The Jewish Virtual Library is the most comprehensive online Jewish encyclopedia in the world, covering everything from anti-Semitism to Zionism. So far, more than 13,000 articles and 6,000 photographs and maps have been integrated into the site. The Library has 13 wings: History, Women, The Holocaust, Travel, Israel & The States, Maps, Politics, Biography, Israel, Religion, Judaic Treasures of the Library of Congress, Vital Statistics and Reference. Each of these has numerous subcategories. Under Religion, for example, we have the complete text of the Tanakh, information on Jewish holidays and material on relations between Jews and Christians and Muslims. The Politics wing includes collections on U.S.-Israel relations, the United Nations and the peace process. The Reference section has bibliographies of more than 1,000 books and 1,000 web sites, and a glossary of more than 1,000 words and a time-line for the history of Judaism.
The Library also includes the Virtual Israel Experience, an educational tool and virtual tour of Israel designed especially for students going on Birthright and other trips to Israel. Using Virtual Israel as a model, we are now creating a Virtual Jewish History Tour that allows Jewish students and other Internet users to “visit” Jewish communities around the world to learn about their history and culture. The goals are to educate visitors about Jewish heritage, the development of Judaism, the changing nature of Jewish communities and the connection between the Jewish past and present.
Much of the information in the Library cannot be found anywhere else in the world, such as material on joint U.S.-Israel projects, cooperation between Israel and the individual states and the treatment of Americans during the Holocaust. We received permission from the Library of Congress to put its Judaic and Hebraic treasures on our site. We have also received permission to use material from the American Jewish Historical Society, Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin (author of “Jewish Literacy”) and dozens of other sources. One of our goals is to offer visitors a single source for information so they don’t need to search thousands of other “Jewish” web sites.