 
to a particular takkanah was of no effect and a fine was even 
imposed on the person who executed it (S. Buber, Anshei Shem 
(1895), 225 f.). In some cases it was necessary for certain deeds 
to be publicly announced in the synagogue (Resp. Ribash, no. 
88; Resp. Rashba, vol. 3, no. 431). The manner of execution of 
wills was specially dealt with in a number of takkanot. Thus 
two years after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the tak- 
kanot of Fez were enacted which included, among others, this 
takkanah: "Whoever shall wish to make a gift or will, whether 
male or female, shall do so before the hakham or dayyan of the 
town, otherwise the gift or will shall be of no worth" (Kerem 
Hamar, vol. 2, no. 11). This takkanah was later extended (ibid., 
no. 19) and a further takkanah prescribed that "any shekhiv 
me-ra will or gift which shall not be made before the hakham 
or dayyan of the town shall be null and void; that is, every- 
thing that a shekhiv me-ra shall do is void if not done before 
a dayyan' (ibid., 36a/b, takkanot pertaining to hm, no. 4). 
These takkanot were apparently enacted for two reasons: to 
ensure that the testator was of sound mind when making the 
will, and so that the scholar could stress before the testator the 
fact that the latter was transferring the inheritance from his 

legal heirs to someone else, a consequence looked upon with 
disfavor by the scholars (Mishpatim Yesharim, no. 2:161, and 
see above). Similar takkanot were enacted also in Jerusalem 
(Resp. Mabit, no. 2, pt. 2, no. 1). 

Jerusalem Takkanot 

It was the custom that the estate of a person who died in Jeru- 
salem without leaving any heirs in Erez Israel passed to the 
public, a custom apparently aimed at preventing the authori- 
ties from taking the estate. The public would administer the 
estate, and if the heirs of the deceased later came to claim the 
estate, it would be sought to influence them to leave part of it 
to the community chest. At a later stage a takkanah was en- 
acted to the effect that the estate of a deceased person with- 
out any heirs in Erez Israel actually passed to the public (see 
Rivlin, in bibl.). However, even after the enactment of this 
takkanah a person could still keep his estate from passing to 
the public by making a will. A deterioration in the position of 
Jerusalem Jewry led to the enactment of a number of further 
takkanot in this connection. Thus in 1730 there was a rein- 
statement of an ancient takkanah which laid down that a will 
had to be executed before communal representatives and that 
it was necessary that there be present a representative of the 
communal leadership of Constantinople, communal appoin- 
tees, as well as a *parnas and scribe of the community and, 
failing this, the will would have no validity. At the same time 
it was expressly laid down that a person could bequeath as he 
wished before the above-mentioned persons (Sefer ha-Tak- 
kanot ve-Haskamot... Yerushalayim... (1883 2 ) 24b, 25b, 26a). 
In 1737 a far-reaching takkanah was enacted which forbade a 
person without heirs in Erez Israel from making a will (ibid., 
i8a/b). When this takkanah was circumvented by persons who 
made a mattenat bari abroad before coming to settle in Erez 
Israel, there was enacted a takkanah in 1776 which rendered 
invalid various kinds of wills, including a mattenat bari "from 
today and after my death," whether executed in or outside of 
Erez Israel (ibid., 29a/b). In 1810 Ashkenazi Jews (Perushim) 
began to settle in Erez Israel, and they objected to the above 
takkanot. For some years a dispute was waged in regard to 
these takkanot, and in the end they were not followed by the 
Ashkenazi Jews (see Rivlin, in bibl., p. 61). 

Takkanot Concerning Disposition of the Property of 

The Toledo takkanot enacted in favor of the wife's family were 
aimed at preventing the entire assets contributed by the wife 
to her husband from passing to the latter on her death. These 
takkanot provided that the wife's relatives - who would nor- 
mally inherit from her in the event that she survived her hus- 
band - should receive one-half of her estate. It was decided by 
Asher b. Jehiel that a wife could not dispose of her property by 
will so as to leave it all to her husband or some other person 
and thereby frustrate the object of the above takkanot (Resp. 
nos. 55:1 and 40:2). In consequence of the decision, takkanot 
were enacted in the communities of the Spanish exiles which 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



expressly incorporated the import of the decision into the To- 
ledo takkanot. The exiles of 1391 who settled in North Africa 
enacted - under the guidance of R. Simeon b. Zemah *Du- 
ran - a series of takkanot, the third of which, among others, 
rendered it forbidden for a woman to make any form of will 
in which she purported to transfer one-half of her estate "to 
any person in the world save to any offspring she has by her 
husband who would be her nearest heir; and if she has done 
so, it shall henceforth be null and void" (Tashbez, 2:292). 

From the statements of the posekim of the Moroccan 
communities, it appears that despite the existence of various 
takkanot which followed those of Toledo, it still remained pos- 
sible for a woman to make gifts to her husband or other per- 
sons (Mishpat u-Zedakah le-Yaakov, pt. 2, no. 83; Mishpatim 
Yesharim, no. 2:211). On the other hand it was decided there 
that a sh.ekh.iv me-ra bequest made by a woman in which she 
gave a large part of her property to her husband was invalid 
(Ner Maaraviy no. 1:16). Another takkanah enacted in Fez im- 
posed restrictions on the husbands freedom to make a testa- 
mentary disposition of his property by prescribing that if the 
wife objected to the shekhiv me-ra will of her husband, her 
share - or that of her heirs - in the estate would remain unaf- 
fected by the will. Another takkanah laid down that before 
distribution of the estate in accordance with the existing tak- 
kanot, there were to be recovered from it mattenat bari but 
not shekhiv me-ra bequests to which the wife of the deceased 
objected (Kerem Hamar, vol. 2, 34b, no. 6; the scholars were 
divided on the interpretation of this takkanah - see Mishpa- 
tim Yesharim, no. 2:268). 

In consequence of the migrations of the Spanish exiles 
similar takkanot to those of Toledo were enacted in many 
communities of the Mediterranean countries. In some places 
a woman was expressly precluded from bequeathing part of 
her property to her husband; this was prescribed, for instance, 
in the takkanot of Arta (Torat Hayyim, eh 24), apparently en- 
acted in 1597 (see Resp. Ranah, no. 25). 

In the State of Israel 

In the Succession Law of 1965 the Knesset partly adopted and 
partly rejected different principles pertaining to testamentary 
dispositions in Jewish law. The mattenat bari and shekhiv me- 
ra forms of will were adopted both in formulation and content 
(sec. 23; M. Elon, in: ilr, 4 (1969), 133 f). The Law - in recep- 
tion of Jewish law principles and contrary to English law - 
empowers the court to give effect to a formally defective will 
when there is no doubt as to its genuineness (sec. 25). 

[Shmuel Shilo] 

A Will Formulated as a Request 

Rabbi Israel Isserlein (Resp. Terumat Ha-Deshen, Pesakim 
u-Ketavim y (Ashkenaz, 15 th century), 99) was asked about a 
will in which the testator turned to his son, requesting him 
to waive a particular debt that someone owed him; the ques- 
tion was whether this request was in fact an integral part of 
the will or merely a request or recommendation. His answer 
was that he was inclined to view this as a will in every respect, 

and that the use of the form of request, rather than instruc- 
tion, was merely in order for the matter to be dealt with ami- 
cably. The Rema (Sh. Ar., hm, 250:21) ruled, on the basis of 
this responsum, that where a will is drafted in the form of a 
request, it is to be considered as a statement of a shekhiv me- 
ra y of one who is critically ill, and therefore to have the bind- 
ing force of a will. Other halakhic decisors expressed doubts 
regarding this matter, in view of the fact that further on in 
this responsum Rabbi Isserlein himself questioned whether 
this was in fact the law (Hiddushei Rabbi Akiva Eiger y ad loc; 
Beit Yosef y hm 253). 

Rabbi Isserlein's responsum and Rema's ruling were con- 
sidered in decisions of the rabbinical courts in the State of 
Israel when adjudicating a case in which the language of the 
will was framed as a request. The Regional Rabbinical Court 
in Petah Tikvah (File 1862/28) ruled that, even according to 
the opinion of the Rema, an additional reason is needed in 
order for the request to be considered a will, noting that in his 
responsum Rabbi Isserlein had explained that the provision 
was framed as a request in order for the matter to be dealt with 
amicably. Thus, only where there is an additional rationale to 
explain the background for using the form of request, such 
as that brought by Rabbi Isserlein, which explained the back- 
ground of the request, may a request be viewed as a provision 
of a will. In the appeal, the Israeli Rabbinical Court of Appeals 
(5731/4, 8 pdr 240) rejected the reasoning of the Regional 
Rabbinical Court and stated that Rabbi Isserlein's opinion 
implies that any request constitutes a will unless there is 
cause to believe otherwise, in which case an additional ra- 
tionale is needed, and the decision of the Rema is appli- 
cable to any ordinary case of a will written as a request 
(ibid., pp. 245-47). 

A similar question came before the Israeli Supreme Court 
when the deceased left a letter recommending to the person 
whom he had designated as his heir not to accept the inheri- 
tance (ca 202/85 Kleine-Beck v. Goldberg, 41(2) pd 753; per Jus- 
tice Menachem Elon). The family of the deceased argued that 
this constituted a revocation of the will, whereas the person 
designated as heir argued that this was only a recommenda- 
tion. The District Court ruled according to the responsum of 
Rabbi Isserlein - namely, that a request constitutes a will and 
thus the earlier will must be viewed as having been revoked. 
The Supreme Court ruled that a distinction must be made be- 
tween a request, that must be viewed as a will under Jewish 
Law, and the case under consideration, in which the docu- 
ment at issue was a letter containing a recommendation, that 
could not even be considered as a request; hence its language 
should not be viewed as a will, and the letter did not revoke 
the earlier will (ibid, pp. 768-70). 

Enforcing a Defective Will 

Wills that are drafted by notaries, in accordance with the laws 
of the State, often contain elements that would be considered 
defects according to Jewish Law and that would, prima facie, 
prevent their execution. Nevertheless, the accepted practice 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


is to uphold such wills and to regard them as valid, pursuant 
to the principle of custom (see *Custom). The basis for this 
position is the responsum of the Radbaz (1:67) ruling that the 
custom is to uphold instruments of the non- Jewish legal au- 
thorities. Even though the rule is that custom generally can- 
not override or invalidate rulings based on Torah, here there 
is no actual invalidation of Torah law governing inheritance, 
but simply a ruling that the gift was a valid gift on the basis of 
custom. A similar ruling was given by Rabbi David Hai Haco- 
hen (Resp. Radakh 26:3; Italy-Greece, 16 th century). 

According to the opinion of some of halakhic authorities 
such wills should be upheld pursuant to the principle of dina 
de-malkhuta dina (see *Dina de-Malkhuta Dina). Some are 
of the opinion that this is only possible when an act of acqui- 
sition (kinyan) was performed at the time the will was writ- 
ten (Arukh ha-Shulhan, hm 68:6), while according to others 
no such act is necessary (Resp. Iggerot Moshe, Even Ha-Ezer, 
nos. 104-105). 

There are additional cases in which a will is inconsistent 
with the requirements of Jewish Law and the rabbinical courts 
nevertheless make an effort to uphold these wills relying, inter 
alia, on the following solutions: 

1. In cases in which it may be inferred from the language 
of the document that the testator is only transferring owner- 
ship after his death (i.e., where the testator writes that he be- 
queaths his property "after my death"), this wording may be 
interpreted as "bequeathing in the contemplation of my death" 
(see supra) , inasmuch as there is a tendency in the rulings of 
halakhic decisors of recent generations to broaden the possi- 
bilities of viewing the will of a healthy person as "a will in the 
contemplation of death." 

2. The use of the rule "it is a mitzvah to carry out the 
wishes of the deceased," as cited above, while adopting the 
approach that broadens its application beyond the cases in 
which the property has been transferred to a trustee. This is 
especially the case where the will bequeaths the property for 
a charitable purpose. 

3. Where funds deposited in a bank account are be- 
queathed. In such cases inasmuch as the funds have been 
deposited with the bank in accordance with the bank's pro- 
cedures, which require the bank to transfer the money to the 
heirs pursuant to the will, which is probated according to 
civil law, it is authorized to and required to act according to 
its procedures. 

In the State of Israel - Later Developments 

As stated above, some of the sections of the Succession Law, 
5725 - 1965, adopted various provisions of Jewish Law. An ex- 
ample of this is Section 42(b) of the Succession Law, dealing 
with the case of consecutive heirs, which provides, inter alia, 
that the first heir "may deal with what he received as his own 
and the second shall only take what the first has left." This 
provision is consistent with the provisions of Jewish Law, as 
discussed at length above. In a case decided by the Supreme 
Court (ca 749/82 Moston v. Wiederman, 43(1) pd 278), the 

testator provided in his will that his property would be be- 
queathed to his wife and that upon her death it would pass to 
his legal heirs. After studying and discussing the sources of 
Jewish Law on this subject, the Court ruled that the testator's 
wife was entitled to the property and was entitled to carry out 
any legal transaction regarding them, including their sale, but 
that she could not bequeath them in her will to other bene- 
ficiaries. This was because immediately upon her death the 
ownership of the property returns to the legal heirs of the first 
testator, in accordance with the provision of Jewish Law that 
the first beneficiary may transfer the estate in any manner ex- 
cept by will, not even by way of a shekhiv me-ras will to other 
beneficiaries (ibid, pp. 289-93; per Justice Menachem Elon); 
for a detailed discussion of the aspects of this subject in Jew- 
ish law see *Law and Morality). 

The origin of Section 23 of the Succession Law in the 
Jewish Law regarding shekhiv me-ra served as the basis for 
the interpretation given to this section by the Supreme Court 
in the Koenig decision (fh 40/80 Koenig v. Cohen, 36(3) pd 
701). That case involved a will that a woman left on a piece 
of paper, undated and unsigned, a moment before she took 
her life. The justices' opinions were divided regarding the le- 
gal validity of the will. Justice Menachem Elon ruled that the 
document should be regarded as a will in contemplation of 
death, given that a shekhiv me-ras will and a will in contem- 
plation of death are valid even without a kinyan, and even if 
there were not two witnesses at the time it was drawn up, there 
is a presumption, by virtue of the special circumstances in- 
volved in its drafting, that it reflected her considered wishes 
and decision (Rambam, Yad, Zekhiyah u-Matanah, 8:2, 4, 24, 
26; Sema, hm 253:1). In view of this, the will in the case under 
consideration, that had no date and to which there were no 
witnesses, must be validated, notwithstanding its omissions 
and defects (ibid, pp. 733-38). 

In another decision (c a 2555/98 Abergil v. Ben Yair, 53(5) 
pd 673), the Supreme Court ruled that the drafting of a will 
pursuant to the rules of Jewish Law, in the manner of grant- 
ing a gift while alive, is to be treated by the civil courts as a 
will and not as a gift, and the provisions of the Succession 
Law, 5725 - 1965, will apply rather than those of the Gift Law, 
5728 - 1968. The Court (Justice Y. Englard) cited the Jewish 
Law sources discussed above, dealing with the will of a healthy 
person by way of a gift while living, ruling that Jewish Law 
indeed considers it a gift, and not a will. However, this is be- 
cause this is the only recognized way under Jewish Law to dis- 
tribute the estate to parties other than the legal heirs; hence, 
this act must be judged according to its substance, and should 
be regarded as a will rather than as a. gift (p. 686 of the deci- 
sion). In view of this, the Court ruled that even a will drafted 
in accordance with Jewish Law must fulfill the requirements 
of Succession Law 5725 - 1965 regarding wills. It should be 
noted that, regarding this approach of the civil courts, there 
were those who commented that the decision represents a 
degree of restriction of the freedom to enter into contractual 
agreements, inasmuch as it does not permit a person to give 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



his property as a gift in accordance with the model of a "liv- 
ing gift" under Jewish Law. 

[Menachem Elon (2 nd ed.)] 

bibliography: L. Bodenheimer, Das Testament unter Benen- 
nung einer... Erbschaft... (1847); M. Bloch, Das mosaisch-talmu- 
dische Erbrecht (1890); M.W. Rapaport, in: Zeitschrift fuer verglei- 
chende Rechtswissenschaft, 14 (1900), 1-148; Gulak, Yesodei, 3 (1922), 
113-45; idem, Ozar, 110-31; idem, in: Tarbiz, 4 (1933), 121-6; idem, Das 
Urkundenwesen im Talmud (1935), 125-36; Herzog, Instit, 1 (1936), 
152-4; 2 (1939), 29 f.; S. Assaf, in: Emet le-Yaakov... Freimann (1937), 
8-13; E. Rivlin, in: Azkarah... ha-Rav... Kook, 3 (1937), 559-619; H. 
Cohn, in: Yavneh, 3 (1949), 80-105; A. Freimann, ibid., 106-10; et, 1 
(1951 3 ), 86-88, 251-3, 255; 7 (1956), 114-34; A. Karlin, Divrei Mishpat, 
1 (1954), 46-81; R. Yaron, Gifts in Contemplation of Death in Jewish 
and Roman Law (i960); A. Kimmelmann, Zavvaat Bari ve-Zavvaat 
Shekhiv me-Ra be-Dinei Yisrael... (1963); idem, in: Sinai, 55 (1964), 
145-55; E.E. Urbach, in: Divrei ha-Congress ha-Olami ha-Revii le- 
Madda'ei ha-Yahadut, 1 (1967), 133-41; Elon, Mafteah, 139 f., 168-73, 
242-5; idem, in: ilr, 4 (1969), 126-40. add. bibliography: M. 
Elon, Ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri (1988), 1:891"., i33f.,36i, 364, 369, 417, 476, 
651, 653, 67of., 680, 683, 763; 2:992, 1284, 1290; 3:1332, 1395, i404f., 
1412 f., 1575 f., 1592; idem, Jewish Law (1994), 1:99 f., 149 f., 436 f., 440, 
446; 2:509, 580, 805, 808, 828f., 839, 843, 940, 962; 3:1200, 1533, 1540; 
4:1591, 1663, 1673 f., i68if., 1875 f., 1895; idem, Maamad ha-Ishah 
(2005), 255-96; M. Elon and B. Lifshitz, Mafteah ha-Sheelot ve-ha- 
Teshuvot shel Hakhmei Sefarad u-Zefon Afrikah (legal digest) (1986), 
2:260, 266-75; B- Lifshitz and E. Shochetman, Mafteah ha-Sheelot ve- 
ha-Teshuvot shel Hakhmei Ashkenaz, Zarefat ve-Italyah (legal digest) 
(1997), 2:187-91; I. Gruenfeld, The Jewish Law of Inheritance (1987); 
M.A. Rabilo, "A/ Matanot ve-Yom ha-Mavet" in: Sefer Ha-Zikharon 
le-Gad Tedeski (1996), 581-606; Y. Rivlin, Ha- Yerushah ve-ha-Zavaah 
be-Mishpat ha-Ivri (1999); H.S. Shaanan, "Zavaah ke-Halakhah" in: 
Tehumin, 13 (1992-1993), 126-317. 

WILLS, ETHICAL. The Bible contains examples of wills 
given by the great sages, especially that of Jacob (Gen. 49), 
but they possess no special religious or ethical theme. This 
holds true for the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, one 
of the major works in the * Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha 
written during the Second Temple period and shortly after its 
destruction. The prototype of the medieval ethical will may 
be found in the Book of Proverbs, where much of the practi- 
cal ethical advice is given in the manner of instructions from 
a father to his son. 

Talmudic literature contains many aggadic passages 
quoting or purporting to quote deathbed instructions by great 
sages to their pupils. These passages, collected by I. Abra- 
hams in the first chapter of his anthology Hebrew Ethical Wills 
(2 vols., 1926), do not concentrate on ethical themes, though 
some contain ideas similar to those that appear later in the me- 
dieval literature. However, Hebrew ethical wills of the Middle 
Ages are not a direct development of these sayings. 

In the Hebrew poetry of the classical Andalusian period 
there are some examples of ethical wills, for instance, a poem 
of Samuel ha-Nagid dedicated to his son Yehosef (YehosefKol 
Asher) before one of his battles with Granada's army. Seeing 
death very close, Samuel collected in the poem the best ad- 
vice for his son. 

Medieval ethical wills are an integral part of medieval 
Hebrew *Ethical Literature, which, although it undoubtedly 
has deep roots in the traditional talmudic and midrashic 
literature, is mainly a product of medieval ideologies - i.e., 
Jewish philosophy, Ashkenazi Hasidism (see *Hasidei Ashke- 
naz), and Kabbalah. The aim of ethical literature was to apply 
theological, psychological, and anthropological conclusions 
of the ideologies to the everyday life, social and religious, of 
the average Jew. Various types of literary works were devel- 
oped for this purpose: ethical treatises dealing with several 
moral problems, according to subjects or alphabetical or- 
der; monographs and homiletical works that deduced ethi- 
cal norms from the ancient texts; and the ethical will that be- 
gan to develop in European Jewish communities during the 
Middle Ages. 

Ethical wills differ from other kinds of ethical litera- 
ture in several ways. Whereas ethical literature usually gives 
a lengthy theoretical basis for behavioral requirements, ethi- 
cal wills ordinarily only point out the right way, disregarding 
the ideological foundations. Thus they are a more practical, 
behavioral type of literature, close in some respects to the lit- 
erature of the hanhagot (see *Ethical Literature) whose sole 
aim is to instruct the reader in right behavior in the manner 
of halakhic literature (but dealing with some subjects not cov- 
ered by halakhah). The literary form of the will - as teach- 
ings given by a dying father to his sons gathered around his 
bedside - does not leave much space for elaborations on or 
explanations of the traditional basis for the commandments. 
Ethical wills, therefore, comprise short ethical treatises, very 
practical in character. 

In many ethical wills, every paragraph opens with the 
words "my son." Sometimes legends arose describing in detail 
the circumstances under which the will was given. Some wills 
are described as letters sent by a father, who was far away (in 
Palestine, for instance), to his sons, instructing them in the 
basic moral and ethical teachings. In later generations this be- 
came an accepted literary form for any short work dealing with 
the basic ethical norms. The titles of such works, especially in 
Eastern Europe in the 18 th century, suggest a will, e.g., Nahalat 
Avot ("Inheritance of the Fathers"). It is doubtful whether any 
extant work of this sort was actually a will, the term "will" hav- 
ing been used only to imply that here in a short form is the 
essence of the ethical teachings of a certain writer. 

Their literary form made ethical wills popular and re- 
spected, with readers looking upon them as the last will and 
testament of a great scholar that should be accepted and 
followed. Naturally, some writers created pseudepigraphic 
works, attributing them to great sages of their time who did 
not happen to write such a treatise themselves. Medieval and 
early modern times offer examples of such pseudepigraphical 
works, from the "will" attributed to Maimonides to that at- 
tributed to ^Israel b. Eliezer Baal Shem Tov. The Zavvaat ha- 
Rivash (1793) was attributed to the Baal Shem Tov, although 
the work was mainly a compilation of sayings primarily from 
the writings of Dov Baer of Mezhirech. 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


The literary form of the will also influenced writers of 
major ethical works. Jehiel b. Jekuthiel of Rome, author of 
the Ma'alot ha-Middot, a major ethical book of the 13 th cen- 
tury, used the form of the will, with the words "my son" be- 
ginning many parts of the work. Even Isaiah b. Jacob ha-Levi 
^Horowitz, whose family produced several ethical wills (see 
below), used this form in his monumental ethical work She- 
nei Luhot ha-Berit. 

Probably the earliest extant ethical will in Hebrew, a 
translation from the Arabic, comprises a short chapter in the 
*Mivhar ha-Peninnim, a. collection of ethical epigrams attrib- 
uted to Solomon ibn *Gabirol and translated into Hebrew by 
Judah ibn *Tibbon. The chapter entitled "The Gate of the Com- 
mandment of the Scholar to his Son" includes various epigrams 
on almost all aspects of human behavior and is part of the phil- 
osophical ethical literature, although the philosophical presup- 
positions are almost nonexistent within the chapter itself. 

Another early example is the treatise *Orhot Hayyim 
("Ways of Life"), first attributed to the talmudic sage *Eliezer 
b. Hyrcanus, and later to the n th -century Ashkenazi scholar 
*Eliezer (ha-Gadol) b. Isaac of Worms. Modern scholars dis- 
agree about the date of this work - Zunz considers that it was 
written early in the Middle Ages, about the eighth century, 
whereas G. Scholem holds that it forms part of the literature 
which emanated from the same circle that produced the Zohar 
in the 13 th century. Orhot Hayyim, a popular work, is a fine ex- 
ample of the literary genre - it includes, in short paragraphs 
addressed to the writers sons, advice and instruction about 
practical, behavioral problems in ethical, moral, religious, and 
social life, without any specific ideological basis (which is one 
of the reasons why it is so difficult to determine its time and 
place of composition). Judah ibn *Tibboris ethical will, written 
about 1190 and addressed to his son Samuel, who translated 
Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed from Arabic to Hebrew, 
is one of the classics in this genre. Although the will contains 
the usual detailed and practical instructions from a father to 
his son on moral behavior, it also is characterized by features 
rarely found in ethical wills. For example, the will is intro- 
duced and concluded by a poem, and within the body of the 
will there are a number of poetical passages, some of which 
were taken from *Samuel ha-Nagid's Ben Mishlei. A second 
unusual feature is Judah's reference to many details of family 
life, his designation of bridegrooms for his daughters and a 
bride for his son. Apparently the testament is an actual private 
ethical will from one person to another, and not just a literary 
work. Thirdly, in this work, also known as "A Father's Admo- 
nition" (MusarAv), the author clearly reproves his son for his 
laziness, his lack of interest in books in general and in Arabic 
in particular, and many other faults of character which seem 
incongruous in the man who translated the Guide of the Per- 
plexed. Perhaps parts of the will were written when Samuel 
was quite young, and other parts were added later. In addi- 
tion, the author dwells at length upon the right way to main- 
tain and preserve a library, for Judah possessed one of the most 
important libraries of his time. 

From the 13 th century, ethical wills became not only a 
popular Hebrew literary genre, but also customary practice 
within certain families. Apparently the custom was main- 
tained in the family of *Asher b. Jehiel (father of the author 
of the Turim), which moved from Germany to Spain. Extant 
are the "Rules" which R. Asher gave to his family, and a will 
addressed to the sons of R. Jacob, the son of R. Asher. It is 
probable that R. Judah, Jacobs brother, also wrote such a will 
which had come down as an anonymous work. 

This custom seems to have been prevalent in one of the 
most important families in Eastern Europe during the 16 th and 
17 th centuries, the Horowitz family, whose place of residence 
was usually Prague. In the 16 th century Abraham ^Horowitz 
wrote the important ethical will which became widely known 
as an independent ethical work, Yesh Nohalin. His son, Jacob, 
wrote a will in the form of emendations of and additions to his 
father's ethical book, and the two works were often printed to- 
gether. The grandson, Shabbetai Sheftel ^Horowitz, the author 
of Shefa Tal, carried on the family tradition. Although many 
of this family were kabbalists who helped to spread Lurianic 
Kabbalah in Eastern Europe, kabbalistic ideas do not occupy 
a major place in their ethical wills. 

Ethical wills sometimes reflect major controversies and 
trends within Judaism. The i3 th -century will of Joseph ibn 
Kaspi of Provence, known also as Sefer ha-Musar ("The Book 
of Ethics") or Yoreh Deah ("Teacher of Knowledge"), reflects 
the fierce controversy between the practitioners of Jewish phi- 
losophy, especially the followers of Maimonides, of which Ibn 
Kaspi was one, and their opponents. Ibn Kaspi tries to rec- 
oncile the idea of philosophical knowledge as the supreme 
religious value with the traditional expressions of devotion. 
Another glimpse into major problems in the history of Jewish 
thought is provided by the will of *Elijah b. Solomon Zalman 
of *Vilna (the Vilna Gaon), who addressed a will to his sons 
when he set out for Palestine (which he never reached). The 
will expresses the extreme pietism and devotion of the oppo- 
nents of Hasidism in the 18 th century. Elijah advised his sons 
that in order to avoid interrupting their study of To rah they 
should never set foot outside their houses unless it was abso- 
lutely necessary. He even advocated praying at home because 
the many people congregated in the synagogue might prove 
distracting or inspire evil thoughts. From these strictures it 
is not surprising that he was the leader in the opposition to 
Hasidism. In general, ethical wills reflect in a concise and clear 
way the main concerns of the writer and the social or ideologi- 
cal group within Judaism to which he belongs. 

bibliography: I. Abrahams, Hebrew Ethical Wills, 2 vols. 
(1926, 1948 2 ); H.H. Ben-Sasson, Hagut ve-Hanhagah (1959), passim. 

[Joseph Dan] 

WILLSTAETTER, RICHARD (1872-1942), German or- 
ganic chemist and Nobel laureate. Willstaetter, who was born 
in Karlsruhe, became professor at Munich in 1902, and three 
years later professor at the Technische Hochschule in Zurich. 
His research showed that chlorophyll, the essential agent for 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



plants to absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide for synthesis, 
has two components, contains magnesium, is closely analo- 
gous to the red pigment of blood, and contains phytol. He was 
awarded the 1915 Nobel Prize in chemistry "for his researches 
on plant pigments, especially chlorophyll." In 1912 he became 
director of a new Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft zur Foerderung 
der Wissenschaften in Berlin- Dahlem, and studied other plant 
pigments, the carotenes, and the anthocyanins. In World War 1 
he was awarded the civilian Iron Cross for work on gas masks. 
In 1915 he became director of the State Chemical Laboratory. 
At a time when enzymes were still considered to be mysteri- 
ous agents specific to life processes, he emphasized the view 
that they are chemical substances. 

When by 1924 suitable Jewish candidates were being re- 
jected for positions in the university, Willstaetter reacted to 
this manifestation of antisemitism by resigning his chair at the 
University of Munich. He devoted himself to scientific organi- 
zations, publications, special lectures, and industrial consul- 
tations. In March 1939 the Gestapo ransacked his house and 
ordered him to leave Germany. He went to Locarno, Switzer- 
land, where he died. His autobiography, Aus meinem Leben, 
appeared in 1949. 

bibliography: E. Farber (ed.), Great Chemists (1961), 
1367-74; Robinson, in: Journal of the Chemical Society, pt. 1 (1953), 
999-1026; idem, in: Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society, 
22 (1953), 609-34; T.N. Levitan, Laureates: Jewish Winners of the No- 
bel Prize (i960), 36-38. 

[Samuel Aaron Miller] 

WILMINGTON, the largest city in Delaware, midway be- 
tween New York and Washington, some 27 miles south of 
Philadelphia and 70 miles north of Baltimore. In 1995, 7,600 
Jews, 56% of Delaware's Jews, lived in Wilmington and its sub- 
urbs. Since 1879, when Delaware's first Jewish organization, the 
Moses Montefiore Society, was formed, Wilmington has been 
the center of Jewish life in the state. 

Central European and native-born Jews who came to 
Wilmington from neighboring American cities established the 
Moses Montefiore Society. Within a few years, eastern Euro- 
pean Jews arrived in large numbers. In addition to working as 
tailors, shoemakers, milliners, and shopkeepers, many of them 
worked in Wilmington's expanding shipbuilding, railroad car 
and morocco plants as carpenters or unskilled laborers. The 
eastern Europeans quickly outnumbered the founders, but 
the groups worked together to build Wilmington's synagogues 
and agencies. (See ^Delaware.) Given Wilmington's prosperity, 
the Jewish population grew quickly from 94 people in 1879 to 
nearly 4,000 by 1920. 

Wilmington's moment of glory was the 1918 War Relief 
Campaign sponsored by the American Jewish Relief Commit- 
tee. Recognizing the full extent of the suffering in Europe, the 
ajrc set a national goal of 30 million dollars, an unattainable 
goal for Jews alone. The agency chose Wilmington, which 
was known to have very good relations between the Jewish 
and general community, for an experimental appeal to non- 
Jews and assigned it a goal of $75,000. With the generosity of 

Wilmington's established leaders, Pierre duPont and mem- 
bers of the duPont family, Senator Willard J. Saulsbury, then 
president pro tern of the U.S. Senate, and Wilmington's in- 
dustrial leaders, the campaign surpassed its goal and raised 
$125,000. Wilmington became known nationally as the model 
city of charity and good will, the place where the campaign 
became "not only a Jewish movement but a human move- 

During the World War 1 era, the most affluent members 
of the Jewish community moved north across the Brandywine 
River, but most Jews continued to live and work in the down- 
town area. They ran many of Wilmington's leading stores like 
J.M. Lazarus' Wilmington Dry Goods, Snellenburg's, Keil's, 
and Braunstein's. By the 1960s, 35% of Wilmington's Jews 
had moved to the suburbs; only 53% still lived in the city. To 
meet the new reality, community leaders closed the old Jew- 
ish Community Center and built a new one in northern New 
Castle County on Garden of Eden Road in 1969. Adas Ko- 
desch Shel Emeth (Orthodox) and Temple Beth Emeth (Re- 
form) also moved out of the downtown area in mid century. 
Beth Shalom (Conservative) was always north of the Bran- 
dywine River. 

As Wilmington developed into a corporate capital and 
then a financial/banking center, many Jews found jobs in those 
fields as well as in other professions. In 1995, 55% of Wilming- 
ton's Jews had a four- year college degree or a graduate degree. 
The vast majority of Wilmington's Jews lived in the suburbs; 
few lived in the city. The total population of the city and sub- 
urbs had not increased much, from an estimated 7,200 Jews 
in 1962 to an estimated 7,600 in 1995. A multi-year expansion 
and renovation of the Garden of Eden Campus began in 2003 
following a community wide campaign that raised more than 
21 million dollars. 

During the World War 11 era, Jewish education became 
a community priority. The Jewish Federation of Delaware, 
which was formed in 1935, led a community effort to estab- 
lish a United Hebrew School. Although the school closed af- 
ter about 13 years, the focus on education continued. Wilm- 
ington Gratz Hebrew High School, a branch of the successful 
Philadelphia school, opened in 1965. Albert Einstein Academy, 
the state's only Jewish day school, began in 1970. The Florence 
Melton Mini School brought its adult education program to 
Wilmington in 2001. 

At the end of the 20 th century, 33.3% of Wilmington's 
Jews defined themselves as Conservative, 30% as Reform, 
7.3% as Orthodox, 0.8% as Reconstructionist and 27.7% as 
Just Jewish. 

bibliography: Ukeles Associates, Inc., 1995 Jewish Popula- 
tion Study of Delaware, Summary Report; H. Bluestone, The Jewish 
Population of Northern Delaware - 1962- A Demographic Study-, H. 
Bluestone, A Historical Review of a Century of Jewish Education in 
Delaware, 18/6-19/6; Toni Young, Becoming American, Remaining 
Jewish: The Story of Wilmington, Delaware's First Jewish Community, 
18/9-1924 (1999); Toni Young (ed.), Delaware and the Jews (1979). 

[Toni Young (2 nd ed.)] 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


WILNA, JACOB BEN BENJAMIN WOLF (d. 1732?), rabbi, 
posek, and Shabbatean kabbalist. His name indicates that he 
was born in Vilna. He was a member of the circle of * Judah 
Hasid (Segal) ha- Levi, but it is not clear if he joined this circle 
while still in Europe and went with them to Erez Israel in 1700 
or whether he went there earlier. In any case, he clearly stud- 
ied Kabbalah in Vilna. While in Jerusalem, he attempted to 
join the Sephardi community and was a member of the bet ha- 
midrash of Abraham *Rovigo and a member of the Yeshivah 
Bet Yaakov Ferrera of the Sephardim. In 1707 Jacob signed 
the ordination of David *Oppenheim with the leaders of the 
Ashkenazi community in Jerusalem. In Jerusalem he associ- 
ated with Nathan Nata *Mannheim, a member of the circle of 
Judah Hasid. The two collaborated in the writing of Mebrot 
Natan, which includes the Mebrei Or of Meir Toppers, with 
their commentary Yair Nativ (Frankfurt, 1709). Between 1702 
and 1725, he left Jerusalem three times, twice as an emissary 
of the Ashkenazi community. Jacob visited Turkey, Germany, 
Holland, and Italy, propagating Kabbalah wherever he went. 
In 1726 he returned to Safed and from 1728 served as the rabbi 
of Safed and as head of the yeshivah. He was a moderate Shab- 
batean and material on his "belief" is included in Shabbatean 
manuscripts. Jacob was considered the authoritative kabbalist 
by his contemporaries in Turkey, Erez Israel, Italy, and Poland. 
His eminence in Kabbalah is attested by Abraham * Gershon 
of Kutow (Kuty). He died in Safed at an old age. His glosses 
on Tikkunei Zohar were published with the text (in Orta Koi, 
near Constantinople, 1709). 

His son hayyim nissim yeruham (i704?-i775), kabbal- 
ist and rabbi, was born in Jerusalem, and was also a Shabbatean 
kabbalist. He, too, joined the Sephardi community. Hayyim left 
Jerusalem on several occasions on missions for the Ashkenazi 
community and later became one of its scholars. Apparently 
he died in Damascus. There is no evidence for the view that 
Jacob Wilna was the ancestor of the * Elyashar family. 

bibliography: Yaari, Sheluhei, 337-40; M. Benayahu, in: 
Yerushalayim, 4 (1953), 203-14; idem, in: Sefunot, 2 (1958), 147; idem, 
Rabbi Yaakov Elyashar (i960), 11-12. 

[Abraham David] 

WILPON, FRED (1936- ), U.S. sports executive and real 
estate developer. Wilpon, who was born in Brooklyn, n.y., 
graduated from the University of Michigan. He worked for 
Hanover Equities Corporation in New York from 1959 to 1969, 
rising to vice president. He joined Peter Sharp & Co. as a vice 
president and two years later co-founded the realty investment 
concern Sterling Equities of Manhasset, n.y., which developed 
and invested in real estate. From 1972, Sterling Equities and its 
affiliates purchased or developed over 17 million square feet 
of commercial property, 45,000 residential units, 8.5 million 
square feet of retail property, and three major sports com- 
plexes. In 1980 Wilpon and Saul Katz, the founders of Sterling 
Equities, acquired a partnership interest in the New York Mets 
professional baseball team, one of the major sports franchises 
in the United States. In 1985 Sterling invested in Pathogenesis 

Laboratories, a medical research company focused on treat- 
ments for cystic fibrosis. Five years later Sterling joined with 
American Securities Capital Partners to form the first of four 
investment funds that invested in and managed real estate in 
43 states. In 2000, he and Katz co-founded, and Wilpon be- 
came chairman of, the Brooklyn Baseball Company, owner 
of the Brooklyn Cyclones, a minor league team. It marked 
the return of baseball to Brooklyn, which had been without a 
professional team since the departure of the Brooklyn Dodg- 
ers in 1956. In 2002 Sterling became full owner of the Mets, 
and Wilpon remained chairman and chief executive through 
the early years of the 21 st century. His son Jeff was senior ex- 
ecutive vice president and chief operating officer of the Mets. 
Other members of the Wilpon family served on the board of 
directors. Wilpon was a member of the New York City Hous- 
ing Task Force and served as a trustee of the Jewish Institute 
for Geriatric Care in New Hyde Park, n.y. 

[Stewart Kampel (2 nd ed.)] 

°WILSON,SIR CHARLES WILLIAM (1836-1905), English 
army officer and topographer. Wilson entered the Royal Engi- 
neers in 1855. He directed the survey of Jerusalem (1864-66) 
and the survey of Sinai (1868-69) f° r the Ordnance Survey. 
He later served as consul in Turkey, intelligence officer during 
the wars in Sudan (1884-85), and director-general of the Ord- 
nance Survey from 1886 to 1894, when he retired from mili- 
tary service with the rank of major-general. His publications 
on Erez Israel include the first exact map of Jerusalem (1864), 
which still serves as the topographical basis of the Old City; 
explanatory notes on the map (1865); and a map of the Sinai 
Peninsula (1869). Wilson also contributed to the volume on 
Jerusalem (1880) in the series Picturesque Palestine. During 
his work Wilson identified remains of the bridge which con- 
nected the Temple Mount with the Upper City in the Second 
Temple period; this has been named after him. He was one of 
the leaders of the ill-fated expedition to rescue General Gor- 
don in the Sudan in 1885 and was knighted the same year. Wil- 
son again visited Palestine in 1899 and 1904, trying to discover 
sites relating to early Christianity. 

bibliography: Ch. M. Watson, The Life of Major-General 
Sir Charles William Wilson (1909). add. bibliography: odnb 


[Michael Avi-Yonah] 


(1916-1995), British prime minister. Wilson was the son of an 
industrial chemist in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, and was edu- 
cated at Oxford. He entered Parliament in 1945, serving as 
the youngest member of Clement *Attlee's cabinet in 1947-51. 
He became leader of the Labour Party in 1963 and served as 
prime minister in 1964-70 and 1974-76. Wilson had particu- 
larly close relations with members of the Jewish community, 
especially as his confidential advisors, such as his solicitor 
and confidante Lord *Goodman and a Yorkshire industri- 
alist, Lord *Kagan, from whom he sought economic advice. 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



Wilson admired Jews for those qualities he saw in himself: 
intelligence, social commitment, and an ability to rise above 
class-imposed obstacles. 

No fewer than 40 Jews were elected as Labour members 
of Parliament at the 1966 general election (out of 363 Labour 
mps), and the Wilson years probably marked the zenith of the 
nexus between British Jewry and the Labour Party, especially 
among those who were young during the time of fascism. 
Subsequently, many in the Jewish community moved to the 
political right. Like most social democrats of his generation, 
Wilson was a strong supporter of Israel and wrote a book on 
the subject, The Chariot of Israel: Britain, America, and the 
State of Israel (1981). 

bibliography: odnb online. 

[William D. Rubinstein (2 nd ed.)] 

WILSON, "SCOTTIE" (1891-1972), painter. Britain's best 
known "naive" painter, Wilson was an endearing eccentric. 
He was born Lewis Freeman to eastern European immigrant 
parents in the Jewish section of the Gorbals slum district of 
Glasgow. Some sources state that he was born in London, al- 
though "Scottie" refers to his place of birth and the broad ac- 
cent he retained all his life. His formal education ended at the 
age of nine, after which he worked with an elder brother as a 
street -trader in Glasgow. In 1906 he enrolled in the Scottish 
Rifles and served in India and South Africa. His later work 
bears some resemblance to Indian bazaar painting, and he 
regularly incorporated in his works the design of the lotus 
flower. During World War 1 he served on the western front, 
after which he returned to street-trading in London and Scot- 
land. In the early 1930s he immigrated to Canada, working as 
an itinerant trader between Toronto and Vancouver. It was 
there that his artistic career started. He often related the tale of 
finding a beautiful gold pen, with a broad nib, which inspired 
him to doodle; images and faces seemed to flow from the pen 
involuntarily and he became obsessed with the results. Doz- 
ens of notebooks became filled with elaborate decorative pat- 
terns, fantasies based on images of childhood, in which nature 
was always beautiful and humans were always ugly He began 
to use colored inks in delightful images of elaborate gardens, 
with fountains and resplendent flora and fauna. His favorite 
artist was Blake, whose mystical innocence is reflected in his 
work. After World War 11 he returned to London, and within 
a short time considerable interest was shown in his work. In 
Paris he was greatly encouraged by the artist Jean Dubuffet, 
who showed a particular interest in the work of children and 
eccentrics. Exhibitions of his drawings brought Wilson con- 
siderable fame; he was commissioned to paint murals for the 
National Bank of Switzerland, Basle, and dinner services by 
the Royal Worcester Porcelain Company. His work was ac- 
quired by the Tate Gallery, London, the Museum of Modern 
Art, New York, the Musee d'Art Moderne, Paris and many 
other public collections. Among the numerous works about 
Scottie Wilson is a monograph by Mervyn Levy (1966). More 
have appeared since his death. 

add. bibliography: G. MeWy, It's All Writ Out for You: The 

Life and Work of Scottie Wilson (1986); A.J. Petullo and Katharine 

Murrell, Scottie Wilson: Peddlar Turned Painter (2004); G.A. Schrei- 

ner, Scottie Wilson (1979). 

[Charles Samuel Spencer] 

WILSON, SOL (1896-1974), U.S. painter, printmaker, educa- 
tor. Born in Vilno, Russia, now Poland, Wilson emigrated to the 
U.S. in 1911. He studied art at Cooper Union and the National 
Academy of Design. Like many other American artists of his 
generation, he worked for the Works Project Administration 
during the Depression: among his public works were the paint- 
ings The Indian Ladder (1940) for the town of Delmar in New 
York and Outdoor Sports (1942) for Westhampton Beach, also in 
New York. His paintings of figures, interiors, and landscapes re- 
veal the influence of his art teachers, George Bellows and Rob- 
ert Henri. His visits to Massachusetts fishing villages resulted 
in numerous images of fisherman, boats, and harbors, such as 
Torn Sail and Provincetown Deck, rendered in expressive jewel 
tones of red, green, blue, yellow, or in a palette of earth tones, 
exemplified in To the Island. Wilson taught at the Art Students 
League and the American Artists School. He lived predomi- 
nantly in New York, but also spent time in Provincetown and 
Rockport, Massachusetts. His work has been exhibited at the 
Art Institute of Chicago, the Carnegie Institute, the Corcoran 
Gallery, the National Academy of Design, the Library of Con- 
gress, and the Whitney Museum, among other places. His work 
can be found in the collections of the Biro-Bidjan Museum, 
Russia, the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of 
Art, and the Smithsonian, among other museums. 

bibliography: B. Melosh, Engendering Culture: Manhood 
and Womanhood in New Deal Public Art and Theater (1991). 

[Nancy Buchwald (2 nd ed.)] 

°WILSON, WOODROW (1856-1924), 27 th president of the 
United States (1913-21). Wilson tried to remain neutral during 
World War 1 but finally led his country into the conflict. After 
victory, he helped design the Versailles settlement, to which 
the U.S. Senate refused assent. Although Louis D. *Brandeis, 
whom Wilson appointed to the Supreme Court, oriented the 
president to the Zionist program, Wilsons prior approval of 
the Balfour Declaration derived from Allied grand strategy. 
Thereafter, Wilson displayed increased interest in the Jewish 
National Home concept and on several occasions gave it his 
public blessing, much to the chagrin of State Department per- 
sonnel. Wilson also helped write into the 1919 treaties guaran- 
tees for the minority enclaves (including Jews) in the newly 
created states of eastern Europe. Wilsons benevolence toward 
Zionist aspirations reflected his concern for all suppressed na- 
tionalities and an idealism toward the future of the Holy Land 
stemming from a rich Christian background. In Wilsons day, 
the affinity between the United States and world Jewry was 
translated into Zionist terms. 

bibliography: Adler, in: jsos, 10 (1948), 303-34; Lebow, in: 

Journal of Modern History, 40 (1968), 501-23. 

[Selig Adler] 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


WINAWER, BRUNO (1883-1944), Polish playwright and 
novelist. A Warsaw physicist, Winawer wrote many success- 
nil comedies in the style of G.B. Shaw. His belief that technical 
progress was the basis for social and political change found 
expression in his novels and in plays such as Roztwor profesora 
Pytla ("Professor Pytei's Chemical Solution," 1919) and R.H. 
Inzynier ("R.H., the Engineer," 1923). 

WINCHELL, WALTER (1897-1972), U.S. newspaper col- 
umnist. Winchell, a New Yorker by birth, began contribut- 
ing theatrical gossip to the house organ of a theater chain 
when he was a young vaudeville actor. This led the New York 
Graphic to give him his own column, "On Broadway," in 1924, 
and in 1929 he moved to Hearst s Daily Mirror. Over the years 
he gained a position of unmatched power among newspaper 
writers. His sources included presidents and kings, industrial 
tycoons, the leaders of show business, and gangster racketeers. 
His popularity was due mainly to the sensational disclosures 
for which he became a byword. In the mid-1950s, at the peak 
of his career, he had an estimated public of more than 35 mil- 
lion readers as a syndicated columnist in more than 2,000 
daily newspapers. 

Winchell ruled the airwaves from 1930 to 1957, when he 
captivated radio audiences with his colorful, fast-paced, de- 
livery of entertainment news, gossip, and innuendo. In 1956 
he debuted on television, hosting The Walter Winchell Show, a 
weekly variety program; and from 1957 to 1958 he hosted The 
Walter Winchell File, a series about the crime stories he had 
covered while working with the New York City Police Depart- 
ment. Most memorable to television viewers at the time was 
Winchells rapid-fire narration on the popular crime drama 
series The Untouchables (1959-63), based on the 1930s exploits 
of real-life fbi special agent Elliot Ness and his team, and 
mobster Al Capone and his henchmen. 

The tv biopic Winchell was made in 1998, directed by 
Paul Mazursky and starring Stanley Tucci in the title role. 
Winchell was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2004. 

His book Winchell Exclusive: Things That Happened to 
Me - and Me to Them was published in 1975. 

As founder of the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund in 1946 
in memory of his writer friend, Winchell raised millions of 
dollars for cancer research and care. By 2005 the foundation 
had invested more than $170 million in cancer research, sup- 
porting some 3,000 scientists in the U.S. 

bibliography: H. Weiner, Lets Go to Press: A Biography 
of Walter Winchell (1955). add. bibliography: H. Klurfeld, 
Winchell: His Life and Times (1976); M. Machlin, The Gossip Wars 
(1981); J. Mosedale, The Men Who Invented Broadway (1981); M. 
Herr, Walter Winchell (1990); N. Gabler, Winchell: Gossip, Power, 
and the Culture of Celebrity (1994); L. Stuart, The Secret Life of Wal- 
ter Winchell (2003). 

[Bernard Lewis / Ruth Beloff (2 nd ed.)] 

WINCHESTER, cathedral city in Hampshire, S. England. 
Jews are first mentioned there in 1148 when, in the survey of 

city property, Benedict and Ursulinus are recorded as tenants 
of the bishop. A community subsequently grew up and was 
possibly visited by Abraham *Ibn Ezra, who mentions the 
city in his astronomical writings. It was the only large town 
in England where there were no anti- Jewish disorders in 1190, 
but a *blood libel resulted in some disturbance two years later. 
It ranked fourth in the Donum. During the 13 th century the 
community was one of the most important in England and 
an *archa was situated there. The Jewish quarter was in the 
heart of the city (the present Jewry Street). The constable of 
Winchester Castle was also Keeper of the Jews. A tower in the 
castle was known as the Jews' Tower - either because Jews were 
permitted to take refuge there or because it was used for their 
periodical imprisonments. The community experienced a se- 
ries of child -murder accusations between 1225 and 1235. It may 
have been in connection with one of these that in 1235 the lead- 
ing member of the community, Abraham Pinch, was hanged 
in front of the synagogue which he himself maintained. The 
most tragic event occurred in 1262, when Simon de Montfort 
sacked the Jewish quarter in Winchester. Among outstand- 
ing local capitalists in the second half of the 13 th century was 
Licoricia, who was murdered in 1277; her son Benedict was 
among the Winchester Jews hanged in 1278 on a charge of coin 
clipping. Benedict fiT Abraham of Winchester, on the other 
hand, was the only known English Jew in the Middle Ages 
to be admitted to the Merchant Guild (1268). Another son of 
Licoricia, Asher, scratched an inscription, recorded by John 
Selden, on the wall of his dungeon in Winchester Castle, where 
he was imprisoned when the Jews of England were arrested 
in 1287. About this time, the principal Winchester synagogue 
was confiscated. Approximately 16 local Jewish householders 
remained by the time of the expulsion of the Jews from Eng- 
land in 1290, their wealth valued at £44. No organized Jewish 
community has existed there in recent times. 

bibliography: jc (Sept. 16, 1892), 14; Abrahams, in: jhset, 
2 (1894-95), 102; Stokes, ibid., 10 (1921-23), 193-4; Adler, ibid. (1928 
31), 171-2; idem, in: jhsem, 4 (1942), 1-8; C. Roth, Jews of Medieval 
Oxford (1951), index, s..v. Winchester, Licoricia, David, etc.; Roth, 
England, index; Turner, in: Hampshire Review, 21 (1954), 17-21. add. 
bibliography: H.G. Richardson, English Jewry Under the Angevin 
Kings (i960), index; R.B. Brown and S. McCartney in jhset 39 (2004), 
14-34; S. Bartlet in Jewish Culture and History 3(2) (2000), 31-54; P. 
Allin in jhset 27 (1982), 32-39; J. Hillaby and R. Sermon in Trans. 
Bristol & Gloucs. Archaeol. Soc. 122 (2004), 142-143. 

[Cecil Roth / Joe Hillaby (2 nd ed.)] 

°WINCKLER, HUGO (1863-1913), German Orientalist and 
Bible scholar. Winckler was born in Graefenhainichen. He 
became a lecturer at Berlin University in 1891 and professor 
extraordinary in 1904. During the first years of his scholarly 
activity, he devoted himself to the study of Assyrian inscrip- 
tions; he published the Sargon inscriptions in 1889, as well 
as various studies on the ancient Near East which included 
a history of Israel, Geschichte Israels... (2 vols., 1895-1900), 
and a work on the code of Hammurapi, Die Gesetze Ham- 
murabis. . . (1902). In 1903-04 he took part in the excavations 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



of Sidon and from 1906 to 1912 was in charge of the German 
excavations at Boghazkdy (ancient Hattusas, the capital of 
the Hittite Empire in Asia Minor). There he was successful in 
discovering the royal Hittite archives, opening the history of 
the Hittite kingdom to the scholarly world. Winckler did not, 
however, live to see the deciphering of the Hittite language. 
He was one of the founders of the pan-Babylonian school in 
the study of the Bible. These scholars claimed that there was 
a single common cultural system, overwhelmingly influenced 
by the Babylonians, which extended over the whole of the an- 
cient Near East. This school assumed that the Bible was also 
rooted in this culture, and not merely influenced by it. The 
other prominent exponents of this school were Winckler s 
disciples, E *Delitzsch and A. * Jeremias. 

Winckler s other publications included a critical edi- 
tion (written with L. Abel) of the Tell el-Amarna letters, Der 
Thontafelfund von El-Amarna (2 vols., 1889-1900); a German 
translation of these letters, Die Thontafeln von Tell- El-Amarna 
(2 vols., 1896); Das Alte Westasien (1899); and publications in 
the series Der Alte Orient. 

bibliography: O. Weber, in: Mitteilungen der Vorderasia- 
tisch-Aegyptischen Gesellschaft, 20 (1915), 13-24. 

[Michael Avi-Yonah and Menahem Haran] 

WINDER, LUDWIG (1889-1946), Bohemian journalist and 
writer. Born in Schaffa in Moravia, Winder grew up in nearby 
Holleschau, where he was raised in an atmosphere of religious 
rigor. After moving to Vienna, he worked for the liberal news- 
paper Die Zeit before joining the editorial staff of the national- 
ist Deutsche Zeitung Bohemia in Prague. In 1917, he published 
his first novel, Die rasende Rotationsmaschine, which illustrates 
the difficulties Jews from religious eastern communities faced 
in integrating themselves into modern western society. Sub- 
sequent novels, such as Die juedische Orgel (1922) and Hugo: 
Tragoedie eines Knaben (1924), deal primarily with the des- 
perate struggle of young eastern Jews for a secular existence, 
and show - as the posthumously published manuscript Ge- 
schichte meines Voters suggests conclusively- autobiographi- 
cal traces. Throughout his writings, Winder perceives modern 
Jewish existence as a state of alienation and psychic deforma- 
tion, limited by confining traditions and antisemitism. In later 
novels, he shifted his focus towards the history and downfall 
of the Austrian Danube monarchy, vividly envisioned in Die 
nachgeholten Freuden (1927), Der Kammerdiener (1945), and 
especially in Der Thronfolger (1938), which, critical of the Aus- 
trian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was immediately banned. A 
member of the so-called "Prague circle" and a close friend of 
Max Brod, Felix Weltsch, Johannes Urzidil, and Oskar Baum, 
Winder fled Prague in 1939 with his wife and older daughter 
(his younger daughter died in Bergen-Belsen in 1945), set- 
tling in England, where he lived until his death. During his 
last years, he finished two additional novels: Die November- 
wolke (1942), a story about emigrants during a bombing night 
in London, and Die Pflicht (1943), which deals with Czech re- 
sistance to the German invaders. 

bibliography: K. Krolop, Ludwig Winder (1889-1946) 
(1967); M. Pazi, in: German Quarterly, 63 (1990), 211-21; J. von Stern- 
burg, Gottes boese Traeume. Die Romane Ludwig Winders (1994); C. 
Spirek, in: Exit 17 (1997), 45-55; A.A. Gassmann, Lieber Vater, lieber 

Gott?... (2002). 

[Philipp Theisohn (2 nd ed.)] 

WINE, fermented grape juice. (For wine in biblical times, see 
*Food.) Wine was a popular beverage in talmudic times. Pro- 
duced in winepresses called bet ha-gat (Tosefi, Ter. 3:7), and 
stored in wine cellars called heftek or appotik (Av. Zar. 2:7), 
the newly pressed wine, prior to fermentation, was known as 
yayin mi-gat ("wine from the vat"; Sanh. 70a); yayin yashan 
("old wine") was wine from the previous year, and that from 
earlier vintages, yashan noshan ("old, very old"). The last was 
usually diluted by one-third with water in order to reduce its 

Varieties of Wine 

Several varieties of wine are mentioned in the Talmud: 

(1) aluntit ("old wine mixed with clear water and bal- 
sam," Av. Zar, 30a); 

(2) kafrisin ("caper wine," Ker. 6a; according to Rashi, 
Cyprus wine); 

(3) ilyaston ("a sweet wine produced by drying the grapes 
in the sun for three days, and then treading them in the mid- 
day heat"; BB 97b; Men. 8:6); 

(4) meushan ("from the juice of smoked or fumigated 
sweet grapes"; Men. ibid.); 

(5) appiktevizi ("an aperitif"; Shab. 12a); 

(6) pesinyaton ("a bitter wine"; tj, Av. Zar. 2:3, 41a); 

(7) zimmukin ("raisin wine"; bb 97b); 

(8) inomilin ("wine mixed with honey and pepper"; 
Shab. 20:2); 

(9) enogeron ("wine added to oil and garum"); and 

(10) kunditon ("wine mixed with spices"; tj, Av. Zar. 
ibid.). Matured sour wine was called homez ("vinegar"). 

Attitude of the Rabbis to the Consumption of Wine 

The rabbis considered that wine taken in moderation induces 
appetite, "sustains and makes glad" (Ber. 35b), and is beneficial 
to health. "Wine is the greatest of all medicines: where wine is 
lacking, drugs are necessary" (bb 58b). Old wine, in particu- 
lar, benefits the intestines, though ordinary wine may do harm 
(Ber. 51a), an assertion corroborated by the story of the rabbi 
who was cured of a severe bowel disorder by drinking 70 -year- 
old apple wine (Av. Zar. 40b). R. Eleazar suggested (Meg. 16b) 
that "old wine" was among "the good things of Egypt" which 
Joseph sent to his aging father (Gen. 45:23), whereas accord- 
ing to some opinion the "tree of knowledge" of which Adam 
ate was a vine (Ber 40a; Gen. R. 15:7). 

The rabbis deliberately rejected the suggestion that ab- 
stention from wine and meat be mandatorily instituted as 
a sign of mourning for the destruction of the Temple. They 
maintained that such a decree would impose unbearable hard- 
ship on the public (bb 60b). At the end of days wine will form 
an integral part of the eschatological banquet (Ber. 34b). The 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


rabbis are known to have indulged; some, notably Mar Ukva 
(Shab. 140a) could drink with ease, while others, like R. Judah 
(whose capacity was severely tested by the four seder cups, 
Ned. 49 b) could not. The rabbis even suggested that wine was 
an inducement to the advancement of their chosen calling. R. 
Huna maintained that it "helps to open the heart to reason- 
ing" (bb 12b), and Rabbah advised students whose supplies of 
wine were limited to drink it in large mouthfuls, in order to 
secure the maximum benefit (Suk. 49b). Sleep or a long walk 
(bb 10a; Er. 64b) was prescribed for those who interpreted this 
advice too literally and became heavy with drink. 

Excessive consumption of alcohol was frowned upon and 
overindulgence was thought to be injurious to health, as was 
shown by Abba Saul (a gravedigger by profession), who, upon 
examining the skeletons of various corpses, deduced what the 
effect of liquor was on the bones (Nid. 24b). A prayer recited 
in a state of intoxication is "an abomination" (Er. 64a). 

Wine in Religious Ceremonies 

The ceremonies of *Kiddush and *Havdalah on Sabbaths and 
Festivals should be performed with wine (Pes. i05b-6a). Only 
in countries where beer is the national beverage may the lat- 
ter be substituted for Havdalah (Pes. 107a). Four cups of wine 
must be drunk at the *Passover seder, two cups at weddings, 
and one at circumcisions. Indeed, the goblet of wine and the 
benediction recited over it symbolize the festivity of the oc- 
casion. During the nine days of *Av, wine may only be drunk 
at Kiddush on Sabbath. 

In accordance with the biblical injunction to "give strong 
wine to him that is ready to perish, and wine unto the bitter 
in soul" (Prov. 31:6), a "cup of consolation" was offered to the 
bereaved after a funeral at the "meal of comforting." Origi- 
nally, it was ten glasses of wine to which were added four more 
(Ket. 8b). In modern times this practice has been discontin- 
ued (Tur, yd 378). 

Before drinking wine, a special benediction is recited "for 
the fruit of the vine" (Ber. 6:1; Sh. Ar., oh 202:1), in contrast to 
the She-ha-Kol benediction, which is the normal blessing for 
all juices extracted from fruit or vegetables. Grace, after eat- 
ing food prepared from the designated produce of Erez Israel 
(grapes, figs, olives, pomegranates, or dates), is also recited af- 
ter drinking wine (Sh. Ar., oh 10:8, 11; see *Grace after Meals). 
One who leads a group of three or more males in the recita- 
tion of the Grace after Meals may pronounce the blessing over 
a cup of wine, which is then sipped by those present (Sh. Ar., 
oh 190). When drinking in company, it is customary to wish 
one another le-Hayyim ("to life"; Shab. 67b). 

Wine of Gentiles 

Wine consecrated by gentiles for idol worship is called yein 
nesekh ("libation wine") and, like anything so dedicated, is 
absolutely forbidden. A person may not drink such wine, de- 
rive any benefit from it, nor handle it (Sh. Ar., yd 133:5-6). 
Any food or drink brought into contact with more than one- 
quarter of a log of yein nesekh (or setam yeinam, see below) is 
rendered unclean (Av. Zar. 31a). 

Wine processed and/or bottled by gentiles for regular 
use (and not idol worship) is called setam yeinam ("ordinary 
wine"). It is, however, equally forbidden in order to avoid the 
suspicion that it may possibly be yein nesekh , and to avert in- 
termarriage with non-Jews resulting from social intercourse 
with them (Deut. 7:7; Sanh. 106a; Av. Zar. 36b, and Rashi, loc 
cit). The prohibition did not include "boiled wine" (Av. Zar. 
29b); wine whose taste was dominated by its content of honey 
and spices; nor, according to some opinions, an alcoholic bev- 
erage consisting of one part of wine to seven parts of water; 
nor other alcoholic beverages (e.g., whiskey, beer, etc.). 

The interdiction against the drinking of non- Jewish 
wine is so severe, that even if a gentile merely touches wine 
prepared by a Jew it is still prohibited, unless the bottle was 
securely corked and sealed. Most later rabbinic authorities 
ruled, however, that if a gentile touched the wine of a Jew with 
the intention of causing him damage by "defiling" it, the Jew 
may drink the wine; this is done in order to discourage other 
gentiles from following suit. The "gentile" referred to above is 
one who "serves idols"; "the wine of a non- Jew who does not 
serve idols is forbidden as far as drinking is concerned (be- 
cause of the fear of intermarriage), but the Jew may trade in it 
since there is no fear of idolatry. If a gentile, however, touches 
the wine "by accident," it is permitted, even for consumption. 
Many authorities maintain that since non- Jews have ceased 
to be idolaters, their touch should always be considered "ac- 
cidental" and the wine thus fit for consumption (Isserles to 
Sh. Ar., yd 124:24). Some authorities also state that a Jew who 
drinks wine belonging to a Christian has not committed a sin 
which would invalidate him as witness before a rabbinic court 
(Isserles, Responsa, ed. Cracow 1640, no. 124; later editions 
omitted this responsum). 

In the rapidly changing society of modern times, where 
the Jewish community must inevitably come into closer con- 
tact with the non- Jewish world, these laws are mainly hon- 
ored in the breach except among the Orthodox. The Rabbin- 
ical Assembly of the Conservative movement in the United 
States has ruled that non- Jewish wine maybe consumed gen- 
erally, but only Jewish (kasher) wine may be used for religious 

See also the various types of alcoholic beverages. 

bibliography: Eisenstein, Dinim, i68f. 

WINE, SHERWIN (1928- ), Humanist rabbi. Born in De- 
troit, Michigan, Wine left his Conservative Jewish upbringing 
to found the world's first non-deified Jewish movement known 
as Humanistic Judaism. Self-described as strongly Jewish but 
with a focus on culture rather than religion, Wine earned de- 
grees from the University of Michigan and Hebrew Union Col- 
lege in an effort to build a career as a counselor to the Jewish 
people. In 1963, he founded the Birmingham Temple in sub- 
urban Detroit, the first Humanistic congregation. 

In the Birmingham Temples library, a Torah stands on 
a pedestal, one of the "good books" offered there. Humanism 
focuses on Judaism as a culture and humans as self-reliant. 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



Wine established the Birmingham Temple with eight 
families who wanted to belong to a Jewish community with- 
out the trappings of formal religion. The Temple membership 
now numbers about 400 families. 

In 1969, he helped establish the Society for Humanistic 
Judaism as a national outreach vehicle for the movement. In 
1986, the International Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews 
was formed to connect Humanistic Jews around the world. 
Wine became the dean of the International Institute for Sec- 
ular Humanistic Judaism in North America. The movement 
started ordaining rabbis in 1992, two of whom succeeded Wine 
upon his semi- retirement in 1997. 

He was involved in organizing the Leadership Confer- 
ence of Secular and Humanistic Jews, the Center for New 
Thinking, the North American Committee for Humanism, the 
Humanist Institute and the Conference of Liberal Religion. He 
is the author of "Humanistic Judaism," "Judaism beyond God," 
"Celebration," and "Staying Sane in a Crazy World." Wine also 
contributed to Judaism in a Secular Age: An Anthology of Secu- 
lar Humanistic Jewish Thought. 

Before founding the Humanistic movement, Wine served 
two years in Korea as a U.S. Army chaplain and several years 
as a rabbi at Reform pulpits in Detroit and Windsor. Wine 
believes the Jewish people survived history by human will. 
Today, the secular Humanistic movement involves more than 
30,000 people across North America, but it has yet to gain ac- 
ceptance by the rest of the Jewish movements. 

[Lynne Schreiber (2 nd ed.)] 

