TITLE: Jewish Virtual Library

Access: http://www.us-israel.org/index.html

The Jewish Virtual Library, formerly known as JSOURCE, is a division of the American-Israeli Cooperative (AICE). Established in 1993, AICE is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization working to strengthen U.S.-Israeli relations. Mitchell G. Bard, Ph.D., a foreign policy analyst, is the executive director of AICE and the Jewish Virtual Library (JVL).

The JVL bills itself as "your source for information about Jewish history, Israel, U.S.-Israeli relations, the Jewish Holocaust, anti-Semitism and Judaism." With access to categories ranging from "The Library" and "New This Month" to the "Virtual Israel Experience," one has the ability to explore numerous areas of Jewish/Israeli information.

"New This Month" features information on new additions to the Web site. Recent additions include "Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict" and "The Bush Peace Plan." Prior additions to this section are archived for easy access.

The "Virtual Israel Experience" is an amazing encounter for the viewer. From checking in for an El Al flight to traveling the roads to Jerusalem and Caesarea, one can feel the history and culture in this extraordinary country. The virtual travel experience is very realistic due to the excellent descriptive text and superb pictures. Links withinthe text lead to additional information on the country and culture.

"The Library" is the "most comprehensive online Jewish encyclopedia in the world," according to the Web site. The thirteen sections of "The Library," including "Biography," "Reference," "Maps," "Israel," "Women," and "The Holocaust," contain a wealth of information for the researcher or lay reader. Although "The Library" contains over eight thousand articles and three thousand photographs and maps, locating material is easy. For example, the section on "Women" contains sub-categories on "Women in Israel" and "Women in Judaism."

Additional aspects of the JVL include a "Glossary." Here one can locate terms from A to Z involving all aspects of Jewish history and culture from proper Hebrew terms to a succinct definition of Zyklon B (the gas used at Auschwitz). The "Bibliography of Web Sites" and "Breaking News" round out the vast amount of information available.

This is a comprehensive Web site on Israel, Jews and Jewish culture; no attempt is made to shy away from uncomfortable subjects within the history or current events of Jewish life. If you are looking for easily accessible, balanced information this site is well worth a visit.

Karen Evans
Indiana State University

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