Page 51 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 15

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BERGER AND KAUFMANN----ENCYCLOPEDIAS
43
volumes was planned, to deal with the history of Jews in various
countries. The first of these, on Europe, has already appeared,
and the second is expected in the very near future. A t the same
time, CYCO has published an English work based on these
volumes of the
Algemeine Entsiklopedie
(with many substitutions,
additions — especially American material — and omissions), under
the title,
The Jewish People: Past and Present
,4
We can best
discuss these works together.
Both sets are invaluable, above all, for their rich material on
social and economic conditions of Jews in modern times: articles
by Arthur Ruppin, Jacob Lestschinsky, L. Hersch, Isaac Stein­
berg, Ben-Adir and others, on demography, occupational distribu­
tion, Jewish colonization, the labor movement, and other national
and cultural movements. There is an abundance of tables and
statistics which have partly been brought up to date (to the
1940’s) in the English version. In view of the emphasis on modern
social movements, it is surprising to note the relatively inconspic­
uous place given to Palestine and Zionism (in the Yiddish work,
a large part of the article on modern social and national move­
ments and six scant pages on colonization, supplemented some­
what in the English work by the inclusion of Zionist documents).
There are detailed reports on Jewish education and educational
institutions.
Yidn
also has essays on the Yiddish press and the
Yiddish theater, which are omitted in
The Jewish People.
The encyclopedias (both the Yiddish and the English) contain,
in addition to these sociological studies, excellent articles on such
subjects as Jewish history and religion (by W. F. Albright, A.
Menes and A. Steinberg), anthropology (J. D. Brutzkus), mys­
ticism (G. Scholem), Hebrew and Yiddish literature, art and
music.
The Jewish People
has articles on Jews in the various
European literatures. The articles are, generally speaking, written
with an eye to the essentials; yet they pack a great deal of precise
information. They deserve to be recommended to the educated
beginner seeking a brief and readable introduction to the subject,
and need not be scorned by the more advanced student. The
abundant illustrations are both attractive and informative, and
the bibliographies and rather full index enhance the usefulness
of the work.
A somewhat similar work of purely American origin is
The
Jews: Their History
,
Culture
,
and Religion
, edited by Professor
Louis Finkelstein,5 Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
4
New York, Jewish Encyclopedic Handbooks, CYCO, 19 46 -
v. 1 - .
5
New York, Harper & Bros, and Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society of
America, 1949.