Talmudic Period 

The strict prohibition against the use of gentile wine during 
the talmudic period, originally limited to wine used in idol- 
atrous libations but later extended to include all non-Jewish 
wine (Av. Zar. 2:3, and 36b), must of necessity have concen- 
trated the Jewish wine trade in the hands of Jews. Apart from 
this, however, there is no evidence of any specific Jewish as- 
pect to the wine trade during this period. There are references 
to Jewish keepers of wine taverns (Lev. R. 12:1). A certain dif- 
ference may be detected between Erez Israel and Babylonia. 
Whereas in the former, a Mediterranean country, Jews drank 
wine in preference to other alcoholic beverages, in Babylonia 
the brewing of beer and other alcoholic beverages was much 
more common. Some of the Babylonian amor aim were brew- 
ers, among them R. Papa, who was regarded as an expert and 
amassed a considerable fortune from it (Pes. 113a; bm 65a). 
However the vine was cultivated in the neighborhood of Sura 
and Jews were engaged in the manufacture and sale of wine 
(Ber. 5b). 

Middle Ages (to 16 th Century) 

As a result of both the historio- economic and the religious 
factors, during the Middle Ages viticulture was one of the 
branches of agriculture in which Jews had traditional interest 
and technical proficiency. The rabbinical responsa and *tak- 

kanot provide ample instances of the endeavors made by Jews 
to obtain supplies of suitably pure wine and the arrangements 
made for doing so. This was perhaps one of the main reasons 
why the Jews continued to engage in viticulture longer than 
in other types of agriculture in this period, though from the 
11 th century the sources mention that Jews in Western Europe 
also drank mead. In several areas, Jewish winegrowers or vint- 
ners also sold wine to Christians. In the region of Troyes, the 
teacher of *Rashi (b. 1050) used to sell "from his barrel to the 
gentile" (Rashi, Resp., no. 159). The Jews of Speyer and Worms 
were licensed by the emperor in 1090 "to sell their wine to 
Christians" (Aronius, Regesten, nos. 170-1). 

The antagonisms created by the sale of a product to which 
Jews and Christians attached divergent sacral usages and reg- 
ulations are reflected in complaints such as that "on the inso- 
lence of the Jews" by archbishop *Agobard of Lyons, who wrote 
(c. 825): "As to wine which even they themselves consider un- 
clean and use only for sale to Christians - if it should happen 
that some of it is spilt on the earth, even in a dirty place, they 
hasten to collect it and return it for keeping in jars." The prob- 
lem is even more strongly presented by Pope * Innocent in in 
his letter of January 1208: "At the vintage season the Jew, shod 
in linen boots, treads the wine; and having extracted the purer 
wine in accordance with the Jewish rite they retain some for 
their own pleasure, and the rest, the part which is abominable 
to them, they leave to the faithful Christians; and with this, 
now and again, the sacrament of the blood of Christ is per- 
formed." The description may apply either to Jewish vintners 
and vineyard owners or to Jews who made arrangements with 
Christian owners to permit the Jews to extract pure wine in 
accordance with Jewish law. 

In the Muslim countries the Jewish wine trade assumed 
considerable proportions, as indicated by examples from 12 th - 
century Egypt. It is reported in 1136 that "four partners [all 
Jews] joined in the production of wine with the enormous 
sum of 1,510 dinars"; upon liquidating the partnership and 
paying their taxes, all expressed their satisfaction (S.D. Goit- 
ein, Mediterranean Society (1967), 364). In about 1150 a Jew- 
ish estate included 1,937 j ars of wine, worth about 200-300 
dinars (ibid., 264). The amounts cited indicate that such thriv- 
ing business had Muslim customers besides Jews and Chris- 
tians. In England, in the 12 th and 13 th centuries, Jews imported 
wine, and "were exempt from paying any custom or toll or 
any due on wine, in just the same way as the king himself, 
whose chattels they were" (Roth, England, 102-3; cf« a ls° n 5> 
note). In Central Europe, Jewish drinking habits were already 
gradually changing in the 13 th century, as shown by the man 
who asked R. *Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg for his opinion 
"about beer [i.e., whether this might be used for *Kiddush] y 
for in his locality there is sometimes a lack of wine." R. Meir 
answered: "There is no wine in Westphalia, but in all [other] 
principalities there is abundant wine; and there is wine in your 
city throughout the year. It seems to me that you personally 
drink mostly wine; and if at the end of the year there is some 
dearth of wine you will find it in your neighborhood. . .. Cer- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


tainly you know that it is proper to recite Kiddush over wine" 
(Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg, Resp., ed. by Y.Z. Kahana, 
vol. 1, nos. 72, 80). 

While by the 15 th century Jews must have practically 
ceased to own vineyards and practice viticulture, trade in 
wine and other alcoholic beverages was becoming a major 
Jewish occupation in the German and west Slavic lands. This 
was part of the general trend of increasing commerce between 
town and country in this period in which Jews took an active 
part, not least because they were expelled from the larger cit- 
ies (see ^Expulsions). The competition of the Jewish vintner 
was an object of complaints by the guilds, such as that of Re- 
gensburg in 1516 (cf. R. Straus, Urkunden und Aktenstuecke 
zur Geschichte der Juden in Regensburg (i960), 291, no. 833). 
In part, this commerce was combined with credit extension, 
as explained by Jews in Regensburg in 1518, who lent money 
to the boatmen carrying wine to the city and were sometimes 
repaid in kind (ibid., 358, no. 988). 

In both Muslim and Christian Spain, the sale and con- 
sumption of wine in the Middle Ages were subject to taxation 
by the autonomous Jewish communal administration. The un- 
broken records give evidence of the significant scale on which 
Spanish Jewry engaged in business. Copious wine drinking by 
the upper Jewish social strata is also frequently mentioned in 
Jewish poetry in Spain. After 1391 exiles from Spain carried 
their wine trade to Islamic countries, and occasionally aroused 
opposition from their hosts. These traditions and trends were 
in part continued, in part considerably modified, in the course 
of the 16 th and 17 th centuries. 

[Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson] 

16 th Century to Modern Times 

From the 16 th to the 19 th centuries the production and sale of 
alcoholic beverages was a major industry in Poland- Lithu- 
ania and Russia. It also occupied an important place in the 
economy of Bohemia, Silesia, Hungary, and Bessarabia. As 
essentially connected with agriculture, it was carried out 
in rural estates and formed one of the main sources of rev- 
enue for their proprietors. The Jews entered this industry 
under the *arenda ("rental") system in the rural economy in 
which by the 16 th century they played an essential role. The 
Jewish tavern keeper became part of the regular socioeco- 
nomic pattern of life in the town and village. The association 
of the Jew with this activity contributed another negative fea- 
ture to the popularly created image of the Jew while also af- 
fecting Jewish living habits and standards. The alcoholic bev- 
erage industry afforded to the Jews a variety of occupations 
and a source of livelihood enabling them to raise their living 

In almost all the rural estates in Poland, the owners held 
the monopoly over the production and sale of alcoholic bev- 
erages, and the heavy drinking habits of the peasants in these 
countries made it a highly lucrative prerogative. The partici- 
pation of Jews took the form of leasing in one of the following 
ways: The lease of breweries, distilleries, and taverns which 

was part of the wider arenda system in Poland and in Ukrai- 
nian and Belorussian territories: often, the lease of breweries 
and distilleries, together with taverns, formed a separate con- 
cession; the basic leasehold concession of the single tavern, 
which was rented either directly from the noble estate owner 
or from a larger- scale Jewish leaseholder. All leases were 
granted for a limited term, often for three years, sometimes 
for one year only. Jewish communal regulations (takkanot) ef- 
fectively limited competition between Jews in bidding for the 
leases at least to the end of the 17 th century (see * Councils of 
the Lands). Tavern keepers were the largest group of Jews oc- 
cupied in the industry. They frequently belonged to the poorer 
class of Jew who had contact with the peasants. 

The industry also accounted for an appreciable num- 
ber of brewers and distillers who worked for the brewery or 
distillery leaseholders as employees. They were sometimes 
also employed by taverners. In the middle of the 17 th century, 
this group represented about 30% of the Jews engaged in the 
production and sale of alcoholic beverages on Polish terri- 
tory. On the crown estates, the income from the production 
and sale of alcoholic beverages amounted to 0.3% of the total 
revenues in 1564, and to about 40% in 1789, an immense in- 
crease directly connected with the participation of the Jews 
in this industry. 

Jews also played a similar role in the towns. The location 
privileges accorded to townships in Eastern Europe usually 
granted the municipality the right to lease production and sale 
of alcoholic beverages in the town to an individual local resi- 
dent. Jews also often competed with other townsmen for this 
concession, and were generally more ready to supply credit 
than their Christian competitors. In 1600 the magistrate of 
Kazimierz complained: "The Jews are not permitted to keep 
taverns, and yet they deal openly in the sale of vodka, wine, 
and mead; they hire musicians to tempt in people" (M. Bala- 
ban, Dzieje Zydow w Krakow ie i na Kazimierzu, 1 (1931), 197). 
Jewish sources confirm the nature of the competition that took 
place in the cities. The communal regulations for the district 
of Volhynia of about 1602 enjoin that: 

In order to prevent the entry. . . [to Jewish houses] of 
gentiles, who came to buy on Saturdays and Festivals, they 
[the Jewish taverners] should all of them be compelled to 
take down the sign that they hang up over the entrance to the 
house on weekdays to let it be known that there is beer and 
mead inside for sale. That sign shall they take down before 
the beginning of Sabbath until its end (see H.H. Ben-Sasson, 
in: Zion, 21 (1956), 199). 

In *Belaya Tserkov in about 1648, 17 taverns were owned 
by Jews, although the Jewish population consisted of only 100 
families. In towns in Poland and Lithuania where the mo- 
nopoly was held by the city, it was also leased to Jews. The 
municipal prerogative was usurped by the manorial owners 
of the towns during the 17 th century, and the concessions for 
production and sale of alcoholic beverages were leased to Jews 
on an increasing scale. In the old crown cities, Jews also often 
leased the tavern from the city authority. 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



In the second half of the 16 th and the first half of the 17 th 
century, a considerable number of Jewish distillers, brewers, 
and taverners were thus occupied on the estates of the mag- 
nates situated in the Belorussian and Ukrainian territories 
under Poland. Ruin came in 1648-51, following the * Chmiel- 
nicki uprising. After the truce was concluded between Poland 
and Russia in 1667, Jewish taverners could again settle in the 
Ukraine in the region on the right bank of the River Dnieper; 
the lands on the left bank passed to Russia, from which Jews 
were excluded. Jewish taverners were not therefore found in 
the latter area until the end of the 18 th and beginning of the 
19 th century. The proportion of Jews gainfully engaged in the 
production and sale of alcoholic beverages amounted in 1765 
to 15% of the Jewish residents in the towns, and at the period 
of the partitions of * Poland- Lithuania (1772-95) to about 85% 
of Jewish residents in rural areas. In 1791 it was estimated that 
if the Jews were to be debarred from leasing taverns, about 
50,000 people would have to replace them in this occupation, 
and this was used as an argument against the Russian authori- 
ties when they wished to exclude the Jews, in territories then 
annexed to Russia, from this source of livelihood. 

In the period before 1648, Jewish participation in the li- 
quor trade as taverners gave rise to social tensions, which are 
reflected in contemporary Jewish works and communal regu- 
lations, while furnishing a source for anti- Jewish accusations 
and conflicts between the peasants and Jewish taverners. An- 
tisemites ascribed the drunkenness prevalent among the peas- 
ants, and their permanent state of indebtedness, to the wily 
Jewish taverner, who also extended credit to them. During 
the 17 th and 18 th centuries there were uprisings against Jewish 
leaseholders on numerous estates in Poland, and the com- 
plaints of the peasants on the crown estates were often taken 
up by the courts. After 1648, as opportunities for employment 
narrowed with the progressive deterioration in Poland of the 
economy and culture, the hostility intensified and conditions 
became more difficult for the Jews, in particular for the keeper 
of the single tavern. He was at the mercy of the despotic noble 
who ruled the village. In his autobiography Solomon *Maimon 
recalls vivid childhood memories of the tribulations of a Jew- 
ish leaseholder in the 18 th century. 

Toward the end of the 18 th century, in particular after the 
*Haidamack massacres of 1768, spokesmen of Polish mercan- 
tilist and physiocratic theories represented the presence of 
Jews in the villages and taverns as highly detrimental to Pol- 
ish economy and society. With few exceptions, the opinion 
prevailed that the Jewish leaseholders were responsible for the 
deterioration of the towns and the misery of the countryside. 
To gain control of these concessions was of greatest impor- 
tance to the impoverished Polish towns, as the production and 
sale of alcoholic beverages was a principal branch of the urban 
economy and its principal source of revenue. Elimination of 
Jews from this occupation became, therefore, one of the main 
slogans of the All- Polish middle-class movement between 1788 
and 1892. The Polish Sejm ("diet") had passed a bill in 1776 
establishing the prior right of the citizen to the lease of the 

production and sale of alcoholic beverages in smaller towns. 
However, few candidates with the necessary capital could be 
found, and these soon had to give it up. As a result, in these 
towns also the lease passed to Jews. In 1783 an order was issued 
in Belorussia debarring Jews from traffic in alcoholic bever- 
ages in the towns, and the income from taverns was given to 
the municipalities; but this was canceled in 1785. 

Following the partitions of Poland-Lithuania, the Jews in 
the taverns and villages became the scapegoats of the Russian 
and Polish ruling classes for the poverty and wretchedness of 
the peasants. These classes were closely bound by social inter- 
ests and class consciousness, although divided by national and 
religious enmities. In the large tracts now occupied by Russia 
the peasants were of the Greek Orthodox faith, and although 
despised socially, were now the concern of the Russian author- 
ities. The allegation against the Jew as "the scourge of the vil- 
lage," intoxicating the ignorant peasant because of the misery 
of his lot, became a spurious slogan for social reform for both 
the rulers of Russia and their Polish opponents. Elimination 
of Jewish taverners had started even before the partitions of 
Poland, and subsequently proceeded with the approval of the 
Russian governors. 

The other states which had gained Polish territory also 
took up this policy, although with less concentration. The Pat- 
ent of Tolerance issued by the Austrian emperor ^Joseph 11 
in 1782 ordered all the owners of estates to discharge Jewish 
leaseholders from their domains within two years. This deci- 
sion was, however, not carried out. About 1805 the Prussian 
authorities prepared a ban against leasing taverns to Jews, but 
owing to the occupation of the country by Napoleon, it was 
never put into effect. In 1804 Russian legislation prohibited 
Jews from living in the villages. In the period of Napoleons 
ascendancy, the Russian authorities refrained from taking ac- 
tion, and in 1812 the orders were suspended. However, after 
1830, the stereotype of Jewish guilt for the drunkenness of the 
peasants was widely propagated in the Polish press. Steps were 
taken for supervision of the Jews in the name of benefiting the 
peasant. In Bessarabia the participation of Jews in the produc- 
tion and sale of alcoholic beverages was limited in 1818. Legis- 
lation passed in Russia in 1835 prohibited the Jews from selling 
alcoholic beverages on credit to the peasants, and canceled all 
the peasants' debts to Jewish taverners. A law of 1866 permit- 
ted Jews to lease breweries and distilleries only in towns and 
villages inhabited by Jews. These measures had little result. 
In Belorussia between 1883 and 1888, 31.6% of the distilleries 
in the province of Vitebsk and 76.3% in that of Grodno were 
Jewish-owned. Full rights to produce and trade in alcoholic 
beverages in Russia had been permitted to Jews belonging to 
the category of "merchants of the first class," but after 1882 re- 
strictions were also applied against them. 

The part played by Jews in the liquor industry contin- 
ued to concern the Russian government well into the 20 th 
century, even though assuming other forms. The emancipa- 
tion of the peasants, cancellation of the compulsory quota of 
consumption, and abrogation of the monopoly of the estate 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


owners changed the economic character and social aspects of 
the problem. In independent Poland between the two world 
wars, various economic and legal measures were taken to 
drive the Jews from this branch, including regulations for 
hygiene and manipulation of the state monopoly on the sale 
of vodka. The development of capitalist industry and trade in 
the second half of the 19 th century and freer access to Jews to 
take up crafts, enabled many Jews in Eastern Europe to enter 
other branches of the economy. Even so, the image of the Jew 
invoked by antisemites in Eastern Europe still made frequent 
use of the hated Jewish taverner. 

The feelings of loathing with which the Jew regarded his 
place behind the tavern counter is powerfully expressed by 
the poet H.N. *Bialik. The taverner and his family saw them- 
selves placed at the: 

meeting between the gates of purity and defilement. . ./ There, in 

a human swine cave, in the sacrilege of a tavern, /in streams of 

impious libation,... /over a yellow-leaved volume, /my fathers 

head appeared, the skull of a tortured matter. . . / . . . in smoke 

clouds, his face sick with sorrow, eyes shedding blood... /the 

faces were monstrous. . . the words a filthy stream. . . /To a child's 

ear alone... /serenely quietly flowed, the murmur of Torah... 

the words of the living God... /He [the taverner] would sit... 

among stretched-out revelers,/... mounting the scaffold each 

day, thrown to the lions each day... (trans, by Robert Friend, 

in S.Y. Penueli and A. Ukhmani (eds.), Anthology of Modern 

Hebrew Poetry, 1 (1966), 47-48.) 

[Jacob Goldberg] 

in north America. In addition to the prohibition against 
partaking of non- Jewish wine, its ceremonial use for various 
occasions, such as *Kiddush and on all festive occasions, as 
well as the need for all wine and liquors to be kasher for Pass- 
over, observances both practiced even by those who were not 
particular with regard to non-Jewish wine for ordinary use, 
resulted in a specific Jewish trade in wine (and for Passover 
in other liquors) for specific Jewish consumption in all coun- 
tries. The needs of the Jewish population were met by local 
manufacturers especially where wine could not be imported 
from Erez Israel. 

U.S. Jews tended to make their wine personally or in 
small shops. The 19 th amendment to the U.S. Constitution and 
the Volstead Act, which prohibited the manufacture and sale 
of intoxicating beverages, made an exception in favor of such 
beverages when needed for religious purposes. Abuses of this 
privilege by some Jews to supply the illegal liquor market dis- 
turbed U.S. Jewry. They led to the issuance of a controversial 
responsum by the talmudic scholar Louis Ginzberg, Teshuvah 
al Devar Yeinot, etc., permitting grape juice to be used for reli- 
gious purposes instead of wine. Following the end of Prohibi- 
tion in 1933, the business of several Jewish wine manufactur- 
ers reached national proportions, supplying the non-Jewish 
as well as the Jewish market. In the U.S. few Jews were tavern 
keepers. However, they were prominent among distillers and 
retailers. Such families as Bernheim, Lilienthal, and Publicker 
were important distillers, and the general prominence of Jews 
as retail merchants included the selling of bottled liquor. 

Some Jewish firms grew to considerable proportions in 
Europe as well as the U.S. Many expanded their activity to in- 
clude general trade in wine and liquors and this may be the or- 
igin of the extensive representation of Jews in the English pub- 
lic house trade, for example, the firm of Levy and Franks. 

Sedgewicks, owned by the ^Bronfman family of Canada, 
became one of the largest distilleries in the world. 

wine industry in erez Israel. In Erez Israel a few small 
winepresses were owned by Jews, mainly in the Old City of 
Jerusalem and in other ancient cities inhabited by Jews, be- 
fore the beginning of modern Jewish settlement in the second 
half of the 19 th century. These were simple household wine- 
presses, catering chiefly to local consumption. The raw mate- 
rial was supplied by Arab vineyards in the surrounding hill 
regions. The first vines of European variety were planted at 
the *Mikveh Israel agricultural school founded in 1870. The 
school also built the first European -style wine cellar, which 
is still in use. With the beginning of modern Jewish settle- 
ment, the first vineyards were planted at *Rishon le-Zion and 
later in other moshavot. Baron Edmond de * Rothschild, who 
sponsored early Jewish pioneer settlement in Erez Israel, had 
high hopes that viticulture would develop as one of the main 
economic bases for the Jewish villages. He invited special- 
ists from abroad, who selected high-grade varieties in order 
to produce quality wines. After the harvest of the first crops, 
he built large wine cellars at Rishon le-Zion (1889) for Judea, 
and at *Zikhron Ya'akov (1892) for Samaria. These cellars were 
equipped with refrigerators to retard fermentation and thereby 
improve quality. 

The Baron paid high prices for the grapes in order to as- 
sure the settlers a decent standard of living. Economic pros- 
perity resulted in a rapid development of viticulture, and, at 
the end of the century, vineyards covered about half of the to- 
tal Jewish land under cultivation. In the course of time, mil- 
lions of francs were paid to maintain high wine prices, and 
many settlers concentrated on making wine as their sole oc- 
cupation. A large overstock of wine accumulated, and wine 
surpluses continued to increase until a crisis was reached. It 
was decided to uproot one-third of the vineyards in order to 
reduce the size of the crop and maintain prices. The winegrow- 
ers were compensated by the Baron, and, instead of vineyards, 
planted almond trees, olives, and the first citrus groves. In 
1890-91, the vineyards in Samaria and Galilee were attacked 
by phylloxera, which ruined the *Rosh Pinnah plantations. 
The infected vines had to be uprooted and replaced by pest- 
resistant plants brought from India. 

In 1906 the management of the wine cellars at Rishon 
le-Zion and Zikhron Ya'akov was handed over to the farm- 
ers, who founded the Carmel Wine Growers Cooperative. At 
the same time, several private wine cellars, such as Ha-Tikvah 
and Nahalat Zevi were established. Their wine was sold both 
locally and abroad. During World War 1, the local wine found 
a greatly increased market among the German, British, and 
Australian troops passing through the country. After the war, 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



however, the Erez Israel wine industry lost its principal mar- 
kets: Russia, because of the Revolution; the United States, be- 
cause of Prohibition; and Egypt and the Middle East, because 
of Arab nationalism. The industry had to undergo a period 
of adaptation. The acreage under grapes was reduced, chiefly 
in Judea, where vineyards were replaced by citrus groves. On 
the other hand, additional areas were planted, mainly in the 
Zikhron Ya'akov area. During World War n, new plantations 
were developed on a smaller scale, and with the establishment 
of the State of Israel (1948), the wine-growing areas covered 
about 2,500 acres (10,000 dunams). At that time there were 
14 wine cellars in Israel. 

Large new areas were planted in the Negev, the Jerusalem 
area, Adullam, and Galilee - some of which had never previ- 
ously been considered suitable for wine growing. With suc- 
cessive waves of immigrants, drinking habits have changed. 
During the earlier period 70%-75% of the wine consumed was 
sweet, but later, two-thirds of the total consumption was dry 
wine. The Israel Wine Institute, established in cooperation 
with the industry and the government, undertakes research 
for the improvement of wine production in Israel. Preference 
is given to wine plantations in the hilly regions. Varieties of 
better quality are selected, and new varieties are introduced. 
Israel wine is exported to many countries of the world. It is 
widely in demand among Jews for ritual purposes but efforts 
have been made to broaden the market. 

[Nathan Hochberg] 

The Israeli wine industry underwent a revolution start- 
ing in the 1970s and now numbers hundreds of wineries, 
ranging from leaders like Golan Heights, Carmel, and Bar- 
kan Wine Cellars to boutique wineries like the prize-winning 
Domaine du Castel in the Judean Hills. Israeli wines are now 
served in quality restaurants in 40 countries, with exports of 
$13 million in 2005 and domestic sales of around $150 mil- 
lion. Around 7,500 acres of vineyards produce about 50,000 
tons of grapes a year 

bibliography: S.B. Weinryb, Neueste Wirtschaftsgeschichte 
derjuden in Russland und Polen (1934); J. Hessen, Istoriya Yevreysk- 
ogo naroda vRossii (1925); R. Mahler, Yidn in Amolikn Poyln in Likht 
fun Tsifern (1958); I. Rychlikowa, Studia nad towarowq produkcjq 
wielkiej wlasnosci w Malopolsce w latach 1/64-1805 (1966); J. Burszta, 
Spoleczenstwo i karczma (1951); R. Rozdolski, Stosunki poddancze w 
dawnej Galicji, 2 vols. (1962); Ringelblum, in: Sprawy narodowosciowe, 
8 (1934); I Schiper, Dzieje handlu zydowskiego na ziemiach polskich 
(1937); Ettinger, in: Zion, 20 (1955), 128-52; 21 (1956), 107-42; H.H. 
Ben-Sasson, ibid., 21 (1956), 83-206; Goldberg, in: bzih, 59 (1966); C. 
Roth, in: jhset, 17 (1953), 39-43; J. Katz, Tradition and Crisis (1961), 
index; N. Hochberg, Giddul ha-Gefen, 2 vols. (1954-55); D. Idelovitch 
(ed.), Rishon le-Ziyyon 1882-1941 (1941); A. Ever ha-Dani, Toledot 
Aguddat ha-Koremim (1966); Z. Carmi, Anaf ha-Gefen ve-Taasiyyat 
ha-Yayin be-Yisrael (1963). 

°WINGATE, ORDE (Charles; 1903-1944), British Army offi- 
cer who served in Palestine during the 1936-39 riots. Wingate 
was born in India into a nonconformist family; his grandfa- 
ther had helped conduct a Church of Scotland mission in Bu- 

dapest for poor Jews and his parents served as missionaries. 
He was raised on the Bible and kept it at his side throughout 
his life. Wingate was commissioned in 1923. From 1928 to 
1933 he served with the Sudan Defense Force and also stud- 
ied Arabic and Semitics. In February 1934 he was sent on a 
one-man mission to search for the mysterious Zarzura oasis 
in the Libyan Desert (reported in the Geographical journal, 
83 (i934)> 281-308). In 1936, after his promotion to captain, 
he was posted to Palestine and played a leading role in fight- 
ing the Arab terror campaign, particularly the attacks on the 
Iraqi-Haifa pipeline, for which he was awarded the d.s.o. He 
gained the confidence of the yishuv authorities, established 
contact with the *Haganah, and with its help formed the Spe- 
cial Night Squads (sns), a unit made up largely of Haganah 
fighters whom he trained in unorthodox but highly success- 
ful tactics in countering and preventing Arab attacks. Win- 
gate became a passionate supporter of the Jewish cause in 
Palestine; the yishuv responded in kind and referred to him 
as "Ha-Yedid" ("The Friend"). His highly individualistic char- 
acter, disregard for the conventional rules of military behav- 
ior, and his propagation of Zionism finally resulted in 1939 in 
his being transferred from Palestine with an endorsement in 
his passport stating that "the bearer . . . should not be allowed 
to enter Palestine." He had, however, left a lasting impression 
upon the country, and some of the young Jews whom he had 
befriended and trained were to become military leaders in 
the State of Israel. 

In the early stage of World War 11, Wingate commanded 
an antiaircraft battery in Britain. In 1941 he was "rediscovered" 
and assigned to lead a force against the Italians in Ethiopia. 
He played a decisive role in the liberation of the country (he 
was joined in the campaign by some of the former sns fight- 
ers, at his own request) and was at Haile Selassies side when 
the emperor reentered Addis Ababa. His talents were then 
employed in Burma, where he trained and led the Chindits, 
a special jungle unit that operated behind the Japanese lines. 
Winston Churchill, who regarded Wingate as a man of genius, 
invited him in 1943 to join him in his meeting with Roosevelt 
in Quebec. Wingate was killed in an air crash in the Burma 
jungle in 1944 and buried at Arlington National Cemetery in 
Virginia, U.S. By then he had become a major-general. 

Wingate's personality and military genius made a pro- 
found impact on the * Palmah and the Haganah and, through 
them, on the Israeli Defense Forces. He, in turn, dreamed of 
leading the army of the future Jewish state. His devotion to 
the Jewish people and Erez Israel persisted up to his death. In 
a letter to a friend in Palestine (1943) he wrote, in Hebrew, "If 
I forget thee, O Jerusalem... ." Israel has not forgotten Ha-Ye- 
did. A children's village on the slopes of Mt. Carmel is named 
Yemin Orde, the College of Physical Education near Netan- 
yah and a forest on Mount Gilboa bear his name, and there 
is a Wingate Square in Jerusalem. His wife, Lorna, although a 
gentile, was a leader of * Youth Aliyah in Britain. 

bibliography: C. Sykes, Orde Wingate (1959); A.I. Hay, 
There Was a Man of Genius (1963); W.G. Burchett, Wingate's Phantom 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


Army (1946); L. Mosley, Gideon Goes to War (1955); C.Y. Rolo, Wing- 
ate s Raiders (1944). add. bibliography: odnb online;}. Bierman 
and C. Smith, Fire in the Night: Wingate of Burma, Ethiopia, and Zion 
(1999); R Mead. Orde Wingate and the Historians (1987). 

[Moshe Dayan] 

WINGER, DEBRA (1955- ), U.S. film actress. Born in Cleve- 
land Heights, Ohio, Winger spent two years of her youth in 
Israel (where she served for three months in the army and 
worked on a kibbutz). She returned to the U.S. and first came 
to serious notice as John Travoltas co-star in Urban Cowboy 
(1980). She was subsequently chosen for the female lead op- 
posite Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), for 
which she received her first Best Actress Oscar nomination. 
Winger went on to appear in such films as Terms of Endear- 
ment (Oscar nomination for Best Actress, 1983); Legal Eagles 
(1986); Black Widow (1987); Betrayed (1988); Arthur Millers 
Everybody Wins (1990); The Sheltering Sky (1990); Leap of Faith 
(1992); A Dangerous Woman (1993), Wilder Napalm (1993); 
Shadowlands (Oscar nomination for Best Actress, 1993); For- 
get Paris (1995); Big Bad Love (produced, 2001); Radio (2003); 
and Eulogy (2004). 

On television, she appeared three times in 1976-77 in the 
role of Wonder Girl on the series Wonder Woman. 

She was married to actor Timothy Hutton from 1986 to 
1990. She married actor Arliss Howard in 1996. 

bibliography: M. Cahill, Debra Winger: Hollywood's Wild 

Child (1984). 

[Jonathan Licht and Ruth Beloff (2 nd ed.)] 

WINIK, MEIR (1886-1966), agronomist. Born in Odessa, 
Winik graduated as a technological engineer from the Poly- 
technic of Warsaw. Immigrating to Erez Israel in 1906, he was 
employed as a chemical engineer at the wine cellars of Rishon 
Le-Zion and in 1910 proceeded to Paris to study the fermenta- 
tion of grapes and soil problems at the Pasteur Institute and 
the National Agricultural Institute. Returning to Erez Israel, 
he introduced many modern scientific processes in the manu- 
facture of wine and the improvement of grape strains and soil 
quality. He enlisted in the Jewish Legion of the British Army 
during World War 1 and after the war taught chemistry at the 
Agricultural School of Mikveh Israel. He was awarded the 
Israel Prize for Agriculture in 1956. 

WINKLER, HENRY (1945- ), U.S. actor, writer, director, 
and producer. Winkler was born in New York City to Harry 
Irving Winkler, a lumber executive, and Use Anna Maria (nee 
Hadra), German Jews who had escaped the Nazis before the 
beginning of World War 11. Winkler attended high school at 
the Horace Mann School in Riverdale, New York, and gradu- 
ated from Emerson College with a bachelors degree in 1967. 
After receiving a master of fine arts degree in drama from Yale 
in 1970, the five-foot-six actor appeared in dozens of commer- 
cials before making his film debut in the 1950s gang feature 
The Lords ofFlatbush (1974) with the then unknown Sylvester 
Stallone. Winkler joined the cast of the 1950s sitcom Happy 

Days (1974-84), achieving pop stardom as the motorcycle- rid- 
ing mechanic Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli, a role that earned 
him two Golden Globe awards. While still on Happy Days, 
Winkler starred in films such as Heroes (1977) and Night Shift 
(1982), directed by Happy Days co-star Ron Howard. In 1978, 
Emerson College honored Winkler with a doctorate in He- 
brew literature. After Happy Days, he concentrated on copro- 
ducing the television show MacGyver (1985-92) and directing 
feature films such as Memories of Me (1988) and Cop and a Half 
(1993). Winkler served as executive producer for Rob ^Rein- 
er's The Sure Thing (1985) and the film Young Sherlock Holmes 
(1985). He stepped out from behind the camera again to star 
in the made- for- tele vision movies Absolute Strangers (1991) 
and The Only Way Out (1993), as well as for the shortlived 
sitcom Monty (1994). Winkler also returned to feature films 
with roles in Scream (1996), The Waterboy (1998), Little Nicky 
(2000), and Holes (2003). In 2003, the dyslexic Winkler and 
Lin Oliver began releasing titles in the ongoing Hank Zipzer 
book series for young adults, which focused on the misadven- 
tures of a fourth-grader with learning difficulties. In 2005 he 
starred in the cbs series Out of Practice. 

[Adam Wills (2 nd ed.)] 

WINKLER, IRWIN (1931- ), U.S. film producer. Born in 

New York City, Winkler graduated from New York University. 
He served in the army beginning in 1951. After a brief stint as 
an agent at the William Morris agency, he went to Hollywood 
in 1966. His first production, with a partner, Robert Chart- 
off, was Double Trouble (1967), starring Elvis Presley (instead 
of the star he intended for the role, Julie Christie). From that 
point, Winkler and Chartoff went on to produce some of the 
most provocative films of the 1970s and 1980s, including John 
Boorman's Point Blank (1967); Sydney Pollack's They Shoot 
Horses, Don't They? (1969), which garnered nine Academy 
Award nominations; John Avildsen's Rocky (1976) and the 
four other Rocky movies; Martin Scorseses New York, New 
York (1977), starring Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro; and 
Raging Bull (1980), with De Niro as the boxer Jake LaMotta; 
as well as The Right Stuff (1983), based on Tom Wolfe's book 
about the nation's first astronauts. On his own, Winkler pro- 
duced such films as Costa- Gavras' Betrayed (1988) and Mu- 
sic Box (1989) as well as Scorsese's Goodfellas (1990). Winkler 
then turned to directing, and made films like Guilty by Suspi- 
cion (1991), which he also wrote, starring De Niro; Night and 
the City (1992), based on Jules Dassin's film noir; the suspense 
thriller The Net (1995), with Sandra Bullock; and At First Sight 
(1999), with Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino. His films amassed 
12 Academy Awards from 45 nominations, including four best 
picture nominations. He also directed and produced the criti- 
cally acclaimed drama Life as a House, starring Kevin Kline, 
Hayden Christensen, and Kristen Scott Thomas, and The Ship- 
ping News (both 2001), based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 
novel by E. Annie Proulx and starring Kevin Spacey, Julianne 
Moore, and Judi Dench. Winkler teamed with Kline again for 
De-Lovely (2004), a biography of the songwriter Cole Porter. 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



Three of Winkler's films were listed on the American Film In- 
stitute list of the top 100 films of all time. 

[Stewart Kampel (2 nd ed.)] 

WINKLER, LEO (Judah; 17 th century), leader of the Vienna 
Jewish community at the time of the expulsion of the Jews 
from the city in 1670. By profession a physician, he graduated 
from the medical school in Padua in 1629. He corresponded 
with the Christian Hebraist Johann Christoph *Wagenseil, 
and ably represented the community when it was threatened 
with expulsion. In conjunction with Herz * Coma and Enoch 
* Fraenkel he signed a letter to Manuel Texeira requesting the 
intervention of Queen Christina of Sweden on behalf of the 
Jews. With Coma he offered 100,000 gulden to * Leopold 1 to 
enable 1,000 Jews to remain in Vienna. He was also among 
the signatories of the request for assistance to the Venice com- 
munities. His sons isaac and jacob graduated as physicians 
in Padua in 1669. Winkler apparently later settled in *Poznan 
(Posen), where Jacob was a physician. 

bibliography: D. Kaufmann: Die letzte Vertreibung der 

Juden aus Wien (1889), 69, 129, 132, 138, 146, 222; M. Grunwald, 

Vienna (1936), index. 

[Meir Lamed] 

WINNIK, HENRY ZVI (1902-1982), Israeli psychiatrist and 
psychoanalyst. Winnik was born near Chernovtsy (Bukovina) 
into a family of intellectuals and Zionists. His postgraduate 
experience included laboratory work with F. Georgi, and in 
psychiatric hospitals in Chemnitz and Berlin. In Berlin he 
met Wilhelm *Reich and Otto *Fenichel, through whom he 
entered psychoanalysis. He was trained at first at the Berlin 
Psychoanalytic Institute, leaving with the advent of Hitler in 
1933. He continued in Vienna with noted supervisors such as 
Helene *Deutsch, maintaining his contact with clinical psy- 
chiatry. He became a training analyst in 1938 and, on Anna 
*Freuds advice, left for Bucharest to develop analysis there. 
Political events there, however, and the outbreak of the war 
did not permit him to work. He left for Palestine in 1942 where 
he became the director of the Geha mental hospital of Kup- 
pat Holim, developing modern methods of institutional care. 
In 1950 he became the director of its Talbieh mental hospital 
in Jerusalem. 

From 1944 he was a member of the executive of the 
Israel Neuropsychiatric Society, and its chairman from 1961 to 
1965. Winnik had met Max *Eitingon in Berlin and joined 
him at the Psychoanalytic Institute in Palestine. In 1955 he 
became its chairman - a post he held four times. From 1954 
he was professor at The Hebrew University- Hadassah Medi- 
cal School in Jerusalem. He founded the Israel Annals of Psy- 
chiatry and served as its editor-in-chief. His testimony in 
Israel's courts contributed to the establishment of the prin- 
ciple of irresistible impulse. Winnik published many papers 
on a broad range of psychiatric, psychoanalytic, and foren- 
sic subjects. 

[Louis Miller] 

WINNINGER, SOLOMON (1877-1968), biographer. Win- 
ninger was born in Gura-Humorului, Bukovina, and worked 
as a post office official in Czernowitz (Chernovtsy) until 1941. 
In 1950 he settled in Israel. Winninger s Grosse juedische Nati- 
onalbiographie (7 vols., 1927-36) contains 14,000 biographies 
of prominent Jews. A further 17,000 (Ms., Jewish National and 
University Library) remained unpublished. 

bibliography: D. Lazar, in: Maariv (Dec. 20, 1968). 

[Nathan Michael Gelber] 

WINNIPEG, capital of Manitoba, Canada, the province's larg- 
est city and the center of Jewish life in the province. In 2001 
Winnipeg's 14,765 Jews constituted only 2.2 percent of the city's 
population of 661,730. However, they also constituted fully 
97 percent of all Jews in Manitoba. In 1881 there were only 
23 Jews in Winnipeg. That number grew to 1,164 in 1901 and 
reached a high of 19,376 in 1961 before beginning a gradual 
decennial decline to less than 15,000 in 2001. Winnipeg has 
also dropped in size from third to eighth place among Cana- 
dian cities, while the city's Jewish population dropped from 
third to fourth place among Canadian Jewish communities 
behind Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. 

Jewish congregational life began early in Winnipeg's his- 
tory. In 1883, after the first influx of Jews from Russia, an at- 
tempt was made to establish a single congregation in Winni- 
peg, but disagreements between the earlier Jewish residents 
and recently arrived and more Orthodox immigrants pre- 
vented agreement. In 1887 a Manitoba Free Press church sur- 
vey found "three congregations of the Hebrew faith" but no 
synagogue building and suggested that if united, "the Hebrews 
would form a congregation of respectable numbers, and ... 
soon possess a building creditable to themselves and to the 
city." In 1889 unity was achieved and Shaarey Zedek, the first 
synagogue, was founded, but a group favoring a "sefardishe 
minhag" soon started the Rosh Pina synagogue. 

In the 1960s Winnipeg had 12 synagogues plus the 
Chesed Shel Ernes funeral home. The two largest congrega- 
tions, Shaarey Zedek in the city's south end and Rosh Pina in 
the north end, were Conservative; the others were Orthodox 
and all but one in the north end, where most Jews then lived. 
In 1965 the Reform Temple Shalom was opened in the south 
end, and in 1976 a new conservative synagogue, Beth Israel, 
opened in the north. By the end of the century the major- 
ity of Winnipeg Jews had moved from the north end to the 
south end. Declining membership forced a merger of the three 
largest north end congregations: Rosh Pina, B'nai Abraham, 
and Beth Israel, to form Etz Chayim on the premises of Rosh 
Pina. In 2005 Winnipeg had nine synagogues, six in the north 
end, including a Lubavitch Center with north and south end 

In 1883, Beth El religious school opened, teaching Bible 
and Jewish history in English to 50 students; a year later Rus- 
sian newcomers opened a heder y with 12 students instructed 
in Yiddish. In 1902 a King Edward Talmud To rah, named for 
the new British monarch, opened next to the synagogue. The 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


B'nai Zion Congregational Hebrew School opened in 1906. 
Five years later the two schools united with 250 students, and 
in 1913 a new Talmud Torah building was opened, doubling 
as a Jewish community center. 

Secular Jewish life also flourished in Winnipeg. In 1914 
Labor Zionists and Socialists opened the Yiddish Radical 
School, renamed after I.L. Peretz in 1915. By 1921 the more 
radical Arbeiter Ring Yiddish school was established, and at 
one point Winnipeg had five Yiddish secular schools. In 1919 
the Peretz School Muter Farein opened the first kindergarten 
in the city and a year later started a Jewish day school, pos- 
sibly the first of its kind in North America. By 1963 the I.L. 
Peretz Folk School was the only remaining Yiddish secular 
school and in 1983 it merged with the Talmud Torah, which 
by then had north and south branches, and also operated the 
Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate. In 1997 the Talmud Torah north 
and south branches were closed and Jewish education in 
Winnipeg became consolidated in the Gray Academy at the 
Asper Jewish Community Campus, opened that year in the 
south end on the bank of the Assiniboine River. The Herzliah 
Congregation operates Ohr Hatorah, an Orthodox elemen- 
tary day school. 

There has also been a longstanding Jewish presence on 
campus. In 1915, a Menorah Society was formed at Winnipeg's 
University of Manitoba. It sponsored varied Jewish campus ac- 
tivities, including annual Jewish theater productions such as 
an English-language version of Shalom Aleichem's It's Hard to 
Be a lew. In response to accusations that the university main- 
tained quotas on Jewish and other minority enrollment in the 
Medical School, in 1943 the Avukah Zionist Society undertook 
to investigate. By the end of 1944 they succeeded in exposing 
the quota system and forced an end to the system. During 
World War 11, Hillel organized on campus and helped initi- 
ate Jewish studies courses in 1950-51. By 1964 the University 
of Manitoba established the first Judaic Studies Department 
in Canada, headed by Rabbi Zalman Schachter, founder of 
the Jewish Renewal Movement. In 1989 the department was 
disbanded, just as Jewish Studies departments were growing 
in other Canadian universities. 

Winnipeg's Jewish community has been characterized 
by vibrant organizational life. By 1900 *landsmannshaften and 
benevolent societies were growing, and the Winnipeg Zionist 
Society had 100 members. In 1909 B'nai B'rith was established 
and United Hebrew Charities was organized. Concern that 
United Hebrew Charities was controlled by Jews in the city's 
south end led to formation of the North End Relief Society, 
but the two groups joined forces in 1914. That year Winnipeg 
and the farm settlement in Lipton, Saskatchewan, became the 
first two communities in Canada to collect funds for Jewish 
war relief. In 1915 the Western Jewish Fund for the Relief of 
War Sufferers was established, and in 1916 Winnipeg hosted a 
conference of 18 western centers that called for the establish- 
ment of a Canadian Jewish Congress. A year later Winnipeg 
hosted the 15 th national convention of the Canadian Zionist 
Federation, and in 1919 a delegation of 20 Winnipeg Jews 

participated in Montreal meetings organizing the Canadian 
Jewish Congress. 

By 1920 Winnipeg had a Jewish Orphanage and Chil- 
dren's Aid Society, an Old Folks Home, a ymha Center, and a 
Jewish Immigrant Aid Society and, by the mid-i920s, the Or- 
phanage, the Old Folks Home, and Hebrew Relief became ben- 
eficiaries of centralized fundraising by the Federated Budget 
Board, and in 1938 a Jewish Welfare Fund was established to 
raise funds for Jewish schools and social agencies. In the 1950s 
a new ymha Community Center was built which housed the 
Welfare Fund, the Canadian Jewish Congress, and Zionist Or- 
ganization regional offices. In the 1960s, the Winnipeg Con- 
gress Council had representatives of every local Jewish orga- 
nization, and Congress Western Region Council had members 
in Beausejour, Brandon, Dauphin, and Portage la Prairie. The 
Welfare Fund, Congress and the Zionist organization jointly 
ran the Combined Jewish Appeal for local, national, Israeli, 
and overseas agencies. During the 1967 Six-Day War crisis, 
Winnipeg played an exemplary role in the national Israeli 
Emergency Campaign. 

In 1973 the Welfare Fund and the cj Congress office 
merged to form the Winnipeg Jewish Community Coun- 
cil - later the Jewish Federation/Combined Jewish Appeal. 
In 1997 the Asper Jewish Community Campus was opened 
in three remodeled Winnipeg heritage buildings on the south 
bank of the Assiniboine River. The campus houses the Gray 
Academy of Jewish Education, the Rady Community Cen- 
tre, successor to the ymha; the Jewish Heritage Centre of 
Western Canada, including the Jewish Historical Society and 
Archives, the Marion and Ed Vickar Jewish Musem and the 
Freeman Family Holocaust Education Centre; the Kaufman- 
Silverberg Library, the Berney Theatre and offices of Federa- 
tion / cja, Jewish Foundation of Manitoba (founded 1964), 
Jewish Child and Family Services, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, 
B'nai B'rith, and Winnipeg Zionist Initiative. Winnipeg North 
has a thriving Gwen Secter Senior Centre sponsored by the 
National Council of Jewish Women and a Na'amat Hall (Pio- 
neer Women), which is also used by United Jewish Peoples 
Order for public forums and a Yiddish Mameloshen group. 
The Sholem Aleichem Community runs a Sunday school and 
sponsors secular holiday events. 

Concerned with the gradual decline in Winnipeg's Jew- 
ish population, in the late 1990s the Jewish Federation started 
"Grow Winnipeg," a program of outreach to Jews, especially in 
Latin America. By 2005 this program had brought 168 South 
American Jewish families to Winnipeg, comprising 482 in- 
dividuals. The total number of new arrivals was 564 families, 
comprising nearly 1,500 individuals, including people from 
Argentina, Russia, and Israel. These newcomers receive spe- 
cial community services and their presence is reflected in the 
publication of columns in Russian and Spanish, as well as He- 
brew and Yiddish, in the Jewish Post and News. For most of 
the 20 th century Winnipeg was served by three Jewish papers, 
the Yiddish-language Israelite Press (Yiddishe Vort) founded 
in 1917, which became bilingual before it ceased publication 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



in 1981, and the English language Jewish Post founded in 1925 
and Western Jewish News founded a year later. The two Eng- 
lish language papers merged in 1987. 

Very conscious of its history, the Winnipeg Jewish com- 
munity has been a leader in archival and museum preser- 
vation and in celebrating community history The local Ar- 
chives Committee was instrumental in organizing both the 
Canadian Jewish Congress Archives Committee and the Jew- 
ish Historical Society of Western Canada. In 1972 the Jewish 
Historical Society mounted an exhibit entitled "Journey Into 
Our Heritage," exploring the history of the Jews of West- 
ern Canada. It ran for six months at the Manitoba Museum, 
toured Canada, and was exhibited at the Museum of the Di- 
aspora in Tel Aviv. 

Jews in Winnipeg have also made a prominent contribu- 
tion to the larger community. Perhaps nowhere is this more 
true that in the legal system. Samuel * Freedman was the first 
Jew named to the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench (qb) and 
later to the Court of Appeal, serving as Manitoba Chief Jus- 
tice in 1971-83; Israel Nitikman was appointed a judge to the 
Court of the qb in 1962. In 1967 Roy Matas was appointed a 
judge to that court and was elevated six years later to the Court 
of Appeal. In 2005 the Manitoba Court of Appeal had three 
Jewish judges, the Court of Queens Bench had seven Jewish 
judges out of 40, and there were also seven Jews on the Pro- 
vincial Court. 

bibliography: A. Chiel, The Jews in Manitoba: A Social 

History (1961). 

[Abraham Arnold (2 nd ed.)] 

WINOGRAND, GARRY (1928-1984), US magazine pho- 
tojournalist and advertising photographer who developed an 
unusual style of "street" photography that helped change the 
nature of the genre. He photographed primarily on the streets 
of New York, the city in which he was born, portraying pass- 
ers-by with an immediacy and physicality rarely found in still 
images. "I photograph to find out what something will look 
like photographed," he said of his method, which incorporated 
rapid-fire shooting technique, wide-angle lenses and skewed 
framing for a satirical and sometimes disturbing vision that 
became popular in the 1970s. His pictures, which deceptively 
resembled snapshots, were crammed with activity. By tradi- 
tional standards, critics said, the pictures represent the op- 
posite of real-world photography. But they have the vitality, 
incongruity, and inexplicability of daily life. John Szarkowski, 
director of the Museum of Modern Art's photography divi- 
sion, called Winogrand "the central photographer of his gen- 
eration." In a show at the Modern in 1988, Winogrand s work 
was divided chronologically: work from the 1960s on women 
(many published in the 1975 book Women Are Beautiful); on 
zoos (from The Animals, a 1969 book and show), and on public 
events in which the presence of the news media is significant 
(from "Public Relations," Winogrand s show at the Modern in 
1977). In 1978, Winogrand, who freed himself from conven- 
tion by tilting the frames of his images in an effort to develop 

fresh ways to depict the world, moved to Los Angeles. There, 
where street life took place in cars, Winogrand made many 
pictures from the front seat of an automobile. The images rel- 
egated human beings to a far distance. 

To be a great photographer, Winogrand claimed half-se- 
riously in the 1970s, was first, to be Jewish. The best ones, in 
his opinion, shared this birthright. By his definition, Jewish 
photographers were nervy, ironic, disruptive of artistic norms, 
and proud outsiders. Winogrand left behind some 2,500 rolls 
of exposed but undeveloped film, plus 6,500 developed rolls 
for which no contact sheets had been made, making a total of 
300,000 unedited images. The Modern arranged to have the 
film developed and contacts prints made. 

[Stewart Kampel (2 nd ed.)] 

WINSTEIN, SAUL (1912-1969), U.S. physical organic chem- 
ist. Winstein was born in Montreal, Canada. He did research 
at the California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, 
and the Illinois Institute of Technology. From 1947 he was 
professor of chemistry at the University of California at Los 
Angeles (1947). 

WINSTON, ROBERT, BARON (1940- ), British physician, 
broadcaster, and fertility expert. Winston graduated from 
London University as a gynecological surgeon and became 
a noted pioneer of fertility and ivf techniques. He is well- 
known both for his scientific papers and for his programs on 
BBC television such as The Human Body (1998), The Secret Life 
of Twins (1999), and Superhuman (2000), which drew large 
audiences. Winston was professor of fertility studies at Impe- 
rial College School of Medicine, London, and received a life 
peerage in 1995. He served as chair of the House of Lords Se- 
lect Committee on Science and Technology and was awarded 
the Royal Society's Faraday Gold Medal. 

[William D. Rubinstein (2 nd ed.)] 

WINSTON, STAN (1946- ), U.S. director and visual effects 
artist. Winston grew up in Arlington, Virginia. After graduat- 
ing from the University of Virginia in 1968, Winston moved 
to Los Angeles to be an actor. Influenced by Lon Chaney, who 
did his own makeup in Phantom of the Opera (1943), Winston 
became a makeup apprentice with Walt Disney Studios. He 
worked 6,000 hours for Disney, which culminated in his first 
Emmy win for the television movie Gargoyles (1972). Among 
his first jobs after leaving the studio in 1972 were cosmetically 
aging actress Cicely Tyson to 110 in the television movie The 
Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974), which led to an- 
other Emmy win, and makeup work on the set of the minise- 
ries Roots (1977). He earned his first feature film makeup credit 
for The Wiz (1978), and received his first Oscar nomination for 
his work on the robot comedy Heartbeeps (1981). In 1978, he 
founded Stan Winston Studio in Van Nuys, California. Win- 
ston provided visual effects and second-unit direction for the 
groundbreaking science fiction film The Terminator (1984). 
This collaboration with director James Cameron led to his 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


helming the special effects unit and creating alien effects for 
Aliens (1986), which won Winston his first Oscar. In 1987, he 
earned a third Oscar nomination for his creation of the alien 
in Predator (1987), and in 1988 he directed his first feature 
film, Pumpkinhead. Winston earned a fourth Academy Award 
nod for makeup work on Tim Burtons Edward Scissorhands 
(1990), but won Oscars for makeup and visual effects when he 
joined Cameron on the big- budget Terminator sequel, Termi- 
nator 2: Judgment Day (1991). The Penguin makeup he created 
for Danny DeVito in Burtons Batman Returns (1992) led to 
his seventh Academy Award nomination, and after directing 
his second feature, the straight -to -video The Adventures of a 
Gnome Named Gnorm (1994), Winston won a fourth Oscar for 
creating the life-sized dinosaurs in Jurassic Park (1993). Win- 
ston, Cameron, and Industrial Light and Magic designer Scott 
Ross joined forces in 1993 to form Digital Domain, a computer 
animation special effects company whose first project was the 
much publicized adaptation of Anne Rice's Interview With 
the Vampire (1994). However, he and Cameron eventually re- 
signed from the company in 1998. Winston signed a develop- 
ment deal with DreamWorks in 1996, and one year later he 
founded Stan Winston Productions, which provided special 
effects, animatronics and makeup for films such as The Lost 
World: Jurassic Park (1997), which earned him his ninth Os- 
car nomination; End of Days (1999); Jurassic Park in (2001); 
AT. Artificial Intelligence (2001), his 10 th Academy Award nod; 
Pearl Harbor (2001); Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003); 

and Constantine (2005). 

[Adam Wills (2 nd ed.)] 

WINTER, GUSTAV (1899-1943), Czech journalist and au- 
thor (brother of Lev Winter, the statesman). He was press of- 
ficer of the Czechoslovak mission to the League of Nations 
in Geneva, and Paris correspondent for Prdvo Lidu ("The 
Peoples Right"), the organ of the Social Democratic Party. 
Winter was regarded as the best-informed Czech correspon- 
dent in France. 

He published Stdtnici dnesni Francie ("French Statesmen 
of our Days," 1927), and Kniha o Francii ("Book on France," 
1930) for which he received the highest Czechoslovak literary 
award. To neni konec Francie ("This is Not the End of France," 
1941) was published in London, where he had fled after the 
fall of France. Winter was also the author of a book of poetic 
reportage on Spain, Don Quijote na rozcesti ("Don Quixote at 
the Crossroads," 1935) and translator of Capek and Masaryk 

into French. 

[Avigdor Dagan] 

His brother lev (Leo) winter (1876-1935), Czech poli- 
tician, was born in Hroby in S. Bohemia. Winter studied law 
at Prague University and joined the Czech Social Democratic 
Party at the age of 19. In 1907 he was elected to the Austrian 
Reichsrat (Parliament) and reelected in 1911. In the Austrian 
Parliament he was active in committees on social legislation. 
In 1918 he was a member of the revolutionary Czech National 
Council and became minister of social welfare in the first Gov- 

ernment of the Czechoslovak Republic. In 1923 he presented to 
Parliament the Social Insurance Law, which had been drafted 
primarily by him. He served two more terms as minister of 
social welfare and was member of parliament until his death. 
He wrote several books on social and legal problems, and also 
translated the first volume of Marx's Kapital into Czech. Win- 
ter took no part in any Jewish activities. 

[Chaim Yahil] 

bibliography: gustav winter: F. Klatil, In Memoriam 
Gustava Wintra (Czech, 1944); E. Hostovsky, in: Jews of Czechoslova- 
kia, 1 (1968), 447-8, 523; Ceskoslovenski, Biografie, 3 (1936). 

WINTER, JACOB (1857-1941), German rabbi and scholar. 
Born in Hungary, Winter served from 1886 as rabbi in Dres- 
den and received the honorary title of professor from the king 
of Saxony for his scholarly work. 

His main achievement was the three-volume encyclope- 
dic work, Die juedische Litteratur seit Abschluss des Kanons (3 
vols., 1894-96), a prose and poetry anthology with biographi- 
cal and literary-historical introductions, edited in cooperation 
with the German Orientalist August *Wuensche and leading 
scholars of the time. The work became a standard reference 
book on post-biblical Jewish literature. An earlier study by 
Winter was Die Stellung der Sklaven bei den Juden... (1886). 
Together with Wuensche, he also translated into German 
(with annotations) the halakhic Midrashim Mekhilta (1909) 
and Sifra (1938), and edited the second volume of M. Lazarus, 
Die Ethik des Judentums (1911). 

WINTER, PAUL (1904-1969), New Testament scholar. Born 
in Czechoslovakia, Winter by profession was a lawyer in his 
native land until the Nazi occupation in 1939. Escaping from 
Czechoslovakia, he joined the free Czech forces in the Mid- 
dle East, where he served for several years and participated 
in the battle of El-Alamein and the Normandy landings. Af- 
ter his release from the armed forces he settled in England, 
where he lived until his death. In his later years he suffered 
great poverty. His main contribution to scholarship was The 
Trial of Jesus (1961), which created a great deal of interest in the 
scholarly world with its thesis that Jesus was not condemned 
by a Jewish court but by the Romans for political, not religious, 
crimes. He was regarded as one of the leading New Testament 

scholars of his time. 

[Seymour Siegel] 

WINTERNITZ, EMANUEL (1898-1983), musicologist who 
specialized in organology, musical iconology, and art history. 
Born in Vienna, he studied piano, musicology (under his un- 
cle, Oscar Kapp), and composition (under Franz Schmidt). 
After serving three years in the Austrian army during World 
War 1, he studied law at the University of Vienna (earning an 
LL.D., 1922), and lectured on aesthetics and the philosophy 
of law at the Volkshochschule and at the University of Ham- 
burg. From 1929 he practiced corporate law, while undertak- 
ing private studies in music and musical instruments. Fleeing 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



Nazi-occupied Austria, he immigrated to the United States in 
1938. There, he was lecturer at the Fogg Museum of Harvard 
University (1938-41), and in 1941 at the Metropolitan Mu- 
seum of Art (New York). In 1942 he was appointed Keeper 
of the museums musical instruments. From 1949, until his 
retirement in 1973, he served as curator of musical instru- 
ments. His most successful concert series "Music Forgotten 
and Remembered," utilizing the museums instruments, ran 
for 18 consecutive years. In 1972, both he and Barry *Brook 
established the Research Center for Music Iconography. He 
was a lecturer at Columbia University (1947-48) and taught as 
visiting professor at Yale, Rutgers, cuny, and sun y at Bing- 
hamton. His publications include Musical Autographs from 
Monteverdi to Hindemith (1955), Musical Instruments of the 
Western World (1966) Musical Instruments and their Symbol- 
ism in Western Art (New York, 1967), and Leonardo da Vinci 
as a Musician (1982). 

bibliography: Grove Music Online; mgg. 

[Israel J. Katz (2 nd ed.)] 

WINTERNITZ, MORITZ (1863-1933), Orientalist. Born 
in Horn, Austria, Winternitz received the degree of doctor 
of philosophy in 1886 from the University of Vienna. In 1888 
he went to Oxford, where he spent the next ten years acting 
in various educational capacities, including teacher of Ger- 
man and librarian at the Indian Institute (1895). In 1899 he 
became instructor of Indology and general ethnology at the 
German University of Prague, and in 1911 was appointed pro- 
fessor of Sanskrit. 

Winternitz s main work was Geschichte der indischen Li- 
teratur (3 vols., 1908-22; History of Indian Literature, 3 vols., 
1927-59; 1959-63 2 ). His other works include A Catalogue of 
South Indian Sanskrit Manuscripts Belonging to the Royal 
Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1902), A Concise 
Dictionary of Eastern Religion: Being the Index Volume to the 
Sacred Books of the East (1910); Die Frau in den indischen Re- 
ligionen (1920), and Rabindranath Tagore (Ger., 1936). Win- 
ternitz also edited several Sanskrit texts. 

bibliography: Festschrift M. Winternitz (1933) . 

WINTERS, SHELLEY (Shirley Schrift; 1922-2006), U.S. ac- 
tress. Born in East St. Louis, 111., Winters appeared in the op- 
eretta Rosalinda (1942). Her first successful film was A Double 
Life (1948). Later she became famous for her interpretation of 
two prototypes - a street girl and a mother. In 1959 she won 
an Oscar for her supporting role in The Diary of Anne Frank, 
and in 1965 she won another Academy Award for A Patch of 
Blue. Her other films, which number more than 120, include 
The Great Gatsby (1949); Frenchie (1950); A Place in the Sun 
(Oscar nomination for Best Actress, (1951); Executive Suite 
(i954)> Mambo (1954); I Am a Camera (1955); The Big Knife 
(1955); The Night of the Hunter (1955); The Chapman Report 
(1962); Lolita (1962); The Balcony (1963); Alfie (1966); Harper 
(1966); The Three Sisters (1966); Enter Laughing (1967); The 

Poseidon Adventure (Oscar nomination for Best Supporting 
Actress, 1972); Blume in Love (1973); Diamonds (1975); Next 
Stop, Greenwich Village (1976); King of the Gypsies (1978); The 
Magician of Lublin (1979); S.O.B. (1981); The Delta Force (1986), 
An Unremarkable Life (1989); Stepping Out (1991); The Pickle 
(1993); Heavy (1995); The Portrait of a Lady (1996); Gideon 
(1999); and La Bomba (1999). 

On Broadway, Winters appeared in such plays as Ro- 
salinda (1942-44); Oklahoma! (1943-48); A Hatful of Rain 
(1956); The Night of the Iguana (1962); Who's Afraid of Vir- 
ginia Woolf? (1965); Under the Weather (1966); Minnies Boys 
(1970); and The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon 
Marigolds (1978). 

She appeared frequently at Jewish benefit rallies. 

Winters was married to actors Vittorio Gassman (1952- 
54) and Anthony Franciosa (1957-60). 

She wrote the autobiographies Shelley: Also Known 
as Shirley (1980) and Shelley 11: The Middle of My Century 


[Jonathan Licht / Ruth BelofF (2 nd ed.)] 

WINTERSTEIN, ALFRED (1899-1960), Swiss biochemist. 
Winterstein was born in Zurich where his father, Ernest Hein- 
rich Winterstein (1865-1949), was professor of chemistry. He 
joined the faculty of Zurich's Polytechnicum (1934). He be- 
came a senior director of the Hoffmann- La Roche Company 
in Basle. His fields of research included hematology, vitamins 
and carotenoids, and hormones. 

WINTROBE, MAXWELL MYER (1901-1986), U.S. hema- 
tologist. Wintrobe was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and grad- 
uated in medicine from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. 
He worked in the departments of medicine at Tulane Univer- 
sity, New Orleans (1927-30), and Johns Hopkins University, 
Baltimore (1930-43), before becoming professor and chair- 
man of the department of medicine at the newly established 
University of Utah (1943-67), where he was distinguished 
professor of medicine until his retirement in 1977. Wintrobe s 
main clinical and research interests were in hematology, and 
he contributed greatly to the major expansion of clinical prac- 
tice, teaching, and research in this field. He introduced exact 
laboratory techniques which form an essential part of mod- 
ern hematological practice. His textbook on clinical hematol- 
ogy, in 2005 in its 10 th edition, became a standard work. His 
many honors include election to the U.S. National Academy 
of Sciences (1973). He was also a member and chairman of 
the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Scripps Research 

Foundation (1964-74). 

[Michael Denman (2 nd ed.)] 

WIRSZUBSKI, CHAIM (1915-1977), classical scholar. Born 
in Vilna, Wirszubski settled in Palestine in 1934. He taught 
classics at the Hebrew University from 1948 (from 1956 as 

He published Libertas as a Political Idea at Rome during 
the Late Republic and Early Principate (dissertation, 1950) and 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


edited G.R. Moncada's Sermo de Passione Domini (1963). He 
translated Spinoza's Theological-Political Tractae (Maamar Te- 
ologi-Mediniy with notes, 1961) into Hebrew and wrote an in- 
troduction to the Hebrew translation of Tacitus' Annals (Sifrei 
ha-Shanim, 1962). Wirszubski dealt in two lectures with Flavius 
Mithridates and his Latin translation Liber Redemptionis (Nosah 
Kadum shel Perush Moreh Nevukhim.. . ) of Abraham Abulafia's 
kabbalistic commentary on Maimonides' Guide (1964, 1969). 
He also devoted some articles to the Shabbatean movement. 

°WIRTH, CHRISTIAN (1885-1944), ss-Sturmbannfuehrer 
instrumental in the mass extermination of Jews in German- 
occupied Poland. Wirth was born in Oberbalzheim, Wuettem- 
berg, where he was a career criminal police detective. He be- 
came a member of the Nazi Party in 1931 and joined the ss in 
1939. He was assigned to Operation T-4, the German program 
to "eliminate life unworthy of living" - to murder the mentally 
retarded, the physically infirm, and the handicapped - and 
from October 1939 until August 1941 he was chief of office staff 
and personnel at the "*euthanasia" killing center at Hartheim. 
As an inspector of killing facilities at all other "euthanasia" 
killing centers, Wirth developed gas chambers for killing in- 
stitutionalized persons with disabilities. In late autumn 1941, 
he transferred to Lublin District, where he was assigned to de- 
velop the Belzec killing center. In 1942 Globocnik appointed 
him inspector of the ss Special Detachments with overall su- 
pervisory responsibility for Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. 
At these three Aktion Reinhard camps more than 1.5 million 
Jews were killed. There were less than 200 known survivors. 
Belzec was open for only ten months as a killing center; the 
other two camps were open for less than two years each. They 
were closed when their jobs were done and the Jews of Poland 
were virtually all murdered. When these camps closed, Wirth 
and his colleagues Globocnik, Hering, and Oberhauser were 
transferred to Trieste in December 1943 where he commanded 
an ss Einsatzkommando "r" group. Wirth was reported killed 
by partisans in Istria in May 1944. 

bibliography: G. Reitlinger, The ss: Alibi of a Nation (1956), 

279-83; R. Hilberg, Destruction of European Jews (1961, 1985, 2003), 


[Michael Berenbaum (2 nd ed.)] 

WIRTH, LOUIS (1897-1952), U.S. sociologist. Born in Ge- 
muenden on the Main, Germany, Wirth emigrated to the 
United States as a young man and studied medicine and social 
work and then sociology. He taught at Tulane University and 
from 1940 to 1952 at the University of Chicago. He was an edi- 
tor of the American Journal of Sociology, regional director of 
the National Resources Planning Board, director of planning 
of the Illinois State Postwar Planning Commission, and pres- 
ident of the Social Science Research Council (1932, 1937), the 
American Sociological Society (1947), and the International 
Sociological Association (1949). In addition, Wirth was active 
in the American Council on Race Relations and the Ameri- 
can Jewish Committee. 

A foremost representative of the Parkian school of sociol- 
ogy, Wirth combined theoretical insight with intensive practi- 
cal application. His position was that sociology was concerned 
with unique phenomena only insofar as knowledge of them 
was required for the purpose of valid generalization and scien- 
tific prediction. His intense concern with the maintenance and 
development of democratic institutions and the furtherance of 
social justice led to his interest in the elimination of discrim- 
ination against racial and cultural minorities, in systematic 
socioeconomic planning, and in a workable theory of public 
opinion and mass communication. Methodologically, Wirth 
was a typologist, combining the "ideal type" construction of 
the German sociologists Max Weber and Ferdinant Toen- 
nies with the formulation of what may be called "real types," 
which is the hallmark of the Parkian school of sociology. A 
typology of minorities is contained in "The Problem of Mi- 
nority Groups," in The Science of Man in the World Crisis (ed. 
Ralph Linton, 1945), and in "Morale and Minority Groups," 
in American Journal of Sociology, 47 (1941/42). His theory of 
urban sociology is expounded in "Urbanism as a Way of Life," 
American Journal of Sociology, 44 (1938/39). The Local Com- 
munity Fact Book (1938) presents a model for the investiga- 
tion of urban phenomena. Wirth's interest in the sociology of 
knowledge is documented in his preface to the English edition 
of Karl Mannheim's Ideology and Utopia (1936). 

