Page 30 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 19

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Bergmann, Ha-Folklor ha-Yehudi (“Jewish Folklore,” Jerusalem ,
Reuben Mass, 1956, and later reprints); and K. Ter-Laan, Folk­
lore van de Joden (Amsterdam, 1949). Of much interest is also
the late Yehuda Leib Cahan’s Shtudies Vegn Yiddisher Folks-
shafung (“Studies in Yiddish Folklore,” New York, Y ivo Insti­
tute for Jewish Research, 1952), containing va luab le material on
Jewish folksongs, folktales, w itty tales, customs and magic cures.
Much material bearing on Jewish folk-beliefs and practices as
well as on other folklore aspects has been collected among East
European Jews by the famous author of the Dybbuk, the late
Sh. Ansky (1863-1920). W ith much energy and earnest devotion
Ansky organized, during the years 1912-1914 , the famous First
Jewish Ethnographic Expedition. The only printed book that
appeared as a result of that expedition was Dos Yiddishe Etno-
grafishe Program: vol. I : Der Mensch, edited by L. Y. Sternberg
(Petersburg, 1915). It contains 2,087 questions bearing on Jewish
folk-beliefs, habits and customs, starting w ith b irth and ending
with death. The questions themselves are illum inating; they
constitute a trustworthy guide, a sort of key or index to the most
important phenomena of Jewish folk-ways and folklore. An
English translation of this rare publication would be of incalcul­
able importance to folklore students. Abraham Rechtman in his
comprehensive work, Yiddishe Etnografie un Folk lor (“ Jewish
Ethnography and Folklore”) , surveys and evaluates Ansky’s First
Jewish Ethnographic Expedition (Buenos Aires, Yivo Institute,
Theodor H. Gaster has given a general picture of the evolution
of Jewish folkways beginning w ith birth and ending w ith death
practices in his admirable work, The Holy and the P rofane
(New York, Sloane Associates, 1955). The same has been done
by Haim Schauss in his The Lifetime of a Jew Throughout the
Ages of Jewish History (Cincinnati, Union of American Hebrew
Congregations, 1950). The traditiona l viewpoint is presented by
S. M. Lehrman in his Jewish Customs and Folklore (London,
Shapiro, Valentine, 1949).
A systematic picture of the whole folk-culture and folkways
of the East European Jewish little town or shtetel is be found in
Mark Zborowski and Elizabeth Herzog’s fascinating work L ife is
W ith People (New York, International Universities Press, 1952).
This study is based on intensive interviews w ith 128 informants
and on about 50 extensive life histories. The methods employed
are those devised by such eminent anthropologists as Ru th Bene­
dict and Margaret Mead. Another most useful and compre­
hensive book on the folk-beliefs and practices of a Jewish com­
munity, that of Salonika, is Michael Molho’s Usos y Costumbres
de los Sefardies de Salonica (Madrid, Consejo Superior de Inves-
tigaciones Cientificas, Instituto Arias Montano, 1950). The last
mentioned two works give a rather complete picture of the folk-