Look out Wikipedia, an updated Encyclopaedia Judaica will be released soon, according to a recent article in JTA. It has been 30 years since the last edition, and needless to say, a lot has happened in the Jewish world since then. The new edition contains many more entries about Jewish women (not because they weren’t around before the 70’s, but because our culture has shifted its tradition of leaving women out of the “of significance” canon) as well as new spins on old entries, such as the recent popularity of Kabbalah. There is even an entry on JOI’s very own Kerry Olitzky!
The price tag? $1995 (for the print version; an e-version is also available). And while the “smell of leather and all that stuff” is compelling and all, wouldn’t it be great if they offered a free CD Rom and spread the wealth of knowledge to everyone who wants to learn? Perhaps it would even be financially beneficial to them in the end, inspiring people to purchase the hard copy. Cost is a major barrier, especially for those not yet engaged with Jewish life—for any Jewish educational program, let alone one that costs thousands—and if we want Judaism to be accessible, we need to reveal its worth before demanding an entry token.