Wirth was intensely interested in the sociology of the 
Jews, as part of his general interest in the incorporation of 
minorities in a democratic state. His dissertation The Ghetto 
(1928, 1956 2 ) analyzes the Jewish settlement on Chicago's west 
side not merely as a physical abode but as a state of mind; 
the outward pull of the larger society and discriminatory re- 
jection by that society correspond to flight from the narrow 
restrictions of the ghetto and longing for its sheltering inti- 
macy. Wirth saw the solution of the dilemma in the abolition 
of discrimination and complete acceptance of the democratic 

way of life. 

[Werner J. Cahnman] 

WISCHNITZER, MARK (1882-1955), historian, sociolo- 
gist, and communal worker. In his youth Wischnitzer lived in 
Galicia, Vienna, and Berlin. On returning to his native Russia, 
he devoted himself to the study of Jewish history. From 1908 
to 1913 he edited the section on the history of the Jews in Eu- 
rope in the Russian- Jewish Yevreyskaya Entsiklopediya (from 
the third volume on). From 1909 to 1912 he lectured at the in- 
stitute of Baron David Guenzburg in Petrograd on Oriental 
affairs and Jewish scholarship. From 1914 to 1916 he was the 
initiator and editor of Istoriy a Yevreyskogo Naroda ("History 
of the Jewish People") in Moscow. He was also a member of 
the society for Jewish history and ethnography in Petrograd 
and participated in its quarterly Yevreyskaya Starina ("The 
Jewish Past"). From 1919 to 1921 he stayed in London, where 
he engaged in journalism and continued his research. From 
1921 to 1937 he was secretary of the *Hilfsverein der Deutschen 
Juden, in which he engaged in welfare enterprises for the Jews 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



of eastern Europe, visited the regions of Jewish settlement in 
Russia, and finally (1933-37) concentrated on organizing the 
emigration of Jews from Nazi Germany to the countries of 
the West and overseas. During the period he lived in Berlin, 
Wischnitzer served with his wife, Rachel Wischnitzer, as di- 
rector of the Jewish publication Rimon in Berlin and London 
(1922-24) and from 1925 was editor of the history section in 
the Encyclopaedia Judaica in Berlin. He occupied himself with 
the history of the Jewish guilds in Poland and Lithuania dur- 
ing the 17 th and 18 th centuries and devoted a study to them in 
Yiddish (1922). His History of Jewish Crafts and Guilds, which 
includes a list of his previous works on the subject, was pub- 
lished posthumously in 1965. He also published Die Juden in 
der Welt (1935). 

After leaving Nazi Germany, Wischnitzer entered the 
service of the ^American Jewish Joint Distribution Commit- 
tee in Paris (1938); however, World War 11 compelled him to 
go to the Dominican Republic (1940) and then to the United 
States (1941). He continued his communal service in the U.S. 
with the Council of Jewish Organizations and Welfare Funds 
and worked on editing the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia. He 
devoted his work To Dwell in Safety, The Story of Jewish Mi- 
gration Since 1800 (1948) to general Jewish migration. He pub- 
lished the memoirs of Dov Ber *Birkenthal, in the description 
of whose life and times both literary and social views are in- 
tertwined; this appeared as Zikhronot R. Dov mi-Bolihov (1922, 
repr. 1969; The Memoirs of Ber of Bolechow (1922)). 

His wife rachel wischnitzer (nee Bernstein; 1885- 
1989) was a scholar of Jewish art. Born in Minsk, she studied 
architecture in Paris. She edited the first periodicals for Jewish 
art, Rimon (in Heb.) and Milgroym (in Yid.; 1922-24), while 
she was in Berlin. These were printed by the Rimon publishing 
house which her husband had established. During this period 
she was director of the Jewish museum in Berlin (1934-38) 
and published Gestalten und Symbole der juedischen Kunst 
(1935), as well as contributing to the German Encyclopaedia 
Judaica and many other periodicals. In 1940 she went to the 
U.S., where she served as contributing editor for Jewish art of 
the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (1948) and also wrote on 
the synagogue of *Dura-Europos. She wrote Synagogue Ar- 
chitecture in the United States (1955) and The Architecture of 
the European Synagogue (1964). Rachel Wischnitzer strove to 
clarify the development of Jewish iconography, especially the 
literary background to the development of subjects and sym- 
bols in Jewish art, e.g., her book on Dura-Europos is replete 
with biblical and talmudic passages which enlighten the artis- 
tic intent. She was also a firm advocate of using the values of 
traditional Jewish art in the works of modern Jewish art. 

bibliography: Winninger, Biog, s.v.; Wilson Library Bul- 
letin, 30 (1955/56), 298. 

[Abraham N. Poliak] 

WISCONSIN, a state in the north-central U.S.; Jewish pop- 
ulation of approximately 28,000 in a general population of 
about 5.5 million (2001), or 0.5%. German, Bohemian, Aus- 






OEau Claire 

O Wausau 

OLa Crosse 

Green Bay 
Appleton o 

O shko sh o Manito wo c 




O— 100-700 
• —1,100-5,000 
■ —21,000 

Racine o 
BeloitO Kenosha 

Total Jewish population of Wisconsin 

% of Jews in general population of Wisconsin 



% of Wisconsin Jews in Jewish population of U.S. 0.45 

Jewish communities in Wisconsin. Population figures for 2001. 

tro -Hungarian, and a smaller number of English Jewish im- 
migrants were among the earliest settlers in Wisconsin, arriv- 
ing from the 1840s to the 1860s with French, English, German, 
and Scandinavian gentiles. Yet the first known Wisconsin Jew 
was Jacob Franks, a fur trader of English ancestry who settled 
in Green Bay in 1793. His associate and nephew, John Lawe, 
served in the first Wisconsin Territory Legislature in 1836 
and was a county judge. The first organized Jewish commu- 
nity arose in Milwaukee in 1844. By 1856, the city had three 
synagogues. In Wisconsin's capital, Madison, Jews organized 
a benevolent society in 1858 and built a synagogue, Shaarei 
Shamayim, in 1863. The building, one of the oldest remain- 
ing synagogues in the United States, has been moved from 
downtown to a city park. Another early settler, Alsatian-born 
Bernard Schleisinger Weil, owned thousands of acres of farm- 
land northwest of Milwaukee. The town of Schleisingerville 
(later renamed Slinger) was named for him. He was the first 
Jew to serve in the Wisconsin Legislature - four years after 
statehood was declared in 1848. English-born John Meyer 
Levy, another influential newcomer, arrived in the Missis- 
sippi River settlement of La Crosse in 1845. He succeeded in 
business and served as mayor from i860 to 1861 and 1866 to 
1868. Levy held the first known worship services there (inter- 
faith) and co-founded the first synagogue in Wisconsin's third 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 

wisdom; wisdom literature 

Jewish community. In addition to Milwaukee and Madison, 
German Jewish immigrants were prominent in business and 
politics in Appleton, an industrial and university city whose 
first rabbi was Mayer Samuel Weiss, father of illusionist Harry 
Houdini, born Erich Weiss. The 19 th -century Wisconsin Jewish 
population was estimated at 2,600 in an 1880 study. So it was 
the mass Russian and eastern European Jewish immigration 
from 1881 to 1924 that gave the state most of its Jews. By 1899, 
the Jewish population had risen to 10,000, then to 28,000 in 
1920, and more than 39,000 in 1937, the peak year. Most of the 
second wave of immigrants came to Milwaukee, where the es- 
tablished Jewish community formed the Settlement House. 
The facility offered classes to immigrants that led to publica- 
tion of the long- running Settlement Cookbook. Other Russian 
and eastern European Jews spread around the state, creating 
Orthodox Jewish communities in two dozen municipalities 
in the 1920s and 1930s and accounting for a Jewish presence 
in some 180 more - primarily as merchants. In 1904, five im- 
migrant families cleared land for a Jewish farming settlement 
in central Wisconsin. Part of a national Jewish agricultural 
movement, the Arpin settlement grew to 20 families and in 
1915 established the county's only synagogue. Poor crop yields 
and a lack of marriageable young Jews compelled most fami- 
lies to leave by 1922. Sheboygan Jewry exceeded 1,000 in the 
1920s and 1930s. With three Orthodox synagogues and several 
shohatim, Sheboygan was known among U.S. Jews as "Little 
Jerusalem." Other traditional Jewish communities with syn- 
agogues developed in: Antigo, Ashland, Hurley, Marinette, 
Superior, and Wausau in the north; Eau Claire and La Crosse 
in the west; Beloit, Madison, and Monroe in the south; and 
Appleton, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Kenosha, Manitowoc, 
Milwaukee, Oshkosh, and Racine in the east. After the war, 
most of the smaller Jewish communities shifted to Conserva- 
tive or Reform Judaism, building or buying new synagogues 
in a dozen cities. By the year 2000, Wisconsin's synagogues 
were centralized to 14 municipalities, but Jews remain a pres- 
ence in nearly 70 communities. Most of the small-town syna- 
gogues serve Jews in outlying areas. Regional havurah groups 
meet regularly in Waukesha County, west of Milwaukee; Door 
County, on Wisconsin's Lake Michigan peninsula; and the 
northernmost three counties - Douglas, Bayfield and Ash- 
land. The University of Wisconsin campuses in Milwaukee 
and Madison house Centers of Jewish Studies, both founded 
with the help of the Wisconsin Society for Jewish Learning. 
B'nai B'rith, once a unifier for Jewish men and their families 
throughout the state, has faded, though the B'nai B'rith Youth 
Organization reaches a plurality of Jewish teens. Hadassah, 
National Council of Jewish Women, and Na'amat us a con- 
tinue to attract women. The Milwaukee Jewish Federation and 
Madison Jewish Community Council raise funds and coordi- 
nate local Jewish activities. Wisconsin Jews who attained na- 
tional recognition include Israeli Prime Minister Golda *Meir, 
of Milwaukee; Sens. Herbert *Kohl of Milwaukee and Rus- 
sell * Feingold of Madison, both Democrats; Socialist Victor 
* Berger; playwright and novelist Edna * Ferber of Appleton; 

Newton Minnow, chairman of the Federal Communications 
Commission; Martin F. Stein of Milwaukee, national chair- 
man of the United Jewish Appeal and clal; Depression-era 
photographer Esther Bubley of Phillips; Allan H. "Bud" *Selig 
of Milwaukee, commissioner of major league baseball; jazz 
pianist and scholar Ben Sidran of Madison; and Yiddish poet 

Alter Esselin of Milwaukee. 

[Andrew Muchin (2 nd ed.)] 


Connotation of Wisdom 

Wisdom (Heb. hokhmah) has a wide range of meanings in dif- 
ferent contexts, as illustrated in stories about Solomon, the 
traditional paragon of wisdom: cunning (1 Kings 2:6, 9), moral 
discernment (3:9, 12), understanding of justice (3:28), encyclo- 
pedic knowledge (5:9, 14 [4:29, 34]), literary skill (5:12, [4:32]), 
and ability as ruler (5:21 [5:7]). In Job 39:16-17 and Ecclesias- 
tes 2:3 it means simply intelligence. Its primary meaning is 
superior mental ability or special skill, without a necessary 
moral connotation (Ex. 35:31-33; 11 Sam. 14:1 ff). The hakham 
was the knowledgeable man, hence a counselor, teacher (Ex. 
35:34; Prov. 12:15). Skills were acquired through training, musar 
(Prov. 1:2-6); life situations called for counsel, c ezah (1 Kings 
12:8; Prov. 1:30). The highest skill was that of living successfully, 
with divine and human approval. The idea of wisdom as a fun- 
damentally ethical and religious quality of life is developed in 
Job, Proverbs 1-9, the Wisdom Psalms, and Daniel, and later 
in Ben Sira, Wisdom of Solomon, and Tobit. Special senses of 
hokhmah are understanding of dreams and omens (Gen. 41:15, 
39; Dan. 1:17); knowledge properly belonging to God alone 
(Gen. 3:22; Ezek. 28:2-3); an d righteousness, in eschatological 
times (Dan. 11:33; 12:10; the term here is maskilim). 

As a historical phenomenon, biblical wisdom desig- 
nates a distinctive cultural tradition and scholarly activity in 
the history of ancient Israel, continuing in early Judaism and 
Christianity. It was a way of thinking and an attitude to life 
that emphasized experience, reasoning, morality, and gen- 
eral human concerns not restricted to Israelites. Its interest 
was in individuals and their social relationships rather than 
in the distinctive national religion and its cult. A generalized 
religious element was present from the first in wisdom's rec- 
ognition of the Tightness of a certain order of life; only in its 
later stages - as in Ben Sira - were the wisdom and the na- 
tional-religious traditions joined together. In keeping with 
this striving for order and equilibrium, the wisdom teachers 
sought to provide rules and examples of personal morals and, 
on a theoretical level, meanings and values through reflection, 
speculation, and debate. 

History of the Wisdom Tradition 

The history of the wisdom tradition in Israel can be sketched 
only in broad strokes because the evidence is slight and of- 
ten ambiguous. Wisdom was a tradition as old as the society 
itself, a constant factor in its daily life rather than a self- 
conscious movement. The folk wisdom rooted in the rao- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


wisdom; wisdom literature 

res of family and tribe has left traces in popular proverbs 
(Gen. 10:9; 1 Sam. 24:14; 1 Kings 20:11) and in references to 
local sages (11 Sam. 14:2; 20:16). With the advent of the mon- 
archy, royal counselors became influential (11 Sam. 16:20 ff.; 
1 Kings 12:6 ff.), and in effect, some were cabinet ministers 
(1 Kings 4:1 ff; Isa. 36:3). Professional scribes and a literate 
elite court were probably mainly responsible for the produc- 
tion of wisdom and other literature later attributed by tradi- 
tion to King *Solomon himself (1 Kings 5:9-14 [4:29-34]; cf. 
Prov. 25:1). Temple scribes would be engaged in the compo- 
sition of psalmody. 

In the eighth century Hezekiah's men engaged in collect- 
ing Solomonic proverbs (Prov. 25:1) and probably also in as- 
sembling the religious and other writings of Judah and North- 
ern Israel. That Isaiah had been a teacher of youth is implied 
by his opponents' mockery (Isa. 28:9-10; cf. 19:11-12). Both 
Isaiah and Jeremiah found themselves in conflict with royal 
counselors who thought themselves wise, i.e., politically ex- 
pert (Isa. 29:14 ff; Jer. 9:22 [23]; 38:1 ff). Jeremiah clashed with 
the temple scribes as well (8:8). In *Baruch we see a profes- 
sional scribe at work (Jer. 32:9 ff; 36:4). When Jerusalem fell to 
the Babylonians, the exiled scribes undoubtedly carried with 
them scrolls around which literary activities were centered in 
their new community. 

After the Return, when Judah became a semi- indepen- 
dent temple state under a Persian governor, religious authority 
was assumed by priests and scribes as custodians of the na- 
tional-religious tradition. This tradition had now taken form 
as the Torah and other sacred books, which implied changes 
in the status of the learned. Ezra the priest bore the official 
title "secretary of the Law of the God of heaven" (Ezra 7:12). 
The Torah was both code and creed; it was also the summa- 
tion of Israel's distinctive religious wisdom (Deut. 4:6). Temple 
scribes and wisdom teachers turned their attention to Torah 
study, with two results: the two streams of wisdom tradition 
and covenant theology coalesced, and a new kind of wisdom 
piety developed (cf. Ps. 1, 119). At the same time the folk wis- 
dom of home and marketplace continued, but with a more 
positive ethical and religious orientation as in Proverbs 1-9 
and Ben Sira. Independent thinkers like *Koheleth and the 
author of the Wisdom of Solomon in the Hellenistic period 
began to write in more philosophic language, and found a fol- 
lowing among their compatriots. 

International Background and Setting 

The international background and setting of Hebrew wisdom 
are acknowledged in the Bible itself and have become fully evi- 
dent with increasing knowledge of the literary remains of an- 
cient Near Eastern peoples. Solomon's wisdom is said to have 
surpassed that of Egypt and the *Kedemites (1 Kings 5:10-11 
[4:30-31] ). The wise men of Egypt are referred to again in Gen- 
esis 41:8 and Isaiah 19:11-12; those of Edom in Jeremiah 49:7 
and Obadiah 8; those of Phoenicia in Ezekiel 27:8-9; 28:3-5; 
and those of Persia in Esther 1:13. Although in Babylonia "'wis- 
dom' refers to skill in cult and magic lore. . . [there is] a group 

of texts which correspond in subject matter with the Hebrew 
Wisdom books" (WG. Lambert; cf. Dan. 1:20). 

In Egyptian thought the cosmic order and the moral or- 
der were one, to be realized in thought, speech, and behavior. 
Characteristic documents are the "Instructions" by a king or 
high official to his son, such as those of Ptah-hotep, Merika-Re, 
Ani, and Amen-em-opet (cf. Pritchard, Texts, 4i2ff). Amen- 
em-opet bears remarkable similarities to Proverbs 22:17-24:12. 
Other Egyptian wisdom works are The Divine Attributes of 
Pharaoh, The Song of the Harper, The Eloquent Peasant, and 
The Dispute over Suicide (Pritchard, Texts, 405-10, 431-34). 
The last two, like Job, touch on an innocent sufferer's cry for 
justice and the dubious value of a sufferer's life. Another type 
of Egyptian wisdom is found in the onomastica or "noun lists" 
with their comprehensive outline of knowledge; these may 
have influenced Genesis 1; Psalms 148; Job 38-39; etc. 

Mesopotamian wisdom writing originated with the Su- 
merians. They too produced noun lists of phenomena, and in- 
troduced evaluations of them in dispute fables, e.g., between 
summer and winter, cattle and grain (Pritchard, Texts 3 , 592-3). 
Human experiences and character were portrayed in adages, 
parables, and anecdotes (Pritchard, Texts 3 , 593-4). Corre- 
sponding to the "Instruction" form are the Counsels of Wis- 
dom, Counsels of a Pessimist, Advice to a Prince, Teachings 
of *Ahikar (the last of Assyrian origin but preserved in Aram; 
Pritchard, Texts 3 , 595-6). In the "problem" writings, the main 
issues are death and the suffering of the righteous. In the Gil- 
gamesh Epic, the hero goes in search of the secret of immor- 
tality and learns that only gods are deathless. In the Dialogue 
of Pessimism, death is seen as the great equalizer. In a Sume- 
rian poem "Man and his God" an upright man who suffers has 
no recourse but to pray for deliverance. Two works from the 
Kassite period in Babylonia deal with the same theme: in "Let 
me praise the Lord of Wisdom" a sufferer reflects that trouble 
comes without apparent reason, because humans cannot know 
the will of the gods; in "The Babylonian Theodicy" the issue is 
debated by a sufferer and his friend, their views correspond- 
ing broadly to those of Job and his friends (Pritchard, Texts 3 , 
589-91, 596-604). The Sumerian gods represented forces with 
which humans must come to terms, whereas the Babylonian 
gods were more thought of as subject to moral standards, like 
human beings. To the Egyptians mdat ("truth, right, justice") 
was a cosmic reality to which even the gods were subject. The 
Egyptians looked for judgment and compensation in the af- 
terlife. In Babylonia (as in Israel until a late period, cf. Dan. 
12:2) appropriate rewards or punishments were expected in the 
present life, and divine justice was often called in question. 

No wisdom writings survive from Edom or Phoenicia. 
Ugaritic literature includes maxims in the father-to-son form, 
and presumably a more extensive Canaanite wisdom litera- 
ture existed. 

The Wisdom Books of the Hebrew Bible 

These wisdom books are ^Proverbs, *Job, and *Ecclesias- 
tes, with which * Psalms and Song of Songs are associated in 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 

wisdom; wisdom literature 

Roman Catholic tradition. Significantly, all these are among 
the Hagiographa (Ketuvim), the part of the Hebrew Bible 
most remote from the interests of the To rah, and the last part 
to be approved as scripture. Most of the other works in the 
Hagiographa have some connection with wisdom in form, in 
content, or historically. In addition, though not accepted as 
canonical in Jewish tradition, two major wisdom books and 
some shorter works from pre-Christian Judaism were included 
in the Greek and Latin Bibles: the Wisdom of *Ben Sira, a lat- 
ter-day Book of Proverbs; the Wisdom of *Solomon, a treatise 
on Hebrew wisdom addressed both to Jews and to non-Jews; 
*Tobit, a morality tale incorporating two short collections of 
precepts; the poem in Baruch 3:9 ff. calling on Israel to return 
to the ways of wisdom; an account of a wisdom contest in- 
serted in 1 Esdras at 3:1-4:41; and three highly colored para- 
bolic tales added to the Greek version of Daniel. 

The great variety comprised within the category of wis- 
dom literature is evident. These writings have in common 
the theme and practice of wisdom as a distinct way of life 
and thought, and employ certain favorite literary forms and 
a characteristic vocabulary. The theme is developed with dif- 
ferent emphases: on the one hand traditionally conservative, 
didactic, and worldly-wise, on the other hand radically critical 
and theologically innovative. The first is carried out by vari- 
ous methods of authoritative instruction; the second - on a 
more sophisticated level - by challenging accepted ideas and 
stimulating original thought. It will be noticed that the reli- 
gious component of wisdom teaching becomes more explicit 
as time goes on. 

Wisdom was not seen as a natural endowment, though 
the capacity to attain it might be considered a natural endow- 
ment. Wisdom had to be learned, and could be taught. Even 
so, it remained a divine gift rewarding those who desired it 
enough to submit to its discipline (Prov. 2). The two princi- 
ple methods of teaching were musar (instruction, training) 
and c ezah (counsel, persuasion), according to whether the 
teacher s authority was imposed or freely sought. A parent's 
instruction was mandatory and entailed correction of the 
disobedient (Prov. 23:13). To the extent that the teacher in a 
school assumed the parental role (Prov. 1:8) his words had the 
same dogmatic tone. In the main, however, the teachers mu- 
sar was an appeal to reason and conscience, and to the pupil's 
own desire for knowledge and understanding. This is evident 
in the variety of literary forms found in the wisdom writings, 
whose primary objective was to teach: the sentence saying or 
proverb; the rhetorical question; the admonitory precept or 
maxim and their expansion into longer discourses; soliloquy 
and debate; descriptive, metaphorical, and meditative po- 
etry; parable and allegory; the imaginative tale and the illus- 
trative anecdote. 

Precepts express the imperatives of social order or reli- 
gious belief; with the teacher they take the form of exhorta- 
tion to which is added a statement of motive or result (cf. Prov. 
19:20; 25:17). Often the imperative is implied rather than ex- 
pressed (Prov. 25:27a). In Proverbs 1-9 precepts are expanded 

into ten longer discourses beginning "My son(s)!" In the two 
poems in 1:20-33 an d chapter 8 wisdom itself is personified 
as a female; in the former she berates fools for their refusal to 
listen, and in the latter appeals for a hearing on grounds of her 
priceless worth and her prime role in the creation of the world. 
Behind this personification lies the reality that there is regu- 
lar reference to wise women in the Bible (Judg. 4:29; 11 Sam. 
14:2; 20:16) and that a mother might teach her son (Prov. 6:20). 
Some scholars view Wisdom as an ancient Hebrew goddess. 
Precepts predominate in 22:17 ff., the section closely resem- 
bling the Instructions of Amen-em-opet. 

A proverb is a short pregnant sentence or phrase whose 
meaning is applicable in many situations and which is made 
memorable by vivid imagery or witty expression, often marked 
by alliteration or assonance. It draws attention positively 
or negatively to an order of life, right values, and propor- 
tions. The prosaic folk saying is brief and pointed: "From 
wicked men comes wickedness" (1 Sam. 24:14 [13]) or "One 
donning armor should not boast as if he were taking it off" 
(1 Kings 20:11). The proverbs of two (or more) lines in a paral- 
lelism, characteristic of Solomonic proverbs in Proverbs 10: iff. 
and 25: iff., have been expanded probably for teaching pur- 
poses as cue and response. Examples of folk sayings sup- 
plemented in this way are Proverbs 11:2a; 12:11a; and 26:17a. 
Sayings in the form of a culminating numerical progression 
like Proverbs 30:18-19 are a kind of riddle, also suitable as a 
teaching tool. 

The art of composing vivid narratives, similes, and meta- 
phors also serves the purposes of the teacher. The word mashal 
("likeness") has a wider connotation than "proverb." Its com- 
monest form is the simile: "Like clouds and wind that bring 
no rain is a man who boasts of giving but does not give" (Prov. 
25:14). When a simile is expanded into a short story, it becomes 
a parable. The best-known parables in the Hebrew Bible come 
from the prophets Nathan and Isaiah (11 Sam. 12:1 ff; Isa. 5:1-7); 
the only developed wisdom parable also is found in Isaiah, in 
28:23-29. Ecclesiastes 9:13-16 is sometimes cited as a parable 
but strictly this is rather an illustration since in a parable the 
audience is expected to recognize the analogy and draw its 
own conclusions. Although the wisdom teachers do not use 
the parable, they do make effective use of teaching illustra- 
tions. In Proverbs 1:11-14 the very words of the thugs who are 
tempting the unwary youth are quoted, and 6:12-13 is a true- 
to-life description of the conspirator. In Proverbs 7:6 ff. there 
is a graphic sketch of the prostitute's behavior and in 23:29 ff. 
one of the drunkard's. 

An allegory relates to a metaphor as a parable relates to 
a simile. In Ecclesiastes 12 the approach of death is pictured 
in terms of the onset of darkness in a village street. The meta- 
phor of wisdom, personified as a woman (Prov. 7:4), is devel- 
oped in the poems of Proverbs 1:20-33, where she speaks like 
a prophetess, and in chapter 8 (cf. Ecclus.), where she speaks 
of yh whs co-worker in the creation of the world. In Proverbs 
9 wisdom and folly are personified as rival hostesses inviting 
men to different kinds of banquets. 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


wisdom; wisdom literature 

The paradigmatic narrative, which evokes admiration 
for a hero or heroine evincing moral qualities deserving of 
imitation, was another tool of the wisdom teachers. The story 
may be quasi-historical, as in the case of the story of Joseph in 
Genesis. It may be clearly fictional, as with Ruth, Daniel 1-6, 
Esther, and Judith. The prose folk tale which introduces the 
poem of Job serves the same purpose. The wisdom charac- 
teristics of the Joseph story have been pointed out by G. von 
Rad: a man of unusual ability, intelligence, and moral integ- 
rity is shown as triumphing over all adversities, and becoming 
the principal counselor at the court of Pharaoh. The story in 
Genesis 3 of human disobedience and expulsion from Eden 
also has certain wisdom features. The wondrous tree and the 
talking snake belong to the world of the fable, but these are 
only incidental. The story can be read as a parable of human 
alienation from God through disobedience, and illustrates 
graphically the subtle process of temptation. More important, 
it probes profound problems in the sphere of wisdom: the 
nature and limitations of human knowledge and the relation 
of knowledge to morality. Humans claim to decide for them- 
selves what is good and what is evil, in response to desire, but 
in asserting their independence find themselves exiled from 
life and good to a world of death and evil. 

See Books of * Proverbs, * Job, and *Ecclesiastes. 

Wisdom Psalms 

The Wisdom Psalms are those with resemblances to the char- 
acteristic themes, tone, literary forms, and vocabulary of the 
wisdom tradition. They appear to be the products of a new 
type of personal piety which developed after the Exile, when 
the written Torah replaced prophecy as yhwhs living voice 
to His people. Scribal experts in the handling and interpre- 
tation of scripture had assumed a new position of religious 
authority, and the wisdom, prophetic, and cultic traditions 
were mingled. "God" in the generalized sense of older wis- 
dom writings was now definitely identified with yhwh, the 
covenant God of Israel. 

Some Psalms, such as 1 and 37, are unified compositions 
representing this new wisdom piety. In others the sapien- 
tial features are apparent only in certain parts (e.g., 94:8-13). 
In still others a poem of another type has been labeled as a 
wisdom poem (Ps. 2:i2d; 111:10). The Psalms with the best 
claims to be classed as Wisdom Psalms are 1, 19b, 32, 34, 37, 
49, 78, 112, 119, 127, 128, and 133. Their most significant fea- 
ture is that they are addressed primarily to a human audience 
rather than to God, and their tone is didactic or hortatory. 
The presence of wisdom vocabulary and stylistic forms can 
be observed. Psalm 37 is an alphabetical acrostic comprising 
a series of precepts and proverbs commending a life of piety. 
Psalm 49 identifies itself as a mashed, or wisdom utterance, 
concerning a riddle (hidah). Psalm 127 consists of two ex- 
panded proverbs. 

The principal themes of the Wisdom Psalms are: 
(1) the antithetical ways of life of the righteous and the 

(2) the appropriate rewards and retribution in store for 
each respectively; 

(3) the qualities and behavior of the righteous as evok- 
ing admiration; 

(4) study of the Torah as the focus of piety and a source 
of pure delight; 

(5) life and vitality as fruits of righteousness, which is 
true wisdom; 

(6) personal trust in yhwh; 

(7) the search for light on problems of faith; 

(8) encouragement to faith and obedience through re- 
flection on yhwhs mighty acts on behalf of His people (see 
also * Psalms). 

The Concept of Wisdom 

The concept of wisdom as developed in the long course of Isra- 
els cultural and religious history is different from and broader 
than the various meanings and uses of the term hokhmah (see 
above). All these denote elements and aspects of one thing - 
the activity of mind - introducing order in place of confusion, 
expanding and structuring knowledge, and purposefully di- 
recting the actions of men. The continuity of the wisdom tra- 
dition lay in the constant enlargement and enrichment of this 
faculty of applied intelligence. 

At first the noun hokhmah denoted simply the state of 
being wise. It was no more than a linguistic correlative of the 
adjective hakham ("wise") and the verb hakham ("to be wise"), 
the adjectival use being basic. The wise were more capable, 
knowledgeable, skillful, intelligent, imaginative, and resource- 
ful than their fellows, who consequently would look to them 
for counsel and leadership. The sharing of knowledge made of 
the wise man a teacher. Confidence in his counsel imbued him 
with the potentiality for leadership and ultimately for govern- 
ment. The general orderliness observable in the natural world 
called for an order of values as well as a structure of power in 
human society, and for meaning to justify both. Stimulated 
by access, through literacy, to the ideas of other wise men, the 
counselor became a thinker, concerned with understanding 
and moral judgments as well as with knowledge. Worshipping 
a God whose commands were not arbitrary but ethically con- 
ditioned, this counsel passed beyond the defensive morality 
of the tribe and the prudential morality of the individual to 
an ethic resting on beliefs held to be sacred. 

If men could be wise to some degree in this deeper sense, 
God axiomatically was all-wise, good, and just, despite any 
appearances to the contrary. The creative and providential 
ordering of the world were acts of divine wisdom, which is 
sovereign, creative, and dynamic. Thus wisdom becomes fully 
conceptualized when personified pictorially in Proverbs 8 as a 
personal instrument of God in the planning and implemen- 
tation of the created order. 

bibliography: W.G. Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Litera- 
ture (i960); B. Gemser, Spruche Salomos (1963 2 ); O. Eissfeldt, The Old 
Testament, an Introduction (1965); R. Gordis, The Book of God and 
Man (1965); idem, Koheleth the Man and his World (1968); W. Mc- 
Kane, Proverbs (1970). add. bibliography: R. Harris in: J. Gam- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


mie and L. Perdue, The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East (1990), 
3-17. See bibliographies to *Ecclesiastes, ^Proverbs, and *Job. 

[Robert B.Y. Scott] 

WISE, GEORGE SCHNEIWEIS (1906-1987), sociologist; 
first president of *Tel Aviv University. Born in Pinsk, Poland, 
he went to the U.S. to study in 1926 and graduated from Co- 
lumbia University in 1930. He served as associate director of 
its Bureau of Applied Social Research from 1949 to 1952, and 
lecturer on the sociology of Latin America from 1950 to 1952. 
For his assistance in the ant i- illiteracy campaign in Mexico 
in 1944-46 he was decorated with the order Aguila Azteca by 
the Mexican government in 1946, and was visiting professor 
at Mexico University from 1956 to 1957. Long a supporter of 
The Hebrew University, he was chairman of its board of gover- 
nors from 1953 to 1962. In 1963 he was elected president of the 
newly established Tel Aviv University, which developed rap- 
idly during his tenure of office. In 1971 he became its chancel- 
lor. Apart from wide business interests, he took part in Jewish 
public activities in the United Jewish Appeal and other bod- 
ies. He is author of The Breakdown of Parental Authority in 
Polish Immigrant Families in the United States (1931), Caudi- 
llo (1951), a study of Latin American dictatorship, and Mexico 
de Aleman (1952). 

WISE, ISAAC MAYER (1819-1900) U.S. Reform rabbi, archi- 
tect of Reform Judaism in America. Wise was born in Stein- 
grub, Bohemia, and studied at yeshivot in Prague and Vienna. 
In 1843, he became the rabbinical officiant (Religionsweiser) 
in Radnitz, Bohemia. Disillusioned about career prospects 
for Jews in central Europe, he emigrated to the United States 
in 1846. He became rabbi of Congregation Beth El in Albany, 
n.y., introducing reforms such as mixed seating, choral sing- 
ing, and confirmation. In 1847, he joined a *bet din in New 
York, presided over by Max *Lilienthal, and conceived the 
idea of its authorizing a single ritual for the American Jewish 
community. The attempt proved abortive; but in 1848, he is- 
sued a call for a meeting the following year to establish a union 
of congregations. Again the attempt failed, but Wise persisted 
in advocating the idea. Meanwhile, he was earning a reputa- 
tion as a writer, contributing regularly to Isaac *Leeser s Oc- 
cident and the New York Jewish weekly, Asmonean. In 1850, 
as Wise pondered accepting the position of rabbi of Congre- 
gation Beth Elohim in Charleston, South Carolina, disagree- 
ments among the members of Beth El over Wise's reforms 
caused a split in the congregation that erupted into an actual 
melee at Rosh Hashanah services; Wise and his followers left 
to form a new congregation, Anshe Emeth, the first syna- 
gogue in the United States to be established with mixed seat- 
ing from the outset. 

In 1854, Wise became rabbi of Congregation B'nai Jeshu- 
run in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he remained for the rest of his 
life. Within a few months of his arrival, he began to publish 
a national weekly, The Israelite y later renamed the ^American 
Israelite , and a German supplement Die Deborah. By the end 

of the year, he had founded Zion College, which combined 
Hebrew and secular studies. In 1855, he issued a call for a synod 
that would be the guiding authority of American Judaism, and 
succeeded in organizing a rabbinical conference, which met 
that year in Cleveland. The conference agreed to call a synod 
and adopted a platform that recognized the Bible as divine 
and declared that it "must be expounded and practiced ac- 
cording to the comments of the Talmud." The Orthodox, as 
represented by Isaac *Leeser, were at first satisfied, but soon 
grew suspicious of Wise's intentions. Moreover, the Cleveland 
Platform was scathingly attacked as treachery to the cause of 
Reform by David *Einhorn, a radical Reformer from Ger- 
many who had just become a rabbi in Baltimore. The plan 
for a synod collapsed. 

Wise nevertheless went ahead with some of the projects 
discussed at Cleveland. In 1856, he published Minhag America, 
a prayer book that modified traditional Hebrew ritual. Despite 
repeated setbacks, Wise always returned to his advocacy of a 
union of congregations, a common prayer book, and a college 
to train American rabbis. He expounded his ideas not only in 
his writing but in repeated visits to the scattered Jewish com- 
munities of America. The recriminations over the Cleveland 
Conference, and then the Civil War, deferred practical action. 
The establishment of the *Board of Delegates of American Is- 
raelites (1859) and Maimonides College (1867) by traditional- 
ist forces aroused his sarcastic hostility. 

Wise showed no sympathy for the Abolitionist agitation 
which preceded the Civil War. He venerated the American 
Union and was prepared to tolerate slavery rather than con- 
template its dissolution. During the Civil War, he joined the 
"Copperhead" Democrats and even accepted their nomination 
to be a candidate for the Ohio State Senate, until his congre- 
gation forced him to withdraw from the race. After the Civil 
War, Wise renewed his push for a union of congregations. He 
attended the 1869 rabbinical conference in Philadelphia orga- 
nized by Einhorn (see ^Reform Judaism), but distanced him- 
self from its resolutions, fearing that their radical standpoint 
would put an end to the dream of a comprehensive union of 
American synagogues under his leadership. 

The next few years were punctuated by fierce exchanges 
between Wise and the more Germanic and radical Reform 
eastern rabbis - who refused to attend rabbinic conferences 
organized by Wise in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and New York. 
In 1873, lay leaders in Cincinnati closely associated with 
Wise succeeded in forming the * Union of American Hebrew 
Congregations, a loose confederation of congregations pri- 
marily from the South and West. Wise was particularly fo- 
cused on one of the uahc's objectives - the establishment of 
a rabbinical college. In 1875, he was appointed the first presi- 
dent of ^Hebrew Union College. The famous treife banquet 
served on the occasion of the first ordination of huc rabbis 
ended all hope for a unified American Judaism. The obser- 
vant stormed out and, for a time, there was only Reform Ju- 
daism and everybody else. (More than 125 years later, at the 
inauguration of David Ellenson as president of huc, a kosher 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



meal was served, a mark of significant transition within Re- 
form Judaism.) 

For the remainder of his life, Wise labored in the interests 
of the college. He was devoted to his students, earning their af- 
fection in return. He ordained more than 60 rabbis and con- 
tinued to lead them as the founding president of the * Central 
Conference of American Rabbis, a position he held from 1889 
until his death. During his lifetime, when it came to key devel- 
opments in the shaping of the Reform movement s ideology, 
Wise was relegated to a secondary position: the Pittsburgh Plat- 
form of 1885 (see ^Reform Judaism) was the work of Kaufmann 
Kohler, and the Union Prayer Book was based on Einhorn's Ta- 
mid rather than Wise's Minhag America. On another front, the 
influx of a large community of eastern European Jews thwarted 
his prediction that Orthodoxy would not survive on American 
soil; with that reality, Wise's vision of a singular American Ju- 
daism was doomed, and the basic pattern of denominational 
Judaism established. But Wise's foresightedness and tenacity 
in laying its three institutional cornerstones earned him the 
title "founding father" of the indigenous Reform movement in 
America - and insured that his legacy, rather than the short- 
lived victories of his radical Reform rivals, would ultimately 
prevail. (His strident opposition to political Zionism also influ- 
enced the Reform movement for nearly half-a- century; eventu- 
ally, however, Reform Judaism joined the Zionist fold.) 

Although known more as a leader than a scholar, Wise 
did write a number of books: History of the Israelitish Nation 
(1854), Minhag America (1856), Minhag America (1866), The 
World of My Books (n.d.), Selected Writings of Isaac M. Wise, 
with a Biography (ed. Philipson and Grossman, 1900, rev. 1969), 
and Reminiscences (ed. David Philipson, 1901, rev. 1945). 

bibliography: Kerry M. Olitzky, Lance J. Sussman, Mal- 
colm H. Stern, Reform Judaism in America: A Biographical Diction- 
ary and Sourcebook (1993). 

[Bezalel Gordon (2 nd ed.)] 

WISE, JONAH BONDI (1881-1959), U.S. Reform rabbi. Son 
of Isaac Mayer *Wise, he was ordained by Hebrew Union 
College in 1903. In 1904 he was appointed to Mizpah Temple, 
Chattanooga, Tennessee, and in 1906 to Temple Israel, Port- 
land, Oregon. While in Portland he established a weekly Jew- 
ish newspaper, The Scribe. In 1925 Wise moved to New York 
and there served as rabbi of the Central Synagogue until his 
death. Within his congregation he did not depart from the 
classical pattern of Reform Judaism; family connections and 
an aptitude for social life helped to establish his position. In 
1934 he established the weekly radio program "Message of 
Israel." He was an active worker for the ^American Jewish 
Joint Distribution Committee, serving as national chairman 
1931-38. He visited Europe several times on its behalf and rep- 
resented it at the Evian Conference on Refugees, 1938. In the 
following year he became national chairman of the United 
Jewish Appeal, though he rejected Zionism. 

bibliography: S. Caumann, Jonah Bondi Wise (1966). 

[Sefton D. Temkin] 

WISE, LOUIS ELSBERG (1888-?), U.S. organic chemist. 
Born in New York, Wise was appointed in 1919 professor of 
forest chemistry at New York State University (Syracuse). In 
1933 he became professor of organic chemistry at Rollins Col- 
lege, and from 1941 was at the Institute of Paper Chemistry at 
Lawrence College, Wisconsin. His contributions were mostly 
on the chemistry of wood. 

WISE, ROBERT EARL (1914-2005), U.S. film producer and 
director. Born in Winchester, Indiana, Wise worked at rko 
studios from 1933 to 1943, and edited Orson Welles' classic, 
Citizen Kane (Oscar nomination for Best Editing, 1941). He 
was made a director in 1943 and became one of Hollywood's 
most successful filmmakers. He won four Academy Awards - 
as director and producer of West Side Story (1961), and co-di- 
rector and producer of The Sound of Music (1965), one of the 
most profitable films ever made. In all, he directed more than 
40 films. Among them are The Body Snatcher (1945); The Set- 
up (1949); The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951); Executive Suite 
(1954); Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956); Until They Sail 
(1957); J Want to Live (Oscar nomination for Best Director, 
1958); Run Silent, Run Deep (1958); Two for the Seesaw (1962); 
The Haunting (produced, 1963); The Sand Pebbles (produced, 
Oscar nomination for Best Picture, 1966); Star (1968); The 
Andromeda Strain (produced, 1971); Two People (produced, 
1973); The Hindenburg (produced, 1975); Audrey Rose (1977); 
Star Trek - The Motion Picture (1979); Rooftops (1989); and the 
tv movie A Storm in Summer (2000). 

Among his many honors and awards, Wise received the 
Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1967 for his contribu- 
tion to the industry as a creative producer, and the American 
Film Institute Life Achievement Award in 1998. Wise served 
as president of the Directors Guild of America from 1971 to 
1975, and as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts 
and Sciences from 1985 to 1988. He was active in the civil rights 
movement in Hollywood. 

bibliography: S. Leeman, Robert Wise on His Films: From 

Editing Room to Directors Chair (1995); F. Thompson, Robert Wise: 

A Bio-Bibliography (1995). 

[Ruth Beloff (2 nd ed.)] 

WISE, STEPHEN SAMUEL (1874-1949), U.S. rabbi and 
Zionist leader. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Wise was taken to 
the United States at the age of 17 months. From childhood he 
was determined to become a rabbi like his father, Rabbi Aaron 
Wise, who, together with Alexander *Kohut and Gustav *Got- 
theil, rabbi at Temple Emanu-El, helped to prepare him for 
the rabbinate. He was graduated with honors from Columbia 
University at the age of 18. Ordained in 1893 by Adolph * Jell- 
inek of Vienna, he became assistant rabbi of New York City's 
Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, and assumed full responsibility 
after the death of Rabbi Henry S. Jacobs. 

In 1900, shortly before marrying Louise Waterman, Wise 
became rabbi of Temple Beth Israel in Portland, Oregon, 
where for the next six years he pioneered in interfaith coop- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


eration, social service, and civic leadership. His sermons are 
collected in Beth Israel Pulpit: Sermons (2 vols., (1905-06). 
He also served as unpaid commissioner of child labor for 

In 1902 Wise received his Ph.D. degree from Colum- 
bia University for his translation and editing of Solomon 
ibn Gabirols Improvement of the Moral Qualities. For the 
Jewish Publication Society he translated the Book of Judges 
for their English version of the Bible, submitting his work in 

Wise had begun his Zionist career during the late 1890s, 
helping to articulate the movement's ideology and organize its 
followers. A founder of the New York Federation of Zionist So- 
cieties in 1897, he led in the formation of the nationwide Fed- 
eration of American Zionists in 1898 and served as honorary 
secretary until 1904, in close cooperation with Theodor Herzl. 
He had met Herzl at the Second Zionist Congress in Basle in 
1898 and at that time agreed to serve as American secretary 
of the world Zionist movement. In 1914 he was instrumental 
in creating the Provisional Executive Committee for General 
Zionist Affairs and later headed it. 

He acted as an important intermediary to President 
Woodrow * Wilson and Colonel Edward House in 1916-19, 
when, with Louis D. *Brandeis and Felix ^Frankfurter, he 
helped formulate the text of the Balfour Declaration of 1917. 
He spoke on behalf of Zionist aspirations in Palestine at the 
Versailles Peace Conference of 1918-19, where he also pleaded 
for the cause of the Armenian people. He was vice president 
of the Zionist Organization of America from 1918 to 1920 and 
president from 1936 to 1938. On several occasions he served as 
chairman of the United Palestine Appeal. Though he worked 
closely with Chaim *Weizmann, David *Ben-Gurion, and 
Abba Hillel ^Silver, he often disagreed with them on specific 
policies and broke relations with Weizmann in the 1920s and 
with Silver in the 1940s. His views at times conflicted with 
those of the Zionist organizations as well. Yet Wise always 
sought unity for the movement, which did not at that time 
have the backing of a united Jewry or the sympathy of the non- 
Jewish community. His Great Betrayal (1930), written with 
Jacob De Haas, reviews the history of British policy toward 
Palestine up to the Passfield White Paper in 1930. 

To direct American Jews into pro -Zionist channels, lead 
them to more liberal objectives in the United States, and cre- 
ate a more democratic base in American Jewish life, Wise led 
in the organization of the American Jewish Congress, first 
on a provisional basis in 1916-19, then more permanently in 
1920; he served as vice president in 1921-25 and as president 
or honorary president until his death. It was regarded as an 
alternative to the more established and more quiescent Ameri- 
can Jewish Committee, which was dominated by the German- 
Jewish establishment that had been in the United States for a 
generation or more. The American Jewish Congress was more 
activist and more public in its protests. 

Wise sounded the first warnings of the dangers of Nazism 
to the Jewish and non- Jewish world and sought to organize 

opposition to it and protection for the victims of Hitler. He 
organized a movement to boycott German goods in 1933, see- 
ing it as appropriate public protest, against the advice of some 
German Jews in Germany who urged caution and that Ameri- 
can Jews not to be provocative. In 1936 he organized the World 
Jewish Congress and headed it until his death in 1949. As a 
Zionist leader, president of the American and World Jewish 
Congresses, and co-chairman of the ^American Jewish Con- 
ference, he presented the Jewish cause to President Franklin 
D. Roosevelt and the U.S. State Department, as well as to the 
general public, Jewish and non- Jewish. He was the recipient 
of the all important telegram from Gerhart Riegner that was 
sent to him in August 1942 via the State Department but never 
delivered to him. He received it from a second source, Samuel 
Silverman, a member of the British Parliament, It said: 

That there has been and is being considered in Hitlers head- 
quarters a plan to exterminate all Jews from Germany and Ger- 
man controlled areas in Europe after they have been concen- 
trated in the east. The number involved is said to be between 
three and a half and four million and the object to permanently 
settle the Jewish question in Europe. 

The telegram spoke explicitly of Zyklon b. It should be noted 
that the telegram that Wise received, important as it was, was 
already long out of date. The Final Solution was already opera- 
tive policy of Germany in all occupied territories. At Wannsee, 
the list was of 11 million Jews and the death camps of Belzec, 
Sobibor, and Treblinka were fully operative, the deportation of 
the Jews of Warsaw had began more than a month before. 

Wise took this information to the State Department, 
which informed him that they already knew of it but could 
not confirm it; they requested that he not go public with the 
information until it could be confirmed. In November they 
confirmed this information to him and Wise did go public, 
but the State Department did not confirm it to the press, so 
Wise's release of this information was unofficial, from a Jew- 
ish rather than a governmental source. 

Wise led the one meeting that the Jews had with Presi- 
dent Roosevelt in 1943, which lasted some half an hour. It be- 
gan with some banter between the president and Wise, and 
then a prayer was recited. Wise presented the president with a 
briefing paper, and the president indicated that he knew what 
was happening. He asked for concrete suggestions and there 
were few. The president then spoke for almost all the remain- 
ing time and, at the end of the allotted time, the meeting was 
interrupted by staff and concluded. 

History has not been kind to Wise, who tried to lead a 
divided American Jewish community during the most per- 
ilous time in Jewish history. He was known in his day as an 
activist who had been protesting Nazism at its inception and 
led Stop Hitler Now rallies in 1943 and onward. Yet he is re- 
garded by the younger generation as a symbol of ineffective 
and timid Jewish leadership, just when boldness and bril- 
liance were required. He is regarded as too close to President 
Roosevelt and reluctant to criticize him for fear of wounding 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



him politically. Some, but not all, of the criticism is unfair, as 
many who write judge him by the power and influence of the 
Jewish community in the last third of the 20 th century and not 
by the reality of his time. 

Beyond his public role lay the commitment to his voca- 
tion as a rabbi. Wise first sprang into national prominence 
in 1906 when, after preaching trial sermons at Congregation 
Emanu-El in New York City, he rejected overtures to serve as 
rabbi because his demand for a "free pulpit," not subject to 
control by a board of trustees, was refused. His famous "Open 
Letter to the Members of Temple Emanu-El of New York on 
the Freedom of the Jewish Pulpit" is reprinted in his autobio- 
graphy, Challenging Years (1949, pp. 86-94), with a discussion 
of Louis Marshall's denial that the congregation had called 
Wise to its pulpit (cf. Louis Marshall, Champion of Liberty: Se- 
lected Papers and Addresses, vol. 2, 1957, note pp. 831-7). A year 
later he returned from Oregon to New York and founded the 
Free Synagogue, based on freedom of pulpit, free pews to all 
without fixed dues, outspoken criticism of social ills, the appli- 
cation of religion to their solution, and an extensive program 
of social welfare. His sermons are collected in Free Synagogue 
Pulpit: Sermons and Addresses (10 vols., 1908-32). 

In 1922 he launched the Jewish Institute of Religion (jir), 
a new kind of seminary which provided training of rabbis 
from all branches of Judaism, education of Jewish scholars, 
and preparation of leaders for community service. He served 
as president until 1948, when jir merged with ^Hebrew Union 
College in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Nelson *Glueck assumed 
the presidency. 

A social liberal, Wise was co-founder of the National As- 
sociation for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909 and 
the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920. He pleaded for 
clemency and justice on behalf of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1927. 
He was also active in organizations such as the Child Labor 
Committee, the Old Age Pension League, the Religion and 
Labor Foundation, and the League to Enforce Peace. Also, he 
battled for the rights of workers to organize, and championed 
the strike against the U.S. Steel Corporation in 1919 and the 
Passaic textile union strike in 1926. He actively campaigned 
for Woodrow Wilson in 1912 and 1916, and later supported the 
candidacies of Alfred E. Smith, Norman Thomas, and (from 
1936 on) Franklin D. Roosevelt. With John Haynes Holmes, he 
headed the City Affairs Committee which exposed corruption 
in New York City and finally succeeded in forcing the resig- 
nation of Mayor James J. Walker in 1932. 

Like his Christian counterparts and friends, Walter 
Rauschenbusch, Josiah Strong, and Washington Gladde, Wise 
was a forthright, forceful, and influential preacher of social 
concerns. His opinions and attitudes are expressed in his Child 
Versus Parent (1922); As I See It (1944), a collection of his ar- 
ticles for the journal Opinion, which he edited from 1936 to 
1949; Personal Letters of Stephen S. Wise (1956, ed. by J.W Po- 
ller and J.W. Wise); Stephen S. Wise: Servant of the People - Se- 
lected Letters (1969, ed. by ch Voss). The complete collection 
of Wise's papers, donated by his daughter Justine to Brandeis 

University, have been fully catalogued by the American Jew- 
ish Historical Society. 

[Carl Hermann Voss] 

His wife, louise waterman wise (d. 1947), was a com- 
munal worker, artist, and translator. In her youth she came 
under the influence of Felix *Adler, founder of the Ethical 
Culture movement, and was imbued by him with a passion 
for social justice. During her husband's rabbinate in Portland, 
Oregon, she founded that city's Visiting Nurse Association. 
In New York she established, in 1914, the Free Synagogue's 
Child Adoption Committee. She presided over this first Jew- 
ish agency of its kind, and by the time of her death, when it 
was taken over by New York's Federation of Philanthropies, 
more than 3,500 Jewish children had been placed in private 
homes. In 1933 she organized and became the first president 
of the Women's Division of the American Jewish Congress. 
As refugees from Germany began to come in greater num- 
bers, she established Congress Houses which provided tem- 
porary homes for thousands of refugees. Mrs. Wise's trans- 
lations of Aime Palliere's Unknown Sanctuary and Edmond 
Fleg's Why I Am a Jew, My Palestine, and The Land of Prom- 
ise helped to popularize these works for English readers. Her 
paintings of portraits, landscapes, and moving representations 
of persecuted Jews were widely exhibited. Their son james 
waterman wise (1901-1983) held various positions as an 
organization executive, including director of the Stuyvesant 
Neighborhood House in New York City, and national secre- 
tary of Avukah, the U.S. students' Zionist Federation which 
he helped to found in 1925. He was editor of Opinion, a spe- 
cial correspondent for New York dailies, and a popular ra- 
dio commentator. His published works include Liberalizing 
Liberal Judaism (1924); Jews Are Like That (under the pseud- 
onym Analyticus, 1928); Legend of Louise, a brief biography of 
his mother (1949); and A Jew Revisits Germany (1950). In the 
early 1950s he moved to Geneva where, as an art connoisseur, 
he engaged in the purchase of paintings for private collectors 

and museums in the U.S. 

[Morton Mayer Berman] 

Rabbi Wise's daughter, justine wise polier (1903- 
1987), attorney and jurist, was born in Portland, Oregon. Ad- 
mitted to the New York bar in 1928, she subsequently became 
the first woman referee in the Workmen's Compensation Di- 
vision of the New York State Department of Labor (1929-34). 
She subsequently served as a justice in the Domestic Rela- 
tions Court of New York City from 1935 to 1962. Justine Polier 
served as a special adviser to Eleanor Roosevelt in the Office 
of Civilian Defense in 1941 and 1942. From 1962 on she was a 
judge in the New York State Family Court. 

Her Jewish and civic activities included service as presi- 
dent of Louise Wise Services (from 1941), the Wiltwyck School 
for Boys (from i960), and the national women's division of 
the American Jewish Congress (1948-1956); chairman of the 
national executive committee of the women's division of the 
American Jewish Congress (1956-1960); member of the ex- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


ecutive of the World Jewish Congress (from 1956); member 
of the White House Planning Conference on Civil Rights 
(1965); and as New York delegate to the White House Con- 
ference on Children (i960). Among her works on child wel- 
fare, psychiatry, and the law are Everyone's Children, Nobody's 
Child (1941); Back to What Woodshed? (1956); View from the 
Bench: the Juvenile Court (1964); and The Rule of Law and the 

Role of Psychiatry (1968). 

[Carl Hermann Voss] 

bibliography: ch Voss, Rabbi and Minister: The Friendship 
of Stephen S. Wise and John Haynes Holmes (1964); idem, in: aja, 21 
(1969), 3-19; J.W. Wise, Legend of Louise: The Life Story of Mrs. Ste- 
phen S. Wise (1949). add. bibliography: D. Wyman, The Aban- 
donment of the Jews (1985); H. Feingold, The Politics of Rescue (1970); 
H. Feingold, Bearing Witness (1995). 

WISEMAN, ADELE (1928-1992), Canadian author. Wise- 
man was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her par- 
ents had emigrated from the Ukraine in 1923 and spent two 
years in Montreal before settling in Winnipeg's North End, a 
vibrant enclave of Jewish, German, Ukrainian, and Slavic im- 
migrants. Wiseman earned a B.A. in English and psychology 
from the University of Manitoba in 1949. Following gradua- 
tion, she lived in London, Rome, and New York, where she 
wrote and worked at a number of jobs. From 1964 to 1969 
Wiseman lived in Montreal, where she taught English at Sir 
George Williams (now Concordia) University and Macdonald 
College of McGill University. She was later writer-in-residence 
at several Canadian universities and head of the May Studios 
(Writing Program) at Banff Centre for the Arts. She married 
the marine biologist Dmitry Stone in 1969 (from whom she 
was later divorced) and had one daughter. 

Wiseman published two novels, The Sacrifice, which won 
the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction in 1956, 
and Crackpot (1974). Both novels employ biblical metaphors, 
are set in (the unnamed city of) Winnipeg, and explore the 
lives of Jewish immigrants who settle on the Canadian Prai- 
ries. The Sacrifice is the tragic story of a butcher who murders 
a local temptress. The biblical story of Abraham and Isaac 
resonates throughout Wiseman's narrative. Her own Abra- 
ham - once proud and certain - is transplanted from the Old 
to the New World, where he loses his third son and his pre- 
carious hold on life in a novel that charts the demise of a pa- 
triarch. Crackpot shifts from the tragic to comic mode and 
experiments with narrative form and perspective. The work 
celebrates the resilience of Hoda, an obese Jewish prostitute 
whose life, like Abraham's, is shattered by moral and spiritual 

Wiseman also wrote two plays (The Lovebound, ca. i960; 
Testimonial Dinner, 1978); two books for children (Kenji and 
the Cricket, 1988; Puccini and the Prowlers, 1992); and three 
works of nonfiction (Old Markets, New World, 1964; Old 
Woman at Play, 1978; Memoirs of a Book Molesting Childhood 
and Other Essays, 1987). The short story "Goon of the Moon 
and the Expendables" appeared in Malahat Review (vol. 98 
(1992), 5-44). Her correspondence with a fellow writer and 

friend is available in Selected Letters of Margaret Laurence and 
Adele Wiseman (1997). 

[Ruth Panofsky (2 nd ed.)] 

WISEMAN, FREDERICK (1930- ), U.S. producer, director, 
and writer. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Wiseman gradu- 
ated from Williams College in 1951 and from Yale Law School 
in 1953. After serving as a graduate fellow for one year at Har- 
vard, he was drafted into the army, serving from 1954 to 1956. 
After working briefly as an assistant to the Massachusetts' at- 
torney general, Wiseman went to Paris, where he studied ex- 
perimental filmmaking from 1956 to 1958. After he returned to 
the United States, he taught at Boston University's Institute of 
Law and Medicine from 1958 to 1961 and served as a research 
associate at Brandeis University from 1962 to 1966. In 1964, he 
bought the rights to Warren Miller's 1963 novel The Cool World 
and produced a film version directed by Shirley Clarke. He di- 
rected his first film in 1966, Titicut Follies, a stark documentary 
about the conditions at the Massachusetts Correctional Insti- 
tution at Bridge water. While his films feature no commentary 
and no music, Wiseman acknowledges that his fly-on-the-wall 
films are edited in a way that conveys his point of view. After 
Titicut Follies, Wiseman made High School (1968), an exami- 
nation of the experiences of middle-class students in a Phila- 
delphia high school. In 1968, he contributed to the screenplay 
for The Thomas Crown Affair, but was never credited for his 
work. Wiseman followed up his documentary films with Law 
and Order (1969) and Hospital (1970), an emergency room ex- 
pose that earned Wiseman a best documentary Emmy. In 1970, 
he established Zipporah Films, a distribution company named 
for his wife. From 1971 to 1981, Wiseman had contracts with pbs 
to shoot one film per year with no limits on time or subject, to 
be shown first on New York's wnet. His studies included Ba- 
sic Training (1971); Juvenile Court (1973); Welfare (1975); Meat 
(1976); and Sinai Field Mission (1978), which featured Ameri- 
can soldiers on a peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Desert; and 
Manouevre (1979). In 1980, Wiseman made the fictional film, 
Seraphita's Diary. He continued his documentary filmmaking 
with such films as Racetrack (1985), Deaf (1986), Blind (1987), 
Zoo (1993), and High School 11 (1994), a return to topics intro- 
duced in 1968. His La Comedie-Francaise ou L'amour Joue (1996) 
was another departure for Wiseman, focusing positive attention 
on an institution. Wiseman continued to direct documentaries 
and dramas, most notably the Holocaust drama The Last Letter 
(2002), but also branched out into theater direction. In 2004, 
Wiseman wrote and directed The Last Letter, an off- Broadway 
show based on Vasily Grossman's i960 novel Life and Fate. 

bibliography: "Wiseman, Frederick," in: Contemporary 
Authors Online (2004); "Wiseman, Frederick," in: Encyclopedia of 
World Biography (1998 2 ); "Wiseman, Frederick," in: International Dic- 
tionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 2: Directors (2000 4 ). 

[Adam Wills (2 nd ed.)] 

WISEMAN, SHLOIME (1899-1985), Canadian teacher, Yid- 
dish and Hebrew translator, and critic. Wiseman emigrated to 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



Montreal from Dinovitz, Podolia, in 1913. He was the son of the 
teacher Shmuel Wiseman, who was a maskil, a Bible special- 
ist, and a Hebraist. Shloime, following in his fathers footsteps, 
earned both a B.A. (1920) and M.A. (1923) in pedagogy from 
McGill University in Montreal even as he was beginning his 
career as a teacher in the city's Yidishe Folk Shule, a leftist af- 
ternoon school created in 1914. A gifted teacher, in 1920 he was 
offered the directorship of the institution. He held that position 
until his retirement in 1969. He also served as lecturer in He- 
brew at Sir George Williams University (1953-55) an d was the 
first principal of Montreal's Jewish Teachers' Seminary (1952). 
In addition to teaching, Wiseman immersed himself in 
Montreal's Yiddish-speaking community and its cultural life. 
As a young teacher he also began writing for the Montreal Yid- 
dish press about pedagogy and the responsibilities of teachers 
in the maintenance and dissemination of Jewish culture. His 
first serious text appeared in 1916 and he continued to submit 
articles in Yiddish, Hebrew, and English to Canadian Jewish 
newspapers and specialized American periodicals. But Wise- 
man did not limit himself to articles about pedagogy. He also 
wrote about literature and philosophy. In 1931, he published 
a three-volume literary anthology for Yiddish schools enti- 
tled Dos Vort. In 1955, working in collaboration with Morde- 
cai Husid, he published a collection of poems written by the 
late J.J. *Segal under the title of Letste Lider. Wiseman dem- 
onstrated his skill as a Hebrew literary critic and translator 
in 1956 when he assembled, translated, and published a se- 
lected anthology of 28 American short- story writers entitled 
Mesapperim Amerikayim. In 1976 Wiseman also published a 
Hebrew translation of the work of the ancient Greek philoso- 
pher Epictetus. 

[Pierre Anctil (2 nd ed.)] 

WISLICA (Pol. Wislica), village in Kielce province, central 
Poland; town in Sandomierz province in the kingdom of Po- 
land until 1795. Jews settled in Wislica at the beginning of 
the 16 th century. In 1542, after the townsmen obtained a royal 
privilege (de non tolerandis Judaeis) excluding Jews from Wis- 
lica, the Jews settled in the suburbs outside the town wall. 
During the war with Sweden (1656), 50 Jewish families were 
massacred by Stefan *Czarniecki's soldiers. At the end of the 
17 th century, Jews settled again in Wislica. An organized com- 
munity was established at the beginning of the 18 th century. 
A synagogue was then built in the outskirts of the town and a 
cemetery opened. In 1765, 184 Jews living in the suburbs and 
72 in the surrounding villages paid the poll tax. In 1815 Wislica 
was included within Congress Poland. Until 1862, as Wislica 
was situated near the Austrian border, the settlement of Jews 
there was restricted. In 1827 there were 785 Jews living in Wis- 
lica (47.1% of the total population). Their number increased to 
1,370 in 1857 (69%). Their main occupations were commerce 
on a small scale, crafts, and transportation. In 1921 there were 
1,341 Jews living in Wislica (63%). 

Holocaust Period 

On the outbreak of World War 11 there were about 1,500 Jews 

in Wislica. The community was liquidated on Oct. 3, 1942, 
when 3,000 Jews from Wislica and its vicinity were deported 
to * Jedrzejow and from there to the *Treblinka death camp. 
The community was not reconstituted after the war. 

bibliography: Halpern, Pinkas, index; R. Mahler, Yidn 
in Amolikn Poyln in Likhtfun Tsifern (1958), index; B. Wasiutyriski, 
Ludnosc zydowska w Polsce w wiekach xix i xx (1930), 53; L. Lewin, 
Die Judenverfolgungen im zweiten schwedisch-polnischen Kriege (1901), 
16; I. Schiper, Dzieje handlu zydowskiego na ziemiach polskich (1937), 

°WISLICENY, DIETER (1911-1948), German *ss officer. 
Originally a journalist, he joined the ss in 1934 and also the 
sd, where he served in its headquarters in Berlin (see ^Ge- 
stapo). In 1936 he was appointed head of its Jewish subsection 
(11 112), but was transferred in 1937 to the sd in Danzig. *Eich- 
mann, who had been one of his subordinates in 11 112, got him 
attached in 1940 to the rsha's Jewish section (iv D4). Wisli- 
ceny was sent to Slovakia as "adviser" for Jewish affairs in the 
German legation. Slovakia was an ally of Germany and quite 
responsive to it. He supervised the introduction of the anti- 
Jewish legislation in Slovakia. In the spring of 1942 he orga- 
nized the deportation of 55,000 Slovak Jews to Poland. When 
deportations were stopped, inter alia by the intervention of 
the Church and some say even the government, Wisliceny 
started negotiations on the * Europa Plan with the "Working 
Group" (see Gisi *Fleischmann and Michael *Weissmandel), 
which believed that it had come upon a formula for saving the 
Jews by ransom. An initial sum was given Wisliceny, who re- 
ported it to his superiors; more was promised but could not 
be delivered. But the initial acceptance spurred the Working 
Group into activity to obtain the money and offer it to Nazi 
officials. In March 1943 Eichmann sent him to ^Salonika to 
deport the Jewish community. Wisliceny carried out his task 
in two months, utterly destroying the Jewish community and 
sending it to Auschwitz. He stayed in Greece until the end of 
1943 > when he returned to Slovakia. From March 19, 1944, he 
served on the staff of Eichmann's special commando in Hun- 
gary. He organized the mass deportations of 437,402 Jews on 
147 trains within 56 days. Once again Jewish leaders tried to 
approach him in an effort to save the Jewish community. He 
was the liaison in the negotiations with the Relief and Rescue 
Committee of Budapest in the so-called Blood for Goods ex- 
change. In December 1944 Eichmann had become suspicious 
of him, and arranged his transfer to the section of the Gestapo 
dealing with Slovak affairs. At the end of the war Wisliceny 
surrendered to the Americans and served as an inexhaust- 
ible source of evidence. After having been both a prosecution 
and defense witness at the International Military Tribunal 
in Nuremberg, he was extradited to Czechoslovakia. After a 
prolonged trial in Bratislava he was condemned to death and 
hanged (1948). During his incarceration he wrote important 
affidavits regarding the Final Solution, his boss Adolf Eich- 
mann, the Mufti of Jerusalem, and the proposed Blood for 
Goods exchange. 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


bibliography: International Military Tribunal, Trial of the 
Major War Criminals, 24 (1949), index; J. Levai, Black Book on the 
Martyrdom of Hungarian Jewry (1948), passim; R.L. Braham, Hun- 
garian Jewish Catastrophe: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography 
(1962), index; L. Rothkirchen, Hurban Yahadut Slovakia (1961: incl. 
comprehensive Eng. summary), index; M. Molho and J. Nehama, 
Shoot Yehudei Yavan 1941-1944 (1965), 134-40 and index; Reitlinger, 
Final Solution (1953), index; Hilberg, Destruction of the European Jews 
(1961), index, add. bibliography: Y. Bauer, Jews for Sale: Nazi- 
Jewish Negotiations 1933-1945 (1994)- 

[Yehuda Reshef / Michael Berenbaum (2 nd ed.)] 

