From around the 10th century CE onwards, the Jewish world was divided into two major groups. The first group, called the Sefardim or Spaniards, lived mostly in Southern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The second group, known as the Ashkenazim or “Germans”, lived in the more Northern sections of Europe, from France and Germany to Poland and Russia.
Eastern Europe was an important cultural center of the Ashkenazi Jews from the 16th century until the Second World War. This region includes what are now the countries of Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Romania and Russia.
Anyone who wishes to understand the culture and heritage of most Ashkenazi Jews today must perforce study the history of Eastern European Jewry. The YIVO online encyclopedia provides a scholarly yet accessible panoramic overview of this period in history. According to the YIVO website, the encyclopedia is:
“The only resource of its kind, this encyclopedia provides the most complete picture of the history and culture of Jews in Eastern Europe from the beginnings of their settlement in the region to the present. This Web site makes accurate, reliable, scholarly information about East European Jewish life accessible to everyone”
To learn more, click on the link below: