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Heritage: Civilization and the Jews DVD-ROM

About the DVD-ROM/Video Series

In 1984, Thirteen/WNET New York made television history with the PBS broadcast of HERITAGE: CIVILIZATION AND THE JEWS. The nine-hour documentary series, hosted by distinguished statesman Abba Eban, traced the history of the Jewish people from biblical times to the present, telling their story as part of the broader history of Western Civilization. Five years in the making, filmed on four continents, the winner of a Peabody and three Emmy Awards, HERITAGE is a landmark television portrait of the Jewish experience, unparalleled in scope and depth.

Now, nearly two decades after its premiere, this monumental public television series has been transformed into the HERITAGE: CIVILIZATION AND THE JEWS DVD BOXED SET. This four-disc package contains a three-disc home DVD version of the entire nine-part series, which will allow viewers to enjoy the beautiful image quality and crystal clear sound of DVD linear video. It also includes an unprecedented DVD-ROM, which brings the enduring drama of the Jewish story to the computer screen in a form more compelling and illuminating than ever before possible.

A virtual museum of art, artifacts and documents of Jewish History, the HERITAGE DVD-ROM includes more than 100 multimedia presentations combining sound, video, graphics, animation and text. Selections include biographies, brief documentaries on historical issues, and audio guided tours of past times and places. For example, one exhibit explores the origins of writing in ancient Mesopotamia; another presents readings of poetry from the golden age of Spanish Jewry; in yet another, users can hear samples of klezmer music and learn about the role it played among the Jews of Eastern Europe.

The HERITAGE DVD-ROM also includes a complete encyclopedia of Jewish history derived from the Encyclopaedia Judaica, the unparalleled 16-volume reference work. This edition, produced especially for the HERITAGE DVD-ROM by the editors of the Encyclopaedia Judaica, includes nearly one-quarter of the articles of the full encyclopedia, abbreviated for ease of use in the computer environment.

The historical atlas incorporated into the HERITAGE DVD-ROM offers nearly 600 full-color maps of world history, with which users may follow the odyssey of the Jews from ancient Egypt to the present day. The interactive maps allow users to move quickly through world history to watch as cities are built and destroyed and to witness empires rise and fall.

The HERITAGE DVD-ROM contains the entire nine-part series in MPEG video. Viewers can choose to watch the programs full-screen or in a window accompanied by tools for rapidly navigating and exploring the video. Every image is annotated, so that, with a click of the mouse, a user can learn the name of each work of art or the location of any important site that appears on screen.

The HERITAGE DVD-ROM also contains close to 700 historical documents from every period of Jewish history – including sacred texts, eyewitness accounts, treaties, literary works, and even letters and journals – affording unique glimpses into religion, politics, culture, and everyday life long ago.


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