°WISNIOWIECKI, JEREMI (1612-1651), a Polonized Rus- 
sian prince, one of the most powerful magnates of Poland- 
Lithuania in the 17 th century. Wisniowiecki owned enormous 
estates in the Ukraine on the Dnieper River which were ex- 
posed to Cossack and Tatar invasions. The Jews who settled 
there were murdered during the Cossack riots. Wisniowiecki 
had a private army of about 3,000 soldiers. He was a gifted mil- 
itary commander and was successful in many battles against 
the Cossacks and Tatars, especially in the years 1648-51. 
Wisniowiecki also defended the Jews living on his estates 
against the Cossack units under *Chmielnicki. Nathan Nata 
*Hannover, author of the chronicle Yeven Mezulah, written 
in the 17 th century, glorified Wisniowiecki. He wrote that the 
latter was the mainstay in the fight against the Cossacks, the 
cruel enemy of the Jews. 

bibliography: W. Tomkiewicz, /. Wisniowiecki (1612-1651), 


[Jacob Goldberg] 

WISSE, RUTH R. (1936- ), scholar of Yiddish literature. A 
naturalized U.S. citizen born in Cernauti, Romania, Wisse re- 
ceived her undergraduate degree from McGill University in 
1957 and her doctorate in 1969. She was assistant professor of 
Jewish literature at McGill from 1968 to 1971 and was a senior 
lecturer at Tel Aviv University and The Hebrew University of 
Jerusalem from 1971 to 1973. She returned to McGill as associ- 
ate professor in 1975 and was appointed professor in 1978 and 
chairperson of the Department of Jewish Studies in 1986. She 
joined Harvard University in 1993, serving as director of the 
Center for Jewish Studies until 1996, when she was named 
Martin Peretz professor of Yiddish literature. 

Wisse is considered a leader in the revival of interest in 
Yiddish literature and in the study of the Yiddish language. 
Her critically acclaimed work The Modern Jewish Canon: A 
Journey through Literature and Culture (2000), an overview of 
what she defines as the notable Jewish literary works of mod- 
ern times, has been said to define the modern Jewish expe- 
rience through the Jewish literature of the 20 th century. Her 
literary defense of the State of Israel, If I Am Not for Myself-: 
The Liberal Betrayal of the Jews (1992), generated a divided 
critique. Here Wisse contends that liberalism, which would 
seem to offer promise for modern Jews, has instead fostered 
an environment that has allowed a propaganda campaign 
against the Israeli cause. Criticized for an oversimplification 

of the Arab-Israeli conflict and for using revelations about 
her personal life in what was termed a political diatribe, the 
book nevertheless was considered a compelling argument by 
some reviewers. 

Wisse's academic reputation rests on her edited collec- 
tions of Jewish literature and her literary criticism. In addition 
to The Modern Jewish Canon, her works include The Schle- 
miel as Modern Hero (1970), A Little Love in Big Manhattan 
(1988), and I.L. Peretz and the Making of Modern Jewish Cul- 
ture (1991). She served as editor of A Shtetl and Other Yiddish 
Novellas (1972) and The I.L. Peretz Reader (1990), and as co- 
editor, with Irving Howe and Chone Shmeruk, of The Penguin 
Book of Modern Yiddish Verse (1987). 

She is also prominent politically, advocating strong sup- 
port for Israel and combating what she perceives to be a surge 
in antisemitism at the turn of the 21 st century. It was Wisse, 
among others, whom literary critic Leon Wieseltier had in 
mind when he described the "ethnic panic" among American 
Jews. She opposed a chair in Holocaust studies at Harvard. "It's 
a strange idea," she said, "You don't have a chair in modern 
Jewish history, but you have one on the destruction of the Jew- 
ish people." She was a member of the search committee, which 
rejected all candidates for the position; the chair remained 
unfilled and the money was returned to the donor. 

A fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research, 
Wisse is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, in- 
cluding the J.I. Segal Award for Literature in 1971 and 1989, 
the Torch of Learning Award from The Hebrew University in 
1993, and the Jewish Cultural Achievement Award from the 
National Foundation for Jewish Culture in 2001. 

[Dorothy Bauhoff (2 nd ed.)] 

Judaism"; in Hebrew Hokhmat Yisrael). 

Origin and Definition 

The term "Wissenschaft des Judentums" first made its ap- 
pearance among young Jewish intellectuals during the 1810s 
and 1820s. Its principal objective, as it was then defined in 
the Zeitschrift fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (1822), was 
the study of Judaism by subjecting it to criticism and modern 
methods of research. It was emphasized that research must en- 
compass Judaism in its most comprehensive sense: its cultural 
heritage, the totality of conditions under which it existed and 
faced its destiny, "the knowledge of Judaism through its liter- 
ary and historical documentation, and.. . a statistical knowl- 
edge of Judaism in relation to the Jews of our time in all the 
countries of the world" (ibid. pp. 1, 18). The use of the term 
"science" sought to exclude an approach devoid of criticism of 
tradition and presupposed principles and beliefs to be proved 
a posteriori by debate or casuistry. 

The desire for a scientific knowledge of Judaism gave 
rise to research at first in Germany (during the early 1820s) 
within a limited circle of young Jews, the second generation 
of the Berlin Haskalah. Later it became the legacy of all the 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



important Jewish communities and one of Judaism's outstand- 
ing manifestations in modern times. With the development 
of the Science of Judaism, its ramification into many spheres 
and subjects (Bible criticism, Talmud, Jewish literature of all 
periods, history and archaeology, religious philosophy, and the 
like), "Science of Judaism" came to signify the totality of stud- 
ies concerning the Jewish people and of Judaism. In several 
countries these studies came to be referred to by such terms 
as "Judaistica," "Judaica," and "Jewish Studies." 

Motives, Determining Factors, Generations 

The desire for a scientific knowledge of Judaism was not solely 
theoretical, but was essentially a public trend, a response to 
the demands which had emerged as a result of the changes in 
the conceptions, the world outlook, and the Jewish feeling of 
most of the intellectuals of the younger generation. It was con- 
nected with the Jewish awakening among the younger gen- 
eration and which one of its contemporaries (Lazar *Riesser) 
described as the return to their people of "unruly sons and 
carefree daughters" who had previously "trodden upon all that 
was designated as Jewish." This awakening was also a reaction 
to the violent anti- Jewish propaganda which was conducted 
in German literature by the German student movements and 
to the *Hep! Hep! pogroms which deeply affected the second- 
generation maskilim; this awakening was also connected with 
the improvement of their intellectual standards and in a deep- 
ening of their philosophical views. The best among them were 
attached to the cultural heritage of Judaism and did not rec- 
oncile themselves to its abrogation and disappearance within 
German society. They were aware of the fact that in Germany 
modern Hebrew literature was being led "to the grave" (Zunz) 
because of the voluntary integration of the Jews within Ger- 
man culture and language. The indifference of the younger 
generation to Judaism and their estrangement from the heri- 
tage of generations, accompanied by contempt for Judaism, 
its values, and its honor, not only endangered Judaism but 
also struck a severe blow at the image of the modern Jew: one 
who despised his past and was ashamed of it, was regarded as 
a wretched and deficient human figure by the intellectual and 
moral leaders of the time. 

All the maskilirriy and those who had been aroused to 
work in favor of their people, shared a renewed feeling of 
Jewish identity and a desire to introduce widespread reforms 
into the "house," to which they were returning, in which they 
wished to remain, and within which they intended to work; 
by nature these reforms were widespread and touched upon 
beliefs and views, ways of life and the structure of society, 
education, and culture, and schools and synagogues. The 
"House of Israel" was to be presented, both internally and 
externally, in all its cultural values and historical splendor. 
They believed that civic equality of the Jew, which was not 
accompanied by the recognition of the cultural value of his 
Judaism, was of little importance. This feeling of Jewishness 
had permeated into considerably wide circles of that genera- 
tion. This called for a spiritual self-determination equivalent 

to a recognition of Judaism as a subject of scientific investi- 
gation. Serious research would also serve as a solid basis in 
the struggle for the survival of the Jewish community and 
would lead to the complete adaptation of Jewish life within 
state and society. That life would thus benefit from a new and 
more spiritual image of Judaism, of which it stood so much 
in need. 

From the beginning "Science of Judaism" was thus 
marked by three elements: self-consciousness, propaganda 
for internal consumption, and the pleading of its cause be- 
fore the outside world. These three factors were in evidence 
throughout, though not to an equal extent or in the same 
form. As the development of Jewish education and culture 
during the 19 th and 20 th centuries internally and the struggle 
for status externally followed the same pattern throughout the 
Diaspora, so did "Science of Judaism" in all the countries in 
which it was cultivated. 

These views were voiced by L. Zunz in a statement that 
only "Science of Judaism" of a standard recognized in the 
world of European scholarship would be able to bestow upon 
Judaism the status and the respect which was due to it and 
gradually arouse the best elements of the Jewish people and 
unite them. It was therefore the task of Jewish science to win 
for the Jews a recognized and equal status in the world of cul- 
ture and spiritually unite the Jewish people. Scholarly activi- 
ties were to be devoted principally to the study of Hebrew lit- 
erature, in which resided the spiritual uniqueness of Judaism. 
These basic views of the early days of the movement greatly 
influenced the choice of research areas and the course of its 

Five factors determined the development of the move- 
ment, established its trends, marked and singled out its spheres 
of research, and marked the boundaries between successive 
generations. These were the following: 

(1) the extent of Torah erudition and Hebrew Haskalah 
in the European countries inhabited by Jews; 

(2) the level of humanistic studies in these countries and 
the extent in which Jews could benefit from general educa- 

(3) the political, legal, and social status of the Jews in 
these countries and their struggle for equality; 

(4) the cultural, religious, and public ferment within the 
Jewish population of these countries and the internal polem- 
ics within the communities; and 

(5) the type of Jewish classes to which Jewish Science ad- 
dressed itself, and the organizations upon which the scientific 
activity in the research of Judaism was based. In accordance 
with the permutations and changes in these factors, the history 
of Jewish Science - from its beginnings until our time - can 
be divided into four generations: 

(a) the generation of its founders - 1822-54, from the 
appearance of Zunz s Zeitschrift fuer die Wissenschaft desju- 
dentums (1822 to that of *Monatsschrift fuer die Geschichte und 
Wissenschaft des Judentums in 1851/52 and the establishment of 
the Juedisch-theologisches Seminar in Breslau (1854); 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


(b) the generation of consolidation and organization - 
1854-96, to the discovery of the *Genizah (1896) and the first 
attempts to summarize the achievements of the "Science of 
Judaism" (1894); 

(c) the generation of confusion and compilation - 
1896-1925, to the opening of the Judaistic Institute of the *He- 
brew University in Jerusalem; and 

(d) the generation of renewal and growth - from 1925 
to the present day which is the generation of transition "from 
the Science of Judaism to Jewish Sciences." 

Leopold Zunz 

"Science of Judaism" was born with the publication by Leop- 
old *Zunz of his pamphlet Etwas ueber die rabbinische Litera- 
tur (1818) and his first articles in Zeitschrift (on place names 
in Spain mentioned in Hebrew-Jewish literature; on *Rashi, 
and his outline of a future statistics of Judaism). 

Scientific interest in the Jewish cultural heritage and its 
history was, however, born before Zunz. The Hebrew poet 
Solomon *Levisohn, who during his brief life and under most 
difficult conditions engaged in research work into the language 
of the *Mishnah (Beit ha-Osef y 1812) and the phraseology on 
the Bible (Melizot Yeshurun y 1816), published many lectures 
in German on Jewish history (1820) and also wrote the first 
biblical geography in Hebrew (Mehkerei ha-Arez 1819); Zunz's 
colleague I.M. * Jost also preceded him with his Geschichte der 
Israeliten (9 vols., 1820-29). Though written more in the Has- 
kalah spirit than in that of scientific research, it nevertheless 
made a considerable impression on the public. Zunz, how- 
ever, was the man who symbolized the "Science of Judaism"; 
he was the first to lay down a detailed program for it, and his 
works were the first which in practice contained the methods 
of research which it was to adopt. By his idealism and human- 
istic fervor and by his ambition to introduce the Jewish cul- 
tural heritage into general humanism by and through scien- 
tific study of Judaism, Zunz became the symbol of the whole 
of the "Science of Judaism." 

The program which Zunz outlined in his Etwas ueber die 
rabbinische Literatur was the study of Hebrew literature and 
its history; it included the study of Judaism in all its manifes- 
tations: theology, religious worship of Israel; Jewish law, He- 
brew literature in particular, of every category and form, in- 
cluding that on the natural sciences and technology and the 
contribution of the Jews to their development. Jewish ethics 
and education, which in reality are the practical conclusions 
of the outlook and the views of generations, also figured in 
Zunz's program. He also had a program for research into the 
Judaism of his day. In his essay on Jewish statistics he declared 
that the purpose of these "statistics" (in those days, this term 
signified "social science," sociology) would be to acquire a 
complete picture of the contemporary Jewish condition by a 
systematic study of that entity which was the result not only 
of "origin and religion" but also of common language and his- 
tory and which showed itself in specific qualities and outlook, 
professional structure, and organized arrangements. Zunz also 

outlined the methods to be adopted for the collection and 
the study of data; he had demonstrated them in his earlier 
work, which abounds in instructions on research methods, 
such as examination of sources to ascertain the periods and 
the places of authors, their personalities, and the reliability of 
the evidence which they handed down. He also pointed out 
sources which had not yet been exploited (commemorative 
coins, tombstone inscriptions, etc.), as well as the importance 
of responsa as a historical source particularly for the history 
of the economic life of the Jews. Zunz also drew the attention 
of researchers to community registers and their importance 
as a historical source. 

The methodical innovation in Zunz's work on Rashi lay 
in the collecting and comparative study of manuscripts of 
Rashi's commentaries. From Rashi's works he drew informa- 
tion on the man and his work, his family, his studies, the lan- 
guages with which he was familiar, and the extent to which he 
employed them - even a description of his library. The little 
book made a great impression, especially on Torah students 
in Western and Eastern Europe, who had become familiar 
with general culture to varying degrees. They discovered that 
the Torah was a world by itself and could be of interest to an 
enlightened man. Many of Zunz's contemporaries admitted 
this influence and the important role which it played in their 
lives. To a large extent, all the scholars of the first generation 
of Jewish Science were the disciples of Zunz: they learned from 
his methods and followed his example. 

The First Generation of Scholars 

During the first generation of the promoters of the "Science 
of Judaism" the foundations were laid for research into all 
the spheres of Judaism. Of the eight outstanding scholars, S.J. 
Rapoport, Zunz, S.D. *Luzzatto, and Krochmal - the elders of 
that generation - and Z. *Frankel, * Geiger, *Munk, and Stein- 
schneider - its younger members - each devoted himself to a 
specific sphere, opened new vistas for their study, and paved 
the way for their successors. 

The first member of the "generation of the founding and 
establishment" of the "Science of Judaism" was S.J.L. *Rapo- 
port, whose field was the research of talmudic and rabbinic 
literature and the history of those periods. His work encour- 
aged and paved the way for a scientific approach to talmudic 
and rabbinic literature as a source for the study of Jewish his- 
tory. Rapoport aimed at the enlightenment of the Jewish na- 
tion and the strengthening of its self-consciousness. Zunz, 
on the other hand, who came to be influenced by Rapoport, 
devoted himself mainly to the history of Jewish liturgy. His 
meticulous attention to detail, and the interlacing of these 
details with historical periods and localities and the devel- 
opment of Jewish religious and intellectual life, raised his 
works to the rank of classics, retaining their importance to 
the present day. 

The early scholarly activity of Samuel David Luzzatto 
was connected with Hebrew linguistics and the Targum On- 
kelos, followed by biblical exegesis. His main importance lies 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



in the discovery of numerous and important Hebrew manu- 
scripts and their publication, among them collections of po- 
ems by * Judah Halevi ("Betulat Bat Yehudah, 1840; "Diwan" 
1844). The wide influence Luzzatto had on his generation is 
essentially due to his critical evaluation of the past. He fought 
against disruptive trends in Judaism, the delusions of the 
emancipation, and the whole outlook of his generation. He 
called for the existence of Judaism as a separate religious-na- 
tional entity living according to its usages and the principles 
of its ethics. He appraised earlier conflicts with the viewpoint 
of those of his day (Mehkerei ha-Yahadut, ed. Tevunah, War- 
saw, 1913). Thus, he was to a certain extent responsible for 
extracting the "Science of Judaism" from the domain of in- 
dividual scholars engaged in research and making it a pub- 
lic concern. 

Nahman *Krochmal's Moreh Nevukhei ha-Zeman 
("Guide of the Perplexed of the Generation") was published 
in 1851 but was written during the 1830s, after the publication 
of the biographies of Rapoport, Luzzatto s criticism of A. *Ibn 
Ezra and *Maimonides, Zunz s work on homiletics, and Jost s 
history. This "Guide" was an attempt to provide a philosophi- 
cal-historical answer to the problems of the time: how to pre- 
vent the disintegration of Jewry by making it conscious of its 
unity; by salvaging at least part of the authority of religious 
tradition and strengthening it through sacrificing some of it; 
by an attempt to strengthen the belief in the future of Juda- 
ism; and by finding methods of adapting it for its future task. 
Krochmal's work summed up the early achievements of the 
"Science of Judaism" in fostering Jewish self-consciousness: it 
included Zunz on the spiritual unity of the nation through- 
out the generations, the nationalist element in enlightenment 
(Rapoport), and the faith of Luzzatto in the eternity of the 
Jewish people and its religious character. Krochmal's histori- 
cal-critical approach paved the way for further research. Jost 
had described Jewish history in all its periods but Krochmal 
was the first to adumbrate a unified conception of Jewish his- 
tory as a whole. The "Guide," both in content and form, ranks 
among the most important works of the "Science of Judaism" 
and Hebrew literature in general. 

Frankel, Geiger, Munk, and Steinschneider 

Although Zunz had pointed out on the title page of his Got- 
tesdienstliche Vortraege (1832) that it was "a contribution to the 
study of antiquity, Bible criticism, and the history of literature 
and religion," only the younger members of the founding gen- 
eration devoted their work to biblical and religious research 
and laid the foundations for its future development. Zacha- 
rias *Frankel did this for Jewish law, the history of halakhah, 
and the study of the Talmud. With scholarly caution and care 
in phrasing and conclusions Frankel established the histori- 
cal factor in the evolution of Mishnah, the *Talmud, and the 
halakhahy pointing out its principal stages. 

The work of Abraham *Geiger, the leading spokesman of 
the religious reform movement, extended over many spheres 
of the "Science of Judaism," such as the study of the Bible 

versions, the ancient halakhah, and Jewish sects, and sub- 
jects ranging from the languages of the Mishnah, the Hebrew 
poetry of Spain, and the biblical exegesis of France to the 
Jewish scholars of Italy during the 16 th and 17 th centuries. For 
Geiger all these had the internal evolution of Judaism in com- 
mon; the reformer occasionally introduced contemporary 
polemics, consciously or unconsciously, into the study of 
the past. His largest work was Urschrift und Uebersetzungen 
der Heiligen Schrift in ihrer Abhaengigkeit von der inneren 
Entwicklung des Judentums (1857). Though subsequent re- 
search refuted most of Geiger's conclusions, his contribu- 
tion to the development of the "Science of Judaism" should 
not be ignored. There was a great methodical innovation in 
Geiger's system: the textual discrepancies in the Bible were 
used by him as the foundation for a history of Judaism. The 
"Urschrift" aroused strong polemics and its reformist orien- 
tation impaired its influence, though it inspired students in 
later generations. 

Solomon *Munk and Moritz ^Steinschneider were the 
first scholars of Oriental philology, particularly Arabic, among 
the founders of the "Science of Judaism." They developed new 
methods of research into medieval Jewish literature, in gen- 
eral, and the contribution of the Jews to the development of 
the sciences, in particular. Munk was the first to make use of 
the Arabic sources in the study of the history of Jewish liter- 
ature and thought. His essays on the medieval Jewish schol- 
ars who wrote in Arabic, such as *Saadiah Gaon, Joseph ibn 
*Aknin, and Jonah *Ibn Janah, were based on Arabic sources 
and presented these scholars in a new light. His research into 
the history of Jewish philosophy was of prime importance. 
In his Melanges de Philosophie juive et arabe (1859) he re- 
vealed Solomon ibn Gabirol as the author of Fons Vitae and 
in his edition of the Arabic original of Maimonides' "Guide" 
(1856-66) he laid the foundation for the study of medieval 
Jewish philosophy. 

Steinschneider opened new vistas of bibliographical 
Jewish literature which won him the title of "father of Jewish 
bibliography." Three of his works are of particular value: his 
survey of "Jewish Literature," his catalogs of Hebrew manu- 
scripts, and his books on the Hebrew translations of the Mid- 
dle Ages and the Arabic literature of the Jews. His survey of 
Jewish literature was the first comprehensive review of the 
literary activity of the Jews in all languages and at all periods, 
from the conclusion of the Bible until the end of the 18 th cen- 
tury. Steinschneider's catalogs of the Hebrew manuscripts of 
five large European libraries (*Bodleian of Oxford, Leyden, 
Berlin, Minsk, and Hamburg) disclosed treasures of Jewish 
literature and culture which had hitherto been hidden. The 
meticulous accuracy in his description and the astonishing 
knowledge which underlies them became a wonder; they con- 
tinue to guide scholars in their research into the numerous 
problems which these discoveries initiated. His works on the 
translations and the Arabic literature of the Jews became the 
basis for research into the Jewish history, literature, and cul- 
ture of the Middle Ages. 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


Plans for University Faculties; Periodicals; Influence on a 
Wider Public 

The "Science of Judaism" of the founder generation was con- 
centrated in the hands of individuals. They worked in this field 
"for its own sake" and in their hours of leisure, as they had 
to teach in schools (Zunz, Munk, and Steinschneider), hold 
rabbinical office (Rapoport, Frankel, and Geiger), or were en- 
gaged in business (Krochmal). Luzzatto was the only one who, 
as lecturer at the rabbinical seminary in Padua, was more or 
less directly connected with his scholarly activity The ideal of 
the Jewish scholars of those days was the opening of a faculty 
for the sciences of Judaism or Jewish theology in one of the 
universities. Zunz declared this at the outset of his activity, 
Geiger preached in favor of this, and there was even a public 
demand for the foundation of a "Jewish theological faculty" 
and a "Jewish seminary" in Germany. Committees were set up 
and funds were raised (1838). During the brief spring of the 
Revolution of 1848, Zunz submitted a memorandum to the 
University of Berlin on the allocation of a place to the "Sci- 
ence of Judaism," but the university rejected this proposal. In 
reality, the "Science of Judaism" had little appeal for the public 
and was restricted to the scholars engaged in the subject. 

In about 1838 Geiger attempted to amalgamate all those 
engaged in the "Science of Judaism" into one group. It was 
joined by over 20 people, including Jost, Zunz, Rapoport, 
Munk, J.N. Derenbourg (see *Derenburg family) and oth- 
ers. Even though this society was not properly "organized," 
it faithfully expressed one of the characteristic traits of the 
generation: a readiness to assist colleagues, including scien- 
tific collaboration. It was no accident that one of the literary 
forms of the publications of the "Science of Judaism" in that 
generation was that of the "letter," or "epistle," in which schol- 
ars and researchers described their work to each other. There 
were not periodicals exclusively consecrated to the "Science 
of Judaism"; even Geiger s Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift fuer 
Juedische Theologie (1834-48) was mainly devoted to contem- 
porary problems which, in the opinion of Geiger, were bound 
up with its struggle for Reform by the creation of a "Jewish 
theology" based on historical criticism. 

The research work of the "Science of Judaism" was pub- 
lished in the Hebrew periodicals of the Haskalah movement 
(*Bikkurei ha-Ittim (1821-32) of Jeiteles in Prague, *Kerem 
Hemed (1833-56) of Goldenberg in Galicia; Ziyyon (1841-42) of 
Jost and M. *Creizenach in Frankfurt; Pirhei Zafor (1841-44) 
of Vilna) and in the German- Jewish press, such as L. ^Philip- 
son's Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums (1837-1922), J. *Fuerst's 
Der Orient (1841-51) and Jost's Israelitische Annalen (1839-41) 
of which only one of the latter (Orient) contained a special 
literary supplement of scientific standard. Yet this first gen- 
eration of the "Science of Judaism" was of great historical im- 
portance. A desire to explore the past grew among many of 
the intellectuals of the younger generation. Dozens of authors 
and students from every quarter, the old and the young, from 
Germany, Austria (mainly Bohemia, Moravia, and Galicia), 
France, Italy, Poland, and Russia - some of whom eventually 

achieved fame - published studies and reviews, articles and 
notes on the "Science of Judaism" in Jewish periodicals, in 
Hebrew and other languages. Among them were also schol- 
ars whose principal scientific activity was in other spheres, 
but who felt the need to engage themselves also in the "Sci- 
ence of Judaism." 

Disrespect toward Judaism and contempt for its past 
was on the decline among Jewish and Christian intellectuals, 
while self-respect was rising among the Jewish public. From 
this point of view the influence of the "Science of Judaism" was 
more powerful among the Jewish masses of Eastern Europe: 
the inclination toward Hebrew of the Haskalah movement 
and its nationalist tendencies bore the imprint of the "Science 
of Judaism" and the new perspective on the Jewish past and 
culture which it had given to that generation. The polemics 
on religious reforms which perturbed West European Jewry, 
particularly German Jewry, were also considerably influenced 
by the "Science of Judaism" and took place against a scholarly 
background. As a result of this the public became aware of the 
necessity to promote the development of the "Science of Ju- 
daism," to consolidate it, and to organize it. 

Rabbinical Seminaries, Learned Societies, and Periodicals 

The establishment of the * Juedisch-theologisches Seminar in 
Breslau (1854) marked the beginning of the second genera- 
tion of the "Science of Judaism." This was the first institution 
which made it possible for scholars to devote themselves en- 
tirely to the "Science of Judaism." They also could train new 
generations of students by associating them in the probing 
of the problems which held the attention of their teachers. Z. 
Frankel, who headed the seminary for 20 years, was aware of 
its scientific mission in addition to its practical objectives - the 
training of rabbis, and during the first years also of teachers. 
For the first time a modern curriculum for the dissemination 
of higher Jewish learning was established. It was based on new 
methods of research while aiming at appropriate standards of 
knowledge in Bible, the Talmud, and rabbinic literature. The 
scientific standard of the first teachers (Frankel, the historian 
* Graetz, the classical philologist Jacob Bernays (see *Bernays 
family), and the teacher of Jewish religious philosophy Manuel 
*Joel), the strict demands on the students' preliminary knowl- 
edge, and the relationship between their Jewish education and 
their university studies, as well as the encouragement given 
to the students in their research projects, assured the success 
of the foundation. 

Approximately 100 of the 300 students who graduated 
from the seminary during the first 40 years of its existence 
engaged in Jewish scholarship and published research work, 
among them Israel Levy, Saul Horowitz, Adolf ^Schwartz, Al- 
exander *Kohut, W *Bacher, J. *Theodor, M. *Guedemann, D. 
*Kaufmann, N. Porges and J. Perles, H. *Gross, and J. *Freu- 
denthal and Jacob Gutmann. These scholars published much 
of their research in the Monatsschrift fuer Geschichte und Wis- 
senschaft des Judentums, which was founded by Frankel in 1851 
and continued to appear until 1939. 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



The Breslau Seminary became the model for most rab- 
binical seminaries founded during this period in several 
countries, and which became centers of the "Science of Juda- 
ism." In Berlin the *Hochschule (Lehranstalt) fuer die Wis- 
senschaft des Judentums was founded by Geiger in 1870, 
and its Orthodox counterpart, E. *Hildesheimer s Rabbinical 
Seminary, in 1873. The Bet ha-Midrash Lilmod u-Lelamed of 
Vienna was founded by A. * Jellinek in 1863; the *Ecole Rab- 
binique was transferred to Paris in 1859 and Jews' College was 
established in London in 1856. The Landesrabbinerschule of 
Budapest was founded in 1877 and the Juedisch-theologische 
Lehranstalt in 1893. Leading Jewish scholars such as A. Ber- 
lin, J. *Barth, D. Hoffmann, I.H. *Weiss, M. *Friedmann, M. 
*Friedlander, Israel ^Abrahams, W. Bacher, D. Kaufmann, L. 
*Blau, A. *Buechler, and A. Schwarz headed and taught at 
these seminaries. Higher institutes for the training of rabbis 
were also founded in the United States, such as the Jewish 
Theological Seminary in New York and ^Hebrew Union Col- 
lege in Cincinnati, although at first they did not influence the 
development of the "Science of Judaism." 

In addition to rabbinical seminaries, several other institu- 
tions were founded and a number of societies were organized 
during this period for the promotion of Jewish scholarship 
(see ^Learned Societies). In 1855 the Institut zur Foerderung 
der israelitischen Literatur was established by Philipson, Jell- 
inek, and Jost. The Zunzstiftung was established in 1864 (on 
the occasion of Zunz's 70 th birthday); the interest from it was 
placed at his disposal for the rest of his life, after which it was 
consecrated to works in the spirit of Zunz. In 1864 the *Mekize 
Nirdamim society was founded, whose aim it was to publish 
important Hebrew manuscripts. In 1869 Moses *Montefiore 
founded the Yeshivat Ohel Moshe vi-Yhudit in Ramsgate; it 
was to give aged scholars the possibility of pursuing their work 
in material security. In 1880 the Societe des Etudes Juives was 
founded in Paris; its organ became the *Revue des Etudes 
Juives (1880), which rivaled the "Monatschrift" in impor- 
tance and is still published. All these institutions and societ- 
ies helped in the progress of the "Science of Judaism." Impor- 
tant ^libraries were attached to them, building up collections 
of manuscripts and rare books. 

About 20 periodicals devoted to the "Science of Juda- 
ism" were published during that period. These publications 
were often somehow connected with the above institutions 
and published by them with the active collaboration of their 
teachers and students. Apart from those already mentioned, 
these were the Magazin fuer Geschichte, Literatur und Wis- 
senschaft des Judentums, published in Berlin by A. ^Berliner 
and D. Hoffmann (1874-93), the * Jewish Quarterly Review 
(London, from 1889), and the Hebraeische Bibliographic, pub- 
lished by Steinschneider (1858-82). Important periodicals and 
literary organs were published in Hebrew, mainly on the ini- 
tiative of individual scholars, such as Senior Sachs' *Kerem 
Hemed (1854-56) and Ha-Yonah, Ha-Tehiyyah (1851-57), of 
Schorr's *He-Halutz (1852-89); Blumenfeld's Ozar Nehmad 
(1856-63); T.H. Weiss' and M. Friedmann's Beit ha-Midrash 

and Beit ha-Talmud (Vienna, 1881-89); an d Kobrak's *Jesch- 
urun (1856-78). 

Almost all Hebrew periodicals published articles as well 
as manuscripts in the field of the "Science of Judaism," some of 
them by prominent scholars. Among them were S.J. *Fuenris 
weekly, later monthly, *Ha-Karmel (1860-80), P. *Smolenskin's 
*Ha-Shahar (1869-85), and among the annuals Sokolow's *Ha- 
Asif (1885-89, 1894) and S.P. *Rabbinowitz's Keneset Yisrael 
(1886-88). *Ha-Maggid (1856-1903), the first weekly Hebrew 
newspaper, carried a special section, Ha-Zofeh le-ha-Maggid, 
most of which was consecrated to the "Science of Judaism" and 
published contributions of Jewish scholars from Eastern and 
Western Europe. The large correspondence on subjects of the 
"Science of Judaism" also shows the wide interest taken in it 
within the Jewish communities of the East and the West. 

During this period the development of the "Science of 
Judaism" was marked by a strong historical trend. Much at- 
tention was given to the history of the Jews in the lands of 
their dispersion, to the countries and their communities, and 
to their beliefs and views. In their usages and institutions it 
was possible to determine the evolution from one period to 
another and from one country to another. This historical 
trend was the result of external and internal circumstances. 
The struggle for emancipation continued during all the years 
which followed upon the formal granting of equality. Jews 
were compelled to struggle not only for the practical applica- 
tion of this equality but also for its public recognition. 

The *antisemitism which emerged in the course of the 
19 th century in the form of a popular movement and as a plat- 
form for the political organization of the masses intensified 
this struggle. Jewish communities were obliged to stress the 
historical foundation of their demands and claims. It was be- 
lieved that they would then be regarded as an organic part of 
the state or country, as they had participated in their politi- 
cal and cultural development. This is evident in the activities 
of the historical societies and commissions, which were then 
formed in almost every country (the first in Germany in 1885, 
from Steinschneider's circle) for the collection of historical re- 
cords on Jewish settlements and their history, and their sub- 
sequent publication. 

H ist o r io graphy 

The same trend was responsible for such studies as those of 
Darmesteter on Rashi's Laazim and the French exegetic lit- 
erature (1872); Guedemann's Geschichte des Erziehungswe- 
sens (1880-88); and studies on Jewish philosophy during the 
Hellenistic period (Freudenthal) and the Middle Ages (Jacob 
Guttmann). Internal conflicts within the communities were 
also responsible for the historical trend in the "Science of Ju- 
daism." All the factions in the polemics on religious reforms 
sought to find support in historical research: either to prove 
that non-organic and "incidental" strata had been added to 
the basic structure of Judaism according to time and place, 
and these should be rejected; or out of a desire to preserve the 
integrity of historical Judaism and its continuity while accept- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


ing the principle of evolution within it and historical change 
as a fact; or by explaining by means of historical research the 
changes within the framework of Judaism which was in itself 
stable and immutable. 

In practice, historical research constituted an encounter 
of all the trends of Judaism with the past. The historical ap- 
proach within the "Science of Judaism" was due to a large ex- 
tent to the influence of H. Graetz and his work. Together with 
the 11 volumes of his Geschichte, Graetz published 150 pre- 
liminary studies on all the periods of Jewish history (mostly 
in the Monatsschrift). These studies provided ample material 
for later historians. Graetz s influence is also reflected in areas 
in which the "Science of Judaism" made particular progress 
during this second period: the history of the Oral Law and me- 
dieval and modern Jewish history. To the first belongs Kara- 
ite studies by Simhah Pinsker, P. Frankel, and A. *Harkavy; 
I.H. Weiss' Dor Dor ve-Doreshav (1871-91) and the polemi- 
cal researches of J.H. *Schorr and Abraham Krochmal; and 
the studies of Leopold *Loew (e.g., Die Lebensalter in derju- 
edischen Liter atur y 1875). With their many-sided work Bacher 
and David Kaufmann followed to a considerable extent in the 
footsteps of their teacher Graetz. They did influential research 
in the fields of aggadah and Hebrew philology (Bacher) and 
on Jewish and religious philosophy and communal and fam- 
ily history. They also paved the way for a history of Jewish art 
and archaeology (D. Kaufmann). 

Research into the language of the Talmud and the Tar- 
gums were undertaken by Jacob *Levy in his dictionaries, 
Kohut's Arukh ha-Shalem (1878-92), and Fuenn's Ozar Le- 
shon ha-Mikra ve-ha-Mishnah (1884-1900). A. *Neubauer 
and A. ^Berliner wrote on the geography of the Talmud, and 
R.N. * Rabbinovitz did pioneer work on the text of the Baby- 
lonian Talmud, Dikdukei Soferim (1868-86). In the sphere of 
Jewish history, the most influential writers were M. * Wiener, 
M. *Kayserling, and Joseph * Jacobs, developing new methods 
in the use of new sources for the study of history of the Jews 
in various countries. The growth of large Jewish libraries with 
their collections of manuscripts and the opening of the great 
general libraries to Jewish scholars, as well as the publication 
by them of manuscript catalogs, encouraged scholars to pub- 
lish the "secrets" of bygone generations. The number of works 
that were published from manuscripts during this period, 
whether for the first time or in different versions, amounted 
to several hundreds of the medieval period alone. 

The scholars of the older generation were joined by 
younger ones who published manuscripts in the fields of 
their particular interest. These critical editions, with their 
notes and introductions, succeeded in drawing attention to 
subjects which had been neglected, perhaps owing to the lim- 
ited material available. First among the scholars in this field 
were Solomon *Buber (Midrashim and medieval halakhah) y 
Berliner (Rashi's Pentateuch commentary, Targum Onkelos, 
historical texts), Derenbourg (Saadiah), Harkavy (the period 
of the geonim, texts and records on the history of the Jews in 
Russia), Senior *Sachs (Gabirol's poetry with commentar- 

ies), Jellinek (minor Midrashim from Kabbalah literature), A. 
Neubauer (historical texts), and David Kaufmann (historical 
and literary texts). 

The three elements which fashioned the character of the 
second generation "Science of Judaism" - the rabbinical semi- 
naries, the concentration on local Jewish history, and the em- 
phasis on the publication of manuscripts - were responsible 
for a decline in the "Science of Judaism" and the self-criticism 
with which its past and future prospects were viewed. The 
framework of the rabbinical seminaries, in which the link be- 
tween general and Jewish scholarship was tenuous (the student 
studied general sciences at the universities), kept distinguished 
scholars away, as they did not wish to confine themselves to a 
"ghetto" (Steinschneider), or it made them join the universi- 
ties at a later stage (J. Bernays and I. *Goldziher). This lowered 
the standard of instruction in these institutions. In addition, 
the practical objective (the rabbinate) of the seminary course 
did not assure a continuation of the scholarly work, except for 
the limited number of those who took up a teaching career. 
Criticism of the "Science of Judaism" at the close of the 19 th 
century was expressed in a current saying: its protagonists are 
rabbis who begin with the publication of a medieval text and 
end with writing the history of their community, or that of 
one of the neighboring communities. 

This was the situation during those years in which the 
changes in the status of the Jew called for stock-taking by ev- 
ery Jewish intellectual. Antisemitism had succeeded in iso- 
lating the Jews socially. The emancipation of the Jews had 
constantly to be fought for, and this perturbed the Jews in 
general, as well as every individual Jew to varying extents. As 
a result of the constant tension, this self-consciousness be- 
came a moral necessity for every Jewish intellectual who did 
not wish to abandon his people in the hour of its plight. The 
pogroms and persecutions which took place in Russia be- 
came a Damoclean sword for all Jews, and the mass emigra- 
tion from Russia through Central and Western Europe on its 
way to the transatlantic countries revived universal Jewish ties 
which had been weakened over the past generations. Collabo- 
ration in matters of Jewish concern in various countries was 
encouraged, and a whole network of world Jewish organiza- 
tions and institutions of unprecedented dimensions in Jewish 
history came into being. 

These activities, which were marked by high organizing 
ability and financial generosity, accompanied Jewish misfor- 
tunes at the time of the Russian pogroms (1881-1920). They 
also called for a fundamental assessment and serious scien- 
tific study of the Jewish situation. The nationalist movement 
whose slogan was "Rebellion against the Exile" (see *Hibbat 
Zion and * Zionism) considered as one of its first tasks a re- 
newal of Jewish historic consciousness by imparting to the 
intelligentsia a knowledge of Judaism and its values, based 
on the results of scientific research. The nationalist move- 
ment did in fact initiate literary activities with the aim of "in- 
gathering" the outstanding works of the past in accordance 
with contemporary requirements (*Ahad Ha- Am and the es- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



tablishment of the publishing house Achiasaf). Preliminary 
plans were drawn up for a "summing up" of the "Science of 
Judaism" and its achievements in the form of an ^encyclope- 
dia (Ozar ha-Yahadut of Ahad Ha Am) which would pass on 
to the present-day generation the "Torah" of Judaism clearly 
and without scientific discussions. 

The Socialist and revolutionary agitation gave Jewish 
historical research a new subject - the working classes. It 
called for research into the Jewish economy, the way of life of 
the masses, and the promotion of a popular national culture 
for which there was a growing demand; it was to be fostered 
and had to be considered from a scientific angle. As a result, 
the objectives of the "Science of Judaism" and its methods 
became problematical and led to a number of experiments 
in promoting and planning research. These became the out- 
standing characteristics of the third generation of the "Sci- 
ence of Judaism." 

The establishment of institutions and organizations for 
the promotion of the "Science of Judaism," such as the *Ge- 
sellschaft zur Foerderung der Wissenschaft des Judentums 
(Berlin, 1902) and the Verein zur Gruendung und Erhaltung 
einer Akademie fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (Berlin, 
1920), was an innovation in that these were not connected with 
rabbinical seminaries and had no other objective but the pro- 
motion of science. Another innovation was the establishment 
of societies and institutions for the promotion of research in 
subjects with which the "Science of Judaism" had not dealt 
until then, such as Jewish ethnography (in the framework of 
"the Historical- Ethnographical Society" of St. Petersburg; the 
"Ethnographical - Historical Expedition" of *An-Ski, 1912); re- 
search into Jewish statistics (Verein flier Juedische Statistik, 
Berlin, 1902), the publication of a special periodical for Jewish 
demography and statistics (in German, under the editorship 
of A. *Ruppin); Jewish art ("^Society for Jewish Folk Music," 
St. Petersburg, 1908), the exploration of Palestine and its an- 
tiquities (the Palestine Exploration Society was founded in 
Jerusalem, 1919); and similar projects. 

There was also an innovation in the surveys which were 
carried out by Jewish organizations and were of importance 
to all subsequent research. The collection of material on the 
economic situation of the Jews in Russia (in 1898-99) by 
a team of experts for the * Jewish Colonization Association 
(Recueil de materiaux sur la situation economique des Israe- 
lites en Russie y 2 vols., Paris, 1906-08; there is also a Russian 
edition) became the basis of all subsequent research on the 
Jewish economy in Russia (Jacob *Lestschinsky). The two 
volumes which contained the material on the pogroms in 
Russia (Die Judenpogrome in Russland y 2 vols., 1910), which 
were published by the Zionist Relief Fund (under the editor- 
ship of L. *Motzkin), were a contribution of great importance 
in this sphere. A fresh development was the rise of non-com- 
mercial publishing companies such as Achiasaf y Warsaw, and 
the * Jewish Publication Society of America (Philadelphia), 
one of whose aims was the propagation of the "Science of 

Such ventures often foreshadowed institutions. Thus 
"yivo" (Yidisher Visnshaftlikher Institut, established in 1925) 
was heralded by Der Pinkas ("Yearbook on the history of Yid- 
dish literature and its language, folklore, criticism and bibli- 
ography"; Vilna, 1912), edited by S. *Niger. This annual pub- 
lished B. Borochov's "Documents on the Philology of Yiddish 
Language Research." The friends of Yiddish and popular Jew- 
ish culture grouped themselves around him. The third gen- 
eration of the "Science of Judaism" had three achievements 
to its credit: 

(1) The summing up of the "Science of Judaism" in The 
Jewish Encyclopaedia (see ^Encyclopedias; 1901-06), which 
was devoted to the "history of the Jewish people, its religion, 
its literature, and its customs from antiquity to the present 
era ; 

(2) The planning of basic reference books, which required 
the collaboration of scholars; 

(3) The discovery of the Genizah. 

The Jewish Encyclopaedia, which formed the basis of the 
Yevreyskaya Entsiklopediya (1908-13; see ^Encyclopedias) and 
the Ozar Yisrael (1906-13; see ^Encyclopedias), was published 
with the participation of Jewish scholars from many countries, 
as well as a large number of non- Jewish scholars. This ency- 
clopedia summed up the achievements of the "Science of Ju- 
daism" in every sphere. 

The Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Wissenschaft des 
Judentums, one of whose principal tasks was the publication 
of reference books of a high standard, was unable to complete 
its program, though in those works it did publish it raised the 
standards of the "Science of Judaism" and met the demands 
of the time. The society turned to several Jewish scholars 
who had achieved repute for their contributions to the gen- 
eral sciences and encouraged them to carry out work in the 
field of the "Science of Judaism." The society thus published, 
among others: Georg *Caro's Sozial-und Wirtschaftsgeschichte 
der Juden im Mittelalter und der Neuzeit (1908-20), Eduard 
*Mahler's Handbuch der juedischen Chronologie (1916), Sam- 
uel *Krauss' Talmudische Archeologie (3 vols., 1910-12), and 
I. *Elbogen's Der Juedische Gottesdienst in seiner geschichtli- 
chen Entwicklung (1924). The program for an Akademie fuer 
die Wissenschaft des Judentums, which was submitted by its 
first director (Eugen *Taeubler), envisaged a Forschungsinsti- 
tut whose members, mostly younger scholars, took on spe- 
cific projects in their respective fields of study. These were dis- 
cussed at the meetings of the institute under the guidance of 
its director. Some of the scholars who worked in the Akademie 
later became prominent in the "Science of Judaism." 

The investigation of the Cairo Genizah by Solomon 
Schechter (1847-1915) and the publication and study of its 
contents had a revolutionary impact on the "Science of Ju- 
daism." It made research possible on periods and subjects in 
which lack of source material had made research difficult. 
Out of the Genizah Schechter published about two-thirds of 
Ben Sira in the Hebrew original (1899); materials on the life of 
Saadiah and his writings; material on the history of the Jews 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


of Palestine during the 11 th century; and material on the his- 
tory of Jewish sects. Genizah research enriched the "Science 
of Judaism" during the first years after its discovery and added 
new chapters on Jewish history and literature, particularly in 
the field of Midrash and the literature of the geonim (Louis 
*Ginzberg, Israel ^Davidson, and Jacob *Mann), in that of 
prayers and hymns (Davidson and Elbogen), and in Jewish 
history in the Orient, particularly Egypt and Palestine (Mann, 
R. *Gottheil, and others). The progress of the "Science of Ju- 
daism" in the United States is also linked with the personality 
and work of Schechter. At the Jewish Theological Seminary of 
America, of which he was the head from his arrival in New 
York (1902), he gathered a team of scholars (Louis Ginzberg, 
Israel Friedlander, A. *Marx, and I. Davidson), built up its li- 
brary, which later became one of the largest Jewish libraries - 
it is particularly rich in Hebrew manuscripts - and raised the 
seminary to the rank of one of the leading institutions of the 
"Science of Judaism." 

In Eastern Europe, especially in Russia, where almost half 
of the world's Jewish population lived, the "Science of Judaism" 
made little progress in spite of intensified Jewish conscious- 
ness and a strong nationalist movement. The government - 
under the influence of the leaders of Orthodox Jewry - would 
not authorize the establishment of a seminary for the training 
of modern rabbis and Jewish scholars. Those engaged in the 
study of Jewish sciences were either authors and scholars, who 
as a result of publicistic discussions on contemporary prob- 
lems had passed on to the study of Jewish history (S. *Dub- 
now, S. *Ginsburg, P. *Marek, J. *Hessen, S.P. Rabbinowitz, 
B.Z. *Katz), or rabbis and Torah scholars who had adopted, 
under the influence of the "Science of Judaism," modern meth- 
ods (such as B. Ratner in his Ahavat Ziyyon vi-Yrushalayim 
(1904-17) on the text of the Jerusalem Talmud and H. *Tcher- 
nowitz (RavZai'ir) in his Le-Toledot ha-Shulhan Arukh ve-Hit- 
pashetuto; Ha-Shiloah, 1899-1900). Others, speaking out in 
defense of traditional Judaism by exposing the inner contra- 
dictions of the *Haskalah, tried to offer a better understanding 
of Judaism and its moral values (S.A. Horodezky, W. Jawitz), 
or to refute the conclusions of the "Science of Judaism" and 
its historical criticism (Isaac ha- Levi). 

Only a few Jewish scholars in Eastern Europe, most of 
whom had been educated in Western Europe, made a sub- 
stantial contribution to the "Science of Judaism" writings, at 
least partly in Hebrew (S.A. *Poznariski). Contributing west- 
ern scholars included Abraham *Kahana in "Perush Maddai 
la-Tanakh" and *Horodezky in Ha-Goren. The influence of the 
"Science of Judaism" in Eastern Europe extended to Palestine, 
where particular emphasis was put on Hebrew linguistics and 
the geography of Erez Israel (E. ^Ben-Yehuda's massive Mil- 
Ion (dictionary) and his "Memoirs"; the activities of the Vaad 
ha-Lashon (see: Academy of Hebrew Language) periodical, 
10 volumes; and A.M. *Luncz's Jerusalem (1882-1917). These 
studies also found an echo outside Palestine (D. *Yellin, the 
brothers J.J. and A.S. *Yahuda, E. *Gruenhut, A.M. Toledano). 
Some of the leading scholars (M. Friedmann and W. Bacher, 

A. Berliner and A.E. Harkavy, S.A. Poznahski and S. Krauss, 
D. Kaufmann and M. Steinschneider) cooperated with them. 
There was also a certain increase in Hebrew publications deal- 
ing with subjects of the "Science of Judaism." The initiative of 
Bialik in 1923 (with I. Elbogen, J.N. *Epstein, and N.H. *Tur- 
Sinai (Torczyner)) to publish Devir (periodical for the "Sci- 
ence of Judaism") appeared to herald a new era. Its program 
included "research on the present condition of living, creative 
Israel," and research into "popular literature" and "Jewish lit- 
erature of the last century." 

With the establishment of the Hebrew University in Jeru- 
salem, a new era began for the "Science of Judaism." For the 
first time it found itself in its entirety within a framework of 
an institution of higher education and learning - with Jewish 
life in all its manifestations and developments as its object - to 
which the Jewish social reality in its ancient homeland gave a 
territorial-historical continuity and national and cultural sta- 
bility. These factors widened the spheres of research. New, or 
almost new, subjects came to the fore, such as the archaeol- 
ogy and geography of Erez Israel, talmudic philology, Jewish 
Hellenism, Hebrew law, Jewish mysticism, modern Hebrew 
literature, Yiddish and its literature, Jewish sociology, and the 
study of contemporary Jewry. Judaic studies thus replaced 
the "Science of Judaism." This development also influenced 
the "Science of Judaism" in the United States, almost the only 
country in the Diaspora where it continued to advance as a 
cultural- spiritual factor in the life of its Jewish community. As 
for other countries, particularly in Central and Eastern Eu- 
rope, the "Science of Judaism" was integrally bound up with 
the struggle of the Jewish communities for their survival in 
an age in which Jewish diaspora existence was threatened by 
assimilation, on the one hand, and persecution and extermi- 
nation, on the other. 

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fia, 30 (1996), 135-39; P. Simon-Nahum, "Wissenschaft des Judentums 
in Germany and the Science of Judaism in France in the Nineteenth 
Century: Tradition and Modernity in Scholarship" (Comment, Nils 
Romer), in: M. Brenner, V. Caron, and U.R. Kaufmann (eds.), Jewish 
Emancipation Reconsidered. The French and German Models (2003), 
39-54; H. Soussan, The Science of Judaism: From Leopold Zunz to 
Leopold Lucas, Brighton: Centre for German-Jewish Studies. Uni- 
versity of Sussex (Winter 1999); H. Soussan, "The Gesellschaft zur 
Foerderung des Wissenschaft des Judentums, 1902-1915," in: Leo 
Baeck Institute Year Book, 46 (2001); 175-94; H. Wassermann, False 
Start. Jewish Studies at German Universities during Weimar Repub- 
lic (2003); N. Waszek, "Hegel, Mendelssohn, Spinoza. Beitraege der 
Philosophic zur Wissenschaft des Judentums? Eduard Gans und die 
philosophischen Quellen des 'Veriens fuer Kultur und Wissenschaft 
der Juden," in: Menora (1999), 187-215; C. Wiese, Wissenschaft des Ju- 
dentums und protestantische Theologie im wihelmanischen Deutsch- 
land. Ein Schrei in Leere? (1999); K. Wilhelm (ed.), Wissenschaft des 

Judentums im deutschen Sprachbereich. Ein Querschnitt, Schriften- 
reihe Wissenschaftlicher Abhaldlungen des Leo Baeck Instituts, 16, 2 
vols. (1967). 

[Benzion Dinur (Dinaburg)] 

WISSOTZKY, KALONYMUS ZE'EV (1824-1904), mer- 
chant, philanthropist, and supporter of *Hibbat Zion. Born in 
Zhagare (Kovno province), Wissotzky attended yeshivot and 
then tried his hand at agriculture. Having failed, he became 
a businessman and, in 1858, he moved to Moscow, where he 
established the famous tea firm that bears his name (*Ahad 
Ha- Am was at one time manager of its London branch). He 
became a wealthy man and took an interest in public affairs, 
especially by subsidizing charitable institutions and causes. 
Wissotzky was one of the earliest adherents and supporters 
of the Hibbat Zion movement in Russia. In 1885 he visited 
Erez Israel on behalf of the movement and prepared a survey 
of the general condition of the yishuv and of the new settle- 
ments that was to have a profound effect upon the practical 
work of Hovevei Zion in the country. For the rest of his life, 
he maintained his philanthropic activities, supporting Hebrew 
literature in particular. (*Ha-Shiloah, the Hebrew monthly, 
was financed by him in the first years of its existence.) Un- 
der Ahad Ha-Am's influence he donated 20,000 rubles for 
the publication of a Hebrew encyclopedia for Jewish stud- 
ies (1894). This project being canceled, the money was given 
instead to the society of Marbei Haskalah in Russia. Accord- 
ing to his will, his entire share in the Wissotzky tea firm (one 
million rubles) was given to charity, including national Jewish 
purposes, among them the establishment of the Haifa Tech- 
nion. In 1898 he published Kevuzat Mikhtavim ("Collection 
of Letters"), which contains his impressions of the trip to Erez 
Israel and various other documents relating to his activities in 
behalf of Hibbat Zion. 


bibliography: M.M. Dolitzky, Mofet la-Rabbim (1892); 

A. Druyanow, Ketavim le-Toledot Hibbat-Zivyon ve-Yishuv Erez- 

Yisrael, 3 vols. (1919-32), indices; M. ben Hillel Hacohen, Olami, 5 

(1929), 63-70. 

[Getzel KresselJ 

WISTRICH, ROBERT S. (1945- ), British- Israeli historian 
and writer on antisemitism. One of the best-known contem- 
porary historians of antisemitism and related topics, Robert 
Wistrich was born in the Soviet Union but lived in England. 
He was educated at Cambridge and London Universities. Wis- 
trich held chairs at London University and the Hebrew Uni- 
versity of Jerusalem. From 2002 he was director of the Vidal 
Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism 
in Israel. His many books include Revolutionary Jews From 
Marx to Trotsky (1976), Socialism and the Jews (1982), and An- 
tisemitism: The Longest Hatred (1991), which was made into a 
successful television series. 

[William D. Rubinstein (2 nd ed.)] 

WITKON, ALFRED (1910-1984), Israeli jurist. Born in Ber- 
lin, Witkon settled in Palestine in 1935 and engaged in private 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


practice and teaching at the Jerusalem Law School until 1948, 
when he joined the Israel Defense Forces, becoming a captain 
in the Legal Corps. He was president of the Jerusalem Dis- 
trict Court from 1948 to 1954, when he was nominated to the 
Supreme Court. He lectured on tax legislation at the Hebrew 
University of Jerusalem and at Tel Aviv University and pub- 
lished numerous contributions to law journals, and in partic- 
ular in the Israel Law Review. His major publications, all of 
which are in Hebrew, were Law and Society (1954), Law and 
Politics (1965), and Laws of Taxation (1969). 

bibliography: Jerusalem Post Archives. 

[Alexander Zvielli] 

WITNESS (Heb. T$) y one that has personal knowledge of 
an event or a fact. The evidence of at least two witnesses was 
required for convicting the accused (Num. 35:30; Deut. 17:6; 
19:15; cf. 1 Kings 21:10, 13). Commercial transactions of impor- 
tance took place in the presence of witnesses at the gate of the 
town (Gen. 23; Ruth 4); when a document was drawn up, it was 
signed by witnesses (Jer. 32: 12). The witness of a grave offence, 
such as enticement to idolatry, was bound by law to expose 
the offender; if the penalty for the crime was stoning, the wit- 
ness was obliged to throw the first stone (Deut. i3:/ff.; cf. Lev. 
24:11; Num. 15:33). False testimony is banned (Ex. 20:14 [16]; 
23:1; Deut. 5:17 [20]; cf. Prov. 6:19; 14:25, et al.). The convicted 
false witness bears the penalty that would have been inflicted 
upon the accused (Deut. 19:16-21; cf. Sus. 60-62; Jos., Ant. 
4:219; Code of Hammurapi, 1-4-Pritchard, Texts, 166). 

A curse could be publicly uttered against a witness who 
withholds testimony (Lev. 5:1; Prov. 29:24; cf. Judg. 17:2). Last- 
ing inanimate objects, such as stones (Gen. 31:48), the moon 
(Ps. 89:38), or poems can be invoked as witnesses: "Therefore, 
write down this poem and teach it to the people of Israel; put 
it in their mouths, in order that this poem may be my wit- 
ness against the people of Israel" (Deut. 31:19; cf. vs 21, 26). 
The Lord Himself is sometimes called upon as witness (Gen. 
31:50; Mai. 2:14), or as a prosecuting witness (1 Sam. 12:5; Jer. 
29:23; 49:5; Micah 1:2; Mai. 3:5). By its very existence, Israel is 
a witness of the fact that God is Redeemer and Lord of his- 
tory (Isa. 43:9-10; 44:6-9). There is nothing in biblical law 
concerning the qualification of witnesses, but, according to 
Josephus, the credibility of the witnesses is established by 
their past life, while neither women nor slaves were allowed 
to testify (Jos., Ant. 4:219). 

In Jewish Law 

definition. Jewish law distinguishes between attesting and 
testifying witnesses. The former are required to be present at, 
and then and there attest, formal legal acts which failing such 
attestation, are normally invalid; the latter are required to tes- 
tify in court, either to an act previously attested by them or to 
any fact they have witnessed. The rules on competency (see 
below) apply to testifying witnesses only, a document duly 
attested by at least two attesting witnesses and confirmed by 
the court (see Sh. Ar., hm 46:7-8) is admitted as evidence and 

equivalent to oral testimony in civil cases, and need not be 
proved by testifying witnesses (Sh. Ar., hm 28:12). 

The distinction between testifying and attesting witnesses 
has practical significance also for purposes of modern Israel 
law. While the validity of an act governed by Jewish law (e.g., 
marriage or divorce) may depend on the competency under 
Jewish law of the attesting witnesses, which will have to be de- 
termined according to Jewish law, the competency of testify- 
ing witnesses, even concerning acts governed by Jewish law, 
will always be determined by the law of the court (lex fori) in 
which the evidence is taken. 

the two-witnesses rule. As a general rule, no single wit- 
ness alone is competent to attest or testify: there must always 
be at least two (Deut. 19:15; Sif. Deut. 188; Sot. 2b; Sanh. 30a; 
Yad, Edut 5:1). The following are some of several exceptions 
to the general rule: whenever two testifying witnesses would 
be sufficient to prove a claim, one is sufficient to require the 
defendant to take an *oath that the claim is unfounded (Shev 
40a; Ket. 87b; bm 3b-4a; Yad, To'en 1:1); thus, in the case of 
widow claiming on her ketubbah or the holder of a bill claim- 
ing on it, where a single witness has testified that the claim 
had already been settled, the interested party will be required 
to take the oath before being allowed to recover (Ket. 9:7; Sh. 
Ar., hm 84:5). Conversely, a party who has partly admitted a 
claim will be excused from taking the oath if he is corrobo- 
rated by at least a single witness (Rema hm 87:6; Beit YosefHM 
75 n. 3); and the testimony of a single depositary who still held 
the deposit was considered sufficient to prove which of the ri- 
val claims to a deposit was valid (Git. 64a; Sh. Ar., hm 56:1). 
A woman is allowed to remarry on the testimony of a single 
witness that her husband is dead (Yev. 16:7; Eduy. 6:1, 8:5; Ber. 
27a; Ket. 22b -23a); and the testimony of a single witness is 
normally sufficient in matters of ritual (Git. 2b-3a; Yad, Edut 
11:7). In criminal cases, both witnesses must have witnessed 
the whole event together (cf. Mak. 1:9), but in civil cases, tes- 
timonies of various witnesses to particular facts, as well as a 
witness and a document, may be combined to satisfy the two- 
witnesses rule (Sh. Ar., hm 30:6). 

competency. Maimonides lists ten classes of persons who 
are not competent to attest or testify, namely: women, slaves, 
minors, lunatics, the deaf, the blind, the wicked, the contempt- 
ible, relatives, and the interested parties (Yad, Edut 9:1). 

(1) Women. By the method of gezerah shavah (see * In- 
terpretation), it is derived from Scripture that only men can 
be competent witnesses. Maimonides gives as the reason for 
the disqualification of women the fact that the bible uses the 
masculine form when speaking of witnesses (Sif. Deut. 190; 
Shev. 30a; Sh. Ar., hm 35:14; Yad, Edut 9:2), but Joseph Caro 
questioned the validity of this derivation in view of the fact 
that "the whole Torah always uses the masculine form" (Ke- 
sefMishneh to Yad, Edut 9:2). Another reason was suggested 
in the Talmud: that the place of a woman was in her home 
and not in court (Shev. 30a; cf. Git. 46a), as the honor of the 
king's daughter was within the house (Ps. 45:14. It is perhaps 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



noteworthy that the Tur (hm 35) omits women from the list 
of incompetent witnesses). Women are admitted as compe- 
tent witnesses in matters within their particular knowledge, 
for example, on customs or events in places frequented only 
by women (Rema hm 35:14; Darkhei Moshe hm 35, n. 3; Beit 
Yosef ibid.y n. 15; Terumat ha-Deshen Resp. no. 353); in mat- 
ters of their own and other women's purity (Ket. 72a; Ket 
2:6); for purposes of identification, especially of other women 
(Yev. 39b); or in matters outside the realm of strict law (bk 
114b). In post-talmudic times, the evidence of women was of- 
ten admitted where there were no other witnesses available 
(cf. e.g., Resp. Maharam of Rothenburg, ed. Prague, no. 920; 
Resp. Maharik no. 179), or in matters not considered impor- 
tant enough to bother male witnesses (Resp. Maharik no. 190; 
Sefer Kol Bo no. 116). In Israel, the disqualification of women 
as witnesses was abolished by the Equality of Women's Rights 
Act, 5711 - 1951. 

(2) Slaves. Witnesses must be free Jewish citizens (Benei 
Horin u-Venei Berit; bk 1:3), excluding both slaves and non- 
Jews (bk 15a; Yad, Edut 9:4; Sh. Ar., hm 34:19). The evidence 
of non-Jews is admitted if secular law so requires (Maggid 
Mishneh, Malveh 27:1), as well as to attest or identify docu- 
ments made in non-Jewish courts, or whenever the court 
sees no reason to doubt their objectivity (Tashbez 1:78; Beit 
Yosef hm 34, n. 22; Bah hm 34:32; Kezot ha-Hoshen 68, n. 1; 
Tos. to Git. 9b). 

(3) Minors. A person is incompetent as a witness until 
he reaches the age of 13. Between the ages of 13 and 20, he is 
competent as a witness with regard to movable property, but 
in respect of immovable property he is competent only if he 
is found to have the necessary understanding and experience 
(bb 155b; Yad, Edut. 9:8; Sh. Ar., hm 35:3). From the age of 20, 
all disqualification by reason of age is removed. 

(4) Lunatics. In this category are included not only insane 
persons (for definitions see * Penal Law), but also idiots and 
epileptics (Yad, Edut 9:9-10; Sh. Ar., hm 35:8-10). 

(5) The Deaf. Both the deaf and the dumb are included 
in this category (see *Deaf-Mute). "Despite the fact that their 
vision may be excellent and their intelligence perfect, they 
must testify by word of their mouth, or must hear the warn- 
ing which the court administers to them" (see * Practice and 
Procedure), and as they cannot speak or hear, they cannot 
testify (Yad, Edut 9:11; Sh. Ar., hm 35:11). 

(6) The Blind. "Despite the fact that they may be able to 
recognize voices and thus identify people, they are by Scrip- 
ture disqualified as witnesses, for it is written, 'whether he hath 
seen or known [Lev. 5:1] - only one who can see can testify" 
(Yad, Edut 9:12; Sh. Ar., hm 35:12). 

(7) The Wicked. According to the Bible, "the wicked" or 
"the guilty" are unjust witnesses (Ex. 23:1), therefore they are 
a priori disqualified. They may be divided into five groups: 
criminals, swindlers, perjurers, illiterates, and informers. 
"Wicked" or "guilty" are epithets attributed to persons who 
have committed capital offenses (Num. 35:31) or who are li- 
able to be flogged (Deut. 25:2), hence these are incompe- 

tent witnesses (Yad, Edut 10:2; Sh. Ar., hm 34:2). A person 
who has committed any other offense or who is liable to any 
other punishment is also deemed incompetent as a witness, 
although not in the Bible (Rema hm 34:2). Into the category 
of swindlers fall thieves and robbers (Sh. Ar., hm 34:7); usu- 
rers (ibid.y 34:10); tricksters, gamblers, and gamesters (Sanh. 
3:3; Sh. Ar., hm 34:16), as well as idlers and vagabonds who 
are suspected of spending their leisure in criminal activities 
(Yad, Edut 10:4; Sh. Ar., hm 34:16). Tax collectors who do not 
work for a fixed salary, but receive as remuneration a portion 
of the moneys collected, are suspected of appropriating more 
than is due to them, and therefore are incompetent witnesses 
(Yad, loc. cit.; Sh. Ar., hm 34:14); another reason for their dis- 
qualification was said to be that they were suspected of un- 
due preferences and discriminations in assessing tax liabilities 
(Rema hm 34:14). Once a witness was found guilty of perjury, 
he would no longer be a competent witness, even after he had 
made good any damage caused by his false testimony (Sanh. 
27a; Yad, loc. cit. Sh. Ar., hm 34:8). A man who has no inkling 
of Bible and Mishnah, nor of civilized standards of conduct 
(derekh erez)> is presumed to be idle and disorderly (Kid. 1:10) 
and therefore incompetent as a witness (Kid. 40b; Yad, Edut 
11:1; Sh. Ar., hm 34:17). This presumption is rebuttable by evi- 
dence that, notwithstanding the man's illiteracy, his conduct 
is irreproachable (Yad, Edut 11:2-4; Sh. Ar., loc. cit.). A for- 
tiori, agnostics (eppikoresim) and heretics, including those 
who transgress law or ritual from conviction or malice, are 
wholly and irrevocably disqualified (Yad, Edut 11:10; Sh. Ar., 
hm 34:22). Though not technically transgressors of the law, 
^informers are considered worse than criminals and hence 
incompetent (Yad, loc. cit.; Sh. Ar., loc. cit.). 

(8) The Contemptible. It is presumed that people who 
do not conform to the conventions of society, for example, 
by eating in the streets (Kid. 40b), or walking around naked 
while working (bk 86b), or accepting alms from non-Jews in 
public (Sanh. 26b), would not shrink from perjuring them- 
selves, and therefore are incompetent witnesses (Yad, Edut 
11:5; Sh. Ar., hm 34:18). 

