Page 94 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 12

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“Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were in-
scribed in a book!” (Job 19.23) appears on the bookplate for the
library of Congregation Sinai, Los Angeles, Calif. In this verse
Job expresses the fervent wish that his story be written in a
book to serve as a record for future generations. On the other hand,
Koheleth deplores the excessive production of books in his com-
plaint “Of making many books there is no end” (Ecclesiastes
12.12). This quotation in Hebrew adorns the charming bookplate,
designed by Sara Nusbaum Maisel for the Philadelphia, Pa.,
Congregation Rodeph Shalom, believed to be the oldest Ashkenazic
congregation in continuous existence in the western hemisphere.
This Talmudic quotation in Hebrew graces the
Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld, national director of the B’nai B’rith
Hillel Foundations: “And if the book will prevail, the sword will
not” (Abodah Zara 17b). Designed by Meyer Singer and executed
by Nelson Ronsheim, it is delicately illustrated with a scroll
placed before a sword. The same sentiment is expressed in the
bookplate of the Temple Beth El Library, Manhattan Beach,
New York, executed by Serena Rothstein. This one depicts a
sword whose point has turned into a pen, which severs a rope
tied around a book. The source of the illustration is: “A book and
a sword descended together from heaven. Said the Almighty,
‘If you will abide by the moral law of the book, you will be saved
from the sword’ ” (Sifre, 138, Ekeb).
o n
The Book
An illustration by Ephraim Moses Lilien for Morris Rosenfeld’s
Songs of the Ghetto
has become practically an universal
for it has been adopted by numerous book-owners. Lilien himself
used nearly the identical picture for the bookplate he made for
Leo Winz, who was editor of
Ost und West.
The dominant feature
of the
is the head of an aged man, looking up from an
open book and lovingly resting a hand on the open page. A shelf
with burning candles behind the head as well as two tall flaming
tapers in front which soon will be extinguished are expressive of
a mood of impending danger and oppressive despair. Yet, in the
face of approaching darkness,
The Book
will remain as the sole
light and guide.
A similar theme is evident in the bookplate executed by the
Chicago artist, Jacob Sander, for Dr. Solomon B. Freehof, spiritual
leader of Rodef Shalom Temple in Pittsburgh, Pa., and author of
a number of works, the latest being
The Responsa Literature