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Jewish Virtual Library

Jewish Virtual Library
Web address
Slogan "Everything you need to know, from Antisemitism to Zionism"
Commercial? No
Type of site
Reference encyclopedia
Available in English
Owner American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise
Launched 1998[1]
Alexa rank
42,904 (May 2014)[2]
Current status Online

The Jewish Virtual Library (JVL) is an online encyclopedia published by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE), one of whose "principal objectives is to enhance Israel's image by publicizing novel Israeli approaches to problems common to both our nations and illustrating how Americans can learn from these innovations."[3] Launched in 1998, it is a comprehensive website covering topics about US-Israel relations, Israel, the Jewish people, and more.[3] The JVL website was originally created in the late 1990s under the name The Jewish Student Online Research Center (JSOURCE).[4] Since then, the JVL gradually grew in popularity over the years, and in 2012 reported 9.6 million unique visits,[5] and 1.1 million unique visitors in April 2014. Foreign policy expert Mitchell G. Bard is the encyclopedia's Executive Director.[6][7]


  • Overview 1
  • Reception 2
  • External links 3
  • References 4


The JVL relies on hundreds of history books, scientific studies, various encyclopedias, articles, archives, maps, and material from museums for its bibliography,[8][9] and "takes a scholarly, independent approach" - as companies, individuals and foundations may become sponsors of wings of the Virtual Library.[10] According to the JVL, the Library covers material that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, such as information about joint U.S.-Israel projects, and the treatment of Americans during the Holocaust. It explains that it received permission to use materials from the Library of Congress, from the American Jewish Historical Society, the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Israel), and Prime Minister’s Office, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin (author of Jewish Literacy), and dozens of other resources.[3]

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 and Vital Statistics and Reference.[11] The JVL is constantly updating, changing and expanding,[12] and includes more than 60,000 articles and nearly 10,000 photographs and maps related to Jewish history, Israel, Israel–United States relations, the Holocaust, antisemitism, and Judaism,[13] as well as various statistics, information about politics, biographies, travel guides, and Jewish women throughout history.[14] The website includes the complete text of the Tanakh and most of the Babylonian Talmud.[15]

The JVL contains many articles and studies conducted by AICE, principally involving American-Israeli cooperation. In addition, it has information about Israel education in America, including information about Israel Studies and course materials on Israel-related subjects. It also provides book and movie reviews, a "latest News" page, many publications, and a "Virtual Israel Experience" online project.


A PBS web page for the film The Jewish Americans lists the JVL as a resource "For Statistics and Analysis About Jews in America Today", with the description, "A division of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, the Jewish Virtual Library is a comprehensive online Jewish encyclopedia, covering everything from Antisemitism to Zionism. More than 13,000 articles and 6,000 photographs and maps have been integrated into the site. Their Vital Statistics section has an exhaustive list of current statistics and comparative data."[16]

The Jewish Virtual Library has been cited by CNN,[17] New York Times,[18] BBC,[19] CBS News,[20] Fox News,[21] The Los Angeles Times,[22] USA Today,[23] Bloomberg,[24] among others. It is listed as reference by academic libraries at Pennsylvania State University,[25] Michigan State University,[13] University of Washington,[26] King's College, London,[27] and the University of Delaware.

JVL states that it has received awards from Britannica Internet Guide Selection, USA Today Hot Site, and the Best of the Jewish Web from the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Academic Excellence Award from Study Web and others.[28]

John Jaeger, in an article published by the Association of College and Research Libraries, said of the JVL: "This library, once it is entered, is more like a living encyclopedia than it is anything else. One has options to click on, such as history, women, biography, politics, Israel, maps, and Judaic Treasures at the Library of Congress, with each launching a person into a different realm. The site is extremely well put together."[29] Karen Evans of Indiana State University wrote that the site is comprehensive, with "easily accessible, balanced information".[30]

External links

  • Jewish Virtual Library home page
  • The Jewish Virtual Library's official pages on Youtube and Twitter


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  5. ^ Jewish Virtual Library
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  7. ^ MitchellBard - biography
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  16. ^ Provided as a resource on the web page the PBS film, The Jewish Americans.
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  30. ^ Karen Evans, Jewish Virtual Library at the Internet Reviews Archive, College and Research Libraries News, a division of the American Library Association at Bowdoin College, Oct 2002
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