(9) Relatives. The biblical injunction that parents shall not 
be put to death "for" their children, nor children "for" their 
parents (Deut. 24:16), was interpreted as prohibiting the testi- 
mony of parents against children and of children against par- 
ents (Sif. Deut. 280; Sanh. 27b), and served as the source for 
the disqualification of relatives in general (Yad, Edut 13:1). The 
Mishnah lists as disqualified relatives: father, brother, uncle, 
brother-in-law, stepfather, father-in-law, and their sons and 
sons-in-law (Sanh. 3:4); the rule was extended to cover neph- 
ews and first cousins (Yad, Edut 13:3; Sh. Ar., hm 33:2). Where 
the relationship is to a woman, the disqualification extends to 
her husband (Yad, Edut 13:6; Sh. Ar., hm 33:3). The fact that a 
disqualified kinsman does not maintain any connection with 
the party concerned is irrelevant (Yad, Edut 13:15; Sh. Ar., hm 
33:10). Witnesses who are related to one another are incom- 
petent to attest or testify together (Mak. 6a); similarly wit- 
nesses related to any of the judges are incompetent (Sh. Ar., 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


hm 33:17). As relatives are incompetent to testify for or against 
the party to whom they are related, a fortiori the party him- 
self is incompetent to testify for or against himself, for "a man 
is related to himself" (San. 9b-ioa; Yev. 25b). But while the 
incompetency of the relatives results only in their testimony 
being inadmissible as evidence, there can be no "testimony" 
of a party at all (Piskei ha-Rosh Mak. 13-14; Rosh. Resp. no. 
60:1; Nov. Ramban Mak. 6b; Nov. Ran Sanh. 9b; Resp. Ribash 
nos. 169 and 195), and everything he says in court is properly 
classified as pleading. 

(10) The Interested Party. A witness is disqualified where 
any benefit may accrue to him from his testimony (bb 43a; 
Yad, Edut 15:1), as where he has some stake in the outcome of 
the proceedings (Sh. Ar., hm 37:1; Yad, Edut 15:4). However, 
the benefit must be present and immediate and not specula- 
tive only (Sh. Ar., hm 37:10). The question whether some such 
direct or indirect benefit may accrue to a witness is often puz- 
zling: "these things depend on the discretion of the judge and 
the depth of his understanding as to what is the gist of the case 
at issue" (Yad, Edut 16:4; Sh. Ar., hm 37:21). It is a "well-es- 
tablished custom" that where local usages or regulations are 
in issue townspeople are competent witnesses, even though 
they may, as local residents, have some interest in the matter 
(Rosh, Resp. 5:4; Sh. Ar., hm 37:22). The same "custom" would 
appear to apply to attesting witnesses who were appointed as 
such by authority (cf. Sh. Ar., hm 33:18). In criminal cases, 
there is no disqualifying "interest"; thus, the kinsmen of the 
murdered man are competent witnesses against the murderer, 
those of the assaulted against the assailant, and the victim of 
an offense against the accused (Rema hm 33:16; Siftei Kohen 
hm 33 n. 16). 

disqualification. No witness may say that he is (or was) 
wicked so as to disqualify himself from attesting or testify- 
ing (Sanh. 9b; Yad, Edut 12:2; Sh. Ar., hm 34:25). A party who 
wishes to disqualify witnesses of the other party has to prove 
their incompetency by the evidence of at least two other com- 
petent witnesses (Sanh. 3:1; Yad, Edut 12:1; Sh. Ar. hm 34:25). 
Disqualification as a witness is not regarded as a penalty, 
and hence no previous warning is required; but in cases of 
improper or contemptible conduct and minor transgressions, 
it has been suggested that a person should not be disquali- 
fied as a witness unless previously warned that this would 
happen if he persisted in his conduct (Yad, loc. cit.; Sh. Ar., 

HM 34:24). 

Where a witness attested an act or a document, he cannot 
testify that he was incompetent to do so (Ket. 18b & 19b; Yad, 
Edut 3:7; Sh. Ar., hm 46:37). It might be otherwise if his signa- 
ture could be identified only by his own testimony: if he could 
be heard to deny his signature, he ought also to be heard to 
say that his signature was worthless (Ket. 2:3; Sh. Ar., hm loc. 
cit.) - always provided he did not incriminate himself. 

Where the court has reason to suspect that a person of- 
fered as a witness is incompetent, it may decline to admit his 
testimony (Rema hm 34:25; Yad, To'en 2:3), and ought to turn 

him down as an attesting witness (Sh. Ar., hm 92:5 and Siftei 
Kohen ad loc). Where a witness has given evidence, and it 
subsequently transpires that he was incompetent, his evidence 
will be regarded as wrongly admitted and the case be reopened 
only if the incompetence was derived from Scripture or had 
been announced by public proclamation (Sanh. 26b; Yad, Edut 
11:6; Sh. Ar., hm 34:23). A person called to attest or testify to- 
gether with another person whom he knows to be incompe- 
tent as a witness must decline to attest or testify, even though 
the incompetence of the other is not yet known or proven to 
the court (Yad, Edut 10:1; Sh. Ar., hm 34:1). The rationale of 
this rule appears to be that since the incompetence of any one 
witness invalidates the evidence of the whole group of wit- 
nesses to which he belongs (Mak. 1:8; Yad, Edut 5:3; Sh. Ar., 
hm 36:1), if the first man attested or testified notwithstanding 
the other s incompetence, the evidence would be nullified (cf. 
Siftei Kohen hm 34, n. 3). In civil cases, parties may stipulate 
that, notwithstanding any incompetence, the evidence of wit- 
nesses named shall be accepted and acted upon by the court 
(Sanh. 3:2; Yad, Sanhedrin 7:2; Sh. Ar., hm 22:1). 

Disqualification no longer holds: in the case of criminals, 
after their punishment is completed (Yad, Edut 12:4; Sh. Ar., 
hm 34:29); in the case of wicked persons not liable to punish- 
ment, when it is proved to the satisfaction of the court that 
they have repented and that their conduct is now irreproach- 
able (ibid.) - there are detailed provisions as to what acts con- 
stitute sufficient proof of repentance (Yad, Edut 12:5-10; Sh. 
Ar., hm 34:29-35); and in the case of relatives, after the rela- 
tionship or affinity has come to an end (Yad, Edut 14:1; Sh. 
Ar.,HM 33:12). 

remuneration. As a financial interest in the testimony 
disqualifies the witness, the stipulation or acceptance of re- 
muneration for testifying invalidates the evidence (Bek. 4:6). 
However, where the witness has returned the fee he received 
before testifying, his evidence is admissible; the acceptance 
of remuneration in itself is not a cause of incompetence, but 
is visited with the sanction of invalidating the evidence as a 
deterrent only (Rema hm 34:18). The rule prohibiting remu- 
neration is confined to testifying witnesses only; attesting wit- 
nesses may always be remunerated (ibid.) and there are express 
provisions for the remuneration of witnesses attesting divorces 
(Sh. Ar., eh 130:21). A man suspected of accepting money for 
giving evidence is not a credible witness and should never be 
believed (Tosef. Bek. 3:8). A man who hires false witnesses to 
testify for him is answerable to Heaven, though not himself 
criminally responsible (see * Penal Law; Yad, Edut 17:7; Sh. Ar., 
hm 32:2; Rema ad loc). 

duty to testify. Any person able to testify as one who has 
seen or learned of the matter who does not come forward to 
testify is liable to punishment (Lev. 5:1), but the punishment 
will be meted out to him by God only (see *Divine Punish- 
ment; bk 55b-56a). While in criminal cases the witness is un- 
der obligation to come forward and testify of his own accord, 
in civil cases the duty to testify arises only when the man is 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



summoned to do so (Yad, Edut 1:1; Sh. Ar., hm 28:1). Kings 
are exempt from the duty to testify (Sanh. 2:2; Yad, Edut 11:9) 
and though high priests are generally exempt, they must tes- 
tify for the king (Yad, Edut 1:3). The duty relates only to mat- 
ters which the witness has seen himself, or which he has heard 
from the mouth of the accused or a party to the action; a man 
may not testify to things of which he has no personal knowl- 
edge (Rema hm 28:1), nor may he testify on what he has heard 
other people telling him, however true and trustworthy it may 
appear to him (Yad, Edut 17:1,5), and any such testimony is 
regarded as false (ibid.). 

Persons who were planted' and hidden on the premises 
to overlook a certain act or overhear certain words are not 
admitted as witnesses (Yad, Edut 17:3), except in the case of 
prosecution against inciters to idolatry (Sanh. 7:10; Sanh. 29a, 
67a). A witness whose memory is defective may be allowed 
to refresh it by looking at what he had written at the time, or 
even by listening to the evidence of other witnesses (Ket. 20b; 
Yad, Edut 8:2; Sh. Ar., hm 28:14; Beit Yosef hm 28, n. 13-14), but 
not by what the party tells him, unless that party is a scholar 
and not suspected of using undue influence (Yad, Edut 8:3). 
Yet the fact that the witness recognizes some contemporary 
handwriting as his own does not render the writing admis- 
sible in evidence if he does not remember the facts to which 
that writing relates (Sh. Ar., hm 38:13; cf. Yad, Edut 8:1). There 
is no presumption that the passage of time adversely affects 
any witness' memory (Sh. Ar., ibid.). 

examination. The biblical injunction, "thou shalt then 
inquire and make search and ask diligently" (Deut. 13:15), 
was literally interpreted to require testifying witnesses to be 
subjected to three different kinds of examination: enquiry 
(hakirah) y investigation (derishah) y and interrogation (bedi- 
kah; Sanh. 40a). Originally, the rule was held to apply in all 
cases, both civil and criminal (Sanh. 4:1), but it was later re- 
laxed to apply in criminal cases only, and possibly in cases of 
tort, so as not to render the recovery of debts too cumber- 
some and thus "shut the doors before borrowers" (Sanh. 3a, 
32a; Yev. 122b; Yad, Edut 3:1; Sh. Ar., hm 30:1). It is the duty of 
the court, Maimonides says: "to interrogate the witnesses and 
examine them and question them extensively and probe into 
their accuracy and refer them back to previous questions so as 
to make them desist from or change their testimony if it was 
in any way faulty; but the court must be very careful lest, by 
such examination, 'the witness might learn to lie'" (Yad, Edut 
1:4 based on Sanh. 32b). The purpose of the examination is, 
of course, to find out if the witnesses are truthful and consis- 
tent; even though all potentially untruthful witnesses have 
already been sifted and excluded by disqualification, further 
precautionary rules were deemed necessary to make sure of 
the witness' veracity. 

Hakirah is the examination relating to the time and place 
at which the event at issue occurred (Sanh. 5:1; Sanh. 40b). Ev- 
ery examination starts with questions of this kind, which are 
indispensable (Nov. Ran. Sanh. 42a). The particular legal im- 

portance of this part of the examination is due to its function 
as sole cause for allegations of perjury (Yad, Edut 1:5). 

Derishah is the examination relating to the substance 
of the facts at issue: who did it? what did he do? how did he 
do it? did you warn him beforehand? etc. (Sanh. 5:1, 40b). 
Or, in civil cases, how do you know the defendant is liable to 
the plaintiff? (Sanh. 3:6). As this line of examination is like- 
wise indispensable, it is regarded in law as part of the hakirah 
(Yad, Edut 1:4). 

Bedikah is a sort of cross-examination relating to ac- 
companying and surrounding circumstances and not directly 
touching upon the facts in issue (Yad, Edut 1:6). The more a 
judge conducts examinations of this kind the better (Sanh. 5:2), 
because it leads to the true facts being established (Deut. 13:15; 
Sif. Deut. 93, 149; Sanh. 41a). On the other hand, questioning 
of this kind is dispensable, and judgment may be given on the 
testimony of witnesses who have not been so cross-examined 
(Nov. Ran Sanh. 40a). The conduct and amount of cross-exam- 
inations is at the discretion of the judges; they ought to insist 
on it whenever there is the least suspicion of an attempt to mis- 
lead or deceive the court (din merummeh; Shev. 3ob-3ia; Yad, 
Sanh. 24:3 and Edut 3:2; Sh. Ar., hm 15:3). Such suspicion may 
arise, for instance, where several witnesses testify in exactly the 
same words - which would not normally happen unless they 
had learned their testimony by heart (t j, Sanh. 3:8; Piskei ha- 
Rosh, Sanh. 3:32; Sh. Ar., hm 28:10). In these cases, cross-exami- 
nation should concentrate on points on which suspicion arose 
and not be allowed to spread boundlessly (Nov. Ran, Sanh. 
32b; Ribash, Resp. no. 266; Rema hm 15:3). If, notwithstand- 
ing all cross-examination, the witnesses are consistent in their 
evidence but the judge is not satisfied that they are telling the 
truth, he should disqualify himself and let another judge take 
his place (Shev. 3ob-3ia; Sanh. 32b; Yad, Sanh. 24:3; Sh. Ar., 
hm 15:3), or he might even, if satisfied that there had been an 
attempt to mislead the court, furnish the innocent party with 
a certificate in writing to the effect that no other judge should 
entertain the suit against him (Rosh, Resp. no. 68:20). 

disproof. Where two sets of witnesses contradict each other 
on a matter material to the issue, i.e., under either hakirah or 
derishah as distinguished from bedikah (Yad, Edut 2:1), the evi- 
dence of either set is insufficient in law to establish the facts at 
issue. The reason is that there is no knowing which of the two 
groups of witnesses is testifying to the truth and which is lying 
(Yad, Edut 18:2, 22:1; Sh. Ar., hm 31:1). Where, however, there 
are inconsistencies or contradictions within the evidence of 
one set of witnesses and none within the other, the evidence of 
the consistent group will have to be accepted - the other being 
dismissed as untruthful because inconsistent. After a fact has 
been established judicially on the strength of the testimony 
of two (or more) consistent witnesses, the findings of fact will 
not necessarily be affected by contradictory witnesses com- 
ing forward after judgment (tj, Yev. 15:5), but the court may 
always reopen a case where fresh evidence becomes available 
(see ^Practice and Procedure). 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


Contradictions on matters not material to the issue will 
not normally affect the admissibility of the testimony (Sanh. 
41a; Nov. Ran ad loc), though the court may reject the testi- 
mony as unreliable because of contradictions on immaterial 
points (Yad, Edut 2:2). It seems that in civil cases, contradic- 
tions must always relate to matters material to the issue in or- 
der to warrant their rejection as insufficient (Sanh. 30b; Yad, 
Edut 3:2; Sh. Ar., hm 30:2). Where one witness positively tes- 
tifies to a fact material to the issue, and the other testifies that 
the fact is unknown to him, the testimony of the former is 
deemed to be contradicted; where the fact testified to is not 
material to the issue, the ignorance of the second witness does 
not amount to contradiction (Yad, Edut 2:1). As there is no 
knowing whether the contradicting or contradicted evidence 
is true, neither will be regarded as perjury. While evidence 
of perjury must be given in the presence of the perjured wit- 
nesses, evidence contradicting previously given testimony may 
be given in the absence of the former witnesses (Ket. i9b-2oa; 
Yad, Edut 18:5). 

Where the evidence of witnesses to the effect that a man 
is "wicked" and hence incompetent to testify is contradicted 
by other evidence, even though the first evidence is insuffi- 
cient in law to disqualify him, the man will not be admitted 
as a witness because of the doubts arising on his credibility 
(Yad, Edut 12:3); but there is a strong dissent holding that ev- 
ery man is to be presumed competent until proven otherwise 
by valid and conclusive evidence (Tos. to Ket. 26b s.v. Anan; 

Shitah Mekubbezet Ket. 26b). 

[Haim Hermann Cohn] 

Further Aspects 

definition. In contrast to Western legal systems, in which 
the litigant has the right to testify, Jewish law distinguishes 
between litigants and witnesses, and the laws governing the 
plaintiff and the defendant are distinct from the laws of testi- 
mony. Research has thus far illuminated the foundation and 
legal rationale for the distinction between a litigant - who may 
plead his/her own case but not testify - and a witness, who 
testifies for another (Hefetz, Mikkumah shel Edut ba-Mishpat 
ha-Ivri). In modern times, jurists have proposed anchoring 
the principle that "A litigant cannot be a witness" in the Israeli 
laws of evidence (Draft Bill for Amendment to Testimony in 
Civil Cases, by Dr. S. Ginnosar and Dr. Y. Kister). 

Certain scholars have attempted to characterize testi- 
mony as a special means of proving matters and deciding 
a case. The institution of testimony (the set of witnesses) is 
a quasi-judicial one for the determination of facts, similar 
to the jury in Anglo-American law. Qualification for testi- 
mony is determined by competency requirements that are 
fundamentally similar to those for membership in the judi- 
ciary (Hefetz, Mikkumah shel Edut; Ettinger, The Role of Wit- 

A persons classification as a witness and his belonging 
to a set of witnesses turns on the question of whether the wit- 
nesses' function is to witness a particular act or to testify in 

court (this distinction is largely similar to that between con- 
stitutive witnesses, eidei kiyyum y and testifying witnesses, ei- 
dei raayah). Witnesses appearing in court officially receive 
that status at the stage at which the court administers the ad- 
monishment (Mishnah, Sanh. 3:6; 4:5). However, the crite- 
rion differs regarding witnesses who observe an event for the 
purposes of attesting to it. One scholar (Radzyner, Hatraah 
be-Edim u-Tehilat Edut) suggested that Rabba's statement in 
the Talmud, "Did you come to observe an event or to testify?" 
refers to a case in which the witnesses were summoned in ad- 
vance to witness a certain act (Makk. 6a). According to this 
understanding, in all cases in which the witnesses are called 
upon to attest to an event, or to sign a document, when a ques- 
tion of their legal competency arises the purpose of their com- 
ing must be ascertained. If a relative or legally incompetent 
person states that he came to testify, the contract is disquali- 
fied. The first stage in defining the summoned witnesses as a 
set of witnesses begins from the moment they intended to at- 
test to the event, and not just to observe it. 


A central rule regarding the validity of signed documents as 
admissible evidence is the dictum of Resh Lakish, that "sig- 
natures of witnesses to a document are as reliable as if their 
evidence had been investigated in the bet din? The accepted 
interpretation of this dictum is that this refers to biblical law, 
which makes a substantive distinction between attesting to a 
document and other forms of testimony (including the affi- 
davit). In most forms of testimony one cannot waive the re- 
quirement that witnesses be interrogated by the court, whereas 
documents can be accepted as evidence without the court con- 
ducting any enquiry pertaining to the witnesses who signed 
it. On the other hand, one of the scholars (Sinai, The Geonic 
and Maimonidean Approach to Testimony Recorded in Legal 
Documents) demonstrated that certain i2 th -century rishonim 
(e.g., Maim., Edut 3:4; R. Simhah of Speyer, cited in Mordekhai 
on Kiddushin, pt. 569-570) had another conception, whose 
sources are found as early as the works of the geonim (see 
Rav Sherira Gaon, cited in Sefer ha-Terumot y Pt. 13, sec. 1:3), 
and which is also consistent with the simple meaning of the 
talmudic sources. According to this conception, the biblical 
conditions for the admissibility of testimony do not distin- 
guish between attesting to a document and other forms of 
testimony. Under biblical law all forms of testimony must be 
given by witnesses in court, thus enabling their examination 
and interrogation by the court, in accordance with the talmu- 
dic rule. "By biblical law, both monetary and capital cases re- 
quire inquiry and investigation" (Sanh. 32a); the admissibility 
of written testimony was the result of a rabbinic enactment, 
"so as not to close the door to borrowers" (Maim., ibid). Nev- 
ertheless, even according to the latter view, written testimony 
is valid even under biblical law in cases of ritual matters (issur) 
and especially regarding a get y because these as distinct from 
capital and monetary cases, do not need to be clarified by the 
court (Maim., Yad, Gerushin 7:24; cf. Sinai's interpretation, 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



ibid., p. 126). This is likewise the conception evinced by Mai- 
monides' comments on examination and interrogation of the 
testimony that frees a woman from the bonds of aginut, re- 
garding which he writes that the Sages allowed a woman to 
remarry on the basis of testimony that the husband had died, 
"even on the basis of a written document, and without ex- 
amination and interrogation." The reason for this is that "the 
Torah insists upon testimony by two witnesses and the other 
rules concerning testimony only in those matters, the truth 
of which cannot be ascertained except out of the mouths of 
witnesses and by their testimony, as, for example, when they 
testify that A has slain B or has made a loan to B. But in mat- 
ters that can be ascertained through means other than the tes- 
timony of the particular witness, where he cannot clear him- 
self if he is exposed as a false witness, as when he has testified 
that so-and-so is dead, the Torah does not so insist, because 
in such cases it is uncommon for a witness to testify to a false- 
hood" (Yad, Gerushin 13:29). 

In explaining this ruling, one of the scholars focused on 
the basic distinction between matters requiring a court ruling, 
such as capital and civil cases, regarding which the stringent 
rules of testimony are applied, and ritual matters, including the 
release of an agunah y in which the matters permitted or pro- 
hibited are applicable by themselves, irrespective of the court 
ruling (Sinai, Investigation ofAgunah Witnesses, 360-364). 

the two witness rule. One of the scholars showed that 
the rule "by two witnesses shall a matter be established" should 
not be regarded as an all-inclusive and rigid rule and that, 
in fact, the courts rely as a matter of course on less than two 
witnesses, as well as on circumstantial evidence (H.S. Hefetz, 
"According to Two Witnesses?: Circumstantial Evidence in 
the Bet Din in Practice" (Hebrew), Takdim y 2 (1989), 59-84. 
See also * Evidence.) 

In one of the decisions of the Israeli Supreme Court, Jus- 
tice Silberg relied on the concept that testimony of one wit- 
ness is sufficient to compel an oath by the opposing litigant, 
in support of the view that testimony of one witness is only 
considered as contested if it was rejected by opposing testi- 
mony (ca 88/49 Rosen v. Biali y 5 pd 72, 73, 78-80). 

competency. In any case of hearing testimony, courts oper- 
ating on the basis of Jewish law are required to determine the 
competency of the witnesses, and in many cases are unable 
to accept the testimony of incompetent witnesses. Nonethe- 
less, one of the foremost rabbinical judges, who subsequently 
served as chief rabbi of Israel, stressed that 

It goes without saying that the bet din is authorized to hear 
the truth from any person, in any form, to form an impression. 
Even where the witnesses are incompetent under halakhic prin- 
ciples, their testimony may aid them in drawing conclusions 
based on common sense presumptions (umdana) or as proof 
of an objective reality. In many cases, the court is empowered 
to use its discretion to rule in reliance on other forms of proof 
and common sense conclusions, even in the absence of valid 
testimony. (Rav A. Bakshi-Doron, "Kabbalat Edim be-Bet ha- 
Din," in: Torah she-be-al Peh, 22 (1981), 81-88, 84). 

A comprehensive study by Hayyim Hefetz dealt with the status 
of circumstantial evidence (Hefetz, Raayot Nesibatiot; on mat- 
ters of evidence and presumption, see * Evidence). The differ- 
ence between testimony proffered by competent witnesses as 
opposed to that of incompetent witnesses has been explained 
by one scholar (Ettinger, The Role of Witnesses) as being based 
on a fundamental distinction between testimony and credibil- 
ity. This distinction is manifested in the willingness to accept 
testimony of incompetent witnesses (such as testimony for 
an agunah, that her husband died), even though they are not 
considered as "witnesses" in the formal sense, though their 
testimony is relied upon. 

Women. The Scriptural source for the disqualification 
of women as witnesses is both amorphous and disputed. 
This substantiates the theory forwarded by one scholar, who 
stated that the disqualification of women as witnesses was 
an accepted rule among the talmudic sages, who attempted 
to establish its biblical source even though it was not of ex- 
plicit scriptural origin (Ettinger, Isha Ke-Ed be-Dinei Ma- 
monot y p. 245). 

One scholar suggested that the historical reason for dis- 
qualification of women as witnesses was based, not on a sup- 
posed lack of intelligence, nor on a lack of understanding of 
the imperative of telling the truth, but rather because, inas- 
much as women are not accustomed to dealings in the mar- 
ketplace, they are not used to earning a living or dealing with 
public affairs. Their lack of understanding of the ways of the 
world and the market place, a skill acquired by virtue of prac- 
tical encounter and dealings with other people, renders them 
unequipped to understand the actions of others and hence to 
testify regarding their actions (S. Albeck, Ha-Raayot be-Dinei 
ha-Talmudy Ramat Gan, 1987, p. 97). 

Both of these positions served to explain the legal, as 
opposed to the historical, reason for a woman's disqualifica- 
tion as a witness: is it owing to her lack of reliability (for she 
is liable to withdraw her testimony "having been tempted or 
out of fear"; see Tosefta Ket. 3:3, ed. Lieberman; Maim., Yad, 
Gerushin 13.29); or is the disqualification a "scriptural edict" 
(gezerat ha-katuv) y and not based upon unreliability (Resp. 
Rashba, attributed to Nahmanides, no. 128). The practical 
difference between the two approaches is crucial, as demon- 
strated by one of the scholars (Ettinger, ibid., 249-50). If the 
disqualification is substantively based on the woman's lack of 
reliability, there could at least theoretically be a change in the 
law. Such a change would be effected by way of interpretation, 
assuming that the factual- social reality had changed, to the 
extent of eliminating any presumption of a difference of any 
nature between men and woman in terms of their reliability 
for testimony. On the other hand, if the disqualification is a 
formal one, the tendency would be to limit the scope of the 
prohibition, and to waive it under certain circumstances, in 
the same way as when the law is altered directly by force of 
an enactment. 

The more lenient approach to acceptance of a woman's 
testimony is usually found in the Ashkenazi tradition, whereas 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


the tendency of Spanish medieval scholars is to totally ban 
women as witnesses. It may be presumed that this dispute 
reflects differences in the status of women in the two paral- 
lel Jewish societies of that time. Scholars of that period have 
shown that Jewish women enjoyed a better status in Ashkenazi 
society than in Sephardi society, and that as such the Ashke- 
nazi authorities did not hesitate to limit the scope of the pro- 
hibition on women as witnesses (Ettinger, ibid. 255). 

Two chief rabbis of Israel commented on the issue of ac- 
cepting women's testimony in our times, as follows: Rav Ouz- 
iel argued that a woman was disqualified as a witness because 
she was liable to lack precision in her testimony due to her 
lack of experience in commercial- market affairs. Based on this 
reasoning he infers that in all matters with which they are fa- 
miliar, we may rely on their testimony, and that the commu- 
nity is therefore empowered to enact regulations to validate a 
woman's testimony in contemporary times (Resp. Mishpatei 
Uziel, hm no. 20). In this context, a significant step was taken 
by Rabbi Herzog, as indicated in his decisions given when 
serving on the Rabbinical Court of Appeals in 1948 (collec- 
tion of decisions of the Chief Rabbinate, ed. Z. Warhaftig, 
1985, p.11). Rav Herzog states that the rabbinical judge has dis- 
cretion to evaluate the testimonies, and if he deems that the 
witnesses are telling the truth, he is even entitled to accept a 
woman's testimony. 

The Wicked. The Talmud discusses the question of how to 
characterize a "wicked" person who is disqualified as a witness 
(Sanh. 27b). According to Rava, only the "wicked who robs" 
is disqualified - in other words, a person who transgressed 
an offense of a monetary nature. According to Abbaye, any 
"wicked" person is disqualified. The halakhah was codified in 
accordance with the latter view. Their dispute may quite pos- 
sibly turn on the reason for disqualifying the wicked person 
for testimony. According to Abbaye, for whom the disqualifi- 
cation also applies to strictly religious offenses, its source lies 
in a Scriptural edict. Rava, however, who limits the disquali- 
fication to the financially wicked, apparently sees its source as 
being the unreliability of the witness who is a criminal (this in- 
terpretation is suggested by Nimmukei Yosef on Rif, ad loc. 5b 
of the Rif, s.v. itmar). From Maimonides Mishnah Commen- 
tary ', in Sanhedrin 3:3, one scholar inferred (Sinai, Be'ur Shitat 
ha-Rambam be-Inyan Kashrutam shel Reshdim le-Edut), that 
a distinction must be made between one who violates prohi- 
bitions concerning monetary matters (hamsan), and one who 
transgresses non-monetary offences. With respect to the latter 
the prohibition derives from a Scriptural edict, whereas for the 
former there is a substantive rational reason - namely, the fear 
of perjury. A similar approach is taken by Kezot ha-Hoshen, 
52:1). This is also the approach evidenced in the comments of 
Justice H. Cohn regarding suspected tax evaders, of whom he 
writes that "This renders them suspect of perjury, for just as 
they do not recoil from obfuscations and lies in order to evade 
tax [or another kind of breach of the law] , they will similarly 
not shy away from obfuscation and lies in order to win their 
case. This is the obvious rationale of the To rah in its disquali- 

fication of wicked persons as witnesses, inter alia 'those who 
take money that is not theirs' (in the language of Maimonides, 
Edut 10.4)" (ca 41/75 Nili v Shlomi, 30 (2) pd 3, 6-7). 

It is suggested in the research literature that one view the 
disqualification of the wicked - even if they had not commit- 
ted monetary offenses - as part of the overall approach of the 
Torah, and not just as a specific "Scriptural edict" (Sinai, ibid., 
298). There are numerous commandments in the Torah in re- 
spect of which the "wicked" are not considered as belonging to 
the community of Israel (Yad, Gezelah va-Avedah 11:2; Mam- 
rim 5:12; Evel 1:10; Edut 11:1). On this basis, we may reasonably 
surmise that, with respect to testimony, the biblical innovation 
was that all wicked persons are disqualified for testimony, and 
as such they are subsumed within the general system of wit- 
nesses who are excluded from the Community of Israel. Con- 
ceivably, one could add that proffering testimony is regarded 
as a religious duty, in which not all can partake. 

The reason for disqualifying the wicked for testimony has 
important legal ramifications in our times, regarding the issue 
of the competence of witnesses who are not religiously obser- 
vant. In a 1948 judgment, Chief Rabbi Herzog wrote (Collec- 
tion of Decisions of the Chief Rabbinate, ed. Z. Warhaftig, 1985, 
p. 137) that the offender's disqualification is rooted in his un- 
reliability only, for which reason "one must have taken into 
consideration that in a time. . . and place where. . . non-obser- 
vance is widespread... this kind of offense will not necessar- 
ily impugn the reliability of the witnesses." Consequently, in 
his view, "If it is clear to the Court that this person [i.e., who 
does not live a traditional religious life] is not likely to per- 
jure himself for personal benefit, then he may be accepted as 
a valid witness." 

Another legal ramification of the rationale for disqualify- 
ing the wicked for testimony that emerges from Maimonides' 
Mishnah Commentary (ibid.) relates to the possibility of the 
wicked person regaining the status of competent witnesses. 
As indicated by one of the scholars (Sinai, ibid., 300-308), 
Maimonides' view is that, with respect to those who commit- 
ted monetary offenses, their return to the status of legitimate 
witnesses is contingent upon their allaying our fears that they 
may perjure themselves for monetary gain. Accordingly, they 
must abandon "the path of the sinners," and their repentance 
must be unequivocal. The criterion for such repentance is that 
they be placed in a situation that invites the commission of the 
offense that they were accustomed to committing, yet despite 
having the opportunity of committing the offense, they de- 
sisted. This would constitute irrefutable proof of the sincerity 
of their repentance, that they had freed themselves of their lust 
for money, and thus we need no longer fear their return to the 
path of sin. Nonetheless, the recovery of their status as com- 
petent witnesses may still be contingent upon the particular 
circumstances and nature of the crime (Yad, Edut 12). 

Persons guilty of non-monetary transgressions only re- 
gain competence as witnesses after receiving the punishment 
of flagellation (Yad, Edut 12.4). The reason, as indicated in 
Maimonides' Mishnah Commentary (ibid.), is that those sub- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



ject to flagellation return to competence even without repen- 
tance, because their initial disqualification is not rooted in the 
fear that they will lie, but derives rather from the Scriptural 
edict: "Put not thy hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous 
witness." Hence, having received lashes, they are once again 
regarded as "thy brother" and regain their competence, even 
in the absence of repentance (Sinai, ibid., 309-310). 

Incidentally, in one of the judgments of the Israeli Su- 
preme Court, Deputy President Menachem Elon wrote that 
"based on the overarching principle of after receiving lashes - 
he is like your brother' (Mishnah, Makkot 3:15), Jewish law 
prescribed a series of rules intended to rehabilitate the crimi- 
nal who served his sentence, and thus preserve his rights as 
a human being, as your brother and as your neighbor" (a la 
18/84 Karmi v. State Prosecutor, 44 (1) pd 353, 375), and also 
receives expression in the Crime Register and Rehabilita- 
tion of Offenders Law, 1981, which is based on the princi- 
ples of Jewish law (see judgment, ibid; Elon, Ha-Mishpat ha- 
Ivn, pp. 1434-1435) 

In another Supreme Court judgment, Justice Silberg al- 
luded to the concept taken from Jewish law in responsa of the 
aharonim: to wit, that a person disqualified as a witness due to 
the offense committed as a result of and in connection with his 
testimony, is only disqualified after completing his testimony. 
(ca 238/53 Cohen v. Attorney General, 4 pd 4, 30-31). 

The Interested Party. A fascinating question that arose 
in modern times relates to the status in Jewish law of a wit- 
ness who turns states evidence (i.e., one offered immunity 
from punishment for his own crimes in return for testifying 
against another criminal). The various problems posed by a 
conviction resting on the testimony of a person who turned 
state s evidence is a classic example of the "interested party" 
and of one who "receives benefit for testifying." All of these 
issues are dealt with in a comprehensive study (E. Shochet- 
man, Eduto shel Ed Medinah le-Or ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri). In 
terms of being "an interested party," the author argues that 
such a person should be disqualified as witness, because the 
consideration given him for his testimony is given by one 
party (the prosecution - District/State attorney), because he 
is under pressure for his testimony to be consistent with that 
given to the police during his preliminary interrogation, and 
because it must conform with the prosecutor's anticipations. 
Another problem is the granting of immunity against criminal 
prosecution in return for giving testimony, which constitutes 
the granting of benefit to the witness in return for his testi- 
mony. This is in direct contravention of the commandment 
to give evidence gratuitously, and under Mishnaic law, such 
testimony is invalid (Mishnah, Bekhorot, 4:6). The halakhah 
in this matter is in accordance with the view of Rema (hm 
34:18). On this basis, the author concludes that even in terms 
of the law of "he who receives benefit for testifying," the state's 
witness should be disqualified. On the other hand, Shochet- 
man suggests that the institute of "states evidence" might be 
validated by the enactment of a regulation allowing the court 
discretionary power to deviate from regular laws of evidence, 

in an attempt to provide a halakhic solution for situations in 
which an offender whose guilt is clear may still escape pun- 
ishment altogether. 

disqualification. A comprehensive study concerning the 
prohibition against self-incrimination in Jewish law was con- 
ducted by A. Kirschenbaum (The Criminal Confession in Jew- 
ish Law), some of the main aspects of which will be discussed 
below. The talmudic principle that invalidates a person's con- 
fession to a criminal offense is without parallel in any of other 
legal system, whether in the ancient world, in the medieval 
period, or in modern times. Jewish law determined that no 
person could be convicted on the basis of his own confession, 
both with respect to considering the confessor as "wicked," 
his disqualification as a witness, and with regard to punish- 
ment. The author of the above study distinguished between 
the theoretical halakhic rule, which totally denies the admis- 
sibility of a criminal confession, and practical halakhah, which 
was prepared to accept it, as dictated by the exigencies of the 
period. However, even when an admission was accepted, the 
original halakhah left its imprint, and whenever the exigen- 
cies of the period did not compel deviation from the classical 
halakhah - i.e., the vast majority of cases - the courts would 
abide by the classical position of Jewish law. It should be noted 
that the Israeli Supreme Court also gave expression to the clas- 
sical position of Jewish law (see e.g. Justice Elon, Cr.A. 543/79 
Nagar v. State of Israel, 35 (1) 113). Over the last few years there 
has been growing support for deviation from the principle of 
admitting a confession of an accused. In fact, in one of the 
judgments, Justice Dalia Dorner expressed a lone opinion 
that drew inspiration from Jewish Law, as a system in which 
human experience lead to the creation of a rule that disquali- 
fies the admission of the accused (fh 4342/97 State of Israel v. 
Al-Abid, 51 (1) pd 736, par. 3 of judgment). 

duty to testify. The religious duty to testify exists even 
when the witness is not called upon to testify by the interested 
party, for conceivably the litigant may not even be aware of the 
existence of that witness. In a decision given by the Tel Aviv 
Rabbinical Court, File 15453/5745, the court ruled that in view 
of this halakhic duty, "the claim of immunity is not accepted 
(i.e., in accordance with Section 90 of the Chamber of Ad- 
vocates Law, 5721 - 1961), because that claim contradicts the 
biblical command 'If he does not utter it, then he shall bear 
his iniquity' (Lev 5:1)." 

Unlike the accepted rule in many legal systems, under 
Jewish law there is no automatic swearing of a witness to tell 
the truth. However, "Should the court perceive a need dic- 
tated by the times, to impose an oath on them so that they 
shall say the truth - it may do so" (Rema, hm 28:2). The hal- 
akhic position was adopted in Israeli law in the Rules of Evi- 
dence Amendment (Warning of Witnesses and Abolition of 
Oath) Law, 5740 - 1980, which provides that "Notwithstand- 
ing anything provided in any other law, a witness about to 
testify in any judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding shall not 
be sworn" (Section 1). Nonetheless, the court was conferred 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


discretion to swear in a witness "Where the court has reason 
to believe that swearing a witness may assist in discovering 
the truth." However, under those circumstances "the witness 
may, after stating that he does so for reasons of religion or 
conscience, make an affirmation rather than taking an oath, 
unless the court is satisfied that he does not invoke those rea- 
sons in good faith." Even where the witness does not make 
an oath, the court must warn him that he must tell the whole 
truth, and nothing but the truth, and that he will be liable for 
the penalties prescribed bylaw if he fails to do so (Section 2). 
The procedure for warning witnesses is further expanded in 
^Practice and Procedure. 

A highly instructive innovation pertaining to secret 
monitoring appears in a judgment of Justice Menachem Elon 
(fh 9/83 Military Court of Appeals v. Vaknin y 43 (2) pd 837, 
857-859), where it states that "under special circumstances 
secret monitoring is a mitzvah, as when needed in order to 
create evidence in a case of serious criminal activity (incite- 
ment and enticement), in which case 'witnesses are hidden 
behind a partition (Mishnah, Sanh. 7:10) and it is permitted 
in order to create evidence with respect to any kind of crimi- 
nality" (see Rabbi Joseph Babad, Minhat Hinukh, §462). Jus- 
tice Elon's comments were cited approvingly by Rav S. Dik- 
hovsky, "Haazanat Seter" in: Tehumin y 11 (1990), 299-332, at 

In another interesting decision of Justice Tiirkel, a prec- 
edential rule was crystallized in a matter yet to be addressed 
by Israeli case law. The question concerned a judge giving 
testimony at the witness stand (lca 3202/03 State of Israel 
v.Yosef)> 58 (3) pd 541, at par.10 of judgment). Justice Tiirkel 
relied on the sources of Jewish law regarding the retaining of 
the dignity of the dayyan> in addition to the sources dealing 
with the possibility of taking testimony from a learned scholar 
in his home, in deference to his revered status (Maim., Yad, 
Edut 1:2). Justice Tiirkel drew an analogy from these sources 
to the immediate question of the judge as a witness. 

examination. In a court procedure conducted in accor- 
dance with Jewish law, the judge is charged with the exami- 
nation of witnesses, and in principle the litigants and their at- 
torneys do not have the possibility of examining the witnesses. 
(Regarding court's intervention in the judicial proceedings, see 
^Practice and Procedure.) In this context, the Rules of Pro- 
cedure of the Rabbinical Courts of Israel establish a new and 
interesting arrangement. Regulation 89 (Section 1) states that: 
"The witness presents the testimony and is then examined by 
the Bet Din. After that, he can be examined by the party that 
summoned him, and then by the opposing party." The prin- 
cipal examination is inquisitorial, conducted by the Bet Din 
itself, and followed by examinations conducted by both par- 
ties (examination in chief, and cross-examination). Insofar 
as the examination of witnesses by the litigants is purely for 
purposes of promoting the Bet Dins examination, the Bet Din 
has broad discretion in the examination of witnesses, and is 
even empowered to deviate from this format where circum- 

stances necessitate it. Section 3 of the aforementioned regula- 
tion states "the Bet Din is permitted to ask further questions 
at all times, and to allow the litigants or any one of them to 
do so." Regulation 90 provides: "The Bet Din is permitted to 
disallow any question presented to a witness and to terminate 
the questioning of a witness by the litigants, if the Bet Din sus- 
pects that the question may mislead or prompt the witness to 
lie, or if the Bet Din deems the question superfluous, insult- 
ing or intimidating." A similar arrangement (to that provided 
in said Regulation 90) was established by the Israeli legislator 
in the Amendment of Procedure (Examination of Witnesses) 
Law, 5718 - 1957. 

In the Israeli Supreme Court, Justice Menachem Elon re- 
lied on the procedures for examining witnesses in Jewish law 
to indicate the importance of the cross-examination (Cr.A. 
Hag' Yichyeh v. State ofIsrael y 45 (5) pd 221, 264-265.) 

In the vast majority of civil suits and personal status suits, 
the Bet Din is not required to conduct a rigorous, punctilious 
examination of the witnesses, the like of which is mandatory 
in criminal cases, and the degree of its intervention (which for 
the most part did not consist of professional dayyanim) in the 
examination of witnesses was minimal. The following alterna- 
tive grounds for leniency with regard to procedural strictures 
relating to competency of the dayanim and examination of 
witnesses were invoked by the Sages: "in order not to lock the 
door on borrowers" (Sanh. 32b); "in order to lock the door on 
perpetrators of injustice" (Piskei Ha-Rosh, to Sanh. 81.1); and 
"public policy" or "to distance tortfeasors" (Ha-Meiri, in Bet 
Ha-Behirah on Sanh. 3b, at p. 6 (Ralbag ed.)). These reasons 
are applicable both with respect to matters involving financial 
loss and, in effect, in most civil matters, as well as in matters 
concerning personal status. As shown by one of the scholars 
(Sinai, The Courts Intervention in Litigation According to Jew- 
ish LaWy p. 249), the position adopted by halakhic authori- 
ties was that strict compliance with the two aforementioned 
limitations would severely impair the efficiency of the judi- 
cial system, precisely concerning those issues with which the 
rabbinical courts are frequently engaged on a daily basis. This 
position relied inter alia on the explicit talmudic testimony 
that in regular matters involving monetary loss, lenience was 
permitted and matters were heard even before non-profes- 
sional judges so that suits could be heard by lay judges who 
were not experts in the secrets of examination and investiga- 
tion. This in turn engendered a parallel policy of leniency re- 
garding the extent to which the dayyanim were involved in 
the process of examining witnesses, and the abrogation of the 
obligation to conduct a punctilious examination and inves- 
tigation in those fields (i.e., monetary, personal status). The 
result was the conducting of an efficient hearing in e very-day 
matters. Moreover, even in the realm of personal law, the ac- 
cepted approach is that the Bet Din does not conduct a rig- 
orous, meticulous examination of the witnesses (Yeb. 122b). 
A number of explanations have been offered to explain this 
tendency: the purpose and role of the witnesses and of the Bet 
Din in matters of personal status as distinct from capital and 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



civil matters; or the tendency towards lenience that charac- 
terizes the laws of the agunah; or against the background of 
"takkanat ha-lovim" (so that lenders will not be deterred from 
loaning) (Sinai, Hakirat Edei Hagannah - Le-Hithavvutan shel 
Tefisot Mishpatiyyot). 

With regard to reliance on written records, it should be 
added that in a recent ruling of the District Court in Jerusalem 
(cf (Jer) 4177/02 Ashkenazi v. Gandin, (unpublished) par. 6; 
delivered in 2005) Judge Yosef Shapira accepted the testimony 
of the defendant -doc tor in a medical negligence suit, to the 
effect that the plaintiff had never actually visited her clinic. 
His acceptance of this testimony was based inter alia on the 
presumption that had the plaintiff actually visited her clinic, 
she would presumably have examined him at the time and 
recorded his particulars in his patient card, in view of his be- 
ing a new patient. This factual determination was based on 
Jewish law, which permits reliance on records in booklets or 
the computer, in accordance with the halakhah codified in the 
Shulhan Arukh (hm 91.5). 

An interesting example of reliance on the Jewish law re- 
garding examination of witnesses appeared in a recent deci- 
sion of District Court Judge Pilpel (cf (ta) 2070/00 Avidan 
v. Avidan (Tak-Dis 2005 (2), 5676, 5681). The case concerned a 
suspicion of fraudulent signature on a deed, in the context of 
the English legal doctrine of "non- est factum!' In her decision, 
Judge Pilpel wrote that, "this subject and the decision thereon 
were already discussed in ancient times by the Babylonian 
geonim" (see Ozar ha-Geonim le-Ketubbot, 183, pp. 92-93). The 
geonim were asked about the validity of a deed when it was 
known that the witnesses signed thereon were illiterate. They 
responded that such a situation is "a total farce" and would 
sow suspicion in any reasonable persons heart, and accord- 
ingly the nature of the signature demands examination (Dr. 
Y. Sinai, "The Geonic and Maimonidean Approach to Testi- 
mony Recorded in Legal Documents (Shetar)" in: Dinei Israel, 
22 (2003), 111). 

Regarding fraudulent claims see ^Practice and Proce- 

disproof. In one of the first decisions of the Israeli Supreme 
Court it was ruled (per Justice Simha Assaf) on the basis of the 
Talmud (Sanh. 41a) that a distinction must be made between 
a conflict that involves the core of a given matter and one re- 
garding trivial conditions. The distinction is explained as fol- 
lows: "If one of the witnesses was not precise in the details of 
his testimony, this does not perjure his entire testimony. It is 
precisely the perjured witnesses, who have carefully coordi- 
nated their testimonies, who are more able to submit perfect 
testimony, without any contradictions. Truthful witnesses, on 
the other hand, may contradict one another, and even con- 
tradict themselves in unimportant details, especially in those 
pertaining to peripheral aspects of the event, because they 
were not in a relaxed state of mind, and they were shocked 
by the confusion and pandemonium that resulted from the 
event" (Cr.A. 3/48 Katz-Cohen v. Attorney General, 2 pd 681, 

686-687). Justice Assaf s contention was that contradictory 
witnesses should not necessarily be disqualified where the 
contradiction relates to non-substantive matters. In another 
Israeli Supreme Court judgment, he found additional support 
for this contention in the words of Rav (tj Sanh. 4:1, 22a), 
who when hearing witnesses whose testimony was substan- 
tially similar, to the extent of their using the same words, he 
suspected them of being false witnesses who had coordinated 
their testimony, and he would investigate and examine them. 
However if their testimony was not couched in precisely the 
same wording, each of them describing the event using differ- 
ent words, then he would only investigate to ensure that their 
testimony provided a sufficiently accurate description of the 
event so as to be relied upon. 

Justice Assaf offered a further justification for this rule 
stating that, "Just as no two prophets prophesize in the same 
style, then a fortiori two laymen (Resp. Zikhron Yehudah, by 
R. Judah ben Asher, no. 72)" (Cr.A. Suleiman v. Attorney Gen- 
eral, 6 pd 824, 826). 

In another judgment of the Israel Supreme Court, Justice 
Silberg invoked the principle whereby "testimony that cannot 
be refuted is not valid" in an interesting manner, as the basis of 
the requirement for corroborating evidence in sexual offenses. 
Justice Silberg justified the need for external corroborative 
evidence in addition to the testimony of the complainant as 
follows: "Since the testimony of the complainant is almost al- 
ways 'testimony that cannot be refuted' given that it concerns 
intimate matters that occurred behind closed doors, where no- 
one can see, and hence there are no witnesses for the defense 
who can help the innocent person who is under suspicion" 
(Cr.A. Saadia v. Attorney General, 16 pd i860, 1862). 

[Yuval Sinai (2 nd ed.)] 

bibliography: Z. Frankel, Der gerichtliche Beweis nach 
mosaisch-talmudischem Rechte (1846); N. Hirsch, in: Jeschurun, 12 
(1865/66), 80-88, 109-22, 147-65, 249-58, 382-94 (Germ.); I. Tone- 
lis Handl, Die Zulaessigkeit zur Zeugenaussage und zur Eidesablegung 
nach mosaisch-rabbinischem Rechte (1866; Hebr. and Germ.); L. Loew, 
in: Ben Chananja, 9 (1866), Suppl; repr. in his: Gesammelte Schriften, 
3 (1893), 335-45; M. Bloch, Die Civilprocess-Ordnung nach mosaisch- 
rabbinischem Rechte (1882), 43-53; IS. Zuri, Mishpat ha-Tahmud, 7 
(1921), 43-53; Gulak, Yesodei, 2 (1922), 28, 30, i34ff.; 4 (1922), 150-63; 
idem, Ozar, 305-11; S. Kaatz, in: Jeschurun, 15 (1928), 89-98, 179-87 
(Germ.); Z. Karl, in: Ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri, 3 (1928), 89-127; A. Gulak, 
in: Tarbiz, 12 (1940/41), 181-9; Z. Karl, in: Ha-Peraklit, 5 (1948), 81-85; 
et, 1 (i95i 3 )» 88-90, 117-9, 225f.; 2 (1949), i4f-» 60, 65, 137, 247, 252f., 
30of.; 3 (1951), i6of., 378f.; 5 (1953), 46-51, 337"43> 38i-5> 517-22, 
528f.; 6 (1954), 199 f-J 7 (1956), 290-5, 383-5, 638-64; 8 (1957), 352f., 
429-131; 9 (1959), 64-103, 729-46; 11 (1965), 242; A. Weiss, Seder ha- 
Diyyun (1957), 86-124, 206-54; J. Cohen, in: Ha-Torah ve-ha-Me- 
dinah, 11-13 (1959/62), 517-40; S. Atlas, in: Sefer Yovel... Abraham 
Weiss (1964), 73-90; H. Jaeger, in: Recueils de la Societe Jean Bodin, 
16 (1965), 415-594; Elon, Mafteah, 206-18; G. Holzer, in: Sinai, 6y 
(1970), 94-112. add. bibliography: M. Elon, Ha-Mishpat ha- 
Ivri, (1988), 424-34> 497"504> 596-97 816-18, 1341-42, 1424-34; idem, 
Jewish Law: History, Sources, Principles, 397-99, 607-9, 1697-1707; M. 
Elon, B. Auerbach, D. Hazin, M Sykes, Jewish Law ( u Batei ha-Din"), 
in: Torah she-be-al Peh, 22 (1981), 81-88; S. Dikhovsky, "Ha'azanat Se- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


ter" in: Tehumin, 11 (1990), 299-312; S. Ettinger, "Ishah ke-Ed be-Dinei 
Mamonot be-Mishpat ha-Ivri? in: Dinei Yisrael, 20-21 (2000-2001), 
241-67; S. Ettinger, "The Role of Witnesses in Jewish Law," in: Dinei 
Yisrael, 22 (5763), 7-37; H.S. Hefetz, "Mekoman shel Raayot Nesibatiot 
ba-Mishpat ha-Ivri" in: Mishpatim 1 (1968), 676°.; idem, "Mekomah 
shel Edut ba-Mishpat ha-Ivri? in: Dinei Yisrael, 9 (1978-1980), 51-84; 
idem, u Al pi Shenei Edim Yakum Davar - Ha-Omnam? Raayot Nesi- 
batiot be-Vet ha-Din - Halakhah Le-Maaseh? in: Takdim, 2 (1989), 
59-84; A. Kirschenbaum, The Criminal Confession in Jewish Law 
(Heb., 2005); N. Neriah, "Edut shel mi she-Eino Mekayyem Torah u- 
Mizvot" in: Tehumin, 13 (1992-1993), 417-21; J.A. Polak, "Some Social 
and Societal Implications of Law of Witnesses," in: Jewish Law As- 
sociation Studies, 4 (1990), 55-68; A. Radzyner, "Hatraah be-Edim u- 
TehilatEdut" in: Dinei Yisrael, 20-21 (2000-1), 515-51; E. Shochetman, 
"Eduto shel Ed Medinah le-Or ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri" in: Mishpatim, 11 
(1981), 139-73; Y. Sinai, "Biur Shitat ha-Rambam be-Inyan Kashrutam 
shel Resha'im le-Edut" in: Maagal, 12 (1998), 289-310; idem, "Hakirat 
Edei Agunah - Le-Hithavvutan shel Tefisot Mishpatiyyot" in: Shena- 
ton ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri, 22 (2001-3), 329-68; idem, "The Geonic and 
Maimonidean Approach to Testimony Recorded in Legal Docu- 
ments (Shetar)" in: Dinei Yisrael, 22 (Heb., 2003), 111-49; idem, The 
Courts Intervention in Litigation According to Jewish Law (Heb., 2003), 

Russian statesman. Between 1892 and 1903 he was finance 
minister and exerted much influence in the economic and for- 
eign policies of Russia. In 1894 he introduced the government 
monopoly in the alcoholic liquors trade, a measure which re- 
moved within a few years tens of thousands of Jewish fami- 
lies from this branch of the economy. Witte was opposed to 
the aggressive policy of Russia in the Far East and, after the 
defeat of the Russian army in 1904, led the delegation which 
signed the Peace Treaty of Portsmouth with Japan (1905). He 
was among the advocates of the Constitution of October 1905 
and headed the Council of Ministers until April 1906. As a re- 
sult of these activities and his efforts to obtain foreign loans, 
Witte met with Jews both in Russia and western Europe, as 
well as in America. He criticized the discriminatory policy 
and spoke against the persecution of the Jews, which he be- 
lieved was responsible for the active participation by Jews in 
the Russian revolutionary movement and the difficulties en- 
countered by the Russian government in its foreign policy and 
on the international financial market. 

When * Herzl visited St. Petersburg, during the summer 
of 1903, he conferred with Witte on the subject of obtaining 
authorization for issuance of shares in Russia by the Jewish 
Colonial Trust. During his last years Witte wrote his memoirs 
(3 vols., 1922-23), which contain material on the economic and 

political history of the Jews in Russia. 

[Yehuda Slutsky] 

WITTENBERG, YIZHAK (Itzig; 1907-1943), first com- 
mander of the Jewish fighters' organization in the Vilna ghetto 
(Fareynegte Partizaner Organizatsye, United Partisan Or- 
ganization, fpo). He was born into a working class family 
and worked as a tailor before the war and was a Commu- 
nist from his youth. During the Soviet occupation of Vilna 

he was a Communist activist. He became one of the lead- 
ers of the Communist underground during the German 

The fighters' organization was established in the ghetto 
after the Nazis systematically murdered more than 40,000 
Vilna Jews, after transporting them to the site of the massacre 
at *Ponary. After the organization was established, Wittenberg 
was chosen commander. He headed the training program and 
was an outstanding officer. On July 15, 1943, one of Witten- 
berg's contacts was caught by the Nazis outside the ghetto, 
who were apparently unaware of the existence of the fpo. On 
the evening of the same day, the leaders of the fighters' orga- 
nization were ordered to appear before Jacob Gens, the chief 
of the Jewish police in the ghetto, to provide an explanation. 
The commanders appeared at the appointed hour, and after 
a short period *ss men broke into the office by the side door 
with their guns pointed at the fighters. They were ordered to 
identify Wittenberg, but refused to answer, until Gens himself 
pointed him out. Wittenberg was handcuffed and taken out 
in the direction of the gate of the ghetto, but his captors never 
succeeded in getting him there. The ghetto fighters attacked 
the ss men and in an exchange of fire succeeded in freeing 
Wittenberg. Instead of attacking the ghetto and destroying it 
with Wittenberg inside, the ss handed Gens an ultimatum that 
he must turn Wittenberg over to them before 3:00 a.m. or they 
would destroy the ghetto and all its inhabitants. 

Due to the tempestuous situation created in the ghetto 
after Gens repeated the ultimatum, it was necessary to extend 
the time to 6:00 a.m. At first, people were unwilling to be- 
lieve Gens' testimony that the Germans intended to destroy 
the ghetto. Two camps quickly emerged: representatives of 
the fighters, who believed that under no circumstances was 
Wittenberg to be given over to the Nazis; and those who sup- 
ported Gens and demanded that it was necessary to spare the 
ghetto and hand Wittenberg over to the Germans at the ap- 
pointed hour, so as not to endanger the entire ghetto for the 
sake of one man. They also felt that the time was not ripe for a 
general uprising. The exchanges between the two sides reached 
the proportions of a civil war in the eyes of the Nazis, who 
stood on the side waiting for the time to run out. The fight- 
ers opened up negotiations with the chief of police with the 
intention of offering a volunteer to deceive the Germans or 
to claim that Wittenberg had escaped. But Gens rejected the 
suggestion. The fighters were close to despair, seeing all their 
preparations for the fateful day collapsing because of one in- 
cident, and they demanded that Wittenberg give the order to 
fight. But Wittenberg was not prepared to allow Jew to fight Jew 
until his fighters reached their real enemy. Full of confidence, 
he walked out into the deserted street, approached the ghetto 
gate, and turned himself over to the Germans. He was subse- 
quently tortured and died. Some say that he took his own life 
in prison. 

bibliography: J. Robinson, And the Crooked Shall be Made 
Straight (1965), 219, 343 note 235; M. Rolnik, Ani Hayyevet le-Sapper 
(1965), 89-92. add. bibliography: Y. Arad, Ghetto in Flames: 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



The Struggle and Destruction of the Jews in Vilna in the Holocaust 

[B. Mordechai Ansbacher / Michael Berenbaum (2 nd ed.)] 

WITTGENSTEIN, LUDWIG (1889-1951), Austrian-British 
philosopher who profoundly influenced Anglo-Saxon analytic 
philosophy through his analysis of language; brother of the 
musician Paul * Wittgenstein. 


Wittgenstein was born in Vienna in 1889, the eighth and 
youngest child in a well-off and cultured family He had three 
Jewish grandparents. As a child he was baptized, but he never 
was a religious Catholic. After a private education at home, he 
attended school in Linz, where, coincidentally, Adolf Hitler 
also was a pupil. He studied engineering in Berlin and then 
went to Manchester, England, to study aerodynamics. There 
he read Bertrand Russell's Principles of Mathematics and be- 
came interested in logic and the logical basis of mathematics. 
In 1911 he met Gottlob Frege (1848-1925) who demonstrated 
that one can derive mathematics from logic, and singled out 
the problem of the inaccuracy of language. Frege referred him 
to Russell, whom Wittgenstein visited in the same year, and 
who stimulated him to be active in philosophy. 

What vividly interested him was language. In 1913 and 
1914, he worked during long periods in Norway in order to 
clarify logic. With the outbreak of World War 1 he became a 
volunteer in the Austrian army. In 1916 the first version of his 
famous Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittgensteins essay 
on language and logic, was ready. In the same year, he left for 
the front. In 1918, he was taken prisoner of war in Italy. Upon 
his return to Vienna, he studied to become a teacher and gave 
away his personal fortune. 

At first, Wittgenstein could not find a publisher for his 
Tractatus. It was finally published in 1922 in the series An- 
nalen der Naturphilosophie. He worked as a gardener and 
also as a teacher in several elementary schools. He was suc- 
cessful when teaching superior pupils, but was a failure with 
other pupils, whom he treated harshly. In 1925 he again vis- 
ited England where he became an advanced student, and in 
1929 received his Ph.D. on the basis of his Tractatus. In 1930 
he started teaching in Cambridge. The Tractatus was the only 
work he published, although he desired also to publish his 
later work Philosophische Untersuchungen. 

Teaching at the university did not prevent Wittgenstein 
from opposing any form of academic philosophy. He devel- 
oped a growing resistance toward the mathematical and sci- 
entific way of thinking as the only ways of philosophizing. In 
1935 he pondered immigrating to Russia. In 1939 he was pro- 
moted to the rank of professor. 

During the difficult years of the Shoah, the Wittgenstein 
family in Vienna were considered non-Jewish, thanks to a 
friend, the Catholic teacher Ludwig Hansel, who had access 
to leading political figures of that time. It was probably on 
instructions of Arthur *Seyss-Inquart, who was responsible 

for the destruction of Dutch Jewry and who was tried in the 
Nuremberg trials, that the family was not killed. 

For some time, Wittgenstein left his academic position 
and worked in a London hospital. In 1948 he left for Ireland. 
In the summer of 1949, he visited America, where he became 
ill. In 1950 he returned to London, without a job and without 
money. During the last months of his life he wrote On Cer- 
tainty. He died in 1951. 


Customarily, one distinguishes between Wittgensteins early 
work, the Tractatus (1922), and his later work, e.g., the Philo- 
sophical Investigations (published posthumously in 1953). 

Fortunately, there exists Wittgenstein's voluminous Nach- 
lafi, of which various manuscript were published, as Zettel, 
On Certainty ', Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics ', 
Culture and Value, and Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychol- 
ogy. There are further the Notebooks 1914-1916 and, finally, the 
notes made by his students, e.g., The Blue and Brown Books, 
Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, and Psychology and 
Religious Belief. 

The Vienna Circle interpreted his early work in the direc- 
tion of logical positivism, on the basis of the picture -language 
discussed in the Tractatus. It is, however, questionable if there 
is enough supporting evidence for speaking of Wittgenstein 1 
and 11. It is the same person who, during his entire life, de- 
veloped a critique of language, attacking the picture theory of 
meaning. In all of his philosophical activities, he waged "the 
battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means 
of our language" (ein Kampfgegen die Verhexung unsres Ver- 
standes durch die Mittel unserer Sprache) (Philosophical In- 
vestigations, 109) and wanted the reader to take upon himself 
the task of clarifying his language. The theory developed in 
the early work was written to be rejected, and the Investiga- 
tions clarified the questions that were raised in the Tractatus. 
Wittgenstein wanted the old thoughts and the new ones be 
published together. 

Philosophical problems were for him first of all prob- 
lems of language. He was convinced that, if one would study 
the logic of language, one would be able to solve many philo- 
sophical problems. 

Investigation of the Use of Language 

The Tractatus describes the limitations of language. Logic is 
what is "true." There is the simple tautological equation a = a. 
Further, there is the formula a is not not- a: I cannot eat and 
not eat at the same time. Finally there is the dilemma: or a or 
not- a: or it rains or it doesn't. 

Wittgenstein doubts if one really says something with 
this logic that it is true under all circumstances. Mathemat- 
ics, too, is logic: it is a priori true, not based upon experi- 
ments: 5 and 5, for instance, is 10, and one does not have to 
verify that. Finally, Wittgenstein maintains in his Tractatus 
that only scientific utterances give certainty about reality. But 
scientific utterances are not necessarily true: reality could 
also be different. 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


The last sentence of the Tractatus (7) reads: "Whereof one 
cannot speak, thereof one must be silent." (Wovon man nicht 
sprechen kann, dariiber mufi man schweigen). Through this 
sentence, Wittgenstein makes much of human life unspeak- 
able, at least in the logical picture -language. The entire domain 
of speaking on ethics and God has to remain separated from 
the purely descriptive language. Ethical utterances are au- 
thoritative, but distinguished from utterances on facts. About 
God you cannot speak as about things in the world. Aesthetic 
and ethical judgments cannot be expressed within logical lan- 
guage, they are not facts and cannot be pictured in thought. 
Real questions, questions of life, are not scientific questions. 
Picture -language is thus problematical. Wittgenstein therefore 
found it useful to study ordinary language with its different 
language games. Philosophy can, accordingly, be a remedy 
against the bewitchment of thought by language. 

the complexity of ordinary language. It was Witt- 
gensteins life task to understand ordinary language. One may 
say for instance that one "has" a book, that one "has" children, 
or that one "has" a headache. All these are different forms of 
"having" which are not reducible to each other. One cannot 
solve this complex reality by speaking about the "essence" of 
having (as did Plato), which would transcend all these forms 
of "having." Neither can one reduce something to something 
else, as is frequently done in psychology. All this proves that 
we are "bewitched" by wrong visions on language. 

The word "essentially" was for Wittgenstein a word that 
one has to avoid. He left out the "eternal" truth beyond or 
above reality and concentrated upon the detail that always 
deviates from a preexisting "essence." We should stop us- 
ing the word "essentially," as if in having a child, a book or 
a headache the same unchangeable "having" would return. 
This would come to being guilty of a logical way of speaking 
(a = a), that says nothing. 

Wittgenstein and Judaism 

Recent research has investigated Wittgensteins thought in 
light of his Jewish background. Rush Rhees has written on 
Wittgenstein's self- understanding. He notes that, in 1936, Witt- 
genstein confessed to his friends and family that he was more 
Jewish than was generally known. In his book on Wittgenstein 
and Judaism, Ranjit Chatterjee writes that, with this confes- 
sion, Wittgenstein indicated that in his work, one may find 
many a Jewish element, and that Wittgenstein developed an 
intellectual Jewishness and expressed his inner Jewish feeling 
in a disguised way. Wittgenstein also remarked to his friend 
M.O'C. Drury that his own thinking is not Greek, but "one 
hundred percent Hebrew thinking." With his "Hebrew think- 
ing" he wanted to unmask the idolatry of picture language. 
On the other hand, Steven Schwarzschild saw Wittgenstein 
as being alienated from his Jewishness, and as suffering from 

bibliography: detailed biographies: b. McGuiness, 
Wittgenstein: A Life. Young Ludwig 1889-1921 (1988); R. Monk, Lud- 
wig Wittgenstein. The Duty of Genius (1990). on Wittgenstein: a. 

Ambrose (ed.), Wittgensteins Lectures, Cambridge 1932-1935 (1979); 
G. Anscombe, An Introduction to Wittgensteins Tractatus (1959); C. 
Barrett, Wittgenstein on Ethics and Religious Belief (1991); O. Bou- 
wsma, in: J.L. Craft and R. Hustwit (eds.), Wittgenstein: Conversa- 
tions 1949-1951 (1986); R. Chatterjee, Wittgenstein and Judaism. A 
Triumph of Concealment (Studies in Judaism 1) (2005); T. De Mauro, 
Ludwig Wittgenstein: His Place in the Development of Semantics 
(1967); P. Engelmann, Letters from Ludwig Wittgenstein, with a Mem- 
oir (1968); K.T. Fann, Wittgensteins Conception of Philosophy (1971); 
H.L. Finch, Wittgenstein: The Later Philosophy (1977); G. Hallett, A 
Companion to Wittgensteins Philosophical Investigations (1977); W.F. 
Hermans, Wittgenstein (1992); A. Janikand S. Toulmin, Wittgensteins 
Vienna (1972); A. Janik, Essays on Wittgenstein and Weininger (1985); 
S. Kripke, Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (1982); N. Mal- 
colm, Ludwig Wittgenstein. A Memoir, with Wittgensteins letters to 
Malcolm (1984); B. McGuiness, "Wittgenstein and the Idea of Jew- 
ishness," in: J.C. Klagge (ed.), Wittgenstein: Biography and Philosophy 
(2001), 221-36; D. Pears, Wittgenstein (1970); M. Perloff, Wittgensteins 
Ladder; Poetic Language and the Strangeness of the Ordinary (1999); 
G. Pitcher (ed.), Wittgenstein: The Philosophical Investigations (1966); 
R. Rhees (ed.), Ludwig Wittgenstein: Personal Recollections (1981); S. 
Schwarzschild, "Wittgenstein as Alienated Jew," in: Telos, 40 (1979), 
160-65; D- Stern, "Was Wittgenstein a Jew?" in: James C. Klagge (ed.), 
Wittgenstein: Biography and Philosophy (2001), 237-72; B. Szabados, 
"Was Wittgenstein an Anti-Semite? The Significance of Anti-Semi- 
tism for Wittgensteins Philosophy," in: Canadian Journal of Philoso- 
phy, 29 (1999), 1-28; C. Wright, Wittgenstein on the Foundations of 
Mathematics (1980). 

