Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Melilah was originally published in print, in Hebrew, by Manchester University Press from 1944 to 1955, resulting in five volumes of 75 articles completed before the series was discontinued. One of the founders, Edward Robertson, explained in his foreword to the first edition that “Melilah had been established to promote Jewish scholarship in the face of the threat posed by the Second World War and its aftermath,” and that the title of the journal “refers to the ears of corn that are plucked to rub in the hands before the grains can be eaten (Deut. 23:25).” The new edition of Melilah, begun in 2004, is published annually, and is “an interdisciplinary Open Access journal concerned with Jewish law, history, literature, religion, culture and thought in the ancient, medieval and modern eras.” It is now indexed in Jewish Studies Source, and annual printed editions of Melilah are available from Gorgias Press.
All issues of Melilah, including the original series from 1944 to 1955, are available at the website, which provides active links to each volume’s contents, as well as to two thematically-organized supplements: 2012’s supplement 1, “Normative Judaism? Jews, Judaism and Jewish Identity: Proceedings of the British Association for Jewish Studies (BAJS) conference 2008,” and supplement 2, “Traces, Memory and the Holocaust in the Writings of W.G. Sebald.”
Each annual issue usually offers three to five scholarly articles, some of which are focused on issues pertaining to Judaism in England and specifically to Manchester (for example, “The Establishment of Ultra-Orthodoxy in Manchester,” “A Question of Backbone: Comparing Christian Influences upon the Origins of Reform and Liberal Judaism in England,” and “"Displaced Scholars": Refugees at the University of Manchester”), while others are written about global issues (such as: “Biblical Arsonists and Sabbath Firemen: Matters of Public Safety,” “Changing Landscapes: Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations Today,” and “Breaking Taboos in Israeli Holocaust Literature”). The website includes a Google site search for locating material by keyword and author.
Melilah is overseen by distinguished editorial boards, and there is sufficient material here of a broad nature that the journal will be useful in completist collections of Judaica.