Eisenstein, Judah David

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EISENSTEIN, JUDAH DAVID (1854–1956), U.S. encyclopedist, anthologist, and author. Eisenstein was born in Mezhirech, Poland, and in 1872 immigrated to the United States, where he became a successful coat manufacturer. He was a founder of the first Hebrew society in the United States, Shoharei Sefat Ever (1880), and one of its first Hebrew writers. Although he also undertook translations, e.g., in 1891 publishing the text of the American constitution in Hebrew and Yiddish, his fame rests on his anthologies, for which he earned the epithet "master of treasuries" (as all his anthologies bore the title Oẓar, "Treasury"). He published a Jewish encyclopedia in ten volumes with the assistance of experts from various countries, Oẓar Yisrael (1907–13). His other anthologies include Oẓar Midrashim (2 vols., 1915); Oẓar Dinim u-Minhagim (1917, "Laws and Customs"); Oẓar Derushim Nivḥarim (1918, "Selected Homilies"); Oẓar Derashot (1919, "Sermons"); Oẓar Perushim ve-Ẓiyyurim al Haggadah shel Pesaḥ (1920), on the Haggadah; Oẓar Massa'ot (1926), anthology of Jewish travel literature; Oẓar Ma'amrei Tanakh (1925), a biblical concordance; Oẓar Ma'amrei Hazal (1922), rabbinic aphorisms; Oẓar Vikkuḥim (1928), disputations; Oẓar Musar u-Middot (1941), on ethics and morals.

Eisenstein was the author of Ma'amrei Bikkoret (1897), a criticism of Rodkinson's translation of the Talmud; History of the First Russian American Jewish Congregation (1901); Development of the Jewish Casuistic Literature in America (1904); and other works. Eisenstein's Commentary on the Torah, edited by B.D. Perlow and I. Eisenstein, was published posthumously (1960). His autobiography and memoirs, Oẓar Zikhronotai (1929), includes a bibliography of his articles.


ajyb, 6 (1904/05), 85; Hadoar, 36:27 (May 25, 1956); L.P. Gartner, in: ajhsq, 52 (1962–63), 234–43; R.L. Samuels, in: aja, 12 (1960), 123–42.

[Abraham Meir Habermann]