[Ephraim Meir (2 nd ed.)] 

WITTGENSTEIN, PAUL (1887-1961), pianist. Born in 
Vienna, Wittgenstein studied and made his debut there in 
1913. During World War 1 he lost his right arm at the Rus- 
sian front and embarked on an extraordinary career as a one- 
handed pianist. He left Austria in 1930 and after 1933 settled 
permanently in the United States. His repertoire consisted 
of works he had adapted or those especially written for him, 
such as Ravels Concerto for Left Hand y Richard Strauss' Pa- 
rergon zur Symphonia Domestica and Panathenaeenzug y and 
many other concert and chamber works by Erich Wolfgang 
* Korngold, Benjamin Britten, and Hans Gal. He published a 
pedagogical work, Schule der linken Hand. 

WITTKOWER, RUDOLF J. (1901-1971), historian of art and 
architecture. Born in Berlin, he studied at the universities of 
Berlin and Munich. From 1923 to 1928 he worked in Italy, and 
in 1924 was appointed lecturer at Cologne University. When 
Hitler came to power, Wittkower emigrated to England and 
became professor at the University of London (1949-55). In 
1954 he moved to the United States, where he was made chair- 
man of the department of art history and archaeology at Co- 
lumbia University, New York. 

Wittkower is known for his studies of Italian Renaissance 
and Baroque art, such as Art and Architecture in Italy 1600-1750 
(1958) and books on Bernini and the Caracci. His Architectural 
Principles in the Age of Humanism (1949), a study of the prin- 
ciples underlying the architecture of the Italian Renaissance, 
influenced the thinking of students of architecture. 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



add. bibliography: D.M. Reynolds, Selected Lectures of 
Rudolf Wittkower: The Impact of Non-European Civilization on the 
Art of the West (1989); R. and M. Wittkower, Kuenstler. Aussenseiter 
der Gesellschaft, (1993); R. Wittkower, Allegorie und der Wandel der 
Symbole in Antike und Renaissance (1996). 

WITTLIN, JOZEF (1896-1976), Polish poet, author, and 
translator. Born in Dmytrow, Galicia, Wittlin was raised in 
Lvov and served in the Austro- Hungarian army during World 
War 1. From 1919 onward he was connected with the Polish 
expressionist group centered in the periodicals Zdroj and 
Skamander and in 1927 moved from Lvov to Warsaw. An 
outstanding exponent of Polish expressionism, Wittlin first 
achieved fame with his verse collection Hymny (1920), which 
resembled German expressionist writing. His two other ma- 
jor works were a modern Polish translation of Homers Od- 
yssey (1924) and the novel Sol ziemi (1936; The Salt of the 
Earth, 1939?). A prolific writer, he also published many stories, 
sketches, and essays, as well as various translations of foreign 
classics, from the Sumerian Gilgamesh Epic (1922) to Hasek's 
The Good Soldier Schweik (1931). Wittlin made his mark as the 
leading pacifist writer in Poland between the world wars. Af- 
ter fleeing to France and Portugal, he emigrated to the U.S. 
in 1941 and settled in New York, where he became a coeditor 
of the Polish emigre weekly Tygodnik Polski. 

bibliography: Slownik wspolczesnych pisarzy polskich, 3 
(1964), 512-7; N. Wallis, in: Pologne litteraire 6 (1931), 58. 

[Stanislaw Wygodzki] 

WIZEN, MOSHE AHARON (1878-1953), Hebrew gram- 
marian. Born in Rozwadow, Galicia, Wizen was reared in a 
traditional hasidic atmosphere, and at the same time acquired 
proficiency in several languages. He started to teach at the 
age of 18, and in 1904 he went to Switzerland for two years to 
study at the University of Berne. In 1906 he moved to Lem- 
berg, and worked there until the outbreak of World War 1, 
when he was drafted into the army. After the war he settled 
in Vienna, where he taught in the Jewish Teachers' Seminary 
established by Zvi Hirsch Perez *Chajes. In 1938 he immi- 
grated to Erez Israel; he directed Hebrew language courses 
in Tel Aviv. 

As a young man, Wizen published poems and feuillet- 
ons in Ha-Pisgah and Ha-Maggid; but his subsequent labors 
were devoted primarily to linguistic research. Wizen wrote a 
comparative grammar of Hebrew and other Semitic languages, 
Tor at ha-Lashon - Sefer Dikduk Sefat Ever (1923). However, 
unlike his predecessors, he did not confine himself to the 
language of the Bible, but also included in his work linguistic 
forms found in the rabbinic and post-rabbinic period (indi- 
cating by different symbols the time when each word was first 
used). He dealt systematically with vocalization, inflection, 
and word -formation. He provided comprehensive paradigms 
of the conjugations and the declensions, including forms that 
do not appear in the sources but are nonetheless implied by 
virtue of the system. 

While Wizens general classification of the parts of speech 
is based upon that of the medieval grammarians, his internal 
classifications of words derive from the approach adopted by 
modern grammarians of the Hebrew language. His division 
of the noun (greatly influenced by that of Brockelmann into 
declension groups and groups of derivatives) accords with 
present-day linguistic theory, as do his description and ex- 
planations of the vowels (as for example his treatment of the 
"intermediate" or "half-sounded" sewa). He supported his de- 
scription of the Hebrew verb-root by comparison with Akka- 
dian and explained the forms of the verb in different conju- 
gations by comparison with proto-Semitic, adding notes to 
illuminate any apparently irregular form; and following Abra- 
ham *Ibn Ezra, he also wrote a section on incompatible conso- 
nants in the root - a subject avoided by later grammarians. 

[Menahem Zevi Kaddari] 

WIZO (Women's International Zionist Organization), wom- 
en's Zionist movement founded in London on July 11, 1920, at 
an international conference of women Zionists convened by 
the Federation of Women Zionists of the United Kingdom. 

History and Organization 

The leaders of the new movement were Vera *Weizmann, Re- 
becca *Sieff, Romana Goodman, Edith Eder, and Henrietta 
Irwell. Rebecca Sieff was the first president of wizo and held 
this office until 1963, then becoming honorary life president 
until her death in 1966. At the time of wizo's establishment, 
the British administration in Palestine had just been estab- 
lished and the new Russian regime had given rise to consid- 
erable Jewish emigration from Russia that was expected to 
turn to Palestine. The women Zionist leaders felt that since 
the women immigrants, even more than the men, would 
have to adjust to a new way of life, they should be prepared 
and trained. It was felt that women Zionists throughout the 
world would be more sensitive to this task than the Zionist 
movement in general and that therefore a special women's or- 
ganization was needed, wizo's original program of activities 
was divided into three categories: professional and vocational 
training for women, with special emphasis on preparation for 
agricultural pioneering; education of women to relate to their 
society as informed and civic-minded citizens; care and edu- 
cation of children and youth. 

During the first 20 years of its existence, wizo had its 
headquarters in London and built up a network of federations 
throughout Europe (with the exception of the U.S.S.R.) and 
in most other countries of the world (except the U.S., where 
*Hadassah already existed). The headquarters were then trans- 
ferred to Tel Aviv. In 1970 Raya * Jaglom was elected president, 
serving until 1996. During her term of office, wizo was es- 
tablished in the U.S. in 1981. In 1996, Michal Modai, former 
chairman of the executive of the Israel Federation and of the 
World wizo Executive, was elected president of World wizo. 
Helena Glaser, chairperson of the wizo Israel Federation, was 
elected chairperson of the World wizo Executive. 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


After World War n the number of federations was con- 
siderably reduced, since the communist bloc and most of the 
Muslim countries were excluded, but this was soon counter- 
acted by the gradual reopening of the European federations, 
some of them actually on the heels of the liberators. 

By 1996, with the end of the cold war and the opening up 
of the communist bloc, wizo had renewed activities in Hun- 
gary and the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia), both in 
1990, and groups had also been started in Latvia, Lithuania 
and Estonia. Furthermore, in 1981, after reaching an agreement 
with Hadassah, it also started working in the United States, 
where it has a dynamic, constantly growing federation. 

wizo s quarter of a million members are organized in 50 
federations throughout the world in the following countries: 
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium and Luxem- 
bourg, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, 
Curacao, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ec- 
uador, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Great Britain and 
Ireland, Greece, Guatemala, Holland, Honduras, Hong Kong, 
Hungary, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, 
Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Singapore, South 
Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad, United States, 
Uruguay, Venezuela, Zaire, and Zimbabwe. 

wizo is recognized by the un as a Non- Governmental 
Organization (ngo) and as such has consultative status with 
the un Economic and Social Council (ecosoc) and un In- 
ternational Children's Emergency Fund (unicef). 

wizo is a member of the *World Zionist Organiza- 
tion and of the * World Jewish Congress and is on the execu- 
tive of both. It is also on the board of governors of the Jew- 
ish Agency. 

The highest governing body of the movement is the 
world wizo Conference, which meets every four years in 
Israel, determining overall policy and approving the budget 
and activity reports. It is composed of representatives from 
all the federations according to the size of their membership. 
The conference elects the president of World wizo and the 
World wizo Executive which is composed of 50 members: 25 
members resident in Israel (most of them heads of the World 
wizo departs that run the various wizo institutions and ser- 
vices in Israel) together with heads of the 25 largest Diaspora 
federations. The executive elects the chairman and treasurer, 
wizo is a non-partisan organization of volunteers, both at the 
leadership and grass roots level. 

Of all wizo's federations the Israel federation is by far 
the largest, with close to 100,000 members organized in 145 
branches in all parts of the country. While the Diaspora fed- 
erations concentrate mainly on Jewish and Zionist educa- 
tion, strengthening the bond with Israel and fundraising to 
help finance wizo s work in Israel (and also to some extent 
social and educational projects in their own countries), the 
Israel federation works directly with and on behalf of the local 
population, including those of the minority communities. It 
defines its aims in these fields as follows: to advance the sta- 
tus of women, defend their rights and achieve gender equality 

in all fields; to combat domestic violence; to assist in the ab- 
sorption of new immigrants and to contribute to family and 
community welfare, with special emphasis on single parent 
families, women, children, and the elderly. 

Status of women has always been a priority of the Israel 
federation. The Equal Rights for Women Law of 1952 was 
passed on the initiative of then wizo Israel chairman Rahel 
Kagan, who represented the organization in Israel's first Knes- 
set. Today, wizo remains active in this field. 

World wizo, too, has in recent years become active in 
promoting women's rights and the federations work in close 
cooperation with other women's organization's in their own 
countries and are represented on all national and international 
bodies dealing with women's affairs. The movement partici- 
pated actively in the un's conferences on the status of women 
in Mexico, Copenhagen, Nairobi, and Beijing. 

In addition to advancing the status of women, the main 
aims of the entire movement are, nevertheless, focused on 
Israel and remain largely what they have been ever since 
the organization's beginning: to provide for the welfare of in- 
fants, children, youth, and the elderly. While during waves of 
mass immigration, the stress was placed on immigrant ab- 
sorption services, today the most urgent need is deemed to 
be combating violence in the family. All wizo's services and 
institutions in Israel are set up after close consultations with 
government and local authorities and have their full coop- 

The following description of wizo's 800 institutions and 
services in Israel presents a clear picture of the condition and 
needs of the population of Israel. 

Institutions and Services 

early age care and education, wizo's 234 day insti- 
tutions serve 15,000 infants and small children and include 
day care centers, special multi-purpose day care centers for 
high risk children, toddlers' homes, pedagogical centers, af- 
ter-school centers, therapeutic child centers, toys and games 
libraries, and four residential family units (Neve wizo). 

for children and youth. Catering to 34,700 older chil- 
dren and youth are 11 schools and youth villages and 78 youth 

The schools, which were among wizo's earliest projects, 
were established originally either to train girls and young 
women for a pioneering agricultural life or to provide a home 
for child survivors of the Holocaust. Today, these day and 
boarding schools provide vocational, agricultural, and artistic 
training at a variety of academic levels, ranging from special 
education to a post-high school level college of design. The 
student populations consist of both native Israelis and new im- 
migrants; outstanding students as well as low achievers; chil- 
dren from well-established families and welfare cases. 

Also in this category are a shelter for girls in distress 
(Beth Ruth), facilities for the rehabilitation and advancement 
of marginal youth, and remedial army preparation courses 
for drop-out girls. 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



for woman and families, wizo has two shelters for bat- 
tered wives and a half-way house project; four centers for the 
prevention and treatment of domestic violence; hot lines in 
Hebrew, Russian, and Amharic, for battered women; a rape 
crisis center and hotlines; and 28 legal advice bureaus on fam- 
ily matters (also dealing with specific problems of new im- 
migrant women and single-parent families. Beit Heuss is a 
recreation home with supportive workshops for women and 
couples with a common problem. 

Assistance is given in immigrant absorption, including 
special services on caravan sites. 

For the elderly there are 100 clubs and sheltered employ- 
ment facilities as well as a Parents' Home. 

Other wizo services are vocational training and ad- 
vancement for women, summer camps for needy mothers of 
large families, and care for families of war victims and single- 
parent families. 

bibliography: Grove and Pollak (eds.), The Saga of a Move- 
ment - wizo 1920-19/0 (1971); Herzog and Greenberg, A Voluntary 
Women's Organisation in a Society in the Making - wizos Contribu- 
tion to Israeli Society, website: 

[Rosa Ginossar / Aliza El-Dror (2 nd ed.)] 

WLOCLAWEK (Rus. Votslavsk), city in central Poland. Jews 
began to settle in Wloclawek at the beginning of the 19 th cen- 
tury. The Jewish population numbered 208 in 1803, 4,248 in 
1897, 6,831 (21% of the total population) in 1909, and 10,209 
(18.3%) in 1931. In the interwar period Zionist and other na- 
tional groups were active in the community. In the census of 
1931, 96% of the Jews declared their mother tongue to be Yid- 
dish or Hebrew. Among the outstanding personalities of Wlo- 
clawek were R. Judah Leib *Kowalsky, a leader of the Mizrachi 
movement in Poland, and Abraham Leib Fuks, a physician 
and a Zionist leader. There was a Jewish gymnasium in the 
city and two weeklies in Yiddish - one Zionist, and the other 


[Yehuda Slutsky] 

Holocaust Period 

When World War 11 broke out, the Jewish community of Wlo- 
clawek, with approximately 13,500 persons out of a general 
population of 60,000, increased in size as refugees came in 
from neighboring communities. The German army occupied 
Wloclawek (renamed Leslau) on Sept. 14, 1939, and incorpo- 
rated it in the Warthegau district (see * Poland) of Germany. 
Liquidation of the Jewish community began almost immedi- 
ately, with the active help of the local Germans (Volksdeutsche) 
and the support of the Polish population. All the synagogues 
were destroyed by fire. Hundreds of Jews were taken hostage 
and ransoms for them were extorted. In December 1939 de- 
portations to eastern Poland began. Many Jews fled to nearby 
towns and to * Warsaw, while 3,000 remaining Jews who were 
segregated into a ghetto (October 1940) suffered from the 
food shortage and disease. The ^American Jewish Joint Dis- 
tribution Committee helped many destitute families, and a 
soup kitchen was opened. Until the liquidation of the ghetto 

on April 27, 1942, the Jewish cemetery served as a clandestine 
meeting place for instructing Jewish children, and even for 
theatrical performances and a makeshift library for exchang- 
ing books. At the end of April 1942 the inmates of the ghetto 
were all sent to *Chelmno extermination camp, and the ghetto 
was burned down by the Nazis. 

Contemporary Period 

When the war was over, the surviving remnants of the Wlo- 
clawek Jewish community gradually returned to their home 
town in search of relatives and friends. In 1946, some Jews 
who returned from the Soviet Union resettled in Wloclawek. 
The jdc helped to organize cooperatives of Jewish tailors and 
dressmakers, and Jewish cultural life was renewed. In the 
first few years after the war the military commander of Wlo- 
clawek was a Jew, Michael Weinstein. In 1946 he successfully 
averted a pogrom on the Jewish quarter by incited peasants. 
In the course of the following years most of the Jews of Wlo- 
clawek left for Israel, the last ones settling there after the Six- 
Day War (1967). 

[David Dori] 

bibliography: Vlozlavek ve-ha-Sevivah, Sefer Zikkaron 
(1967, Heb. and partly Yid.); Y. Trunk, in: Bleterfar Geshikhte, 2 (1949), 
64-166; Yoyvel-Bukh fun Branch 611 Arbeter Ring (1951). 

WLODAWA (in Jewish sources: Vlodavi), city in Lublin prov- 
ince, eastern Poland. Jews first settled there in the second half 
of the 16 th century. A community was organized in the early 
17 th century under the jurisdiction of the *Brest community. In 
1648 *Chmielnicki s armies massacred the local Jews, as well as 
others who had taken refuge there, and set fire to their houses. 
However, the community was reconstituted soon afterward. In 
the second half of the 17 th century a stone baroque -style syna- 
gogue was built; enlarged 100 years later, it was still standing 
in 1970. In the 18 th century the Jews of Wlodawa engaged in 
the leasing of estates, the timber trade, tailoring, and tanning. 
In 1765 there were 630 Jews who paid the poll tax. The com- 
munity grew rapidly, numbering 2,236 (74% of the total pop- 
ulation) in 1827 and 4,304 (72%) in 1857. It decreased to 3,670 
(66%) in 1897. In the 19 th century Wlodawa Jews engaged in 
commerce in agricultural products and manufacture of al- 
coholic liquor, as well as tailoring, furriery, and hat-making. 
*Hasidism gained many followers in this period. 

Between the two world wars, in independent Poland, all 
Jewish parties were active in the city. The Jewish population 
numbered 4,196 (67% of the total) in 1921. In the 1929 munici- 
pal elections, 11 Jews were among those elected for the 24 seats. 
The last rabbi of the community, Moses Baruch Morgenstern, 

perished in the Holocaust. 

[Shimshon Leib Kirshenboim] 

Holocaust Period 

In 1939 there were 5,650 Jews living in Wlodawa. The German 
army entered the town in mid-September 1939 and immedi- 
ately subjected the Jews to persecution. However, no ghetto 
was established at the beginning, and until the end of 1941 
life for Jews in Wlodawa was somewhat easier than in most 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


of occupied Poland. The situation deteriorated drastically at 
the beginning of 1942. In April 1942 about 800 Jews from *Mi- 
elec, in Cracow province, and about 1,000 Jews from Vienna 
were deported to Wlodawa. On May 23, 1942, the first depor- 
tation to *Sobibor death camp took place (the exact number 
of deportees is unknown). In June 1942 all the children up 
to the age of ten were taken to Sobibor and murdered. On 
Oct. 24, 1942, the entire Jewish population was sent to death 
in the Sobibor gas chambers. During these deportations hun- 
dreds of Jews fled to the forests and organized partisan units, 
the best known of which was commanded by Yehiel Grynsz- 
pan and operated in conjunction with Soviet and left-wing 
Polish guerrillas. Most of the Jewish partisans fell in the for- 
ests, but a few score managed to survive until the libera- 
tion of the Wlodawa region, while several others succeeded 
in crossing the River Bug and joined Soviet partisans in the 
Polesie forests. 

In the late autumn of 1942 the Germans ordered the es- 
tablishment of a special ghetto in Wlodawa for all Jews who 
voluntarily left their hiding places in the forests of the north- 
eastern Lublin province. They were promised that no further 
deportations would take place. Several thousand Jews who 
had taken refuge in the forests, but who lacked arms and food 
supplies and could not survive the winter there, trusted the 
German promise, and settled in the new Wlodawa ghetto. On 
April 30, 1943, all were deported to Sobibor and murdered. 
Jews from Wlodawa who managed to survive in the partisan 
units left Poland immediately after the war. The Jewish com- 
munity in Wlodawa was not reconstituted. 

[Stefan Krakowski] 

bibliography: Halpern, Pinkas, index; S. Dubnow (ed.), 
Pinkas ha-Medinah (1925), index; B. Wasiutyriski, Ludnosc zydowska 
w Polsce w wiekach xix i xx (1930), 34, 63, 64, 77, 201, 210; A. Wein 
(ed.), Zydzi a powstanie styczniowe (1963), index; N.N. Hannover, 
Yeven Mezulah (1966), 57, 58; bzih, no. 21 (1957), 21-92. 

WODZISLAW (Pol. Wodzislaw Slawski), town in Katowice 
province, southern Poland. Jewish settlement in Wodzislaw 
dates from the 17 th century. The Jews there mainly engaged in 
commerce, and a number of wealthy merchants used to do 
business at the great fairs of Leipzig and Breslau. The com- 
munity numbered 200 Jewish householders in 1655-56, at the 
time of the Polish war with Sweden. Toward the end of the 
17 th and during the 18 th centuries, the Wodzislaw community 
attained considerable influence. It ranked as a principal ke- 
hillah within the communal framework (see ^Councils of the 
Lands), and its leaders also took an active part in the affairs 
of Polish and Lithuanian Jewry as a whole. Rabbis of Wodzi- 
slaw include Menahem b. Zalman Gabais, author of Nehamat 
Ziyyon (Frankfurt, 1677), Joseph Joske b. Herz of Lvov, and 
Samuel b. Uri Shraga * Phoebus, author of Beit Shemuel. The 
Jewish population in Wodzislaw numbered 1,002 in 1765, 1,563 
(72.5% of the total) in 1857, 2,667 (73-6%) in 1897, and 2,839 

(73.2%) in 1921. 

[Nathan Michael Gelber] 

Holocaust Period 

On the outbreak of World War 11 there were about 2,400 Jews 
in Wodzislaw. In September 1942, 300 Jews from Wodzislaw 
and its vicinity were deported to the * Treblinka death camp. 
The Jewish community was liquidated in November 1942 when 
the remaining 300 Jews were deported to *Sandomierz and 
shared the fate of that community. After the war the Jewish 
community of Wodzislaw was not reconstituted. 

bibliography: B. Friedberg, Luhot Zikkaron (19042); I. 
Schiper, in: yivo Historishe Shriftn, 1 (1929), 85-114; I. Halpern, 
Pinkas, index. 

WOGUE, LAZARE ELIEZER (1817-1897), French rabbi, 
scholar, and journalist. Wogue, born in Fontainebleau, was 
ordained in 1843 at the Ecole Centrale Rabbinique in Metz. In 
1851 he began to teach German and theology there (in 1859 it 
became the Seminaire Israelite de France and was transferred 
to Paris), retaining his two chairs until his retirement in 1894. 
From 1868 Wogue was also director of the talmud tor ah of the 
Seminaire Israelite. The most important of his many scholarly 
works is a translation of the Pentateuch with commentaries 
(1860-69), which is the one used in the Bible du Rabbinat ed- 
ited by Z. Kahn. 

Among his other publications are Le Rabbinat Francais 
au xix e siecle (1843), Le Guide du Croyant Israelite (1857, 1898 2 ), 
Histoire de la Bible et de VExegese biblique jusqua nos jours 
(1881), a French translation (1882) of the first two volumes 
of Geschichte der Juden by H. Graetz, Esquisse dune theolo- 
gie juive (1887), and La Predication Israelite en France (1890). 
He also translated various Hebrew works. Among the manu- 
scripts he left is a tract on theology. A prolific writer, Wogue 
wrote many articles which were published in such Jewish peri- 
odicals as La Paix and VUnion Israelite. He was editor in chief 
of VUnivers Israelite during 1879-95. 

bibliography: M. Reines, in: Ozar ha-Sifrut, 5 (1896), 143- 
53; VUnivers Israelite, 52 (1896/97), 132-8. 

[Colette Sirat] 

WOHL, HENRYK (1842-1907), Polish revolutionary. Born 
in Warsaw into a patriotic family supporting Polish indepen- 
dence, Wohl took part in the Polish uprising of 1863, and be- 
came head of a department in the insurrectionist government. 
After the collapse of the revolt, he was condemned to death 
by the Russians, but the sentence was commuted to life im- 
prisonment with forced labor in a remote part of Russia. After 
serving 20 years he was allowed to return to Poland. On his 
grave in the main avenue of the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, 
a memorial of three unpolished stones symbolizes Poland un- 
der the three partitions. The memorial was the center of many 
demonstrations during the Czarist domination of Poland. 

[Abraham Wein] 

WOHLBERG, MOSHE (Max; 1907-1996), hazzan. Wohl- 
berg was born in Humene in Czechoslovakia. When he was 
four, his family moved to Budapest, where he sang with the 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



choir of the Rombach synagogue. He studied in the yeshivot 
of Nagy Karoly and Szatmar. His family moved to the United 
States, where he completed his Hebrew studies at the Herzliah 
Hebrew Teachers' Institute in New York. He studied music 
with Arnold Zemachson, sang in the choir of the Metropoli- 
tan Opera, and held several positions as cantor in the United 
States. His chief activity was in the field of training cantors, 
and he had hundreds of students. From 1948 to 1951 he was the 
second president of the Cantors Assembly. From 1952 he was 
professor of liturgy at the Cantors' School of the Jewish Theo- 
logical Seminary in New York. He was considered an authority 
on prayer rites and published many articles on the history of 
liturgy. His published compositions can be found in collec- 
tions such as Chemdat Shabbat and Yahad B'kol (Cantors As- 
sembly). A recording of his singing of 19 th - century composi- 
tions by foazzan-composers of the period is available through 
Musique Internationale Chicago 

[Akiva Zimmerman / Raymond Goldstein (2 nd ed.)] 

WOHLGEMUTH, JOSEPH (1867-1942), rabbi, educator, 
and theologian. Wohlgemuth, born in Memel, as a child 
moved with his family to Hamburg, where his grandfather, Isa- 
iah Wohlgemuth, became stipendiary rabbi (Klausrabbiner). 
Wohlgemuth studied at the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary and 
at the university, teaching at the same time and for many years 
afterward at the Adass Yisroel religious school. In 1895 he was 
appointed tutor and lecturer in religious philosophy, homilet- 
ics, and practical halakhah at the seminary, where he exercised 
considerable influence on several generations of students for 
the Orthodox rabbinate. In 1932 broken health forced him to 
retire to a sanatorium in Frankfurt. 

Wohlgemuth's published works include: Die Unsterb- 
lichkeitslehre in der Bibel (1899); Beitraege zu einer juedischen 
Homiletik (1904); Das juedische Religionsgesetz in juedischer 
Beleuchtung (2 vols., 1911-19), a study of the problem of Taamei 
ha-Mitzvot (the ideology of the practical commandments); 
Bildungsprobleme in der Ostjudenfrage (1916); Das Tier und 
seine Wertung im Judentum (1930); and Grundgedanken der 
Religionsphilosophie Max Schelers (1931). His Der badische 
Gebetbuchentwurf... (1907) and Gesetzestreues und liberates 
Judentum (1913) are a defense of Orthodoxy against Reform. 
In Der Weltkrieg im Lichte des Judentums (1915), he extolled 
Germany's "civilizing mission." Wohlgemuth also translated 
(with J. Bleichrode (1899, 1939 7 ) M.H. Luzzatto's ethical guide, 
Mesillat Yesharim (1906) into German. In 1914 he founded the 
monthly *Jeschurun, which under his editorship became (to 
1930) the leading Orthodox periodical in the spheres of Jew- 
ish scholarship and thought, and to which he contributed im- 
portant articles - both on scholarly subjects and on current 
affairs. A Festschrift was issued in honor of his 60 th birthday 
(Juedische Studien, 1928). 

His son, judah ari Wohlgemuth (1903-1957), educa- 
tor and author, taught at Jewish schools in Telsiai, Lithuania, 
and Riga, Latvia, before spending eight years with his family in 
a labor camp in Siberia. Wohlgemuth published Vom Denken 

und Glauben unserer Zeit (1935); Fragt immer: gut oder boese 
(1954), dealing with the religious and philosophical problems 
raised by the Holocaust; and a trilingual poem, "Pesah be-No- 
vosibersk 1942" (1963), written in exile in Siberia. 

bibliography: J.A. Wohlgemuth, in: L. Jung (ed.), Guardians 
of Our Heritage (1958), 533-50; Y. Aviad, Deyokenabt (1962), 209-12; 
I. Gruenfeld, Three Generations (1958), index; H. Schwab, History of 
Orthodox Jewry in Germany (1950), index; idem, Chachme Ashke- 
naz (1964), 125-6. 

°WOJDA, CAROL FREDERICK (1771-1846), senior offi- 
cial in the senate of the Duchy of Warsaw (see * Poland), and 
member of the committee for Jewish affairs established in 
1808. Wojda presented his proposals for solving the "Jewish 
problem" to the senate in 1809, recommending changes in the 
Jewish way of life, abrogation of communal and judicial au- 
tonomy, educational reform including the teaching of Polish 
and German, acceptance of European dress, and prohibition 
of the sale of liquor by Jews. The changes were to have been 
effected within ten years, after which emancipation was to be 
granted to Jews in the "productive" professions and to edu- 
cated businessmen. To accelerate the process of assimilation, 
Wojda proposed that Jewish residence in the towns not be re- 
stricted to special quarters. He also recommended the estab- 
lishment of a ^consistory on the French model to deal with 
Jewish affairs. Wojda's program was not even debated. In 1815 
he presented to the head of the committee for Jewish affairs a 
memorandum incorporating this plan. 

bibliography: R. Mahler, Divrei Yemei Yisrael, Dorot 

Aharonim, 3 (1955), 71-79; 4 (1956), 219; Wischnitzer, in: Perezhi- 

toye y 7 (1909), 166-72; Goldstein, in: Yevreyskaya Starina, 12 (1928), 


[Nathan Michael Gelber] 

WOLBERG, LEWIS ROBERT (1905-1988), U.S. psychiatrist 
and psychoanalyst. Born in Russia, Wolberg was taken to the 
United States at the age of nine months. When he completed 
his training, he was appointed clinical professor of psychia- 
try at the New York University Medical School and a training 
analyst at the New York Medical College from its beginning 
in 1943. He was a founder of the American Academy of Psy- 
choanalysis. Although trained in psychoanalysis in its more 
classical form, he rapidly became aware of the need for innova- 
tions. He was a pioneer in the field of dynamic psychiatry and 
contemporary psychotherapy. In 1945 he founded the Post- 
graduate Center for Mental Health, of which he was medical 
director and dean, and later dean emeritus. Here he created a 
model community mental health center based upon a multi- 
disciplinary approach to treatment, training, research, and pre- 
vention. He was in the forefront of new ways to bring a mental 
health orientation to the individual, the family, the neighbor- 
hood, the nation, and the international community. A leading 
authority on hypnosis, Wolberg pioneered the use of this tech- 
nique for more than 50 years. He was an outstanding teacher 
and a member of many psychiatric associations and published 
extensively in professional and popular periodicals. 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


His most important books are Hyp no analysis (1945), The 
Technique of Psychotherapy (2 vols, 1954), Medical Hypnosis (2 
vols., 1948), Short-Term Psychotherapy (1965), Psychotherapy 
and the Behavioral Sciences (1966), The Dynamics of Person- 
ality (1970), Hypnosis, Is It for You? (1972), and The Practice of 
Psych o th erapy (1982). 

add. bibliography: P. Buirskl (ed.), Frontiers of Dy- 
namic Psychotherapy: Essays in Honor of Arlene and Lewis R. Wol- 

berg (1987). 

[Yehudith Shaltiel] 

WOLBROM, town in Cracow province, Poland. Jews set- 
tled there at the end of the 17 th century. An organized Jewish 
community existed from the 18 th century under the jurisdic- 
tion of the Cracow community. In 1765 there were 303 Jews in 
Wolbrom who paid the poll tax. The town was incorporated in 
Congress Poland in 1815. In 1827 the Jews numbered 724 (27% 
of the total population). Following the economic development 
of the town in the 19 th century, the number of Jews increased 
to 1,466 (59%), despite the restrictions on Jewish settlement in 
force there between 1823 and 1862, because of the town's prox- 
imity to the Austrian border. The main occupations of the Jews 
were petty commerce, weaving, tanning, and locksmithing. In 
the 19 th century Hasidism had a strong influence in Wolbrom. 
Between 1897 and 1921 the number of the Jews increased from 
2,901 to 4,276 (59%). Before the outbreak of war in 1939, there 
were about 5,000 Jews living in Wolbrom. 

Holocaust Period 

During World War 11, under the German occupation, 
Wolbrom came under the province of Cracow of the General 
Government. The Germans entered Wolbrom on the first day 
of the war, Sept. 1, 1939. Scores of people were immediately 
shot. Afterward all the Jewish inhabitants were driven out 
of Wolbrom in the direction of Zawiercie. On the three-day 
march many succumbed to torture by the guards. On Septem- 
ber 7 the surviving Jews returned and were set at forced labor, 
particularly in the forests. In the fall of 1941 a ghetto was es- 
tablished in Wolbrom which the Jews were forbidden to leave, 
under pain of death. Nearly 8,000 Jews, among them about 
3,000 deportees and refugees, were concentrated inside the 
ghetto. The liquidation of the Jews in Wolbrom ghetto began 
on Sept. 6 or 7, 1942, when the German police and Ukrainians 
drove all the Jews to the railway station, where the Germans 
carried out a Selektion. About 2,000 old and weak persons 
were taken to the forest where mass graves had been made 
ready. After undressing completely, they were shot. The re- 
maining Jews at the station were loaded on to train cars that 
evening. At the stopovers the Germans cast away the corpses 
of those who had suffocated in the cars. The deportees were 
taken to * Belzec death camp. Some hundreds of men were 
chosen by selection and transported to labor camps. After the 
liquidation of the Jewish community in Wolbrom, the Jewish 
cemetery became the site of executions for Jews found or de- 
nounced while hiding. From mid-September 1942 until the 
end of 1944 nearly 400 Jews were shot in this manner. 

Only some 300 Jews from Wolbrom survived the war. 
They did not resettle in Wolbrom, and most of them emi- 

bibliography: Halpern, Pinkas, index; R. Mahler, Yidn 

in Amolikn Poyln in Likhtfun Tsifern (1958), index; B. Wasiutyriski, 

Ludnosc zydowksa w Polsce w wiekach xix i xx (1930), 53; Lands- 

manshaften in Israel (1961), 78-79; E. Podhovizer-Sandel, in: bzih, 

no. 30 (1959), passim. 

[Danuta Dombrowska] 

WOLF (Heb. 2XT), the Canis lupis, is frequently mentioned in 
the Bible and rabbinical literature as a wicked and cruel beast 
(Ezek. 22:27) found in desert regions (Jer. 5:6) which seizes its 
prey at night (Zeph. 3:3; Hab. 1:8). Wolves were a serious dan- 
ger to flocks of sheep (cf. Isa. 11:6). The Mishnah states that 
"when there is a visitation of wolves," i.e., when they appear 
in packs, the shepherd cannot be held liable for the loss of the 
sheep of which he is in charge (bm 7:9). Wolves are stated on 
an occasion to have killed 300 sheep (tj, Bezah 1:160a), and 
to have torn to pieces two children in Transjordan (Ta'an. 
3:6). The wolf is like a big sheep dog (cf. Ber. 9b). Accord- 
ing to the Mishnah, "a wolf and a dog," though similar, con- 
stitute *mixed species (Kil. 1:6). Even in recent times wolves 
have been known to attack flocks of sheep in Erez Israel. It 
can get into the fold and strangle a number of sheep (on oc- 
casions sucking their blood, cf. Ezek. 22:27), but it carries off 
only one sheep, sometimes carrying it a considerable distance 
to its lair in the mountains of Transjordan. The Midrash to 
Psalms 10:14 mentions the legend of Romulus and Remus be- 
ing suckled by a she -wolf. 

bibliography: S. Bodenheimer, Ha-Hai be-Arzot ha-Mikra, 
2 vols. (1949-56), index; J. Feliks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 35. 
add. bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Zomeah, 223. 

[Jehuda Feliks] 

WOLF, U.S. family of communal leaders with branches in 
Philadelphia and Washington. The brothers elias wolf 
(1820-after 1881) and Abraham and levi wolf (1811-1893) 
were born in Bavaria and emigrated to the United States. Elias 
Wolf arrived about 1840, going to Philadelphia. He obtained a 
good education, particularly in Hebrew. After a few years he 
went to Wilmington, North Carolina, and in 1850 to Ulrichs- 
ville, Ohio. He settled permanently in Philadelphia in 1856, 
where with his brothers he managed the family manufacturing 
interests. The family established and kept a close association 
with Rodeph Shalom Congregation, with Elias Wolf serving 
as vice president in 1867 and as president in 1871. 

All of Elias Wolf's five sons took part in communal life 
in Philadelphia, edwin (1855-1934) was born in Ulrichsville 
a year before his father returned to Philadelphia for good. He 
was educated in public schools and then joined his father s 
business, taking over when the latter retired in 1877. Sub- 
sequently he left the firm due to ill health and in the 1880s 
worked with his brothers in their various enterprises. In later 
life he held a number of civic and communal positions, serv- 
ing on the Philadelphia Board of Education, to which he was 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



elected in 1901, as president of the Jewish Publication Society 
from 1903 to 1913, and as chairman of the Board of Governors 
of Dropsie College. 

Edwin Wolf's son morris (1883-1978) was born in Phil- 
adelphia. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania 
and was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1903. For more 
than 50 years he was a senior partner of the well-known firm 
of Wolf, Block, Schorr, and Solis- Cohen in Philadelphia, which 
he had founded in 1903. He served as assistant district attorney 
for the city of Philadelphia in 1909-10, as state deputy attorney 
general in 1913-14, and as a member of the Court of Common 
Pleas after 1930. One of his legal clients was the noted book 
dealer Abraham Simon Wolf * Rosenbach. Morris became a 
prominent bibliophile and book collector in his own right as 
a result of his contacts with Rosenbach. 

Morris' son edwin wolf ii (1911-1991) was a librarian, 
historian of U.S. Jews, and bibliographer. At age 18 he began 
a long association with Abraham Simon Wolf Rosenbach, 
preparing most of the catalogs for the Rosenbach Company. 
Toward the end of his years with Rosenbach (to 1952), whose 
career he describes in Rosenbach: A Biography (i960), he 
managed the Philadelphia office of the firm. During World 
War 11 he served in military intelligence as a French and Ger- 
man interpreter and in counterintelligence. After he left the 
Rosenbach Company in 1952, he became librarian for the Li- 
brary Company of Philadelphia (from 1953 to 1984), the old- 
est subscription library in the United States, with extensive 
Judaica holdings. In addition to his work in preserving the 
documents of the past, Wolf was also instrumental in pre- 
senting new works through the Jewish Publication Society 
of America. Elected a trustee in 1935 "in place of his grand- 
father," as he notes in one of his elegantly concise annual re- 
ports (see American Jewish Year Book), he served as presi- 
dent (1954-59) and from 1965 as chairman of the publications 

Edwin Wolf 11 wrote History of the Jews of Philadelphia 
from Colonial Times to the Age of Jackson (1957), with Max- 
well Whiteman; Philadelphia: Portrait of an American City 
(1975); and many monographs. His catalogs include Descrip- 
tive Catalogue of the John Frederick Lewis Collection of Euro- 
pean Manuscripts (1937); William Blake 1/57-182/ (1939), pre- 
pared with Elizabeth Mongan, William Blakes Illuminated 
Books: A Census (1953; repr. 1968), edited jointly with Geof- 
frey Keynes; Bibliothesauri: Or Jewels from the Shelves of the 
Library Company of Philadelphia (1966); A Flock of Beautiful 
Birds (1977); and Legacies of Genius: A Celebration of Phila- 
delphia Libraries (1988). 

[Claire Sotnick and Hillel Halkin] 

WOLF, ABNER (1902-?), U.S. neuropathologist. Born and 
educated in New York City, Wolf was appointed professor of 
neuropathology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons 
from 1951 and at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center from 
1964. Wolf served as president of the American Association 
of Neuropathologists (1951-52) and the New York Neurologi- 

cal Society (1956-57). He was a member of numerous pro- 
fessional societies and published extensively. He was editor 
in chief of the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental 
Neurology from 1963. 

WOLF, ABRAHAM (1876-1948), English philosopher. He 
was professor of logic and scientific method at University Col- 
lege, London, concurrently lecturing at the London School 
of Economics and Political Science. From 1931 until his re- 
tirement in 1941, he was dean of the faculty of economics 
and political science at the University of London. He was a 
member of the editorial board of the Encyclopaedia Britan- 
nica and was also the editor of the History of the Sciences Li- 
brary. His main works deal with logic and scientific method, 
Spinoza, Nietzsche, and the history of science. He also wrote 
on higher education in Nazi Germany and in German-occu- 
pied countries. 

add. bibliography: "Abraham Wolf," in: S. Brown (ed.), 
Dictionary of Twentieth Century British Philosophers (2005). 

[Samuel Hugo Bergman] 

WOLF, ALFRED (1915-2004), rabbi, community leader, 
and interreligious pioneer. Born in Eberbach, Germany, to 
Hermann and Regina Levy Wolf, Alfred Wolf was one of five 
rabbinic students brought to the United States by Hebrew 
Union College in 1935 to continue their studies away from 
Nazi persecution. 

Wolf earned a B.A. at the University of Cincinnati in 1937, 
was ordained at huc in 1940, and completed a Ph.D. in reli- 
gion at the University of Southern California in 1961. Wolf held 
pulpits in Toronto, Ontario, and Dothan, Alabama (1940-46), 
before serving as the Union of American Hebrew Congrega- 
tion's Southeast Council Regional Director (1945-46) and then 
moving to Los Angeles to serve as the uahc's Western Re- 
gional Director (1946-49). In 1949, he joined Edgar F. Magnin 
and Maxwell Dubin to become the third member of Wilshire 
Boulevard Temples rabbinic staff, which provided religious 
leadership for the West's largest congregation. After retiring 
as Wilshire's Senior Rabbi in 1985, he served as director of the 
American Jewish Committee's Skirball Institute on American 
Values and became its director emeritus in 1996. 

Wolf's influence on Jewish life in Southern California 
was immediate and far-reaching. In 1946, there were only six 
Reform congregations in the greater Los Angeles area. Three 
years later, thanks in part to his energetic efforts with the 
uahc - and the Jewish population explosion - there were 18. 
Upon his arrival at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, he initially 
focused his attention on creating programs for Jewish youth. 
He reinstated the bar mitzvah, built up the religious school 
to 2,000 students, and, most significantly, started one of the 
nation's first Jewish summer camp programs, which eventu- 
ally included Camp Hess Kramer (1952) and Gindling Hill- 
top Camp (1968) on 200 coastal acres in Malibu. Wolf's con- 
cept for Jewish camping had its roots in the hills of Germany, 
where the life-long hiker led Jewish youngsters on outings 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


even after Hitler's ascent to power. The Malibu camps have 
been attended by more than 50,000 children and are used 
throughout the off-season by numerous community groups 
from across the region. 

Wolf was determined to assume a leadership role in pro- 
moting community and interreligious relations in America. 
He served as chairman of the Los Angeles County Commis- 
sion on Human Relations, offering important guidance in the 
aftermath of the 1965 Watts Riots, and in 1969 he co-founded 
the Interreligious Council of Southern California, which be- 
came the first such organization in the U.S. to encompass 
virtually all of the worlds major religions. In 1987, Wolf was 
selected to address Pope John Paul 11 on behalf of the entire 
Southern California Jewish community during the pontiff s 
historic visit to Los Angeles. 

Among Wolf's numerous other active affiliations were 
the Southern California Board of Rabbis, the Pacific Associa- 
tion of Reform Rabbis, the Hebrew Union College -Jewish In- 
stitute of Religion Board of Governors, the National Commis- 
sion on Interfaith Relations, the American Jewish Committee's 
Los Angeles Executive Board, the Los Angeles Jewish Federa- 
tion Council, and the American Academy of Religion. 

[Robin Kramer (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLF, ARNOLD JACOB (1924- ), U.S. Reform rabbi. Wolf 
was born in Chicago, Illinois, and received his B.A. from the 
University of Cincinnati in 1945. He chose to remain at He- 
brew Union College rather than to move to New York's Jew- 
ish Theological Seminary when Abraham Joshua *Heschel 
left huc along with students such as Samuel Dressner and 
Richard L. Rubenstein. In 1948, he was ordained at ^Hebrew 
Union College, which awarded him an honorary D.D. in 1973. 
Following ordination, he served as assistant rabbi of Eman- 
uel Congregation in Chicago (1948-51; 1953-57), interrupt- 
ing civilian life to serve as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy dur- 
ing the Korean War (1951-53). He was also the first director 
of the Summer Camp Institutes of the National Federation of 
Temple Youth (1948-51). In 1955, he became rabbi of Chicago's 
Congregation B'nai Joshua (1955-57), while launching his own 
television and radio programs broadcast over the Midwest af- 
filiates of the cbs and abc networks. In 1957, he was found- 
ing rabbi of Congregation Solel, an experimental synagogue 
in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park (1957-72). He also 
taught at the University of Chicago Divinity School, Loyola 
Marymount University, and the College of Jewish Studies 
(now Spertus Institute). 

In 1972, he decided to leave the pulpit, and Wolf was 
appointed Jewish chaplain at Yale University, where he also 
lectured in the philosophy department and served as a com- 
missioner of the Board of Ethics of the city of New Haven. 
His years on campus were marked by a particularly Jewish 
brand of social activism: he was chairman of Breira, a group 
that aimed for shared responsibility by Israeli and Diaspora 
Jewry for Middle East peace (1973-75), opposed Israel's set- 
tlements policy, and sought to talk with the Palestinians. He 

was a founding contributing editor (with Eugene *Borowitz 
with whom he had been a fellow student at huc) of Sh'ma, A 
Journal of Jewish Responsibility. He was also the first official 
Jewish representative to attend a World Council of Churches 
Assembly (1975). 

In 1980, Wolf returned to Chicago to become rabbi of Il- 
linois' oldest Jewish congregation, Kehilath Anshei Maarav- 
Isaiah Israel, where he became emeritus in 2000. He resumed 
leadership roles in the community, becoming president of the 
Chicago Association of Reform Rabbis (1995-96). In 2002, he 
was named resident scholar at the Foundation for Jewish Stud- 
ies in Washington, d.c. 

Wolf, who served as theology editor of Judaism maga- 
zine from 1998, wrote more than 350 essays as well as four 
books: Challenge to Confirmands: An Introduction to Jewish 
Thinking (1963), Rediscovering Judaism: Reflections on a New 
Theology (1965), What Is Man? (1968), and Unfinished Rabbi 
(1998). He also co-edited (with Lawrence *Hoffman) Jewish 

Spiritual Journeys (1997). 

[Bezalel Gordon (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLF, ERIC ROBERT (1922-1999), anthropologist. Born in 
Vienna, Austria, in 1922, Eric Robert Wolf was an anthropolo- 
gist who studied peasant societies. Born in an upper middle 
class family, his family moved to Sudetenland in 1933. His fa- 
ther was an Austrian textile factory manager; his mother was a 
member of Russian nobility. Wolf grew up on the Czech- Ger- 
man border at the time the Nazi Party was in its ascendancy 
and antisemitism was on the increase. His father sent him to 
England to the Forest School in Walthamstow; his family later 
escaped Germany and immigrated to England, where they 
were interred as enemy aliens. They eventually moved to the 
United States in 1940. When World War 11 broke out, Wolf 
was studying biochemistry; he left his studies and served in 
one of the U.S. Army's mountain troop divisions, earning a 
Silver Star. He returned to school at the end of the war, chang- 
ing fields to anthropology. He graduated from Queens College 
in New York City in 1946 and finished a Ph.D. at Columbia 
University in 1951. He began his career as an academic, first 
at the University of Illinois and later at the University of Vir- 
ginia, then Yale and the University of Chicago. He spent 10 
years on the faculty at the University of Michigan, from 1961 
to 1971, before moving to the Herbert H. Lehman College and 
Graduate Center at the City University of New York, as a dis- 
tinguished professor, until his retirement in 1992. 

Immediately after graduate school, Wolf focused his 
work on Mexican history and civilization, looking at the pro- 
gression of culture and community from pre-Hispanic to His- 
panic Mexico. While at Columbia, Wolf became acquainted 
with Marxism, which led him to his studies of peasantry and 
their role in complex societies. In the 1950s, he became part of 
a group of anthropology scholars known as "neo -evolution- 
ists," who challenged the established culturalist tradition. His 
first book, Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century, examining 
six political uprisings, was published in 1969. Later in his ca- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



reer he did ethnographic research on Alpine communities, 
integrating historical and ethnographic perspectives, intro- 
ducing the notion of ecological constraints on development. 
Active in the antiwar movement during the Vietnam War, he 
continued his peasant studies, publishing several influential 
studies of peasant revolutions. He wrote the book many re- 
gard to be the masterpiece of his career in 1982, Europe and 
the People Without History. In this book, Wolf argued mar- 
ket forces created tribes just as they created civilizations and 
nations. These forces changed world populations by creating 
giant labor migrations such as the European expansions into 
Africa, the Americas and the Orient and that the common 
people in the world were both agents of this change as well as 
its victims. His last work in 1999, Envisioning Power Ideologies 
of Dominance and Crisis, compared the violent regimes of the 
Aztec, the Kwakiutl of the Pacific Northwest, and the Nazis. In 
addition to being a scholar of great reputation, Wolf was also 
a dedicated teacher who embraced teaching undergraduates 
when he might have easily excused himself from such duties. 
Wolf died in Irvington, New York, of colon cancer. 

[David Weinstock (2 nd ed)] 

WOLF, FRIEDRICH (1888-1953), German playwright, au- 
thor, and essayist. Wolf, who was born in Neuwied am Rhein, 
rebelled against his middle- class Jewish upbringing and ran 
away from home, hoping to become a painter in Munich. Af- 
ter varied experiences working on Rhine steamers and even 
in the Salvation Army, he qualified as a physician and served 
as a German medical officer during World Wan. Wolf's grow- 
ing opposition to the war led to his confinement in a men- 
tal hospital, where he was allowed to treat other patients. A 
member of the short-lived Dresden Soviet (1919), he joined 
the Communist Party in 1928, became active in leftist intel- 
lectual circles, and visited the U.S.S.R. in 1931. Two years later 
he immigrated first to Switzerland, and then to France, where 
he lived until 1941, except for the time he spent fighting in the 
republican army during the Spanish Civil War. In 1941 Wolf 
escaped from a detention camp in occupied France and made 
his way to the U.S.S.R., where he became a radio propagandist 
and a co-founder of the Communist-sponsored Committee 
for a Free Germany (1943). He returned to Germany as a Red 
Army medical officer in 1945. From 1950 to 1951 he was East 
Germany's ambassador in Warsaw. 

Wolf's early expressionism dominated his plays such 
as Mohammed (written 1917, publ. 1924) and Der Mann im 
Dunkel (1925), but political engagement characterized his 
many later works. These include the dramas Der arme Konrad 
(1924), Cyankali (1929), Die Matrosen von Cattaro (1930; The 
Sailors of Cattaro, 1935), Florisdorf (1935, Eng. 1935), and Das 
trojanische Pferd (1937). Other works published before World 
War 11 (many printed in Moscow) were Der Sprung durch den 
Tod (1925) and Die Nacht von Bethineville (1936), stories; and 
Zwei an der Grenze (1938), an autobiographical novel. Wolf's 
best-known drama, Professor Mamlock (1933, first as Dr. Mam- 

locks Ausweg, Eng. 1935), was widely circulated among exiled 
democrats and underground resistance workers. He published 
a stream of stories and plays during and after World War 11, 
including the autobiographical kz Vernet (1941), Zwei Kaemp- 
fer vor Moskau (1942), Heimkehr der Soehne (1944) , M en etek el 
oder die fliegenden Untertassen (1952), and the drama, Thomas 
Muenzer (1953). Wolf also wrote essays on the theater and 
published five volumes of collected plays (1946-49). He was 
twice awarded East Germany's National Prize (1949, 1950). 
Between i960 and 1967, a 16-volume edition of his complete 
works appeared. 

bibliography: W. Pollatschek, Das Buehnenwerk Friedrich 
Wolfs (1958); idem, Friedrich Wolf (i960); A.Soergel and C. Hohoff, 
Dichtung und Dichter der Zeit, 2 (1963), 392-7. add. bibliogra- 
phy: H. Haarmann and K. Siebenhaar, "Lebensform und Tendenz- 
kunst: zum Fruehwerk Friedrich Wolfs," in: Internationales Archiv 
fuer Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur, 10 (1985), 113-34; K. 
Hammer, "Konzepte der Menschenveranderung. Friedrich Wolfs 
Weg zum Dramatiker der Arbeiterklasse," in: Weimarer Beitraege, 34 
(1988), 1941-61; L. Hohmann, Friedrich Wolf: Bilder einer deutschen 
Biographic Fine Dokumentation. (1988); F. Wolf , Auf wieviel Pferden 
ich geritten ... Derjunge Friedrich Wolf. Fine Dokumentation, ed. by 
E. Wolf and B. Struzyk (1988); H. Muller (ed.), F Wolf Weltburger 
aus Neuwied. Selbstzeugnisse in Lyrik und Prosa. Dokumente und 
Dokumentarisches, Bilder und Briefe, ed. for his 100 th birthday by H. 
Mueller (1988); Mut, nochmals Mut, immerzu Mut! Protokollband, 
Internationales Friedrich- Wolf- Symposium der 
Volkshochschule der Stadt Neuwied vom 2.-4. Dezember 1988 in 
Neuwied aus Anlaft des 100. Geburtstages von Dr. Friedrich Wolf, 
23.12.1888 in Neuwied (1990); A. Grenville, "From Social Fascism 
to Popular Front: kpd Policy as Reflected in the Works of Friedrich 
Wolf, Anna Seghers and Willi Bredel, 1928-1938," in: R. Dove and S. 
Lamb (eds.), German Writers and Politics 1918-1939 (1992), 89-102; 
K. Jarmatz, "Zur Rezeption des Werkes von Friedrich Wolf in der 
frueheren ddr und brd," in: D. Sevin (ed.), Die Resonanz des Exils 
(1992), 299-312; G. Labroisse, "Rezeption von Exilliteratur im Hori- 
zontwandel. Ferdinand Bruckners 'Die Rassen und Friedrich Wolfs 
'Professor Mamlock' in Zurich (1933 bzw. 1934) und Berlin (1948 
bzw. 1946)," in: D. Sevin, Die Resonanz des Exils (1992), 154-63; H. 
Mueller, "'Ich warte nicht, bis man mich hier verhaftet.' Das Moskauer 
Exil der Familie Friedrich Wolf," in: Tel Aviver Jahrbuch fur deutsche 
Geschichte, 24 (1995), 193-216; D.K. Heizer, lewish-German Identity 
in the Orientalist Literature of Else Lasker-Schuler, Friedrich Wolf and 
Franz Werfel (1996); A.W Barker, "Anna Seghers, Friedrich Wolf, and 
the Civil War of 1934," in: The Modern Language Review, 95:1 (2000), 
144-53; idem, "Karl Kraus, Friedrich Wolf and the Response to Feb- 
ruary 1934," in: G.J. Carr and E. Timms (eds.), Karl Kraus und ''Die 
FackeV (2001), 163-69; C. Jakobi, "Antisemitismuskritik und Juden- 
darstellung im deutschsprachigen Exildrama 1933-1945: Anmerkun- 
gen zu drei Stuecken von Wolf, Brecht und Hasenclever," in: C. Balme 
(ed.), Das Theater der Anderen (2001), 205-27; P. Schneck, "Mamlok 
und Mamlock 1937. Eine Literaturgestalt wurde lebendig. Der Ber- 
liner Zahnarzt Hans-Jacques Mamlok und Friedrich Wolfs Drama 
'Professor Mamlock'," in: A. Scholz and C.-P. Heidel (eds.), Das Bild 
des juedischen Arztes in der Literatur (2002), 130-39; A. Scholz and W 
Kohlert, "Arzte, Heiler und Patienten im Werk des Arztes und Dich- 
ters Friedrich Wolf," in: A. Scholz and C.-P. Heidel (eds.), Das Bild 
des juedischen Arztes in der Literatur (2002), 120-29. 

[Godfrey Edmond Silverman] 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


WOLF, FRUMET (Francisca nee Brilin; 1770-1849), com- 
munity leader. Born in Pressburg (Bratislava) into a promi- 
nent scholarly and wealthy family, she married a widower, 
Chajjim Joachim Wolf of Eisenstadt. An intelligent, com- 
passionate woman, Frumet was appalled at the domination 
of the community by a small oligarchy of wealthy men, who 
were totally insensitive to the community's needs. In 1793 she 
wrote a pamphlet, Pasquill Zettelech, circulated anonymously 
in the community, sharply critical of the wielders of power in 
the community and their policies. The pamphlet was confis- 
cated and destroyed, but not before its content caused a great 
stir among the Jews of the city. A ban of excommunication 
was pronounced not only against the anonymous author, but 
also against anyone involved in the distribution of the pam- 
phlet. At that point, Frumet identified herself as the author- 
ess. She was fined and forbidden to attend synagogue for a 
certain time after a plea for clemency was made on the part 
of her husband. The issue remained a subject of public de- 
bate, involving, among others, representatives of the patron 
of Eisenstadt, Duke Esterhazy, until it was finally resolved in 
1804. After the death of her husband, Frumet Wolf continued 
to manage his business and even succeeded in strengthening 
and enlarging it. She was also well known in Eisenstadt and 
Burgenland as a philanthropist, assisting the poor financially 
and providing them with counseling in their private lives. 
Her will, written in German, is preserved, and is an impor- 
tant source for information on the cultural and economic life 
of the Jews of Eisenstadt. 

bibliography: B. Wachstein, Die Grabinschriften des alten 
Judenfriedhofes in Eisenstadt, (1922), 252-62; idem, Die Inschriften 
des alten Judenfriedhofes in Wien, 2 (1917), 285-9; idem, Urkunden 
undAkten zur Geschichte derjuden in Eisenstadt..., 1 (1926), 212-22, 
252-62; 2 (1926), 402-22; E. Wolf, Die Familie Wolf (1924), 119-21; O. 
Abeles, Zehn Juedinnen (1931), 83-93. 

[Yehouda Marton / Albert Lichtblau (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLF, GERSON (1823-1892), Austrian historian and educa- 
tor. Wolf was born in Holleschau (Holesov), Moravia. After a 
brief preoccupation with talmudic studies in Nikolsburg he 
moved to Vienna, where he studied pedagogy, philosophy, 
and languages. In 1849 he published a booklet, Die Demokra- 
tie und der Sozialismus, and several radical articles. Although 
he was ordered to leave Vienna in the wake of these publica- 
tions, he managed to stay with the help of influential friends. 
In 1852 he was imprisoned for a number of weeks on suspi- 
cion of being a revolutionary. In 1854, after having worked 
in several schools, he was appointed a teacher of religion in 
the Vienna community and became inspector of its religious 
studies in 1884. Wolf founded a youth library and, together 
with others, an aid organization for poor Jewish students in 
Vienna. In addition to surveys and documents on the history 
of the Jews in Worms, Bohemia, Moravia, and Austria (par- 
ticularly of the Jews in Vienna), he published a textbook for 
Jewish schools and a survey of the Austrian educational sys- 

tem. He also wrote biographies of I.N. *Mannheimer and J. 
*Wertheimer. His works include Ferdinand 11 und die Juden 
(1859); Judentaufen in Oesterreich (1863); Die Vertreibung der 
Juden aus Boehmen 1744 (1869); Geschichte derjuden in Wien 
1156-1876 (1876); Die alten Statuter der juedischen Gemeinden 
in Maehren (1880); and Die Juden (1883). Wolf wrote regularly 
for the Monatsschrift fuer Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Ju- 
dentums (1858-87) and published a series of articles in the pe- 
riodical Ha-Mazkir (1858-61). 

bibliography: B. Wachstein, in: Zeitschrift fuer die Ge- 
schichte derjuden in der Tschechoslowakei 1 (1930), 17-36, (incl. bibl.). 
add. bibliography: [No author], in: Oesterreichische Wochen- 
schrift. 9 (1892) 45, 804-805. 

[Zvi Avneri / Mirjam Triendl (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLF, GUSTAV (1887-1947), German artist. Wolf began 
his artistic training at the private school of Hans Thoma 
(1839-1924), who wanted to promote Wolf's talent and encour- 
aged him in his own style of art. Wolf's paintings belong to 
symbolism, including motifs of his own experiences, imagina- 
tion, and visions, such as mythical creatures, as do his wood- 
cuts Zehn Holzschnitte i-x from 1910. Wolf served as profes- 
sor of graphic arts at Karlsruhe until the Nazis came to power. 
In 1938, Wolf emigrated to the United States. Living in exile, 
horrified and frustrated by the Holocaust, Wolf created in 
1945 several expressionistic paintings with illustrations of the 
Jewish victims in the concentration camps. He was primarily 
a printmaker. His publications include Die Schoepfungstage 
(seven lithographs, with the biblical texts on the creation of 
the world), color woodcuts for a novel by Jacob Picard, and a 
portfolio of etchings, Vision of Manhattan. His work is char- 
acterized by vivid imagination and emotional intensity. Most 
of his artistic works are exhibited at the Gustav- Wolf- Kunst- 
galerie in Oestringen, Germany. 

add. bibliography: J.E. von Borries, Gustav Wolf: Das 
druckgraphische Werk (1982); B. Brahler, Gustav Wolf (i88y- 1947). 
Eine Weltanschauung in Bildern. Registry of artistic heritage in Oest- 
ringen (2000; Catalogue raisonne); Gustav- Wolf- Kunstgalerie Oes- 
tringen, Gustav Wolf. Schopfer visionarer Kunst (1995). 

[Jihan Radjai-Ordoubadi (2 nd ed.)] 

°WOLF, JOHANN CHRISTOPH (1683-1739), German bib- 
liographer, ^Hebraist, and Orientalist. Born at Wernigerode 
(Prussia). Wolf studied Hebrew at Wittenberg University and, 
during study tours in Holland and England, met such Chris- 
tian Hebraists as Vitringa, *Surenhuis, *Reland, and *Basnage. 
He became professor of Oriental languages and literature at 
the Hamburg gymnasium (1712) and was an ardent collector 
of Hebrew books and manuscripts. Deciding to devote himself 
to publishing a full list of all extant Hebrew books, he utilized 
the noted David *Oppenheim collection at Hanover for this 
purpose. The result of Wolf s research was his Bibliotheca He- 
braea in 4 volumes (Hamburg, 1715-33). 

Volume 1 (1715) contains an alphabetical list of Jewish 
authors with biographical notes. Volume 2 (1721) is divided 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



into subject headings such as Bible, Apocrypha, Masorah, 
Mishnah, Talmud, Kabbalah, Hebrew grammar and antise- 
mitic literature, with a short description of the nature of the 
books listed. Volumes 3 (1727) and 4 (1733) are supplements 
to the first two. Although he drew upon the works of bibliog- 
raphers who preceded him (especially *Bartolocci and *Bass), 
Wolf offered in his Bibliotheca thousands of corrections and 
additions to the works of his predecessors. In 1829, when the 
Oppenheimer library was acquired by Oxford University for 
the *Bodleian collection, M. *Steinschneider used Wolf's Bib- 
liotheca as the basis for the compilation of his Bodleian cata- 
logue, referring to Wolf's work on almost every page. Until 
Steinschneider's catalogue, Wolf's Bibliotheca was considered 
the best Jewish bibliography, and Christian scholars for over 
a century and a half derived their knowledge on such works 
as the Mishnah and Talmud from Wolf's book. 

Wolf also wrote a history of Hebrew lexicons (his Ph.D. 
dissertation at Wittenberg, 1705) and a book on the Kara- 
ites, Notitia Karaeorum (Hamburg, 1714). He bequeathed his 
library, containing some 25,000 Hebrew books and manu- 
scripts, to the city library of Hamburg. 

bibliography: Zunz, Gesch, 14-15; Bertheau, in: adb, 44 
(1898), 545-8; Steinschneider, in: zhb, 5 (1901), 84, no. 417; Stein- 
schneider, Cat Bod, xxxiv-xxxvi; 2730-32, no. 7394 (here called: 
Wolfius (Jos. Christoph)). add. bibliography: C.G. Joecher, 
Allgemeines Gelehrten Lexicon (1751) [1961], 2053-2055 (with bibl. of 
Wolf s works); Sh. Brisman, A History and Guide to Judaic Bibliog- 
raphy (1977), 13-15. 

[Abraham Meir Habermann / Aya Elyada (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLF, LEYZER (pseudonym of Eliezer Mekler; 1910-1943), 
Yiddish poet. His bizarre parodies, grotesques, and dramatic 
sketches bridged popular and elite impulses in the liter- 
ary group *Yung-Vilne. His first book, Evigingo (1936), was 
an exotic parody of Europe printed in the Roman alphabet. 
The collections Shvartse Perl ("Black Pearls," 1939) and Lirik 
un Satire (1940) gathered poems published previously in the 
Yiddish press. In 1938-39, he mentored Yungvald, a group 
of younger aspiring writers, including Hirsh *Glick. Wolf 
died of hunger while a war refugee in Soviet Uzbekistan. A 
posthumous volume, Di Broyne Bestye ("The Brown Beast," 
1943), satirized fascism. A selection of his best poems, Lider 
(1955), included a critical introduction and biographic sketch 
by Leyzer Ran. 

bibliography: lnyl, 3 (i960) 278-9; S. Belis, in: Portretn un 
Problemen (1964), 115-36; J. Cammy, in: Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 
14 (2001), 170-91; E. Shulman, Yung-Vilne (1946), 40-4. 

[Justin D. Cammy (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLF, LUCIEN (1857-1930), Anglo-Jewish publicist and 
historian. Wolf, who was born in London, was the son of a 
Bohemian political refugee who worked as a pipe manufac- 
turer. He began writing for newspapers at the age of 17. His first 
regular employment was with the Jewish World, of which he 
later became editor (1905-08). His fluency in French and Ger- 

man was an asset in this profession, and he gradually became 
known as a foreign affairs expert. His articles in the Fortnightly 
Review and elsewhere, under the pseudonym "Diplomaticus," 
commanded wide attention. From 1890 to 1909 he was foreign 
editor of the then- influential Daily Graphic. Aroused by the 
pogroms of 1881, Wolf became extremely interested in Rus- 
sian affairs, acquired a reputation as an expert in the field, and 
edited the bulletin Darkest Russia (1912-14). He was supplied 
clandestinely with information through a network initiated by 
Isaac Elhanan *Spektor. Wolf's anti-Russian attitude made it 
difficult for him to continue to work as a foreign correspon- 
dent after Great Britain's entry into World War 1 as Russia's 
ally. In 1917 he became the secretary of the Joint Foreign Com- 
mittee (of the "Anglo-Jewish Association and the *Board of 
Deputies of British Jews). As such, he attended the postwar 
Paris Peace Conference, where he was regarded as a spokes- 
man of "western" Jewry. Although he strongly opposed Jew- 
ish nationalism in any form, he was largely responsible for the 
^Minorities Treaties to safeguard the civil and religious rights 
of central and eastern European Jews. Subsequently, he ac- 
quired a reputation as an authority on minorities problems at 
the sessions of the * League of Nations at Geneva. Originally 
an admirer and, to some extent, supporter of Herzl, Wolf later 
became the principal English spokesman of anti- Zionism, 
though after 1905 he collaborated with *Zangwill in the Jew- 
ish Territorial Organization (see *Territorialism). His hopes 
that the Wilsonian settlement in Europe at the close of World 
War 1 would lead to the protection of its Jewish populations 
proved tragically naive. 

