Page 29 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 19

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SOME RECENT WORKS ON THE ETHNOLOGY
AND FOLKLORE OF VARIOUS JEWISH
COMMUNITIES
By
H
a im
S
c h w a r z b a u m
A
systematic survey of the extensive literature relating to
Jewish ethnology and folklore, although highly desirable,
is precluded here by the exigencies of space. This article w ill
indicate some of the most important works on the subject as
related to different Jewish communities.
Much interest in this field of study is evidenced in Israel,
where two world conferences dedicated to the ethnology and
folklore of the heterogeneous “tribes” or communities of Israel
have recently been held, and where there is intensive collecting
of folklore materials by several agencies including the Yeda Am
W o r ld Center for Jewish Folklore Research. Abou t three thousand
folktales from ali the Oriental and European communities of
Israel have so far been collected, classified and indexed in con­
formity with the international standard classification system.
Raphael Patai’s statement in the collective volume of Studies
in Biblical and Jewish Folklore (Bloomington, Indiana Univer­
sity, 1960), that after the suspension in 1948 of Edoth, the
Palestinian quarterly for folklore and ethnology, “the few stu­
dents of folklore in the new State [of Israel] remained w ithout
the stimulus of a scientific forum ,” is quite incorrect. As a
matter of fact, exactly at the time when Edoth was suspended,
the Yeda Am journa l started to appear. This organ of the Israel
Folklore Society, edited by Dr. Yom-Tov Lewinski, contains
much valuable material bearing on all the aspects of Jewish
ethnology and folklore.
The best and most comprehensive introduction to the eth­
nology of the Jewish people is extant in the second edition of
the late Dr. Aaron Zeev Aescoli’s handbook entitled Israel: Yediat
Amenu, Mahuto, Shevatav u-Leshonotav (“Israel: Ethnology of
Our People: Its Essence, Tribes and Languages,” Jerusalem,
Reuben Mass, 1953). This compendium is of scholarly value,
readable and profusely documented. A general account of all the
genres of Jewish folklore and their development throughout the
ages is to be found in the following works: A. S. Rappoport, The
Folklore of the Jews (London, Soncino Press, 19 37 ) ; Yehuda
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