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The editors plunged into their enormous task and soon identified and solved some inefficiencies with the project.
Article assignments were shuffled around and communication practices were streamlined. (He also wrote four hundred articles and procured many of the encyclopedia's illustrations.) Herman Rosenthal, an authority on Russia, was added as an editor.
Funk, a Lutheran minister who also believed in integrating Judaism and Christianity.
Funk agreed to publish the encyclopedia on the condition that it remain unbiased on issues which might seem unfavorable for Jews.
He envisioned twelve volumes, published over ten or fifteen years, and costing fifty dollars as a set.
They would contain scientific and unbiased articles on ancient and modern Jewish culture.
He wrote a new prospectus, changing the title of his planned encyclopedia to “Encyclopedia of the History and Mental Evolution of the Jewish Race”.
His radical ecumenism and opposition to orthodoxy upset many of his Jewish readers; nevertheless he attracted the interest of publisher Isaac K.
In March 1899 the Central Conference of American Rabbis, which had been contemplating a competing project, agreed to discuss collaborating with Funk & Wagnalls—thus securing the position of the Jewish Encyclopedia as the only major project of its kind.Singer accepted and was established in an office at Funk & Wagnalls on .Publication of the prospectus in 1898 created a severe backlash, including accusations of poor scholarship and of subservience to Christians.Louis Ginzberg joined the project and later became head of the rabbinical literature department.The board naturally faced many difficult editorial questions and disagreements.