He had early begun research in Anglo-Jewish history, 
which he continued throughout his life. He wrote the cen- 
tennial life of Sir Moses *Montefiore (1884), was one of the 
organizers of the Anglo- Jewish Historical Exhibition of 1887, 
and founded the Jewish Historical Society of ^England in 1893 
(serving repeatedly as its president). His principal work was 
on the "middle period" of Anglo -Jewish history (after the ex- 
pulsion of 1290) and on the resettlement. His contributions, 
based almost wholly on original sources, were of primary im- 
portance and placed the study of the subject on a new basis. 
These researches attracted Wolf to the history of the Marranos. 
He edited reports on trials of Jewish interest from the ^Canary 
Islands Inquisition records and in 1925 prepared a report on 
the contemporary Marranos of * Portugal, a historical contri- 
bution of great importance. He contributed a most important 
article to the 11 th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica on 
antisemitism, on the history of which he was the recognized 
authority in the English-speaking world. His collected Essays 
in Jewish History, edited by Cecil Roth in 1934, contains an 
account of his life. In the non- Jewish sphere he wrote a life 
of the English statesman Lord Ripon (1921). During the last 
30 years of his life, he was hampered by almost total blind- 
ness (only partly relieved by an operation) but triumphantly 
overcame it. An account of Wolf s wartime activities is Mark 
Levene's War, Jews, and the New Europe: The Diplomacy ofLu- 
cien Wolf, 1914-1919 (1992). 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


bibliography: Roth, in: L. Wolf, Essays in Jewish History 

(!934)> 2_ 34> 37-47 (bibl.)> 51-69; M. Beloff, Lucien Wolf and the An- 
glo-Russian Entente (1951); Frankel, in: jhset, 20 (1959-61), 161-88; 
Szajkowski, in: yivo Bleter, 43 (1966), 283-96; idem, in: jsos, 29 
(1967), 3-26. add. bibliography: odnb online. 

[Cecil Roth] 

WOLF, RICHARD RIEGEL (Subirana Lobo, Ricardo; 

1889-1982), plenipotentiary minister of Cuba in Israel (1961- 
73), scientist, and founder of the Wolf Foundation in 1975. 
Born in Hanover, Germany, he was a socialist during the 
government of the Kaiser, member of the then illegal Social- 
Democratic Party and the German Zionist movements of the 
left. He immigrated to Cuba in 1913. 

As a student of chemistry, he made an important discov- 
ery related to the recovery of residual iron during the founding 
process, which was successfully applied in steel mills around 
the world, making him a millionaire. In addition to Cuba, 
Germany, and Israel, he also lived at times in Barcelona, Italy, 
and Istanbul. In 1924, he married Francisca Subirana, a Cuban, 
and, contrary to tradition, adopted her surname. 

Although a successful businessman, he actively sup- 
ported the Cuban Revolution and its leader, Fidel Castro, from 
the beginning. He became an advisor to the government and 
promoted support for Land Reform. In 1961, he was named 
head of the Cuban Diplomatic Mission in Israel, the only 
Cuban embassy that the Revolutionary Government estab- 
lished at no cost because, as he had promised, Wolf paid for 
the building, salaries, and costs of representation. 

He planted the basis for a fertile relationship between 
Cuba, his adopted country, and Israel, through the creation 
of a Friendship Association that substituted for official chan- 
nels and promoted the collaboration of Israeli agricultural 
technicians with Cuba. Despite the difficulties imposed by the 
political alliances of the two countries, he added a profound 
dimension to the understanding of and empathy with Jewish 
reality among the Cuban leadership. 

When Cuba broke off diplomatic relations with Israel 
in 1973, Wolf, who was 84 years old, decided to stay in Israel. 
He and his wife Francesca founded the Wolf Foundation that 
awards prizes to outstanding scientists and artists, irrespec- 
tive of their nationality. 

bibliography: M. Corrales, The Chosen Island: Jews in 

Cuba (2005). 

[Maritza Corrales (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLF, SIMON (1836-1923), U.S. lawyer, communal leader, 
and lobbyist. Born in Hinzweiler, Germany, Wolf, the son of 
Levi Wolf and nephew of Elias *Wolf, went to the United States 
in 1848 and settled in Ulrichsville, Ohio. In i860 he served as 
an alternate delegate to the Democratic national convention, 
but shortly thereafter formed a lifelong allegiance to the Re- 
publican Party. Disillusioned with a business career, Wolf stud- 
ied law in 1862 and went to Washington, where he opened a 
law practice. After the presidential election of 1868, when he 
publicly defended General Ulyssses S. *Grant against charges 

of antisemitism stemming from a Civil War incident, Wolf was 
rewarded with the post of recorder of deeds for the District of 
Columbia. He held this post until 1877, when political pres- 
sures forced his resignation, and then served as a judge of the 
municipal court in the district. In 1881 he became the United 
States consul in Egypt, where he tried to foster trade between 
the two countries. In 1882 Wolf resumed his law practice in 
Washington, d.c. At that time Washington was sufficiently 
provincial to allow easy access to all political leaders and Wolf 
availed himself of this privilege; he soon viewed himself as 
a spokesman for the U.S. Jewish community to the federal 
government and claimed a personal acquaintance with every 
president from Lincoln through Wilson. 

A skillful organizer, Wolf was the representative of *B'nai 
B nth in Washington, serving as its president in 1904. Early 
in his career he acquired the permanent chairmanship of the 
Committee on Civil and Religious Rights of the * Union of 
American Hebrew Congregations (see * Board of Delegates 
of American Israelites). He scored several achievements in 
social justice and liberal legal interpretations, which included 
a ruling from the immigration authorities that persons de- 
pendent on private charities were not liable to deportation 
as public charges, and the postponement for four years of the 
enactment of a restrictive immigrant literacy bill. He was said 
to have saved some 103,000 aliens from deportation through 
personal intervention. Wolf publicized the plight of Russian 
and Romanian Jewry by securing in 1870 the appointment 
of a Jew, Benjamin F. * Peixotto, as consul to Bucharest; by 
urging the publication of Secretary of State John Hay's Roma- 
nian Note, reiterating basic rights for Jews; by helping to effect 
the quick release of the Kishinev Petition, aimed at world 
censure of Russian antisemitism; and by working for the ab- 
rogation of a discriminatory Russo-American commercial 
treaty (1911). As a spokesman for Reform Judaism, Wolf op- 
posed governmental attempts to identify Jews as a group and 
was vociferous in denying Zionist aspirations, a matter in 
which he claimed assurances from President Wilson. Jeal- 
ous of his prerogatives, Wolf engaged in internecine quarrels 
with the 'American Jewish Committee. A member of the 
Washington Board of Charities and of its Board of Educa- 
tion, he served as president of the Washington Hebrew Con- 
gregation. Wolf wrote numerous articles and two large works: 
The American Jew as Soldier, Patriot and Citizen (1895), a 
study of Jews in the U.S. armed forces (1774-1865), and an 
autobiography, The Presidents I Have Known (1918). A col- 
lection of Selected Addresses and Papers appeared in 1926. 
His papers are on deposit at the American Jewish Histori- 
cal Society. 

Wolf's son, adolf grant (1869-1947), was born in 
Washington, d.c, admitted to the bar in 1893, and for 11 years 
conducted a law practice in Washington. In the early 1900s 
he was appointed associate justice of the Supreme Court of 
Puerto Rico, serving on the bench until 1941, when he retired. 
He was also a member of the Commission of Uniform State 
Laws (Puerto Rico) from 1918 to 1930. 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



bibliography: M.J. Kohler, in: ajhsp, 29 (1925), 198-206; 
D.H. and E.L. Panitz, ibid., 47 (1957), 76-100; E.L. Panitz, ibid., 53 

(1963)* 99-i3o; 55 (1965)* 57-97- 

[Esther Panitz] 

WOLFE, Canadian family, ray d. wolfe (1917-1990), entre- 
preneur and philanthropist, and rose senderowitz wolfe 
(1919- ), social worker, community leader, fundraiser, and 
philanthropist, were both born into eastern European immi- 
grant working-class families in Toronto. They married in 1940 
after Rose graduated with a degree in social work and Ray with 
a degree in arts from the University of Toronto. 

Ray, who had failed his university courses in finance and 
commerce, masterminded the growth of a small family pro- 
duce wholesaler into the Oshawa Group - one of Canada's larg- 
est food-drug-department store businesses. After serving in 
the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1943-46, Ray returned to his 
floundering family business and as chairman and ceo built it 
into a major Canadian corporation. He established a personal 
reputation for business acumen, honesty, and philanthropy. He 
was appointed to the boards of large Canadian corporations, 
becoming the first Jew to sit on the boards of Canadian Pacific 
Limited and the Bank of Nova Scotia. He was very active in 
the Jewish community, serving on the boards of the Canadian 
Friends of Haifa University, Canada- Israel Institute for Indus- 
trial Research and Development, and the Canadian Council of 
Christians and Jews. He was chair of the United Jewish Wel- 
fare Fund, a governor of Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, and 
founding publisher and chair of the weekly Canadian Jewish 
News. The Ray D. Wolfe Fellowship, which supports advanced 
research in Jewish studies at the University of Toronto, was 
established in his memory by the Canadian Jewish News. In 
1980 Ray was awarded the Order of Canada. 

In 2000, the Rose and Ray Wolfe Chair in Holocaust 
Studies was established at the University of Toronto. The chair 
was created by Rose and reflected her long association with the 
university and her devotion to social welfare and human rights 
issues. Rose's early social work career with Toronto's Jewish 
Family and Child Service placed her with Jewish youngsters 
who had survived the Holocaust and entered Canada as or- 
phans in 1947-48. This professional work led Rose to a career 
as a volunteer which focused on education, social justice, and 
community relations. She was active in more than 20 social, 
cultural, and educational organizations. From 1983 to 1991, 
while an officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress (Ontario), 
Rose served as chair of the Joint Community Relations com- 
mittee devoted to improving Jewish relations with other eth- 
nic groups, the media, and government. She was also a mem- 
ber of the board of the Banting Research Institute, McMichael 
Canadian Art Collection, and the Pearson College of the Pa- 
cific. Among her affiliations, Rose was a director of Mount 
Sinai Hospital, where the family established the Ray D. Wolfe 
Department of Family Medicine. 

Rose's many positions included the presidency of the 
Jewish Family and Child Service in Toronto, the Women's Di- 

vision of the uja, and the Federation of Jewish Women's Orga- 
nizations. She became the first female president of the Toronto 
Jewish Congress (later the uja Federation of Greater Toronto), 
responsible for all Jewish social agencies and educational in- 
stitutions, and in 1991-97 she served as the first Jewish chan- 
cellor of the University of Toronto, where she had long been 
a key fundraiser. She was honored with an honorary doctor 
of laws degree from the University in 1998, the Human Re- 
lations Award from the Canadian Council of Christians and 
Jews in 1985, and the 1980 Jewish National Fund's Negev Din- 
ner. Rose Wolfe was awarded the Order of Ontario in 1982 and 
the Order of Canada in 1999. 

bibliography: D. Francis, Controlling Interest. Who Owns 

Canada? (1986), 152-57. 

[Paula Draper (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLFE, ALAN S. (1942- ), U.S. scholar of political science. 
Born in Philadelphia, Wolfe received his bachelor's degree 
from Temple University in 1963. He did graduate work in po- 
litical science at Vanderbilt University and in 1967 received 
his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsyl- 
vania. From 1966 to 1968 he was an assistant professor of po- 
litical science at Douglass College, and from 1968 to 1970 was 
assistant professor at the College of Old Westbury of the State 
University of New York. Wolfe taught as a visiting scholar at 
several universities, including Harvard and the University of 
California at Berkeley. In 1979 he joined the faculty of Queens 
College as an associate professor, later becoming a full pro- 
fessor of sociology. 

In 1991 Wolfe was named the dean of the Graduate Fac- 
ulty of Political and Social Science and the Michael E. Gellert 
Professor of Sociology and Political Science at the New School 
for Social Research. In 1993 he joined Boston University as 
university professor and professor of sociology and political 
science. He was named the director of the Boisi Center for Re- 
ligion and American Public Life at Boston College in 1999, also 
holding an appointment as professor of political science. 

A contributing editor of The New Republic and The Wil- 
son Quarterly, Wolfe also wrote for Harpers, The Atlantic 
Monthly, and Commonweal. He wrote Americas Impasse: The 
Rise and Fall of the Politics of Growth (1981), in which he ar- 
gues that differences between the Republican and Democratic 
parties have diminished as the demands of economics have 
become paramount. His works One Nation, After All (1998) 
and Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice 
(2001) were selected as New York Times Notable Books of the 
Year. His many other works include The Transformation of 
American Religion: How We Actually Practice Our Faith (2003), 
An Intellectual in Public (2003), and Return to Greatness: How 
America Lost Its Sense of Purpose and What It Needs to Do to 
Recover It (2005). 

Wolfe received numerous grants and awards, including 
grants from the Russell Sage Foundation, the Templeton Foun- 
dation, and the Lilly Endowment. He was the George Herbert 
Walker Bush Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


2004, and he received the Award for Public Understanding 
of Sociology from the American Sociological Association in 
2001. He served as an advisor to President Bill Clinton for the 
State of the Union Address in 1995. 

[Dorothy Bauhoff (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLFE, BERTRAM DAVID (1896-1977), U.S. historiogra- 
pher. Born in New York City, Wolfe became involved in radical 
politics, first as a socialist and later as a member of the Work- 
ers (Communist) Party. He edited the party's organ, The Com- 
munisty 1927-28. In 1929 he was expelled from the party and 
became active in the Communist opposition group. He thus 
became what was called a "Lovestoneite," one of the Right Op- 
position the party expelled along with Jay Lovestone. Wolfe 
later broke with the Marxist left. 

Wolfe and his wife, Ella, had experience of the Soviet 
Union in the early years of Stalin's rule and knew the Rus- 
sian leader personally. Wolfe's scholarly work was chiefly in 
the field of Marxist history and Soviet affairs. His book Three 
Who Made a Revolution (1948) is a biographical study of 
Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin. Among his other works are Keep 
America out of War (with N. Thomas (1939); Communist To- 
talitarianism (1961), first published under the title Six Keys to 
the Soviet System (1956); Marxism, One Hundred Years in the 
Life of a Doctrine (1965); Strange Communists I Have Known 
(1965); The Bridge and the Abyss (1967); and An Ideology in 
Power (1969). A Life in Two Centuries: An Autobiography was 
published in 1981. He was also the biographer of Diego Rivera, 
e.g., The Fabulous Life of Diego Rivera (1963). 

Wolfe was a fellow of the Russian Institute of Columbia 
University and the Hoover Library. 

add. bibliography: G. Lennard (ed.), Lenin and the 20 th 

Century: A Bertram D. Wolfe Retrospective (1984); R. Hessen (ed.), 

Breaking with Communism: The Intellectual Odyssey of Bertram D. 

Wolfe (1990). 

[Ezra Mendelsohn / Ruth Beloff (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLFE, HUMBERT (Umberto Wolff; 1885-1940), English 
poet and critic. He was born in Milan but was taken as a baby 
to Bradford, England, where his father was a wool merchant. 
He was naturalized in 1891. Wolfe was educated at Bradford 
Grammar School and Oxford and went into the civil service, 
where he rose to be deputy secretary at the Ministry of Labor 
(1938-40). During World War 1, from 1915 to 1918, he held 
an important position in the Ministry of Munitions. Wolfe's 
first published poems, a collection entitled London Sonnets 
(1920), were characterized by a certain facetiousness and by 
an attempt to imitate colloquial speech. Other early works in- 
cluded Shylock Reasons with Mr. Chesterton (1920), Circular 
Saws (1923), Lampoons (1925), Humoresque (1926), and a long 
verse satire on the popular press, News of the Devil (1926). His 
first real success was a volume of light verse entitled Cursory 
Rhymes (1927). Later volumes, notably Requiem (1927), took 
life more seriously. The Uncelestial City (1930) represented 
an unsuccessful return to his earlier manner, and volumes in 

his more usual strain which appeared over the next ten years 
added little to his reputation. He translated Rostand's Cyrano 
de Bergerac (1937) and wrote an English adaptation of Jeno 
*Heltai's Hungarian verse comedy, The Silent Knight (1937). His 
critical writings include studies of Herrick, Shelley, and Ten- 
nyson. Wolfe was only mildly interested in Jewish affairs but 
translated Edmond *Fleg's Wall of Weeping (1929) and some of 
^Heine's poems. His autobiographical works, Now a Stranger 
(1933) and The Upward Anguish (1938), reveal his sense of 
alienation from Jews and Judaism; in 1908 he had become an 
Anglican. Rather incongruously, Wolfe also wrote excellent 
accounts of the Ministry of Munitions during World War 1 
which are highly regarded as administrative history. 

bibliography: Leftwich, in: National Jewish Monthly (Jan. 

1941); N. Bentwich, in: Menorah Journal, 31 (Jan. -March 1943), 34-45. 

add. bibliography: odnb online; P. Bagguley, Harlequin in 

Whitehall (1997). 

[Philip D. Hobsbaum] 

WOLFENBUETTEL, town in Lower Saxony, Germany. There 
was a small Jewish community in Wolfenbuettel during the 
18 th century. In 1781 a synagogue was erected to replace the 
prayer room that had previously been in use. After a new syna- 
gogue was dedicated in 1893, the old one was used as a private 
dwelling. A cemetery was acquired by the community in 1724 
(it was desecrated in 1938). The small community is mainly 
known for the Jewish school that was established in the town. 
In 1786 Philip Samson and his brother Herz, *Landrabbiner 
and *Court Jew of the duke of Brunswick, founded a bet mi- 
drash for poor boys, under the directorship of Philip, where 
four to five hours a week were set aside for secular studies 
(German, arithmetic, etc.). Ten years later another school 
was founded, endowed by Herz's widow. In 1806-07, under 
the influence of Israel * Jacobson, the schools amalgamated 
and revolutionized their curriculum. Less emphasis was given 
to talmudic studies, which were eventually replaced by cat- 
echism. The innovations were carried out by one of the first 
pupils, S.M. Ehrenburg, who conducted the earliest confirma- 
tion ceremony in 1807. The first to be confirmed was Leopold 
* Zunz, who taught in the school for five years; his contempo- 
rary at school was the historian I.M. * Jost. Attendance at the 
Samsonsche Freischule grew from about a dozen pupils in the 
late 18 th century to 150-200 a century later, when it had be- 
come a recognized Realgymnasium (high school). It included 
a hostel. French and English were taught, and Jewish studies 
included Bible with Mendelssohn's translation, Jewish laws 
and customs, and a little Jewish history. The trend was that of 
liberal Judaism. The school was closed on Sabbaths and open 
on Sundays. In 1928 it was closed following the post- World 
War 1 inflation. There were 125 Jews living in Wolfenbuettel 
in 1932 and 112 in 1933. They maintained two philanthropic 
organizations. The community ceased to exist during World 
War 11. There are memorials at the Jewish cemetery (from 
the 1970s and 1980s). A memorial (inaugurated in 1988) and 
a commemorative plaque (inaugurated in 2000) are dedicated 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



to the former synagogue. In 2005 a new memorial was built to 
commemorate the Jewish citizens who lived in Wolfenbuettel 
during the Nazi era. 

bibliography: H. Schulze in: Zeitschrift fuer die Geschichte 
der Juden, 3 (1966), 1-11; idem, in: Jahrbuch, 
48/49 (1967-69), 23-61, 62-85; M. Eliav, Ha-Hinnukh ha-Yehudi be- 
Germanyah (i960), index, add bibliography: R. Busch, Sam- 
sonschule Wolfenbuettel 1/86-1928. Ausstellung aus Anlass der 200. 
Wiederkehr des Gruendungstages (Veroeffentlichungen des Braun- 
schweigischen Landesmuseums, vol. 46) (1986); Sie werden lernen von 
deinen Worten. Kostbare hebraeische Buecher in der Herzog August 
Bibliothek (1988); M. Berg, Juedische Schulen in Niedersachsen (Be- 
itraege zur historischen Bildungsforschung, vol. 28) (2003). 

[Abraham J. Brawer] 

WOLFENSOHN, JAMES DAVID (1933- ), international 
peace envoy, Olympian, philanthropist, investment banker 
and president of the World Bank. Wolfensohn was born in 
Sydney, Australia, and enrolled at age 16 at Sydney University, 
where he discovered a latent talent for fencing. Five years later, 
Wolfensohn fenced for Australia in the 1956 Olympics. That 
same year he completed his law degree and the following year, 
was accepted to do an M.B.A. at Harvard. 

After a few years, he returned to Australia where his ca- 
reer as an international investment banker took seed. Over 
the years he held several executive-level positions in firms in 
Australia, the U.S., and the United Kingdom. In his late for- 
ties, he opened his own boutique investment bank. 

Passionate about the performing arts, he was always 
closely involved in a range of cultural activities. As chairman 
of the board of Carnegie Hall, he was a driving force behind 
its restoration. 

When he was appointed chairman of the board of trust- 
ees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 
Washington, d.c, the center was economically and philosoph- 
ically troubled. He changed its focus, concentrating on educa- 
tion and increasing performance and outreach initiatives. For 
his contribution to the arts, Wolfensohn received numerous 
awards, including a Knight Commander of the Most Excel- 
lent Order of the British Empire. 

As a committed philanthropist, he was devoted to hu- 
manitarian causes. He was president of the International Fed- 
eration of Multiple Sclerosis Societies and personally financed 
aids initiatives for the disabled. Widely recognized for his 
voluntary work, he was decorated by the governments of Aus- 
tralia, Brazil, France, Germany, Georgia, Morocco, Norway, 
Peru, Pakistan, and Russia. 

A proud Jew, Wolfensohn chaired the Jerusalem Foun- 
dation, was a director of the Jerusalem Music Center and a 
member of the advisory committee of Yad Hanadiv. He won 
the American Jewish Committee Herbert H. Lehman, Hu- 
man Relations Award, and was a trustee of the Fifth Avenue 

Wolfensohn received nine honorary doctorates, served as 
chairman of the board of the Institute for Advanced Study at 
Princeton University, and was a fellow of the American Acad- 

emy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Philosophical 
Society. He was a member of both the Council on Foreign 
Relations and the Century Association of New York and an 
honorary trustee of the Brookings Institution. 

During his presidency of the World Bank between 1995 
and 2005, Wolfensohn made poverty reduction the raison 
d'etre of the Bank and changed its face by describing the chal- 
lenge of development in terms of people not numbers. 

As his term at the bank was ending, in 2005 the Quar- 
tet of powers - the United States, Russia, the United Nations 
and the European Union, which had joined together to help 
to attain peace in the longstanding Arab/Israeli conflict - ap- 
pointed Wolfensohn as their special envoy for peace. 

[Jill Margo (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLFENSTEIN, ALFRED (1888-1945), German poet, play- 
wright, and translator. Born in Halle an der Saale, Wolfenstein 
qualified as a lawyer but lived as a freelance writer in Berlin 
and Munich until he emigrated to Prague after the Nazis came 
to power. In 1938 he fled to Paris and, after the German oc- 
cupation, wandered through France, eventually returning to 
the capital under an assumed name. The liberation found him 
seriously ill, and he committed suicide in a hospital. Wolfen- 
stein was an expressionist poet with no overt political or so- 
cial outlook. He always emphasized the loneliness of the art- 
ist but confessed his Jewishness in the essay Juedisches Wesen 
und neue Dichtung (1922). 

His verse collections include Die gottlosen Jahre (1914), 
Die Freundschaft. Neue Gedichte (1917), and Menschlicher 
Kaempfer (1919). He also published lyrical dramas and a col- 
lection of 30 stories, Die gefaehrlichen Engel (1936). His other 
works include a prizewinning biographical study of the French 
poet Rimbaud (1930) and various translations from French 
and English. He edited two volumes of the poetry annual Die 
Erhebung (1919, 1920) and an anthology of world poetry, Stim- 
men der Voelker (1938). 

bibliography: hi. Mumm, A Ifred Wolfenstein. Eine Einfueh- 
rung in sein Werk und eine Auswahl (1955). 

[Rudolf Kayser] 

WOLFERT, IRA (1908-1997), author and journalist. Best 
known for his reporting during World War 11 and for his Pulit- 
zer Prize-winning book, Battle for the Solomons (1943), Wolf- 
ert also wrote American Guerrilla in the Philippines (1945) and 
published short stories in various magazines. His novel, Tuck- 
ers People (1943), was based to a very large extent on material 
he had gathered as a reporter. It was filmed in 1948 as Force 
of Evil. In 1948 he published An Act ofLove y with characters 
burdened by their Jewishness. His career fell into eclipse over 
the next two decades but interest in his work revived some- 
what in the 1970s. 

WOLFF, ABRAHAM ALEXANDER (1801-1891), chief rabbi 
of Copenhagen. Born in Darmstadt, Germany, he graduated 
from the University of Giessen in 1821, writing for his disser- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


tation Der Prophet Habakkuk (Darmstadt, 1822). Some years 
later he wrote Torat Yisrael, a textbook on Judaism which was 
translated into Dutch, Danish, and Swedish. After serving 
in the rabbinate of Giessen for two years, in 1828 he was ap- 
pointed chief rabbi in Copenhagen, continuing in office for 
over 62 years. During this period, Wolff, who combined the 
traditional spirit with a modern outlook, had a decisive in- 
fluence in shaping the character of the Denmark community. 
He succeeded in reconciling the traditional and liberal par- 
ties. In the new synagogue, built on his initiative in 1833, Wolff 
was able to unify the disintegrated community. He instituted 
the traditional services with revisions, accompanied by a ser- 
mon. Many of his sermons have been published. He provided 
a Danish translation of the prayer book (1856) and translated 
the Pentateuch and haftarot (1891-94, part published post- 
humously). In Talmudfjender (1878) he replied to attacks by 
some Danish clergymen on the Jews and Judaism. Wolff also 
wrote Bibelhistoriefor Skole ogHjem (1867), a biblical history 
for Jewish school and home use, and defended his innova- 
tions in the ritual in Ateret Shalom ve-Emet, or Stimmen der 
aeltesten glaubwuerdigsten Rabbinen ueber die Pijutim (1857). 
He was awarded the title of professor and created a Knight of 
the Order of Danebrog. 

bibliography: T.H. Er slew, Almindeligt Forfatter-Lexicon, 3 
(1853), and supplement, 3 (1868); Simonsen et al., in: Jodisk Familien- 
blad (May 15, 1929); B. Balslev, Danske Joders Historie (1932), 54-57, 
74f., ii4f.; Edelmann, in: Dansk biografisk Leksikon, 26 (1944), 242-7; 
Wilhelm, in: ylbi, 3 (1958), 319-21; CD. Lippe, Bibliographisches Lexi- 
con, 1 (1881), 542-6. 

[Leni Yahil] 

WOLFF, ALBERT LOUIS (1884-1970), conductor and com- 
poser. Born in Paris, Wolff was associated with the Opera 
Comique, becoming chorus master in 1908, conductor in 1911, 
and principal conductor in 1922. In 1924 he was made musi- 
cal director of the Theatre des Champs Elysees, and later con- 
ducted the Concerts Lamoureux and the Concerts Pasdeloup. 
Famous as a conductor of French music, he toured widely in 
Europe and in South America (1940-45) and conducted at 
the New York Metropolitan Opera (1919-21). His best-known 
work is the opera L'Oiseau bleu (1919). 

WOLFF, BERNHARD (1812-1879), also Bendit Wolff or 
Wolff-Benda, German journalist and publisher. Born the sec- 
ond son of the Berlin banker Marcus Wolff (1759-1835), Bern- 
hard Wolff was trained in medicine but took up journalism. 
After the death of his father, who had lost all his assets, Wolff 
joined the old Berlin book publishing firm Vossische Buch- 
handlung as part-owner, translating scientific works from 
French and English. Shortly before the 1848 revolution he ac- 
quired the Berliner Bank-, Borsen- und Handelszeitung and, 
in April 1848, was among the founders of the liberal Berlin 
daily National-Zeitung, which he managed till 1850, finally 
becoming its owner. 

In 1849, with the backing of the electrical entrepreneur 
Werner Siemens (1816-1892), Wolff established the world's first 

telegraphic news agency in Berlin, the Telegraphisches Kor- 
respondenzbuero Bernhard Wolff, later called Wolff s Teleg- 
raphisches Bureau (wtb). wtb was to become the most im- 
portant German news agency, expanding to other German 
cities and several European capitals, and even taking over 
*Reuter s office in Berlin. In 1865, wtb was transformed into 
a joint-stock company, the Continental Telegraphen Compag- 
nie; the Prussian government also started to subsidize wtb. 
Wolff remained director of the firm until the 1870s; from the 
1870s on, wtb had official standing, being virtually owned by 
the German government. In 1933, the Nazis changed the name 
of wtb to Deutsches Nachrichten-Bureau (dnb) which, in 
1946, became the Allgemeiner Deutscher Nachrichtendienst 
(adn), the official news agency of the German Democratic 
Republic. In 1994, it merged into the Deutscher Depeschen- 
Dienst (ddp) agency. Wolff's National-Zeitung eventually 
became part of the *Mosse publishing house. Wolff died in 

bibliography: L. Salomon, Geschichte des Deutschen Zei- 
tungswesens, 3 (1906); F.M. Feldhaus, in: adb, 55 (1910), 661-2; F. 
Fuchs, Telegraphische Nachrichtenbueros (1919); Wininger 6 (1931), 
311-2; J. Jacobson, Die Judenbuergerbiicher der Stadt Berlin 1809-1851 
(1962), no. 920, 481; J. Wilke (ed.), Telegraphenbueros und Nachrich- 
tenagenturen in Deutschland (1991); D. Basse, Wolff s Telegraphisches 
Bureau 1849 bis 1933 (1991); H.J. Teuteberg and C. Neutsch (eds.), Vom 
Fluegeltelegrafen zum Internet (1998). 

[Johannes Valentin Schwarz (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLFF, CHARLOTTE (1897-1986), pioneering Jewish les- 
bian physician, psychotherapist, and sexology researcher in 
Germany and England. Born in Riesenburg, West Prussia, 
but raised in Danzig and Dresden, Charlotte Wolff matric- 
ulated at the University of Freiburg in 1920 and studied in 
Konigsberg and Tubingen before completing her doctorate in 
medicine in Berlin in 1926. In 1931, she began working in the 
Institute for Electrophysical Therapy at the Neukolln clinic 
and was appointed its director the following year. She also 
had a small private medical and psychotherapeutic practice. 
An active member of the Verein Sozialistischer Arzten (As- 
sociation of Socialist Physicians), Wolff did volunteer work 
in a marriage counseling center in Berlin, distributing family 
planning information and providing poor women with con- 
traception devices. 

After the Nazi takeover in 1933, Charlotte Wolff was dis- 
missed from her position in the outpatient clinic and was de- 
tained briefly by the Gestapo. Soon thereafter, she managed 
to escape to France and then England and began researching 
and writing books on chirology; she initially supported herself 
by analyzing hands because, as a refugee, she was not permit- 
ted to practice medicine. In 1937, Wolff became a permanent 
resident of England and gained permission to practice as a 
psychotherapist. In 1941, she was made a Fellow of the Brit- 
ish Psychological Society and in 1947, she became a natural- 
ized British citizen, but she was not officially reinstated as a 
physician until 1952. 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



In the 1960s, while writing her first autobiography, ho- 
mosexuality became Charlotte Wolff's new field of research. 
She published Love Between Women (1973), a landmark study 
based on interviews with more than a hundred lesbians. She 
later wrote a book on bisexuality and a 1986 biography of Mag- 
nus Hirschfeld, the pioneering German- Jewish sexologist. In 
the 1970s, her books began to be translated into German; she 
was invited to come to Germany to speak about her experi- 
ences and her research on homosexuality and bisexuality in 
1978 and again in 1979. As a Jew and a lesbian, Wolff belie ved 
that she was a quintessential outsider belonging to two per- 
secuted minorities, but towards the end of her life, she found 
acceptance in British and German lesbian feminist circles, 
making important contributions to the study of homosexu- 
ality in both her adopted country and her native land. Other 
books include Studies in Hand Reading (1936); The Human 
Hand (1942); The Hand in Psychological Diagnosis (1950); On 
the Way to Myself: Communications to a Friend (1969); and 
Hindsight (1980). 

bibliography: R. Alpart, Like Bread on the Seder Plate 
(1997), 141-49; H. Pass Freidenreich. Female, Jewish, and Educated 
(2002); R. Wall, Verbrannt, verboten, vergessen (1988), 211-13. 

[Harriet Pass Freidenreich (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLFF, GUSTAV (1834-1913), British shipbuilder. Wolff was 
born in Hamburg to a Jewish family which had been baptized 
as Lutherans. He came to Liverpool in 1849 to join his uncle, a 
partner in a large firm of shipowners, and served an appren- 
ticeship in engineering. From 1857 he was a partner in the Bel- 
fast shipbuilding firm of Harland & Wolff, which became one 
of the largest in the world and was also a leading manufac- 
turer of shipping equipment such as marine rope. Much of the 
prosperity of late Victorian Belfast was due to his firm, which 
employed 15,000 men at the time of his death. Wolff served as 
a Unionist (Conservative) member of Parliament for a Belfast 
seat from 1892 until 1910. Although he was an Anglican, he 
maintained extensive contacts with the Jewish community in 
Britain and with overseas Jewish entrepreneurs, such as Al- 
bert * Ballin in Germany. Wolff died soon after his firm built 
its most famous ship. Tragically, it was the S.S. Titanic. 

bibliography: odnb online; dbb, 5, 854-59; M.S. Moss and 

J.R. Hume, Shipbuilders to the World: 125 Years of Harland & Wolff, 

1861-1986 (1986). 

[William D. Rubinstein (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLFF, HERMANN (1845-1902), concert manager and 
music critic. Born in Cologne, Wolff served for some time as 
Anton * Rubinstein's secretary. In 1881 he founded the concert 
management firm in Berlin bearing his name (later known as 
H. Wolff and J. Sachs), which became well known throughout 
Europe and was associated not only with the promotion of 
individual artists but also with the organization of important 
concert series in Berlin and Hamburg. Wolff was also editor 
of the Neue Berliner Musikzeitung (1878-79) and coeditor of 
the Musikwelt. 

WOLFF, JEANETTE (1888-1976), prominent German Jew- 
ish Socialist. Born in Bocholt, Westphalia, she qualified as 
a nurse, later became an educationist and, after moving to 
Belgium, joined the Socialist Party and became active in the 
Labor Youth Movement. She returned to Germany in 1910 
where she continued her political activity, and after her mar- 
riage took an increasing interest in Jewish activities, joining 
the German Jewish Women's Organization, which she repre- 
sented on the Council of the Red Cross during World War 1. 
After the war she became a prominent member of, and pub- 
lic speaker for, the Society of German Citizens of the Jewish 
Faith. As a result of her fearless denunciation of Nazism, she 
was placed under protective custody when the Nazis came to 
power and, although released in 1935, was continually harassed 
by the Gestapo and was eventually deported to the Riga ghetto 
and other camps. Returning to Berlin in 1946 she rejoined the 
Socialist Party, was elected a deputy to the West Berlin House 
of Representatives, and from 1952 to 1961 was a member of the 
Bundestag. Wolff continued her Jewish activities. She was co- 
chairman of the Union of German Jewish Women, vice chair- 
man of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, and chairman 
of the Society for Christian- Jewish Cooperation. 

She was awarded the Great Service Cross of the Ger- 
man Order of Merit of the West German Government and 
the Leo Baeck Prize of the Central Council of Jews in Ger- 
many in 1975. 

Wolff wrote Sadism as Lunacy on her experiences in the 
concentration camps, in which she attempted to analyze ob- 
jectively the reasons for Nazi barbarity. Her autobiography 
Mit Bibel und Bebel remained in fragments and was pub- 
lished in 1980. 

add. bibliography: W. Albrecht, "Jeanette Wolff- Ja- 
kob Altmaier - Peter Bachstein. Die drei Abgeordneten judischer 
Herkunft des Deutschen Bundestages in den 5oer und zu Beginn 
der 6oer Jahre," in: J. Schoeps (et al), Menora. Jahrbuchfuer deutsch- 
juedische Geschichte 1995 (1995), 267-99; G. Lange, Jeanette Wolff. 
1888-18/6. Fine Biographie (1988); C. Moss, "Verfolgung und Ver- 
nichtung in juedischen Selbstzeugnissen: Jeanette Wolff und Marga 
Spiegel," in. J.-P. Barbian, M. Brocke, L. Heid (eds.), Juden im Ruhrge- 
biet. Vom Zeitalter der Aufklaerung bis in die Gegenwart (1999); 
B. Seemann, Jeanette Wolff. Politikerin und engagierte Demokratin 
(1888-1976) (2000). 

WOLFF, JOSEPH (1795-1862), world traveler and Chris- 
tian missionary to the Jews in the Oriental Diaspora. Born in 
Weilersbach, Bavaria, the son of a rabbi, he converted to Ca- 
tholicism in 1812. He was admitted to the Collegio Romani in 
1816, but after being expelled because of his heretical views, he 
moved to England and joined the Anglican Church. In 1827 
he married the daughter of the Earl of Oxford, and their son 
was Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, the well-known diplomat 
and politician. He studied Oriental languages and theology at 
universities in Vienna and Tuebingen, among others. Thereaf- 
ter he became a missionary to the Jews, traveling to Palestine, 
Kurdistan, Mesopotamia, Turkey, Persia, Khurasan, Bukhara, 
India, Yemen, Abyssinia, and many European countries. 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


He undertook his first great missionary journey to the 
Orient in 1821, which he described in Missionary Journal and 
Memoirs of Reverend Joseph Wolff (3 vols. London, 1827-29). 
After touring the British Isles and Holland in 1827, and Pal- 
estine and Cyprus in 1829, in 1831 he undertook his second 
journey to Asia, which he described in Researches and Mis- 
sionary Labours Among the Jews, Mohammedans, and other 
Sects (1831-1834) (2 vols., London, 1835). In 1836 he traveled 
to the U.S., where he delivered a sermon before Congress in 
Washington, received a degree at Annapolis, Maryland, and 
was ordained as deacon in New Jersey. In 1838, however, he 
returned to England, accepting a parish in Somerset and oc- 
cupying this office until his death. He left in 1843 for a second 
journey to Bukhara, having offered to search for Charles Stod- 
dart and A. Conolly, two high-ranking English officers impris- 
oned by the emir of Bukhara. However, they had been exe- 
cuted before his arrival, and Wolff himself narrowly escaped 
a similar fate. The Bukharan episode is described in Narrative 
of a Mission to Bukhara to Ascertain the Fate of Colonel Stod- 
dart and Captain Conolly (2 vols., London, 1845), which ran 
into seven editions. 

His writings contain interesting and valuable details 
about the Jews and Jewish communities in the regions he had 
visited, but because of his missionary zeal and erratic charac- 
ter, Wolff s data lack objectivity and reliability. 

bibliography: J. Wolff, Travels and Adventures. An Autobi- 
ography, 2 vols. (1861); H.L. Palmer, Joseph Wolff; His Romantic Life 
and Travels (1935); G. Wint (ed.), Mission to Bokhara (1969). 

[Walter Joseph Fischel] 

WOLFF, THEODOR (1868-1943), German journalist, poli- 
tician, and editor-in-chief of the Berliner Tageblatt (est. 1872). 
Born in Berlin, the son of a wholesale dealer, Wolff joined the 
publishing house of his uncle Rudolf *Mosse in 1887. There he 
trained as a clerk and started writing for the Berliner Tageblatt. 
In 1889, together with Maximilian * Harden, he was among the 
founders of the Freie Buehne, an independent theater modeled 
after the Theatre-Libre in Paris. He was appointed chief Paris 
correspondent in 1894 and reported the *Dreyfus trial, side by 
side with his colleague Theodor *Herzl from Vienna. In 1906, 
he was called back to Berlin as editor-in-chief of the Berliner 
Tageblatt, which he made a leading liberal paper in and out- 
side Germany until 1933. In his widely read Monday evening 
editorials, signed "tw," Wolff followed a policy of Franco- Ger- 
man understanding and Anglo-German rapprochement. At 
the outbreak of World War 1 he opposed extreme nationalist 
tendencies and annexationist demands. Often in difficulties 
with the censor, he was for some time forbidden to write. In 
1918, together with E. *Feder and others, Wolff was among the 
founders of the German Democratic Party (ddp) but resigned 
in 1927 largely because of its rather right-wing Kulturpolitik. 
Until 1932, he served as a political advisor to Gustav Strese- 
mann (1878-1929) and Heinrich Bruening (1885-1970). 

After the rise of Hitler, Wolff, regarded as a leading rep- 
resentative of the Weimar system, was forced to flee Germany 

and left Berlin on the night of the Reichstag fire (February 27, 
!933)- Via Munich and Austria, he first went to Zurich and, 
in 1934, on to Nice. In 1937, he was officially expatriated. He 
continued his literary and journalistic work, contributing to 
papers such as the Pariser Tageblatt of G . *Bernhard and the 
Aufbau in New York. In autumn 1941, his visa to the U.S. ex- 
pired before he was able to use it. In May 1943 he was arrested 
in Nice by the Italian army, handed over to the Gestapo and 
sent to Germany, where he was detained at several concen- 
tration camps, including Sachsenhausen and Oranienburg. 
In August 1943, he was taken to the Jewish hospital in Berlin- 
Moabit, where he died the following month. 

Besides novels and plays, Wolff published various vol- 
umes of political surveys and memoirs, including Der Heide 
(1891), Der Untergang (1892), Die Suender (1894), Die stille Insel 
(1894), Niemand weifi es (1895), Die Koenigin (1898), Pariser 
Tagebuch (1908), Spaziergdnge (1909), Vollendete Tatsachen, 
1914-191/ (1918), Das Vorspiel (1924), and Anatole France 
(1924). After 1933 there appeared Der Krieg des Pontius Pila- 
tus (1934), Der Mar sch durch zwei Jahrzehnte (1936; reprinted 
in 1989 as Die Wilhelminische Epoche), and Die Schwimmerin 
(i937); posthumously published was "Die Juden? Ein Doku- 
ment aus dem Exil 1942/43 (1984). 

In 1961, the foundation of the Hamburg paper Die Welt 
established the Theodo r- Wolff- Preis for outstanding journal- 
istic achievements. 

add. bibliography: Wininger 6 (1931), 316; W.E. Mosse, 
in: lbiyb, 4 (1959), 237-59; G. Schwarz, Theodor Wolff und das "Ber- 
liner Tageblatt" (1968); E. Feder, Heute sprach ich mit... (1971), in- 
dex; W. Becker, Demokratie des sozialen Rechts (1971); B.B. Frye, in: 
lbiyb, 21 (1976), 143-72; W. Koehler, Der Chefredakteur Theodor Wolff 
(1978); bhdE, 1 (1980), 834; E. Kraus, Die Familie Mosse (1999), index; 
B. Soesemann, Theodor Wolff. Ein Leben mit der Zeitung (2000); C. 
Goldbach, Distanzierte Beobachtung. Theodor Wolff und das Juden- 
tum (2002); D. Fabisch, Der Publizist Theodor Wolff (2004). Edited 
works: B. Sosemann (ed.), Theodor Wolff. Tagebiicher. 1914-1919 (2 
vols., 1984); idem (ed.), Theodor Wolff... (3 vols., 1993-97); M. Broe- 
han (ed.), Theodor Wolff... (1992). 

[Erich Gottgetreu / Johannes Valentin Schwarz (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLFF, WERNER (1904-1957), U.S. existential psychologist. 
Born in Berlin, Wolff was one of the first to introduce existen- 
tialist psychology in the U.S. In 1933 he left Germany, spent 
three years at the University of Barcelona and then settled 
in the United States. He worked at Columbia (1940-42) and 
served as professor at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hud- 
son, New York, from 1942 onward. He studied the expression 
of personality in complex movements, in children's drawings, 
and in handwriting, and wrote books on his findings. 

WOLFFSOHN, DAVID (1856-1914), second president of 
the World Zionist Organization. Born in Dorbiany, Russian 
Lithuania, Wolffsohn received a religious education. In 1873 
his parents sent him to live with his brother in Memel (now 
Klaipeda) in order to avoid conscription to the czarist army. 
He studied at a talmud tor ah under Rabbi Isaac *Ruelf, who 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



later became one of the leading forerunners of the *Hibbat 
Zion movement, and who very much influenced Wolffsohn. 
At an early age Wolffsohn began to earn his living in Loebau, 
East Prussia, and in Lyck, where he made the acquaintance 
of David ^Gordon, the editor of the Hebrew newspaper Ha- 
Maggid and one of the first proponents of Hibbat Zion. He 
moved from place to place and worked at various jobs, at one 
time even as a peddler. He finally settled down in the timber 
trade, first working for others, and later independently, be- 
coming prosperous. 

Wolffsohn's bent for public life was first displayed in his 
activities in various Jewish communities. This did not appear 
to satisfy him, however, and he joined various cultural and 
philanthropic organizations. He finally found his place when 
he chanced to hear a lecture in Cologne given under the aus- 
pices of the Society for Jewish History and Literature. This 
forum was utilized by Max *Bodenheimer to propagate his 
Jewish nationalist ideas. After one of Bodenheimer s lectures, 
which had aroused the opposition of the majority of those 
present, Wolffsohn rose to defend the speaker and his views. 
After making Bodenheimer s acquaintance in this way, he be- 
gan to find an outlet for his public activities in Hibbat Zion. 
Wolffsohn was possessed of an unassuming nature, which pre- 
vented him from pushing himself to the fore. In later years he 
was almost the only one of Theodor * Herzl's associates who 
lacked a formal secular education, and continuous association 
with all the "Doctors" in Herzl's circle most probably gave rise 
to guarded feelings of inferiority. 

Wolffsohn was one of many whose latent sympathy for 
the Zionist idea was fired by the appearance of Der Juden- 
staat. He met Herzl in the autumn of 1896, was immediately 
captivated, and promised his assistance, especially in matters 
of finance. From then on he was Herzl's constant companion, 
and is one of those most frequently mentioned in Herzl's dia- 
ries. His imagination was set aflame by Herzl's political vision, 
which, despite Wolffsohn's habitual reserve and cultivated im- 
age as a "businessman," motivated him throughout. 

Wolffsohn's debt to Herzl is universally recognized; what 
is less well known, however, is the fact that Herzl owed much 
to Wolffsohn as well. Herzl, who knew almost nothing of Jew- 
ish life, found in him a teacher and a guide. At the height of 
the preparations for the First Zionist Congress, in the sphere 
of protocol so dear to Herzl's heart, Wolffsohn gave the Zionist 
Movement its first two symbols: the colors blue and white on 
the model of the tallit, for the movement's flag, and the ancient 
term * shekel, for the Zionist members' due. He was the mov- 
ing spirit behind the founding of the * Jewish Colonial Trust, 
which he directed until his last days, as well as of all the other 
financial and economic institutions of the movement. Despite 
his enormous admiration for Herzl, Wolffsohn never hesitated 
to disagree with him on matters with which Herzl was insuffi- 
ciently acquainted. It was this quality above all that endeared 
him to Herzl, who portrayed him in glowing terms as "David 
Litwak" in his novel Altneuland. Wolffsohn accompanied 
Herzl on his journey to Erez Israel to see Emperor William 11 

(1898) and on his journeys to Turkey. Herzl's death was a ter- 
rible blow to Wolffsohn, who, in lieu of the eulogy forbidden 
by Herzl, swore to cherish his memory by repeating the words 
"If I forget thee, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cun- 
ning" at his graveside. Herzl nominated him as the guardian 
of his children, and Wolffsohn, himself childless, was a loving 
and devoted father to them until he died. 

Herzl's death was a critical blow to the Zionist Move- 
ment, then split between those in favor of the * Uganda Scheme 
and those opposed to it, and on more or less parallel lines be- 
tween the political Zionists and the "practical" ones. Herzl had 
managed to bridge these differences by his personal authority, 
but he left no one to take his place. Wolffsohn was a mem- 
ber of the delegation that asked Max *Nordau to take Herzl's 
place. Nordau refused, but suggested instead that Wolffsohn 
himself was the most suitable candidate, and, at the conference 
of the Zionist Federation of Germany (Cologne, April 1905), 
Adolph *Friedemann offered Wolffsohn the presidency. His 
consistent rejection of these proposals, which was both hon- 
est and modest, was prompted by his conviction that no one 
person, least of all himself, was worthy to take Herzl's place. 
In the end, a triple leadership was agreed upon: Wolffsohn, 
Nordau, and Otto *Warburg. This compromise was accepted 
by the Seventh Zionist Congress, which elected him chairman 
of the Executive and the Zionist General Council. 

Wolffsohn's leadership of the Zionist Movement was 
overshadowed by tragedy. The giant figure of Herzl constantly 
before him and the rest of the movement was the source of 
a great deal of bitterness in his life and a spur to the opposi- 
tion that began to appear at the start of his tenure. Wolffsohn 
built up his self-confidence very slowly, until he came to the 
point where he was a competent enough speaker to parry the 
thrusts of the opposition. His roots in eastern European Jewish 
life added to his confidence and enabled him to introduce ele- 
ments of humor and traditional associations into his speeches, 
which the Jewish masses found very appealing. 

The Seventh Zionist Congress not only put an end to the 
Uganda Scheme but also effected a programmatic innovation 
by achieving a compromise between the "practical" and the 
political Zionists that called for settlement activity within the 
framework of the *Basle Program. Practical work in Erez Israel 
was not made conditional on the attainment of a "charter." Al- 
though Wolffsohn tried to reconcile differences in the Zionist 
camp, full unity was not achieved because each side believed 
he was putting the other side's program into effect. This mod- 
erate position became his guiding policy, but it could not be 
viable for any length of time because it encountered much op- 
position, despite the fact that Wolffsohn made executive posts 
available to his staunchest opponents. 

After Wolffsohn moved the central Zionist office to Co- 
logne, the * Jewish National Fund center, under Bodenheimer, 
was transferred there as well. He invited Nahum *Sokolow 
to act as general secretary of the Zionist Organization and 
founded the official Hebrew newspaper of the Zionist Organi- 
zation Haolam (1907), which was initially edited by Sokolow. He 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


took part in the conference of Jewish organizations in Brussels 
(1906) that met to organize matters concerning emigration. Al- 
though the practical results of the conference were insignificant, 
its value lay in the fact that the Zionist Organization made its 
appearance side by side with other worldwide Jewish organiza- 
tions. When his health collapsed, Wolffsohn set out on a holiday 
to South Africa (1906), a journey which was transformed into 
a triumph for Zionism and became the foundation stone of the 
South African Zionist Federation. On his return he visited Erez 


Israel and published his impressions in Die Welt. 

The compromise between the political and the "practical" 
Zionists, which took place at the Eighth Zionist Congress in 
The Hague (1907) and was theoretically expressed in Chaim 
*Weizmann's famous speech on "synthetic Zionism," found 
its mediator in Wolffsohn, who restrained both sides at once. 
His emphasis on efficiency in practical work earned him the 
epithet a kaufmaennischy a barb directed against him by both 
sides. He revealed his ability as a leader capable of deciding 
between extremely opposed views and methods, while si- 
multaneously insisting that everything was being done in the 
spirit of Herzl. All the practical programs then being instituted 
(the opening of branches of the Jewish Colonial Trust in Erez 
Israel, the beginnings of settlement, the activities of the jnf) 
were, in Wolffsohns opinion, a continuation of the plans and 
the activities of Herzl's period. He was elected president by 
135 votes to 59. 

Afterward Wolffsohn went to Turkey, but was prevented 
from seeing the sultan by the outbreak of the revolution of the 
Young Turks (1908), which disrupted all his arrangements. At 
this time he also showed himself capable of decisive action 
by agreeing to grant a jnf loan to the first settlers of Ahuzat 
Bayit, the nucleus of Tel Aviv, despite widespread opposition 
on the grounds that the requested loan was against the regu- 
lations of the jnf. Great demonstrative value was attached to 
Wolffsohns journey (accompanied by Sokolow) to Russia in 
1908 and to the splendid reception he was accorded by Prime 
Minister Stolypin, Foreign Minister Isvolsky, and other mem- 
bers of the government. Although his attempts to secure legal 
status for the Zionist Organization in Russia were unsuccess- 
ful, the downtrodden Jews of Russia experienced a degree of 
gratification at the show of cordiality with which he was re- 
ceived by the government. On the outbreak of the revolution 
of the Young Turks, Wolffsohn was one of the few Zionists 
to retain his composure and refuse to be drawn into the ex- 
cited political scheming rife in the movement. Instead, he 
proceeded to organize a branch of the Jewish Colonial Trust 
in Constantinople and found and acquired newspapers there 
for the propagation of the Zionist point of view. In 1908 he 
also visited Hungary, where the Zionists were under severe 
attack from the assimilationists with government assistance, 
and succeeded in seeing the prime minister and lessening the 
tension to a certain extent. 

Wolffsohn, who enjoyed Nordau's support, was again 
elected president of the Zionist Organization, despite the op- 
position to him that gained in strength, reaching its climax at 

the Ninth Congress in Hamburg (1909). He did everything 
in his power to bring the opposition, the "practical" Zionists, 
closer to the leadership, but all his efforts were in vain. His 
health was rapidly failing and, finally, proved insufficient to 
meet the demands of the struggle with the opposition. At the 
Tenth Congress (Basle, 1911) he resigned from the leadership of 
the movement, retaining only the directorship of the financial 
and economic institutions. The center of the movement moved 
from Cologne to Berlin, and Wolffsohn, apart from remaining 
active in the above institutions, also undertook various journeys 
on behalf of the cause. He intended to settle in Erez Israel and 
even learned to speak Hebrew with this end in view, but he died 
before this could be accomplished. He was buried in Cologne, 
and in 1952 his remains were brought to Israel and interred next 
to Herzl's grave on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem. His estate provided 
the means for the National and University Library building in 
Jerusalem, which also houses his archives, including diaries and 
letters, and contains a room named in his honor. 

It was only after Wolffsohns death that his personality 
and work were fully appreciated. Only then was he recognized, 
even by his opponents, as a man of the people who had risen 
from the ranks by virtue of decades of devoted work. He was 
also a symbol of the synthesis between East and West, com- 
bining the best qualities of both European Jewish communi- 
ties. His good nature, however, made him an easy prey for 
all those who considered Herzl's successor fair game for any 
treatment they cared to mete out to him. This was the source 
of the tragic quality that permeated the period of his leader- 
ship of the Zionist Movement. 

bibliography: E.B. Cohn, David Wolffsohn (Ger. 1939, Eng. 

1944); A. Robinsohn, David Wolffsohn (Ger. 1921); T. Herzl, Complete 

Diaries, 5 vols. (i960). 

[Getzel Kressel] 

brew writer and translator. Born in Russia, Wolfowski served 
in the Russian army during World War 1 and immigrated to 
Erez Israel in 1921. After working for three years in road and 
building construction, he turned to teaching and editing, 
working for the Mizpeh and Ha- Kibbutz ha-Me'uhad pub- 
lishing houses. Wolfowski published poems, stories, criti- 
cism, and articles in various periodicals and literary antholo- 
gies in Erez Israel. 

His books of poetry are Sofei Shevilim (1928) and Shirim 
u-Fo'emot (1953). He also published the short story collections 
Yeled Yullad Lanu (1950) and Beit Yisrael (1963), and a series of 
books for young people. In 1968, a collection of his essays and 
memoirs appeared, Kerovim ba-Nefesh. After the death of M. 
*Poznanski, he completed the edition of J.H *Brenner's writ- 
ings (vols. 2-3, 1960-67). Wolfowski translated more than 50 
books, including works by Turgenev, Dostoevski, and Tolstoy, 
as well as historical works and children's books. 

bibliography: Kressel, Leksikon, 1 (1965), 695-7. add. bib- 
liography: G. Shaked, Ha-Sipporet ha-Ivrit, 1 (1977), 425-29. 

[Getzel Kressel] 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



WOLFSBERG, small town in Carinthia, S. Austria; under the 
rule of the Bamberg bishopric in the 13 th century. Jews are first 
mentioned there in 1289, and in 1304 the duke of Carinthia 
granted them a charter of privileges, which was renewed in 
1311. During the Host libel at *Pulkau (1338), the Jews of Wolfs- 
berg were accused of having stolen the consecrated bread of 
the Eucharist, having made it bleed, and having tried to burn 
it. More than 70 Jews were burned at the stake on August 19, 
and the community disappeared. In 1346 one Jew was permit- 
ted to resettle in Wolfsberg. 

bibliography: Germania Judaica, 2 pt. 2 (1968), 918-9. 

[Meir Lamed] 

WOLFSKEHL, KARL (1869-1948), German poet. Born in 
Darmstadt, Germany, he claimed descent from the patrician 
* Kalonymus family, which settled in Mainz more than a thou- 
sand years before his birth, and insisted on his right to regard 
himself as a representative of the authentic German spirit. After 
his university studies he came under the influence of the lyric 
poet Stefan George (1868-1933) whom he hailed as his mas- 
ter and with whom he collaborated in the publication of the 
three-volume Deutsche Dichtung (1901-03) and the Blaetterfuer 
die Kunst (1892-1919). From 1899 to 1932 Wolfskehls Munich 
home was the meeting place of the George Circle and Wolfskehl 
himself its only Jewish member. His early lyrics, which began 
to appear in 1897, his Gesammelte Dichtungen (1903), and Der 
Umkreis (1927) all follow the standards of Georges neoclassi- 
cism, and there was also a powerful mystic current in his writ- 
ing. Three traditions shaped Wolfskehls poetic personality: the 
German, the Greco- Roman, and the biblical. The biblical influ- 
ence appeared in 1905 in the lyrical drama Saul, but it was only 
after he left Germany in 1934 that Jewish themes became domi- 
nant in his verse. Wolfskehl lived in Italy and Switzerland until 
1938 and thereafter in New Zealand. Because both his German 
and his Jewish feelings were so deep-rooted, the persecution of 
Jews by Germans was profoundly shocking to him, and in the 
autobiographical song An die Deutschen (begun in Rome in 
1934 and completed in New Zealand in 1944; published 1947) 
the homesick poet took leave of his native land. 

Other poems reflecting his heartbreak are those in Die 
Stimme spricht (1934) and in the volumes published posthu- 
mously, Hiob (1950), and Sangaus dem Exil (1951). The corre- 
spondence of Wolfskehls last decade in Auckland (Zehn Jahre 
Exil. . . , 1959) gives clear insight into his later, more universal - 
ist and cosmopolitan, outlook. In i960 a hitherto unpublished 
work appeared in Amsterdam in German under the Hebrew- 
German title Kalon Bekawod Namir - "Aus Schmach wird Ehr" 
("We will Exchange Disgrace for Honor"; cf. Hos. 4:7). His 
Gesammelte Werke was published in two volumes in i960. 

bibliography: P. Berglar, Karl Wolfskehl. Symbolgestalt der 

deutsch-juedischen Tragoedie (1964). 

[Sol Liptzin] 

WOLFSOHN, JULIUSZ (1880-1944), pianist, critic, and 
composer. Born in Warsaw, Wolfsohn studied piano at the 

conservatories in Warsaw, Paris, and in Vienna, where he 
wrote music and criticism for the Montagblatt. On his return 
to Poland in 1925, he wrote for Muzykai Rytm and lectured 
on Jewish music and musicians and on the interpretation 
of Chopin. Wolfsohn settled in the United States in 1933. He 
composed a number of works on eastern European Jewish 
themes, including Jewish Rhapsody, Hebrew Suite, and Twelve 
Paraphrases on Jewish Melodies. 

WOLFSOHNHALLE, AARON (1754-1835), writer. Born 
in Germany, Wolfsohn- Halle taught in a Jewish public school 
in Breslau from 1792 to 1807, serving the last five years as its 
principal. Among the most radical of the early maskilim, he 
was one of the editors of *Ha-Me'assef during its Berlin pe- 
riod, and editor in chief in 1797. Among his own various 
contributions to the periodical was the play Sihah be-Erez 
ha-Hayyim (in Ha-Meassef vol. 7, 1794-97), in which *Mai- 
monides and Moses ^Mendelssohn meet in paradise. The 
author praises Mendelssohn and combines his own radical 
views of the Haskalah with acrimonious remarks against the 
Talmud and the Kabbalah. His school text, Avtalyon (Berlin, 
1790-1814 3 ), the first written for Jewish pupils, was a pioneer 
attempt to relate Bible stories in simplified Hebrew prose. In 
addition, Wolfsohn- Halle published the books of Job (1826) 
and 1 Kings (1827) in the Mendelssohn translation, with his 
own commentary; wrote in German, translating some bibli- 
cal books into German; and published works in Yiddish, in- 
cluding Reb Hanokh ve-Reb Yosefkhi, a satirical play replete 
with Haskalah didacticism. An earlier Hebrew version of this 
play, written in the 1790s, recently discovered, was published 
in 1955 (paajr, vol. 24, with notes). In 1995, a new transcrip- 
tion of Leichtsinn und Froemmelei. Ein Familiengemaelde in 
drei Aufzuegen appeared, edited by G. Och and J. Strauss, and 
following the Breslau edition of 1796. 

bibliography: Rejzen, Leksikon, 1 (1928), 904-10; idem. Fun 

Mendelssohn bizMendele (1923), 25-68; Z. Zylbercweig, Leksikon fun 

Yidishn Teater, 1 (1931), 652-4. 

[Getzel Kressel] 

WOLFSON, ELLIOT (1956- ), U.S. professor of Judaic stud- 
ies. He received a bachelor of arts and master of arts degree 
from Queens College (1979) and a master of arts (1983) and 
doctoral degree (1986) from Brandeis University. He con- 
ducted research at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, in 1984 
and 1985 and was a fellow at the International Center for the 
University Teaching of Jewish Civilization in the Diaspora. In 
1986 and 1987 he was an Andrew W Mellon Teaching Fellow 
in the Humanities at Cornell University. 

Wolfson taught at Queens College in 1988-89, then at the 
Jewish Theological Seminary of America from 1989 to 1993. He 
taught at Princeton University in 1992, was a visiting professor 
at the University of Chicago and the Russian State University 
for the Humanities, and an adjunct professor of Jewish history 
at Columbia from 1989 to 2000. Wolfson became an assistant 
professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York Univer- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


sity in 1987, then an associate professor in 1991, and he was ap- 
pointed professor in 1995. In 1996 he was named the Abraham 
Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. He served 
as the director of Religious Studies from 1995 to 2002. 

Wolfsons research interests include the history of Jew- 
ish mysticism, comparative mysticism, the phenomenology 
of religion, hermeneutics, literary theory, and gender stud- 
ies. His works include The Book of the Pomegranate: Moses 
de Leon's Sefer ha-Rimmon (1988); Through a Speculum That 
Shines: Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism 
(!994); Circle in the Square: Studies in the Use of Gender in 
Kabbalistic Symbolism (1995); Abraham Abulafia - Kabbalist 
and Prophet: Hermeneutics, Theosophy, and Theurgy (2000); 
Pathwings: Poetic-Philosophic Reflections on the Hermeneutics 
of Time and Language (2004); and Language, Eros, Being: Kab- 
balistic Hermeneutics and Poetic Imagination (2005). Through 
a Speculum That Shines received in 1995 an award from the 
American Academy of Religion. 

Wolfson edited Rending the Veil: Concealment and Se- 
crecy in the History of Religion (1999) and coedited, with A. 
Ivry and A. Arkush, Perspectives on Jewish Thought and Mys- 
ticism (1998). He wrote extensively for academic journals, 
including the Association for Jewish Studies Review, Harvard 
Theological Review, Jewish Quarterly Review, and others, and 
contributed to many collections of essays, including Gender 
and Judaism (1995) and Perspectives on Jewish Thought and 
Mysticism (1998). 

A fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research, 
Wolfson is a member of the American Academy of Religion, 
the World Union of Jewish Studies, and the Medieval Acad- 
emy of America. 

[Dorothy BauhofF (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLFSON, HARRY AUSTRYN (1887-1974), historian of 
philosophy. Born in Belorussia, Wolfson received his early 
education at the Slobodka yeshivah. Emigrating to the United 
States in 1903, he studied at Harvard and, from 1912 to 1914, 
held a traveling fellowship from Harvard, which enabled him 
to study and do research in Europe. In 1915 he was appointed 
to the Harvard faculty, becoming professor of Hebrew litera- 
ture and philosophy in 1925. From 1923 to 1925 he also served 
as professor at the Jewish Institute of Religion. Wolfson re- 
ceived many academic honors for his pioneering researches. 
He was a fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Re- 
search, serving as its president from 1935 to 1937, and a fel- 
low of the Mediaeval Academy of America. He was president 
of the American Oriental Society in 1957-58, and also held 
membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 
In 1958 he was awarded the prize of the American Council of 
Learned Societies. In 1965 the American Academy for Jewish 
Research published the Harry Austryn Wolfson Jubilee Volume 
(in English and Hebrew) in his honor. 

Wolfson - whose writings are marked by a mastery of 
the philosophic literature in the several languages in which 
it was written, penetrating analysis, clarity of exposition, and 

felicity of style - wrote many books and articles. (A bibliog- 
raphy, appearing in the Jubilee Volume (Eng. sec, pp. 39-49), 
contains 116 items, which were published between 1912 and 
1963.) His early articles, several of which dealt with issues in 
the philosophies of Crescas and Spinoza, were followed by 
his first book, Crescas' Critique of Aristotle, which, though 
completed in 1918, was not published until 1929. The volume 
contains a critical edition of part of Crescas' Or Adonai (the 
section dealing with the 25 propositions which appear in the 
introduction to the second part of Maimonides' Guide), an 
exemplary English translation, and an introduction; but of 
special importance are the copious notes which take up more 
than half of the volume. In these notes Wolfson discusses, with 
great erudition, the origin and development of the terms and 
arguments discussed by Crescas, and he clarifies Crescas' of- 
ten enigmatic text. In the introduction (pp. 24-29) Wolfson 
describes the "hypothetico-deductive method of textual study" 
which guided him in all his works (see introductions to his 
other books). Akin to the method used to study the Talmud 
known zspilpul, this method rests on the assumptions that any 
serious author writes with such care and precision that "every 
term, expression, generalization or exception is significant not 
so much for what it states as for what it implies," and that the 
thought of any serious author is consistent. Hence it becomes 
the task of the interpreter to clarify what a given author meant, 
rather than what he said, and he must resolve apparent con- 
tradictions by means of harmonistic interpretation. All this 
requires great sensitivity to the nuances and implications of 
the text and familiarity with the literature on which a given 
author drew. Like the scientific method, the "hypothetico- 
deductive" method proceeds by means of hypotheses which 
must be proved or disproved, and it must probe the "latent 
processes" of an author's thought. 

The investigation of the background of Crescas' thought 
involved Wolfson in an intensive study of the commentaries 
on Aristotle's works written by the Islamic philosopher Aver- 
roes. However, most of these commentaries existed only in 
manuscripts, and so Wolfson proposed the publication of a 
Corpus Commentarionum Averrois in Aristotelem (in: Specu- 
lum, 6 (1931), 412-27; revised version, ibid. ,38 (1963), 88-104). 
This corpus was to consist of critical editions of the Arabic 
originals, and of the Hebrew and Latin translations; and it was 
to contain English translations and explanatory commentaries 
by the editors. The Mediaeval Academy of America undertook 
to sponsor this project and Wolfson was appointed its editor 
in chief. By 1971, nine volumes of the series had appeared. 

In 1934 Wolfsons two-volume The Philosophy of Spinoza 
appeared. Applying the "hypothetico-deductive" method, 
Wolfson undertook to unfold "the latent processes" of Spino- 
za's reasoning. Following the arrangement of Spinoza's Eth- 
ics, Wolfson explained the content and structure of Spinoza's 
thought and discussed extensively the antecedents on which 
he drew. By the time he had completed his Spinoza, Wolf- 
son had conceived the monumental task of investigating "the 
structure and growth of philosophic systems from Plato to 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



Spinoza," working, as he put it, "forwards, sideways, and back- 
wards." As work on this project progressed, he continued to 
publish articles. His next book, Philo: Foundations of Religious 
Philosophy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, appeared in 
two volumes in 1947 (1948 2 , 1962 3 ). *Philo had until then been 
considered an eclectic or a philosophic preacher, but Wolfson 
undertook to show that behind the philosophic utterances 
scattered throughout Philo's writings there lay a philosophic 
system. More than that, he held that Philo was the founder of 
religious philosophy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and 
that "Philonic" philosophy dominated European thought for 
17 centuries until it was destroyed by Spinoza, "the last of the 
medievals and the first of the moderns." 

After publishing more articles, Wolfson in 1954 com- 
pleted another two-volume work, The Philosophy of the Church 
Fathers (19 64 2 ). However, he decided to publish only the first 
volume, which appeared in 1956. Following the pattern estab- 
lished in his Philo, but allowing for differences occasioned by 
Christian teachings, Wolfson devoted this volume to faith, the 
Trinity, and the incarnation, discussing not only the orthodox 
but also the heretical views. 

In 1961 a collection of Wolfson s articles appeared under 
the title Religious Philosophy: A Group of Essays. 

[Arthur Hyman] 

WOLFSON, SIR ISAAC (1897-1991), British financier and 
philanthropist. Wolfson was born and grew up in a poor dis- 
trict of Glasgow, the son of a picture frame maker who had 
migrated from Bialystok. After leaving school at the age of 
14, Wolfson worked for his father as a traveling salesman. He 
moved to London in 1922 and went into business, joining the 
Great Universal Stores a decade later and becoming its chair- 
man in 1946. He made the gus Group one of the worlds fore- 
most industrial and commercial empires. He built up a chain 
of nearly 3,000 retail stores, dealing in furniture and soft 
goods, developed the largest mail order business in Britain, 
and controlled a road transport organization in Britain second 
only to the nationalized British Road Services. His interests in 
Britain and the U.S. extended to banking, insurance, building, 
real estate, and shipping. 

After World War 11 Wolfson began to devote himself 
more intensively to Jewish and general philanthropy. In 1955 
he formed the Wolfson Foundation which by 1970 had dis- 
tributed over £20,000,000 (approximately $56,000,000) in 
charitable contributions to numerous establishments in Brit- 
ain and the British Commonwealth for the advancement of 
health, education, the liberal arts, science and engineering, 
youth and student welfare, and various other humanitarian 
and academic purposes. He became associated with business 
undertakings in Israel and used the profits to further his phil- 
anthropic interests there. The Edith and Isaac Wolfson Trust 
provided funds for building the Supreme Rabbinical Center 
in Jerusalem (Hechal Shlomo, named for his father), 50 syna- 
gogues throughout the country, and the Kiryat Wolfson hous- 
ing projects for new immigrants in Jerusalem and Acre, which 

included schools and synagogues. He contributed to the de- 
velopment program of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 
the Technion, and especially the Weizmann Institute of Sci- 
ence. Wolfson was made a baronet in 1962 in recognition of 
his public services. In 1963 he became the only non- scientist to 
be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He founded Wolfson 
College at Oxford with a contribution of £2,000,000, which 
was matched by a similar endowment by the Ford Founda- 
tion, and in 1977 also founded Wolfson College, Cambridge. 
He was appeal chairman of the Joint Palestine Appeal of Great 
Britain and Ireland from 1950 onward, and president of the 
* United Synagogue. By the time of his death he had given 
away £130 million to various philanthropic causes and was 
probably the greatest British philanthropist of his time. His 
son baron Leonard wolfson (1927- ) succeeded him 
as chairman of gus and was president of the Jewish Welfare 
Board from 1972 to 1982. Also a great philanthropist, he was 
given a life peerage in 1985. 

bibliography: S.J. Goldsmith, Twenty 20 th Century Jews 
(1962), 129-35. add. bibliography: odnb online. 

[Julian Louis Meltzer] 

WOLFSON, THERESA (1897-1972), U.S. economist. Born 
and raised in Brooklyn, Wolfson received her B.A. from Adel- 
phi College in 1917, her M.A. from Columbia University in 
1923, and her Ph.D. from the Brookings Institution in 1926. 
A specialist in labor economics and industrial relations, she 
researched and published studies on discrimination against 
women in the workplace and within trade unions. A re- 
searcher, activist, and educator, Wolfson began her long ca- 
reer investigating wage standards and working conditions in 
the New York garment industry. She worked as a field agent for 
the National Child Labor Committee (1918-20), as executive 
secretary of the New York State Consumers League (1920-22), 
and then as director of education at the Union Health Center 
of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (1925-27). 
Wolfson married Dr. Iago Galdston in 1920 and the couple 
had two children. Following a 1935 divorce, Wolfson married 
Austin Bigelow Wood, a professor of psychology at Brooklyn 
College, in 1938. 

In 1928 Wolfson was appointed instructor of economics 
at the Brooklyn branch of Hunter College, soon to become 
Brooklyn College, and was subsequently promoted to the rank 
of professor of economics and labor relations. She also taught 
adult education courses for the ilgwu, the Headgear Workers 
Union, and the Summer School for Office Workers, as well as 
courses in the continuing education program at Sarah Law- 
rence College after her retirement from Brooklyn College in 
1967. During her lifetime, Wolfsons students dedicated a col- 
lection of books on labor- management relations at Brooklyn 
College Library in her honor; after her death, her colleagues 
established an annual scholarship for graduate study in labor 
economics in her memory. 

In addition to her book, The Woman Worker and the 
Trade Unions (1926), Wolfson published many scholarly and 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


popular articles and was on the editorial board of The Woman 
Today. She served on the public panel of the War Labor Board 
(1942-45); the national panel of arbitrators of the Ameri- 
can Arbitration Association; the State Board of Mediation 
(1946-53); the Kings County Council Against Discrimination 
(1949-53); and as New York chapter president and member 
of the executive board of the Industrial Relations Research 
Association. In 1957, she received the John Dewey Award of 
the League for Industrial Democracy in recognition of her 
achievements as mediator of industrial disputes. Theresa 
Wolfson's extensive papers can be found in the Kheel Center 
for Labor- Management Documentation in the Catherwood 
Library at Cornell University. 

bibliography: A.J. Lyke. 'Wolfson, Theresa" in: Jewish 

Women in America, 2:1487-88; R. Milkman (ed.), Women, Work and 

Protest (1985). 

[Harriet Pass Freidenreich (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLFSTHAL, CHUNE (1851-1924), composer. Born in Tys- 
menitsa, Galicia, Wolfsthal was the son of a cantor. Together 
with his six brothers he organized the well-known Kapelle 
Wolfsthal ensemble in Tarnopol. It toured widely and enter- 
tained both at gentile social functions and at hasidic courts. 
After service as a military bandmaster, Wolfsthal became con- 
ductor at the Jewish Theater in Lvov but was forced to flee to 
Vienna in 1914, and returned to Tarnopol after the war. The 
operettas which he composed, Der Teufel als Retter, R. Jehuda 
Haleviy Der komische Ball, Die Malke Schwo, Die Tochter Jeru- 
schulajims, Die Drei Matunes (from the story by I.L. Peretz), 
and Bostenai were written in the classical pattern of Johann 
Strauss and Suppe operettas. They were played in every Jew- 
ish theater in the world and made Wolfsthal's reputation sec- 
ond only to that of Abraham * Goldfaden. He also composed 
waltzes, marches, and dances which attained great popularity. 
Despite his success, Wolfsthal lived and died in poverty. 

WOLKOWISKI, JEHIEL BER (1819-1903), wealthy mer- 
chant and leader of the community of Bialystok. A dynamic 
personality, Wolkowiski was outstanding for his brilliant eco- 
nomic initiative. He amassed a fortune by trading textiles from 
factories in Germany and succeeded in marketing them in an 
efficient manner at the fairs of Lithuania and Ukraine. As a re- 
sult of his connections with the Russian authorities he acted as 
the leader of the community for 50 years (1850-1900), in spite 
of its lack of official status. His control over the administra- 
tion of several banks also enabled him to exert influence on 
the municipal leaders and the local police, and he developed 
many charitable institutions in the community. Their officials 
acted upon his instructions. He did many favors for individ- 
uals, and became well known for saving Jewish youths who 
had been forced into military service. Although he possessed 
a limited education, Wolkowiski maintained a religious atmo- 
sphere in his home and a special bet midrash, which contin- 
ued to exist until World War 11. An opponent of Hibbat Zion 
and Zionism, he attacked R. Samuel *Mohilewer. In 1894 the 

authorities granted him a special status according to which he 
could vote and be elected to office. 

bibliography: A.S. Herschberg, Pinkas Bialystok, 1 (1949), 


[Moshe Landau] 

WOLLENBORG, LEONE (1859-1930), Italian statesman. 
He became famous especially as founder of the savings and 
agricultural cooperative credit banks. He founded the first of 
them in 1883. Wollenborg was elected as deputy in 1893; he 
was appointed undersecretary at the Ministry of Finance in 
1898, and he became minister of finance in 1901. Wollenborg 
became senator in 1914. 

bibliography: C. DeBenedetti (ed.), Il Cammino della Spe- 
ranza: gli Ebrei e Padova, vol. 2 (1998), 99. 

[Massimo Longo Adorno (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLLHEIM, GERT H. (1894-1974), German expressionist 
painter, born in Dresden. From 1911 to 1913 Wollheim stud- 
ied in Weimar at the school of fine arts. Among his teachers 
were Gottlieb Forster and Albin Egger-Lienz. As a young art- 
ist he exhibited in Herwarth Walden's progressive Der Sturm 
Gallery in Berlin. During World War 1, he fought on the east- 
ern and western fronts and was wounded in the stomach, an 
experience which became crucial for his later art work. His 
work is violent and contorted, and stresses the element of the 
grotesque. Some of his compositions mingle figures in every- 
day dress with figures of masqueraders. In 1919 he left Ber- 
lin for Duesseldorf, where he created many of his woodcuts, 
etchings, and paintings to express his terrible experiences of 
war. The monumental triptych The Wounded has the figure of 
a soldier in the position of the crucified Jesus, with lacerated 
belly, as its centerpiece (1919, private collection). Wollheim 
shared his studio in Duesseldorf with his friend Otto Dixand 
joined the association Das Junge Rheinland as well as the Ak- 
tivistenbund 1919, a group of young leftist intellectuals and 

In 1933 he emigrated to Paris, where he founded the 
Kollektiv Deutscher Kuenstler in 1936-37. In 1938 the Nazis 
showed three works of Wollheim in their exhibition "Degen- 
erate Art" in Munich as examples of accomplished madness. 
From 1939 to 1942 he was detained in the camps at Vierzon, 
Ruchard, Gurs and Septfonds, France. In 1942 he was able to 
escape to Nay, where he and his wife were hidden by a peasant 
woman. In 1947 he emigrated to New York. In 1961, on the oc- 
casion of the exhibition at the Museum of Art, Duesseldorf, he 
visited Germany for the first time since 1933. In 1971 his work 
was on exhibition in Berlin. Wollheim died in New York. 

Today the art of Wollheim is considered to be a synonym 
for aggressive avant-garde art and the attempt to illustrate the 
inner feelings of mankind in hyper- expressionist painting. 
His surreal and fantastic landscapes with monstrous figures 
and symbols point to the work of Hieronymus Bosch, such 
as Paradis terrestre (1936, private collection) or The Kingdom 
of Punctuation Marks (1953, private collection). Moreover, he 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



went on to represent the abuses of the Nazi regime in expres- 
sive forms, as in Gurs vn: Death Transport (1940, private col- 
lection) and Six Millions (1962, Museum Duesseldorf). Most 
of his paintings, some 450 works according to the estimate of 
the artist himself, were either destroyed in, or have been miss- 
ing since, World War 11. 

bibliography: Galerie Remmert und Barth, GertH. Woll- 
heim zum 90. Geburtstag: Gemalde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Druck- 
graphiken (1984); Verein August Macke Haus e.V. (ed.), Gert H. 
Wollheim. Phantast und Rebell (2000); S. v. Wiese (ed.)> Gert H. 
Wollheim 1894-19/4, monograph and catalogue (1993; with cata- 
logue raisonne). 

[Jihan Radjai-Ordoubadi (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLMAN, ABEL (1892-1989), U.S. sanitary engineer, pio- 
neer in problems of environmental pollution. Born in Balti- 
more, Maryland, Wolman became professor of sanitary engi- 
neering at his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, lecturing 
there from 1937 to 1957. Working in the field of water supply 
and sewage, Wolman did much toward maintaining proper 
sanitation throughout the United States. He was an early advo- 
cate of a national water policy, and as early as 1946 demanded 
that industry assume responsibility for alleviating pollution. 
He was consulted by the U.S. Public Health Service, the U.S. 
Departments of Defense, Agriculture, and the Interior, the 
Red Cross, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the American 
Railroad Association, and many municipalities. An author- 
ity on environmental sanitation at the un, Wolman's expertise 
was sought in India, Ceylon, Taiwan, Argentina, Brazil, and 
the Arctic. He was chief consultant for Israel's Jordan River 
project and, from 1958, consultant for all water development 
in Israel. Disposal problems took on a new dimension with 
the worldwide proliferation of atomic activity, and Wolman 
was appointed by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission to 
evaluate the dangers of cumulative radiation. In 1967 he be- 
came a consultant on biotechnology in the atmosphere for 
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (nasa). 
Wolman served as president of the American Public Health 
Association and was editor of the Journal of Public Health. 
A prolific contributor to professional journals, he wrote on 
such diverse subjects as malaria, ice engineering and the le- 
gal aspects of water supply. Many of his articles are reprinted 
in Water, Health and Society: Selected Papers by Abel Wolman 
(G.E White, ed., 1969). He was co-author of The Significance of 
Waterborne Typhoid Fever Outbreaks (1931), and was the editor 
of The Manual of Water Works Practice (1925). For a period of 
60 years Wolman succeeded in focusing his attention on the 
total human environment, responding in both technological 
and human terms to the threats to the environment that result 
from technological progress. 

WOLMARK, ALFRED (1877-1961), British painter. Born in 
Warsaw, he was taken to the East End of London as a child 
and studied in the Royal Academy Schools. He made his rep- 
utation at the Whitechapel Art Exhibition of 1906, where his 
work was praised by perceptive art critics. In his early period, 

he painted Whitechapel scenes and Rembrandtesque stud- 
ies of Jewish subjects, such as rabbis and talmudic students. 
Later he developed into a brilliant colorist. His use of color 
was so bright that in an exhibition of the International Soci- 
ety of Artists no English painter dared hang work next to his. 
His work was finally placed next to Van Gogh's. Wolmark did 
portraits of many noted literary figures and, in 1925, provided 
illustrations for an edition of the works of Israel *Zangwill. A 
retrospective exhibit of Wolmark's work was held at London's 
Ben-Uri Gallery in 2004. 

add. bibliography: odnb online. 

WOLOFSKY, HIRSCH (1878-1949), Canadian Yiddish pub- 
lisher and author. Wolofsky was born in Shidlovtse (Szydlow- 
iec), Poland, into an observant hasidic community to which 
his father was crown rabbi. He received a traditional religious 
education until orphaned at 15. He moved to Lodz, married, 
and immigrated to Canada via England in 1900 to join a 
brother in Montreal. In 1907 Wolofsky founded Canada's first 
enduring Yiddish daily, the Keneder Adler (Canadian Jewish 
Eagle), and served as managing editor until his death. Wolof- 
sky's newspaper served a wide readership across ideological 
lines. It promoted Jewish education, establishment of a Cana- 
dian Jewish Congress, creation of a Jewish Community Coun- 
cil (Va'ad Ha'ir), and building of a Jewish hospital. 

The Adler attracted Jewish writers of international re- 
nown such as Hebraist Reuben Brainin, who served as edi- 
tor from 1912 to 1915, and featured many of Canada's Yiddish 
writers. Wolofsky s Adler subsidized the literary and scholarly 
pursuits of its associates and published many of their books. 
Among the books published was Canada's first Yiddish book: 
Moshe Elimelech Levin's Kinder Ertsiyung bay Yidn ("Chil- 
dren's Education Among Jews," 1910), and a local edition of the 
Talmud, the Adler s Shas Talmud Bavli or, as it became popu- 
larly known, the Montreoler Shas ("Montreal Talmud," 1919). 

Wolofsky also wrote for the Adler. He published three 
Yiddish books: a travelogue titled Eyrope un Erets-Yisroel nokh 
dem Veltkrig ("Europe and the Land of Israel after the World 
War," 1922), a volume of contemporary commentary on the 
weekly Torah portions, Fun Eybign Kval ("From the Eternal 
Source," 1930), and a book of memoirs, Mayn Lebns Rayze 
("Journey of My Life," 1946; Eng. tr. 1945, Fr. tr. 2000). In addi- 
tion, Wolofsky served as publisher of the Anglo- Jewish weekly 
the Canadian Jewish Chronicle (founded 1914). He held vari- 
ous leadership positions in the Montreal Jewish community, 
including the vice presidency of both the American Union of 
Polish Jews and the Canadian Jewish Congress. 

bibliography: L. Levendel,A Century of the Canadian Jew- 
ish Press: 1880S-1980S (1989). 

[Rebecca E. Margolis (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLOMIN (Pol. Wolomin), town in Warszawa province, 
east central Poland. The town developed toward the close of 
the 19 th century, and, situated on the Warsaw- Bialystok rail- 
way line, became a commercial and industrial center. Jews 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


numbered 3,079 (49.3% of the total population) in 1921. Al- 
though they were active in the town's development, during the 
1930s they were ousted from their positions and by 1939 their 
proportion in the town's population had fallen to 22% (3,000 
Jews). In general, Jews earned their livelihood from commerce, 
from such crafts as dyeing, baking, tailoring, and joinery, and 
from renting houses to summer guests. Some Jews also owned 
tanneries and glass factories. Communal and cultural activi- 
ties revolved around the Peretz Library and the *Maccabi and 
*Ha-Po'el societies. Jews won five of the municipal council's 
24 seats in the 1934 elections. Ze'ev Bergeisen, who was rabbi 
from the early 1900s until the Holocaust, had a profound in- 
fluence on the life of the Jewish community. 

[Shimshon Leib Kirshenboim] 

Holocaust Period 

On the outbreak of World War 11 there were about 3,000 Jews 
in Wolomin. A large-scale Aktion took place on Oct. 4-6, 1942, 
when over 600 Jews were shot in Wolomin and the rest de- 
ported to the *Treblinka death camp. After the war the Jewish 
community of Wolomin was not reconstituted. 

WOLOWSKI (Schor), Christian family in Poland of Jew- 
ish origin. In 1755-56, its members joined the *Frankists, af- 
ter which they converted to Catholicism. Until the 1830s the 
Wolowski family exclusively married apostate Frankists, but 
subsequently they also contracted mixed marriages. 

elisha schor, the first known of the ramified Wolowski 
family, was a descendant of Zalman Naphtali Schor, rabbi of 
*Lublin. For many years Elisha Schor held the position ofMag- 
gid in the community of * Rogatin, and was among the lead- 
ers of Shabbateanism in the southeastern sector of the Polish 
kingdom. In 1755, with his sons and his son-in-law Hirsch 
Shabbetais, the husband of his daughter Hayyah, he joined 
the sect of Jacob Frank, whom he regarded as the loyal suc- 
cessor of Shabbateanism. It was at Elisha's initiative and with 
his participation that the disputation with the rabbis was held 
at *Kamenets Podolski in June 1757; he also signed the Patshe- 
gen ha-Taanot ve-ha-Teshuvot ("Summary of the Arguments 
and the Replies"). After the death of Bishop M. Dembowski, 
the patron of the Frankists, Elisha was compelled in the au- 
tumn of 1757 to flee across the Turkish border with his fol- 
lowers. He died there during a popular outbreak against the 
members of the sect. 

The children of Elisha Schor, Solomon, Nathan, Lipman, 
Hayyah, and their families adhered to the Frankist sect, until 
their conversion to Christianity in 1759, when they changed 
their name to Wolowski (Pol. wol = Heb. shor). They held 
various positions in the court of Jacob Frank in Poland and 
in Offenbach. 

fr anciszek lukasz wolowski, son of Solomon and 
grandson of Elisha, became secretary of King Stanislaus 11 
Augustus, and was raised to the nobility in 1791. jan kanty 
wolowski (1803-1864), jurist, great-grandson of Elisha 
Schor, held the position of secretary of state in Congress Po- 

land and was one of the draftsmen of the civil code of Poland. 
In 1839 he was raised to the nobility by Nicholas 1 and in 1861 
was appointed dean of the faculty of law at the University of 
Warsaw. He was the only former Frankist not ashamed of his 
Jewish origin, of which he was even proud. 

franciszek wolowski (1776-1844), jurist and states- 
man, great-grandson of Elisha Schor, was a member of the Pol- 
ish Sejm (Parliament) in 1818 and between 1825 and 1831. He 
was raised to the nobility in 1823. In 1830, at the time of the 
Polish uprising, he opposed emancipation of the Jews. After 
the suppression of the uprising, he emigrated to France with 
his family. His son louis Francois wolowski (1810-1876), 
French economist and statesman, born in Warsaw, took part in 
the Polish uprising of 1830-31, and later emigrated to France. 
In 1834 he began to publish the periodical Revue de legislation 
et de jurisprudence. From 1848 to 1851 he was a delegate in 
the constituent and legislative assembly of France. In 1852 he 
founded the Credit Foncier bank. In 1871 he was elected to the 
National Assembly. His important works are Etude deconomie 
Politique et Statistique (1864); La Question des banques (1864); 
and VOr et Vargent (1870). 

bibliography: J. Emden, Sefer Shimmush (Amsterdam, 
1758), 80, 82; J. Bernstein, in: Juedisches Literaturblatt, 27 (1882), 107; 
A. Kraushar, Frank i frankisci, 2 (1895), 11, 20, 33, 53, 91; T. Jeske- 
Choinski, Neofici polscy, (1904), 100-3; M. Balaban, Le-Toledot ha- 
Tenuah ha-Frankit, 1 (1934), 114-5, n 7> n 8> 120-3, 139; I- Schiper, 
Dzieje handlu zydowskiego na ziemiach polskich (1937), index; S.A. 
Kempner, Dzieje gospodarcze Polski porozbiorowej, 1 (1920), 97-105; 
J. Shatzky, Geshikhte fun Yidn in Varshe, 1-2 (1947-48), indexes; M. 
Roztworowski, Dyaryusz Sejmu 1830/31, 4 (1912), 6-8. 

[Arthur Cygielman] 

WOLPE, DAVID E. (1908- ), Yiddish writer. Born in 1908 
in Keidan in Kovno province (Lithuania), Wolpe was edu- 
cated in both the traditional heder and in the Tarbut Hebrew 
high school. Fired early with socialist ideals, he joined the 
Zionist-socialist youth movement Ha-Shomer ha-Za'ir at 16 
and became the founding editor of its Hebrew journal, Ha- 
Nesher. In 1930 he immigrated to Palestine as a pioneer of the 
organization's kibbutz, today Kibbutz Bet Zera, one of the old- 
est and most prosperous kibbutzim in the Jordan valley. He 
also worked in the orange groves and vineyards of the Jewish 
settlements Binyaminah and Petah Tikvah, before leaving the 
kibbutz in 1933 to become a building laborer in Tel Aviv. Re- 
turning to Europe in 1936, Wolpe joined the Lithuanian army, 
but from 1941 was interned in the Kovno ghetto, from which, 
in 1944, he was transported to Dachau. In 1945 he was among 
the survivors liberated by the U.S. army. Sent to recover in the 
St. Ottilien Hospital in Bavaria, he met and married there an 
18 -year-old Jewish refugee and fellow patient. In 1951 Wolpe 
immigrated to South Africa, where he immediately plunged 
into the Yiddish literary life of Johannesburg, becoming a pro- 
lific contributor to all the local Yiddish and Hebrew journals 
and serving as editor of South Africa's only Yiddish monthly, 
Dorem Afrike (1954-70). He serialized his memoirs, A Yid 
in der Litvisher Armey ("A Jew in the Lithuanian Army") in 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



South Africa's only Yiddish newspaper, the Afrikaner Yidishe 
Tsaytung (1959-60). 

Wolpe's first love was poetry, and in 1978 he published 
his collected verse, written over a period of some 30 years, 
in the substantial volume, A Volkn un a Veg ("A Cloud and a 
Way"). Much praised when it first appeared, this anthology 
was awarded the prestigious Itsik Manger Prize in Israel in 
1983. He also published a volume of literary essays, A Vort in 
Zayn Tsayt ("A Word in Its Time," 1984); a critical study of the 
work of Abraham *Sutzkever, MitAvrom Sutskever iber Zayn 
Lidervelt ("The Poetic World of Abraham Sutzkever," 1985); 
a collection of short stories, Heymen, Khaloymes, Koshmarn 
("Homes, Dreams, Nightmares," 1987); two further volumes 
of poems and essays, Krikveg ("The Way Back," 1991) and Iber 
Mayne Vegn ("Along My Roads," 2002); and a two-volume au- 
tobiography, Ikh un Mayn Velt ("I and My World," 1997-99). 
In his nineties Wolpe continued to write from his home in 
Johannesburg. His abiding contribution to Yiddish literature 
was well summed up in the citation for the Manger Prize: "He 
is full of poetic paradox: his ever-present unrest and doubt are 
an expression of emotional creative nature." 

[Joseph Sherman (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLPE, DAVID J. (1958- ), U.S. congregational rabbi, ora- 
tor, teacher, and writer. Wolpe was born in Harrisburg, Penn- 
sylvania. His early education was in Jewish day schools in Har- 
risburg and later at Akiba Academy in Philadelphia. Wolpe's 
father, Rabbi Gerald Wolpe, served as the spiritual leader of 
Philadelphia's Har Zion Congregation, one of the flagship con- 
gregations of the Conservative Movement. 

Wolpe attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he 
received his B.A. degree in English literature; he also spent a 
year studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh. Wolpe 
enrolled in the University of Judaism's (uj) pre -rabbinical 
program in 1982 and was immediately identified as one of 
their most promising students. During his two years at the 
uj, Wolpe published his first monograph, "Secret Thought 
and Normal Mysticism." He also served as a rabbinic in- 
tern at Congregation Adat Ariel in North Hollywood. After 
spending a year studying at the Schechter Institute and The 
Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Wolpe continued his stud- 
ies at the Jewish Theological Seminary (jts) from which he 
was ordained in 1987. 

Wolpe joined the faculty of the University of Judaism 
in 1987 and taught there for eight years. He also served as di- 
rector of the library and as special assistant to uj President 
Robert Wexler. In 1995 Wolpe took a position at jts as both 
an instructor in Jewish Thought and as assistant to Chancel- 
lor Ismar Schorsch. 

A frequent contributor to a variety of Jewish and gen- 
eral periodicals, Wolpe's first book, The Healer of Shattered 
Hearts, appeared in 1990. This was followed by In Speech and 
In Silence (1992), Teaching Your Children about God (1993), 
Why be Jewish? (1995), Making Loss Matter (1999), and Float- 
ing Takes Faith (2004). 

Wolpe was persuaded to return to Los Angeles to accept 
the position of senior rabbi of Sinai Temple in 1997. Since his 
arrival, the congregation has increased from 1,150 member 
families to over 1,800. He inaugurated Friday Night Live, an 
innovative Shabbat evening program that draws over 1,700 
single Jewish adults each month. In general, Wolpe attracts in 
excess of 1,000 attendees for each Shabbat morning service. 

After returning to Los Angeles, Wolpe undertook a part- 
time lecturer position at the University of Judaism, where he 
teaches homiletics. He also serves as a lecturer in modern Jew- 
ish thought at the University of California at Los Angeles. 

In 2002, Wolpe generated considerable controversy when, 
during a Passover sermon, he opined that the Exodus story 
was most likely not the record of an actual event, citing a lack 
of archeological evidence. He was, however, insistent that the 
mythic narrative remains important for the Jewish people. 

With the retirement of Ismar Schorsch from the po- 
sition of chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in 
2005, Wolpe was heralded as a likely candidate to succeed 
him. Nevertheless, Wolpe elected to remain at Sinai Temple. 
In an article that appeared in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal 
in December 2005, he urged that Conservative Judaism be re- 
conceived in terms of the covenantal relationships that Jews 
have forged with God, one another, and with the rest of the 
world. He advocated that the name of Conservative Judaism 
be officially changed to Covenantal Judaism. 

[Robert Wexler (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLPE, HOWARD ELIOT III (1939- ), U.S. congressman 
and scholar. A native of Los Angeles, Wolpe attended public 
schools there. He earned his bachelor's degree from Reed Col- 
lege in i960 and received a Ph.D. in African studies from the 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1967. His doctoral 
work included two years of field study in Nigeria. 

From 1967 to 1972, Wolpe taught in the political science 
department of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, 
specializing in African political systems. He also served as a 
consultant to the Peace Corps. Developing an interest in local 
politics, Wolpe was elected to the Kalamazoo City Council in 
1969. In 1972 he was elected to the Michigan State Legislature, 
the first Democrat to represent Kalamazoo. He served there 
until 1976, when he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Congress. 
He was subsequently hired as the regional representative of 
U.S. Senator Donald Riegle. In 1978 Wolpe was elected to Con- 
gress as representative of Michigan's Third Congressional Dis- 
trict, traditionally a Republican stronghold. 

Following his reelection to Congress in 1980, Wolpe was 
appointed chair of the Africa Subcommittee of the Foreign Af- 
fairs Committee, a position he held from 1981 to 1992. Consid- 
ered a compassionate proponent of economic aid to emerging 
African nations, Wolpe was a leading critic of American mili- 
tary aid to Zaire, and he opposed the Reagan administration's 
requests for increased military aid to Kenya, the Sudan, Mo- 
rocco, and Tunisia. He was highly critical of South African 
apartheid. He argued throughout his legislative career for a 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


more informed consideration of African perspective in for- 
mulating U.S. policy toward African nations. 

In 1992, following reformulation of Michigan's congres- 
sional districts, Wolpe retired from Congress. He then served 
under President Bill Clinton as special envoy to Africa. He 
was named the director of the Africa Program at the Wood- 
row Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, 
dc, a program aimed at promoting dialogue among policy- 
makers and academic specialists regarding U.S. policy toward 
African nations. 

Wolpe is the author of several books, including Urban 
Politics in Nigeria (1974), Nigeria: Modernization and the Poli- 
tics of Communism (as editor, with Robert Melson, 1971), and 
United States and Africa: A Post-Cold War Perspective (with 
David F. Gordon and David Miller, Jr., 1998). He was a visiting 
fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies program of the Brookings 
Institution. Wolpe also headed the Burundi Leadership Train- 
ing Program, funded by the World Bank and the U.S. Agency 
for International Development, which aims to reduce faction- 
alism in post-conflict Burundi. 

[Dorothy Bauhoff (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLPE, STEFAN (1902-1972), composer. Born in Berlin, 
Wolpe studied at the Berlin Academy of Music under Paul 
Juon and Franz Schreker. In 1933 he settled in Jerusalem, where 
he taught at the Palestine Conservatory of Music until 1938 
and greatly influenced the first generation of locally educated 
composers. He subsequently settled in the United States and 
from 1951 taught at various New York institutions. His music 
belongs to the Schoenberg and Webern schools and shows 
strong Jewish influence. Among his compositions are a ballet, 
The Man from Midian (1940); an oratorio, Israel and his Land; 
a cantata, Jigdal; and chamber and choral works. 

WOLPER, DAVID LLOYD (1928- ), U.S. producer of films 
and television documentaries. Born in New York, Wolper s 
first commercial venture was to buy old Hollywood films and 
to sell them to the infant television industry. In 1958 he formed 
Wolper Productions. His film The Race for Space (1959) estab- 
lished his reputation as an independent documentary pro- 
ducer and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best 
Documentary. Other notable productions were The Miracle 
(1959); Biography, a weekly tv series (1961-64); The Making 
of the President, i960 (1963); the tv series Hollywood and the 
Stars (1963); The Legend of Marilyn Monroe (1964); National 
Geographic Specials (1964-75); Let My People Go (1965), the 
story of the creation of the State of Israel; The Rise and Fall of 
the Third Reich (1968); The Unfinished Journey of Robert Ken- 
nedy (1970); Victory at Entebbe (1976); the tv miniseries Roots 
(Peabody Award and an Emmy for Outstanding Series, 1977); 
Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter (Emmy nomination, 1982); the 
tv miniseries The Thorn Birds (1983); Liberty Weekend (two 
Emmy nominations, 1986); The Betty Ford Story (1987); Mur- 
der in Mississippi (Emmy nomination, 1990); The Plot to Kill 
Hitler (1990); Dillinger (1991); the miniseries Queen (Emmy 

nomination, 1993); and the tv miniseries The Mists of Ava- 
lon (2001). 

Wolper also ventured into feature film production. His 
movie credits include The Devils Brigade (1968); Iflts Tues- 
day It Must Be Belgium (1969); Willy Wonka and the Choco- 
late Factory (1971); This Is Elvis (1981); Imagine: John Lennon 
(1988); Murder in the First (1995); Surviving Picasso (1996) and 
L.A. Confidential (1997). 

In 1985 he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. 
Wolper wrote Producer: A Memoir (with D. Fisher, 2003). 

[Jonathan Licht / Ruth Beloff (2 nd ed.)] 

WOLPERT, LUDWIG YEHUDA (1900-1981), German 
sculptor and designer. Wolpert was born in Hildesheim, Ger- 
many, the son of an Orthodox rabbi. In 1916 he went to Frank- 
furt-on-the-Main, where he studied at the School for Arts 
and Crafts until 1920. After a few years working as a sculp- 
tor, Wolpert registered again at the school and specialized in 
metalwork. His teachers, among others, were the Bauhaus art- 
ist Christian Dell and the silversmith, sculptor, and designer 
of Judaica Leo Horovitz, son of the Orthodox rabbi Marcus 
*Horovitz. Under the guidance of Leo Horovitz, Wolpert be- 
came involved in creating modern Jewish ceremonial art. His 
famous Passover set, created in 1930, is made out of silver, eb- 
ony, and glass (replica in the Jewish Museum, New York; the 
original is lost) and reveals the strong influence of the Bau- 
haus designers of the late 1920s who worked under the slo- 
gan "form follows function." The same concept also guided 
the creation of a modern set of Torah silver commissioned 
by the family of Reuben Hecht for the Orthodox Frankfurt 
synagogue at the Friedberger Anlage, which was destroyed in 
1938. Before Wolpert emigrated to Palestine in 1933, some of 
his works were shown in the exhibition Cult and Form (1931, 
Berlin et al.) and in an exhibition of ceremonial art in the Ber- 
lin Jewish Museum (1932). From 1935 he taught metalwork at 
the New Bezalel School for Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem. Wol- 
pert s personal achievement is the introduction of Hebrew let- 
ters as the dominant artistic element in the creation of Jewish 
ceremonial art. This is visible in one of his most outstanding 
works, a Torah Ark in copper and silver (1948, Harry S. Tru- 
man Library, Independence, Missouri), where the Hebrew 
text represents an integral part of the whole design. In 1956 he 
was invited to New York to establish the Tobe Pascher Work- 
shop for Jewish ceremonial objects at the Jewish Museum. 
During his time in the U.S. Wolpert took part in designing 
several synagogue interiors and exterior furnishings, such as 
at Temple Emanuel, Great Neck, New York, and the Beth El 
Synagogue, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Until his death in 1981 
he directed the workshop and had a great influence impact 
on his students, such as his daughter Chava Wolpert -Richard 
and Moshe Zabari. 

bibliography: Ludwig Yehuda Wolpert. A Retrospective 
(Catalogue, Jewish Museum, New York, 1976); M. Spertus, "Ludwig 
Yehuda Wolpert, 1900-1981," in: Journal of Jewish Art, 8 (1981), 86. 

[Philipp Zschommler (2 nd ed.)] 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



WOLSEY, LOUIS (1877-1953), U.S. Reform rabbi. Wolsey, 
born in Midland, Michigan, was ordained in 1899 by Hebrew 
Union College. From 1899 to 1907 he led Congregation B'nai 
Israel in Little Rock, Arkansas. He then served as rabbi at Con- 
gregation Anshe Chesed, Cleveland, leading in the construc- 
tion of its Euclid Avenue Temple. When he left this congrega- 
tion in 1925, it had increased from 150 to over 1,300 families. 
He was rabbi at Philadelphia's Rodeph Shalom Congregation 
from 1925 to 1947. Wolsey helped lead Reform organizations 
as president of Hebrew Union College Alumni Association 
(1914-16), executive board member of the Union of Ameri- 
can Hebrew Congregations (1925-29), and president of the 
Central Conference of American Rabbis (1925-27). He was a 
founder in 1926 of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, 
and was chairman of the committee that revised the Union 
Hymnal published in 1936. 

Although comparatively favorable to nonpolitical aspects 
of Zionism during his Cleveland years, Wolsey was one of the 
group of rabbis who opposed the Central Conference resolu- 
tion for the establishment of a Palestinian Jewish military unit 
in 1942, and he led the dissident group through several con- 
ferences that formed the * American Council for Judaism. He 
resigned his council vice presidency in 1946 to protest its stand 
against unrestricted Jewish immigration to Palestine, and re- 
signed from the council itself in 1948. Wolsey found it irreli- 
gious and anti-humanitarian in the face of "a harried European 
Jewry," and demanded that it dissolve. Likewise, "the Zionist 
movement.. . should dissolve into a unity of world Jewry for 
the creation of a Jewish culture and a Jewish life in Israel." 

bibliography: S. Halperin, Political World of American 
Zionism (1961), index. 

WOMAN. This article is arranged according to the follow- 
ing outline: 


Biblical Period 


Economic Roles 

Educational and Managerial Roles 

Religious Roles 


Post-Biblical and Talmudic Period 




Medieval Islamic World and Spain 


Genizah Society 


Innovations and Aberrations in Jewish Law 




Inheritance and Guardianship 

Medieval Christian Europe 
women's high status 

economic activities 
ritual observance 
religious practice 
personal documents 
mysticism and folklore 

Early Modern Period 

SEPHARDI diaspora 






Modern Central and Western Europe: 1780-1939 
Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries 
North America 


Modern Muslim Worlds 


Husband and Wife 
A Woman's Economic Rights 
Succession Right of Daughters and Wives 
The Right to Vote and the Right to be Elected to Public 


The Halakhah and Women's Study of Torah 



child's education 
torah study for women 
women's PRAYER 




Biblical Period 

Recovering the lives of Israelite women in the biblical period 
is difficult because the major source, the Hebrew Bible, focuses 
on national concerns rather than on the lives of ordinary in- 
dividuals and also because its principal interest is in the lives 
of men rather than those of women. In addition, the biblical 
text postdates, often by centuries, the periods it purports to 
record. Another problem is that much of the Bible originates 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


in and reflects the urban setting of Jerusalem, whereas most 
Israelites lived in agrarian households in small villages or 
walled agricultural towns that were not true cities. However, 
a multidisciplinary approach, using biblical data along with 
information produced by archaeology and also ethnographic 
data and interpretive models from anthropology, can bring 
the women of ancient Israel into view. 

The Hebrew word ishah means both "wife" and "woman," 
signaling the fact that a woman's identity was virtually in- 
separable from her status as a married woman. It was incon- 
ceivable that a woman might willingly live on her own apart 
from a family structure. Israelite marriage was not the kind of 
love-based companionate relationship that is the ideal in the 
modern world; rather, it was a heterosexual pairing meant to 
provide offspring to assure generational continuity in a land- 
based society. The conjugal pair with their children would also 
constitute a work force sufficient to meet the needs of a family 
in an agrarian society; and the children would be the ones to 
care for their parents should they survive into old age. Hav- 
ing children was a non-negotiable necessity. 

marriage and children. The Bible does not have a term 
for "marriage" as such. The formation of a marital bond is in- 
dicated by saying that a man "takes" a woman. The narrative of 
the courtship of Isaac and Rebecca, for example, culminates in 
the statement that "he took Rebecca and she became his wife" 
(Gen. 24:67). That a man "takes" a wife is a reflection of the 
patrilocality of Israelite households. That is, the bride would 
move to the household of the bridegroom, who usually re- 
sided with his own family. An extended family would thus be 
formed, although each constituent nuclear family might have 
its own abode within a family compound. The incest laws in 
Leviticus may have originated to deter problematic sexual in- 
timacy among members of a complex household group. 

Financial arrangements generally accompanied mar- 
riage except among the poorest families. Although there are 
no "marriage laws" as such in the Bible, information in narra- 
tives indicates that a bride's family typically provided a dowry, 
usually consisting of moveable property such as jewelry, cloth- 
ing, and household utensils. In wealthier families, livestock 
and servants might also be included (see Gen. 24:59; 29:24, 
29). The dowry could be supplemented by the groom and his 
family (Gen. 24:53). Although her husband would have had 
some access to the dowry during the duration of the marriage, 
it theoretically remained the woman's possession. 

Another marital payment was made by the groom's fam- 
ily to that of the bride. This betrothal gift, sometimes errone- 
ously called "bride price" (mohar; see Gen. 22:17; 34-12; 1 Sam, 
18:25), nas often been interpreted as evidence that a man pur- 
chased a woman. The fact that a word sometimes used for 
"husband" is baal, which can (but does not always) mean 
"master," has also been adduced to claim that a woman is the 
property of her husband. Similarly, the use of the verb kanah y 
which can mean "to buy" but more generally "to acquire," to 
describe Boaz' marriage to Ruth (Ruth 4:10) has also been in- 

terpreted as an indication of male ownership of women. How- 
ever, such assertions are now known to be flawed. 

In anthropological perspective, the dowry as well as the 
betrothal gift functioned in overlapping ways to maintain the 
viability of a family. The betrothal gift would provide some 
compensation to a woman's family, who would lose the labor 
of a daughter upon her marriage. The dowry would constitute 
a woman's chief means of support in the event of widowhood 
or divorce, especially if she had no sons or if her father was 
deceased. And the two payments together served to establish 
and solidify alliances between a woman's natal family and 
her marital one. Such connections were important in agrar- 
ian communities; they served to increase the likelihood of 
mutual aid in the event of economic or other difficulties, not 
unusual in Israelite households living in marginal ecological 
zones. Betrothal and dowry payments together served impor- 
tant economic, social, and legal functions. 

To refute the notion of male ownership of women is not 
the same as establishing equality in the relationship. Perhaps 
the greatest imbalance was in the area of sexuality. Once a 
woman was betrothed, her fiance, and then her husband, had 
exclusive rights to her sexuality. The patrilineal nature of Isra- 
elite society, with land and property transferred across genera- 
tions via the male line, is likely the reason for the stringency 
in biblical legal precepts dealing with a woman's sexuality. The 
gender asymmetry in the treatment of sexuality is evident in 
Deuteronomy 22:13-21, in which a bridegroom claims that 
his wife is not a virgin. The ensuing elaborate procedure for 
dealing with this accusation reflects the value of virginity as a 
means to assure a groom of his paternity of children she will 
bear. Gender disparity is also evident, for similar reasons, in 
the different treatment of women and men in biblical adultery 
laws (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22-28), where sex between a mar- 
ried man and an unmarried woman is discouraged but not 
proscribed. Concern for heirs is also a factor in the institu- 
tion known as levirate marriage, in which a childless widow 
would marry her deceased husband's brother, with the first 
son produced by that liaison considered the dead man's heir 
(Deut. 25:5-10; cf. the narratives of Tamar, Gen. 38, and Ruth). 
The case of the daughters of Zelophehad (Num. 26:33; 27:1-11; 
36:1-12) would seem to mitigate the absolute nature of Israelite 
patrilineality; however, the inheritance of land by daughters 
in that case is accompanied by provisions that the land would 
remain within the clan. 

The powerful male interest in transmitting property to 
biological heirs is also a factor in the existence of polygamy, 
or rather polygyny (more than one wife), in ancient Israel, as 
in the ancient Near East in general. Monarchs may have had 
multiple wives as a sign of their high status and to solidify po- 
litical alliances, and wealthy individuals may have had more 
than one wife as a sign of affluence. But in most instances, 
taking a second wife or a concubine would have occurred 
because the first wife did not produce offspring. The Genesis 
narratives give us the impression that polygyny was common. 
However, shorter life spans for women than for men (mean- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



ing a shortage of women of child-bearing age) and the fact 
that most people probably lived near the poverty level (mean- 
ing the inability of a family to support multiple wives) would 
have precluded polygyny for all but the wealthy. Indeed, many 
biblical texts, such as Genesis 2:24, the Song of Songs, several 
passages in wisdom literature, and even legal rulings such as 
Exodus 21:4-5, reflect a monogamous norm. 

Although dissolution of a marriage was sometimes un- 
avoidable, very little is known about provisions for divorce. 
Isaiah 50:1 mentions a bill of divorce (cf. Mai. 2:14, which re- 
fers to a marriage contract), indicating that formal documents 
were used for establishing or dissolving a marriage, although 
probably only for people of means. The sole biblical text with 
divorce rulings, Deuteronomy 24:1-4, addresses a particular 
situation, the case of a man seeking to remarry a woman to 
whom he had once been married. Unfortunately, it gives the 
impression that only men could initiate divorce in the biblical 
period. Information from extra- biblical sources (e.g., the Ele- 
phantine papyri) and indirect information from other biblical 
texts, such as the narrative of a Levite's secondary wife leaving 
him (Judg. 19:2), provide reason to contest that notion. 

women in household life. It would be incorrect to as- 
sume that women were subordinate to and dominated by men 
in all aspects of life. Indeed, with few resources available from 
outside the household, the relationship between a woman and 
her husband was one of interdependence and complementar- 
ity in the various functions of household life. 

As the primary unit of social existence, the family house- 
hold was the locus of the activities necessary for the mainte- 
nance and continuity of life. Family life was task-oriented; 
without the labor of both women and men, and also children, 
survival in the marginal habitat of the highlands of Erez Israel 
would not have been possible. But the responsibilities of all 
family members were not the same. The division of labor by 
gender, albeit with some overlap, was the most efficient way 
to accomplish the myriad of household tasks. In addition to 
procreation, households served the economic, educational, 
and religious needs of their members. 

Economic Roles. Women's economic roles, which included 
growing field and horticultural crops and keeping domes- 
ticated ruminants (mainly sheep and goats), were manifold 
and complex. Although they participated to some extent in 
the male-dominated agricultural tasks of growing grains and 
also helped tend orchards and vineyards, especially in labor- 
intensive harvest periods (see Ruth 2: 8-9), their own agricul- 
tural activities probably involved growing garden vegetables 
and herbs. Women's major contributions to the household 
economy were largely the time-consuming food- and fiber- 
processing jobs, the former on a daily basis and the latter more 
likely on a seasonal basis. That is, the agricultural products of 
the household had to be transformed into edible and wearable 
form through the expertise and labor of women. 

Cereal products were the most important food source in 
the biblical period, with bread providing an estimated 50% of 

the daily caloric intake. The transformation of grain into edible 
form involved parching or soaking, grinding, and heating and/ 
or leavening. With an average family size of six persons, three 
hours of work per day would have been required to produce 
enough edible grain. With the assistance of older children, 
women did the work of bread production and also processed 
and prepared supplementary foodstuffs, mainly fruits, veg- 
etables, and legumes and also dairy products. Some of these 
would have been eaten raw; but many, such as milk, olives, ca- 
pers, grapes, nuts, figs, and dates, were also variously churned, 
pressed, pickled, roasted, or dried on a seasonal basis. Meat 
would have been eaten rarely, probably only at festivals. 

The onerous nature of these food preparation tasks was 
offset by certain positive aspects. Unlike the often frustrat- 
ing male tasks of growing field and horticultural crops, in 
which yields could be drastically affected by periodic droughts 
or infestations of insects, food preparation, even of limited 
amounts, always yielded a finished product. Thus, women 
experienced constant gratification from their daily work, re- 
petitive as it was. Another positive feature was the mastery of 
technology involved, for the various food-processing proce- 
dures each involved considerable technical skill. 

Just as important as the individual benefits were the so- 
cial and political aspects of food preparation. Grinding im- 
plements are often found in clusters in the archaeological re- 
covery of dwellings from the biblical period, indicating that 
women from neighboring households gathered together, un- 
doubtedly to chat and sing, during the long hours spent pre- 
paring grains and other foods. The time spent together helped 
forge women into informal social networks in a way that the 
more solitary tasks performed by men did not. These net- 
works also constituted a social safety net for Israelite women, 
facilitating assistance when illness or emergency threatened 
a neighboring household. Moreover, as is known from ethno- 
graphic studies of agrarian households in pre-modern settings, 
these networks operated on a political level as well. That is, 
women gained access to information that influenced commu- 
nity decisions made by male officials. Such indirect female po- 
litical power is typically unrecognized but nonetheless real. 

Women's economic roles extended beyond food process- 
ing. They gathered garden or wild herbs and plants to con- 
coct medicinal substances used in folk remedies. Although 
sophisticated ceramic vessels may have been procured from 
traveling potters or urban workshops, women, perhaps sev- 
eral in a village, likely produced simple storage jars, cooking 
pots, and serving bowls for everyday use. However, perhaps 
the most important household activity, because of its poten- 
tial for commercial activity beyond the household (see Pro v. 
31:13 and 24), was textile production. 

Spinning, weaving, and sewing were woman's domain in 
the ancient Near East from time immemorial. The discovery 
in dwellings of the biblical period of spindle whorls, weights 
used in vertical, warp-weighted looms, and bone needles and 
weaving tools testify to the production of fabrics in Israelite 
households. Like grain processing, the procedures involved 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


in making textiles were often time-consuming and tedious. 
It takes several hours of spinning, for example, to produce 
the amount of yarn or thread needed for an hour of weav- 
ing. Women in pre- modern cultures typically do textile work 
together; indeed, some of the procedures, such as weighting 
and even working a warp -weighted loom, were best done by 
women working in tandem. The personal, social, and political 
benefits that accrued to women (and their daughters) as trans- 
formers of food products were intensified by the shared expe- 
rience of working with fibers to produce garments and cover- 
ings for their families and perhaps also for barter or sale. 

Educational and Managerial Roles. The primary care of young 
children was the mothers responsibility. The child- care com- 
ponent of a woman's workday was subsumed into her daily 
obligations, no doubt with the assistance of older children and 
elderly parents. From a very young age, children assisted in 
household tasks, with women supervising offspring of both 
genders until boys were old enough to accompany their fa- 
thers into the fields. Given the absence of any formal or in- 
stitutionalized education in the biblical period, except per- 
haps for a handful of upper-class urban males, women were 
the chief educators and socializers of both boys and girls in 
their early years and into adolescence. Fathers surely educated 
sons in the tasks and activities performed mainly by males. 
The educative roles of women are not very visible in the Bible, 
where the mention of sages and elders gives the impression 
of a male monopoly in teaching skills and inculcating tradi- 
tional practices and beliefs. However, an understanding of the 
dynamics of an agrarian household indicates the prominence 
of women in this role. 

A mothers educative role was hardly trivial. It involved 
instruction in the technologies of household life, in appropri- 
ate behavior (as reflected in many of the precepts in the book 
of Proverbs), and also in the transmission of culture and values 
more generally. However androcentric and upper-class Prov- 
erbs may be, it is nonetheless clear from the frequent parallel- 
ism of "mother" and "father" (1:8; 4:3; 6:20; 15:20; 19:26; 20:20; 
23:22, 25; 28:24; 30-ii) 17) that both parents had important edu- 
cative roles. And because women had more contact hours with 
children, their interactions with offspring were of foundational 
significance in transmitting many aspects of Israelite culture 
from one generation to the next. It is hardly an accident that 
the very notion of "wisdom," which includes technical exper- 
tise as well as social sagacity, has important female aspects, 
arguably rooted in the broad role of women in caring for and 
socializing their children. Note that the biblical word for wis- 
dom in the Bible, hokmah y is feminine; wisdom is personified 
as a woman in Proverbs (1:20-33; 3:13-18; 4: 1-9; 7:1-5; 8:1-36; 
9:1-6; 14:1); the "strong woman" (eshet hayil) of Proverbs 31 
is characterized as speaking wisdom and teaching kindness 
(verse 26); and two narratives feature "wise women" (11 Sam. 
14:1-20; 20:14-22) with none featuring a "wise man." 

A woman's educative role was not limited to the instruc- 
tion of her own children. In the complex, multi- gene rational 

Israelite households, older women served as household man- 
agers, instructing their own children as well as daughters-in- 
law and nieces in the array of tasks performed by women as 
well as in appropriate behaviors. The fifth commandment (Ex. 
20:12 and Deut. 5:6) and the demanding (and probably ideal- 
ized) family laws of Exodus 21:15, 17 an d Leviticus 20:9, which 
were likely concerned with the behavior of adult children in 
multi -gene rational households, underscore the authority of 
both parents. This is in contrast to some ancient Near Eastern 
societies that apparently favored men over women in assigning 
authority over offspring. Another indication of female author- 
ity in household life is the fact that mothers predominate in 
the Bible as the ones who name their children. In light of wom- 
en's extensive educative and managerial roles, the appearance 
of the phrase "mother's household (bet era)" rather than the 
usual "father's household (bet av)" several times in the Bible is 
noteworthy. "Mother's household" appears in passages dealing 
with the internal life of the household (Gen. 24:28; Ruth 1:8; 
Songs 3:4; 8:2) and seems to indicate that women controlled 
most household activities (as in the case of the Shunammite 
woman, 11 Kings 4:8-37; 8:1-6), whereas men controlled su- 
pra-household lineage interactions. 

Religious Roles. The predominance of women in household 
education and management may have been replicated in 
household religious roles. Although the Bible's focus is on 
temple or tabernacle and on national or communal practices, 
there are clear indications of family celebrations that punctu- 
ated the annual religious calendar. For example, Passover in 
its origins was likely a home- based spring festival involving 
specific kinds of food preparation; the other major festivals, 
similarly grounded in the agricultural calendar, no doubt in- 
volved family feasting. Household Sabbath traditions are dif- 
ficult to trace back to the biblical period, but the manna pro- 
visions for the seventh day, as well as post-biblical sources, 
indicate festal meals were part of the holy day of rest. The do- 
mestic celebration of festivals and observance of Sabbath are 
inconceivable without special meals requiring women's culi- 
nary expertise and labor. 

In addition, women undoubtedly participated in cel- 
ebrations at shrines near their homes and even initiated cul- 
tic activity. The Hannah narrative is instructive in this regard 
(1 Sam. 1-2). Hannah accompanies her husband and his sec- 
ondary wife and their children to an annual sacrifice at the 
cult center of Shiloh. In addition, she comes "before the Lord" 
to make a vow and a sacrifice in the hopes of ending her bar- 
renness. Although post-biblical textual traditions try to obfus- 
cate her role, the Masoretic text clearly indicates that Hannah, 
having become pregnant and given birth to Samuel, fulfills her 
vow by bringing sacrifices to Shiloh. Although Deuteronomy 
16:16 does not enjoin women to participate in the pilgrim- 
age festivals in Jerusalem, they were not precluded from do- 
ing so. Moreover, other passages in Deuteronomy (e.g., 12:12; 
16:11, 14) are gender- inclusive in their instructions for bring- 
ing sacrifices and celebrating at the central shrine. And doz- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



ens of priestly passages use the gender-inclusive term nefesh, 
indicating that women as well as men were mandated to offer 
certain sacrifices (see, e.g., Lev.2:i and Num. 5:6). 

The participation of women in extra-household religious 
life and in family celebrations was only part of their religious 
roles. Those religious activities carried out only by women, 
known through archaeological and ethnographic evidence, 
were arguably the most important aspects of women's religious 
lives. Women in pre-modern cultures typically coped with the 
many problems related to childbearing, which today would 
be dealt with by medicine, through behaviors that might be 
termed "magic" but were clearly religious in nature. Facing 
the possibility of barrenness, childbirth complications, diffi- 
culty in lactation, and high infant mortality rates (as many as 
one in two infants did not survive to the age of five), women 
performed a variety of rituals in order to keep away the evil 
spirits thought to be the cause of problems and to attract be- 
nevolent ones to assure reproductive success. Many of these 
apotropaic practices, such as wearing shiny amulets or eye 
beads to avert the "evil eye," tying a red thread around the wrist 
or ankle of newborn (cf. Gen. 38:28, where such a thread is a 
marker), keeping a light burning in a birthing room or place 
where an infant sleeps, salting and swaddling a newborn (see 
Ezek. 16:4), continued into the post-biblical period and are 
found in Muslim and Christian as well as Jewish families well 
into the 20 th century. 

Women's household religious praxis can be understood 
to have empowered them in respect to their concerns about 
life-and-death matters. Their religious activities focused on 
the welfare of their families and themselves. Women were 
ritual experts, for they possessed the requisite knowledge to 
perform rituals in a prescribed and efficacious way using spe- 
cific materials and artifacts. Such knowledge was transmitted 
across generations by older women to younger ones, just as 
experienced priests educated younger ones in the intricacies 
of communal ritual. Moreover, household rituals dealing with 
childbirth were carried out for women by women, including 
neighbors, relatives, and sometimes midwives (1 Sam. 4:20; cf. 
Ruth 4:13-17). Women's religious practices were profoundly 
important components of their adult lives. 

women outside the household. The midwives who as- 
sisted Israelite women in childbirth were religious specialists 
as well as health-care practitioners, since prayers and potions 
are part of the culture of childbirth in traditional societies. 
Other female religious specialists may have included temple 
servitors (Ex. 38:8; 1 Sam. 2:22). There were surely diviners, as 
is apparent from the strong anti- divination passage in Ezekiel 
13:17-23 addressed to a group of female prophets. Yet not all 
female prophets were viewed so negatively. Miriam (Ex. 15:20) 
and Deborah (Judg. 4:4), two of the most prominent women 
in the Bible, are called prophets, as are Huldah, the first per- 
son to issue a ruling establishing the authenticity of a text as 
God's word (11 Kings 22:14-16), and Noadiah, a leader of the 
postexilic community (Neh. 6:14). Many other religious spe- 

cialists are reviled, as in the gender-inclusive denunciations 
in Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27; Deuteronomy 18:11, a sure sign 
that women's services were being utilized. Women served as 
necromancers, mediating between dead ancestors and their 
living relatives, as the story of the medium of Endor (1 Sam. 
28:7-25) suggests. Women also were sorcerers and are specifi- 
cally condemned as such (Ex. 22:18; cf. Isa. 57:3). 

Other female professionals, less explicitly religious, are 
also mentioned in the Bible. Deborah is a "judge," a charis- 
matic military leader, as well as a prophet. The wise women 
of Tekoa and Abel help resolve national crises. Troops of fe- 
male musicians appear in several instances in which military 
victory attributed to divine intervention in human affairs is 
celebrated (Ex. 15:21; 1 Sam. 18:6-7; n Sam. 1:20; Ps. 68:25; J er - 
31:4,13). These cases reflect a special musical genre, unique to 
women, involving drums, dancing, and singing. Women as 
well as men are mentioned as professional singers (11 Sam. 
19:35; Ezra 2:65; Neh. 7:67; Eccl. 2:8; 12:4) and perhaps even 
temple singers (1 Chron. 25:5-6). As is true in many traditional 
societies, women were deemed more expert in mourning rit- 
uals than men (Jer. 9:17-20; Ezek. 32:16). And some women, 
perhaps those unable to support themselves in any other 
way, are depicted as prostitutes, an occupation condemned in 
priestly texts but viewed matter- of-factly in narratives about 
the heroines Rahab (Josh. 2,5) and Tamar (Gen. 38), and the 
two women who brought their dispute to Solomon (1 Kings 

These varied professional activities are noteworthy be- 
cause they negate the image of women as confined to the 
household. In addition, recognizing their existence has im- 
portant implications for understanding the lives of the women 
engaged in these occupations on a part-time or full-time ba- 
sis. Many of these professional specialists, including musicians 
and singers, mourning women, wise women, and even mid- 
wives and prophets, functioned in groups or were connected 
to each other in loose, guild-like associations. The "daugh- 
ters" learning dirges in Jeremiah 9:20 and wailing over Saul 
in 11 Samuel 1:24 are analogous to "sons" in the phrase "sons 
[company; disciples] of the prophets" (e.g., 11 Kings 5:22; 6:1) 
in that they constituted a guild of professional mourning 
women. The biblical silence about other such groups does 
not mean that they did not exist; informal organizations of 
women with technical expertise in certain areas, such as birth- 
ing or healing, are found widely in ancient cultures, includ- 
ing in neighboring Mesopotamia and Anatolia. These women 
would gather occasionally or even at regular intervals to share 
knowledge, train newer members of their group, and, in the 
case of musical professions, compose songs and rehearse in 
preparation for performances. 

Membership in such groups, which typically are orga- 
nized hierarchically with senior or more talented members 
earning the esteem of the others and exercising control of 
group functions, provided women with opportunities to expe- 
rience prestige and status. Moreover, whether they functioned 
in groups or as individuals, female professionals provided nec- 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 


essary services for their communities. In so doing, they had 
the opportunity to experience the benefits of contributing to 
the public weal. Moreover, those whose roles were performa- 
tive, as ethnomusicologists have shown, were likely to have 
subverted or suspended existing hierarchies during perfor- 
mances by virtue of the rhetorical power of their expressive 
acts. It is noteworthy that societies in which women have rich 
opportunities for extra-household association are generally 
considered the least repressive with respect to gender. 

contesting the idea of patriarchy. The term "patri- 
archy" has not been used in this discussion of women in the 
biblical period. To be sure, Israelite society was both patrilo- 
cal and patrilineal: the major public offices were held mainly 
by men; and men controlled women's sexuality. Yet the con- 
ventional wisdom about pervasive male, or patriarchal, dom- 
inance in hierarchical structures affecting all domains of 
Israelite life can be disputed. If "patriarchy" means that men 
dominate or monopolize all the pursuits that a society most 
values, then it is incumbent to ask whether all members of 
a society value the same pursuits and also whether women 
themselves have important or even autonomous roles in re- 
lation to those pursuits. 

Power in pre-modern communities is hardly unitary. 
There were multiple loci of power in Israelite society, with 
women as well as men shaping household and community life. 
The gendered spheres of life within the household, except for 
sexuality, can be considered complementary rather than hi- 
erarchical; men controlled certain activities and subsistence 
tasks, women had sole expertise and responsibility in others, 
and some were shared. Furthermore, the existence of female 
professionals means that there were women's groups with 
their own hierarchies and that women functioned in public 
roles, some of which, including mourning, midwifery, certain 
types of musical performances, perhaps sorcery, were largely 
or exclusively female. 

Anthropologists studying pre-modern societies who are 
dissatisfied with the shortcomings of existing models of socio- 
cultural complexity have suggested that heterarchy rather than 
hierarchy is a better way to understand complex traditional 
societies. The term heterarchy refers to an organizational pat- 
tern in which "each element possesses the potential of being 
unranked (relative to other elements) or ranked in different 
ways, depending on systemic requirements." Social systems 
can be related to each other laterally as well as vertically. In 
this conceptualization, the activities of Israelite women can be 
considered subsystems, each with its own rankings and sta- 
tuses. Especially in professional groups but also in informal 
networks, women exercised leadership and dominance vis-a- 
vis other women in the system. Looking at women's systems, 
along with those of men, as constituents of the heterarchical 
complexity of Israelite society rescues women from the notion 
of oppression, as implied by the term patriarchy, and allows a 
more nuanced reading of their lives. 

[Carol Meyers (2 nd ed.)] 

Post-Biblical and Talmudic Period 

The authors who left their imprint on history did not view 
post-biblical Jewish women as equal to men, just as they were 
not viewed as equal in the Greco-Roman, Semitic, Egyptian, or 
Persian societies in which Jews lived. The difference between 
Jews and their neighbors is to be found in the explanations of- 
fered for women's lower status. Jews of late antiquity located 
the origins of female inequality in the narratives and injunc- 
tions of the Hebrew Bible. Women's subordinate position was 
understood as a consequence of Eve's role in Genesis 2:4-3, 
both as a secondary creation and as guilty of the original sin. 
Thus, the second century b.c.e. Jerusalemite sage Ben Sira 
accuses all women of bringing death to the world, obviously 
referring to the incident in the Garden of Eden (Ecclus. 25:24), 
and a Jewish pseudepigraphic composition, usually referred 
to as the Book of Adam and Eve y further elaborates this theme. 
Later midrashic literature continues in the same vein. Women 
are said to be punished for bringing death into the world: they 
suffer while giving birth, are subjected to their husbands (as 
already suggested in Genesis 3:16), and confined at home as in 
a prison, and must cover their heads when they go out (Avot 
de Rabbi Nathan b, 42). Their function at funerals (preparing 
the body, mourning the dead) are understood as consequence 
of their responsibility for human mortality. Even the special 
commandments reserved for women - lighting the Sabbath 
candles, setting aside the hallah portion, and the laws pertain- 
ing to menstruation (niddah) - are viewed as retribution for 
that sin (e.g. Gen. R. 17:8). 

Contemporary concerns and Hellenistic influence 
merged with the biblical justification for women's subordina- 
tion. In one midrash the rabbis compared the biblical story of 
the creation of women with the Greek Pandora myth, which 
also depicted woman as a secondary creation who released 
all evils, including death into the world, when she opened a 
forbidden box. In the midrashic version, Eve is compared to 
a woman whose husband gave her all his property save one 
barrel, which she was not to open. Yet, she could not contain 
her curiosity, opened it, and unloosed scorpions and snakes 
(Gen. R. 19:10). The rabbis compare this anecdote to the story 
of Adam and Eve, who were told to eat from all trees except 
the tree of knowledge. However, Eve ate from it and conse- 
quently she and Adam and all their descendants experienced 

legal position. Jewish women's secondary legal position 
also has its origins in the Hebrew Bible, particularly in injunc- 
tions in the legal sections of the Pentateuch. However, biblical 
law was of Semitic origin, and reflected a society that upheld 
polygyny and bride-price marriages. Internal developments, 
however, as well as influence from Greek and Roman practice, 
tended toward monogyny and dowry marriages. Thus, some 
biblical injunctions associated with women were reevaluated 
and reformed. 

Numbers 27 (1-11) discusses the daughter's right in her 
father's inheritance. The daughters of Zelophad had no broth- 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 21 



ers, and demanded of Moses the right to inherit. Moses rec- 
ognized the justice o