Page 33 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 19

Basic HTML Version

2 7
well as the role of the synagogue and worship and the cycle of
the Jewish year. A recent addition is J . J . R iv l in ’s Shirat Yehude
ha-Targum (“Song of the Jews of the Targum ,” Jerusalem, Bialik
Institute, 1959 ) , a collection of Hebrew translations of the poetry
of Kurdistan Jews. The author is considered the greatest au thority
on Kurdistan Jew ry ’s folk-literature.
The Jews of India have been treated in several works. W e have
the excellent exp loratory study by Haeem Samuel Kehimkar,
The History of the Bene Israel of India (Tel-Aviv, Dayag Press,
1937), with a preface by the late Dr. Immanuel Olsvanger. This
book, of interest both to ethnologists and to historians, gives
considerable information on the numerous habits and customs
of this community, their rituals, rites and festivals. Of much
scholarly value is W a lte r J . Fischel’s Ha-Yehudirn be-Hodu (“The
Jews in India,” Jerusalem, Ben-Zvi Institute of Research on
Jewish Communities in the Middle East, 1960). Since Fischel’s
presentation has been purely historical, his work sheds fresh light
on various issues bearing on the Indian Jews’ contributions to
the political and economic life of India in different periods of
history. From the literary and aesthetic point of view, the late
Azriel Carlebach’s Hodu (“India,” Tel-Aviv, Maariv, 1956) is
a landmark in Hebrew travel literature. It delineates some ex­
quisite descriptions of contemporary life in India, including
much material bearing on the Jews.
Among the studies on Chinese Jews worthy of notice are the
following: The Jews in China: An Annotated Bibliography by
Rudo lf Loewenthal (Peking, 1940); Chinese Jews: A Compila­
tion of Matters Relating to the Jews of Kaifeng Fu by W illiam
Charles W h ite (Toronto, University of Toronto, 1942); “The
Kaifeng Jews: A Disappearing Community” by L. I. K ramer;3
The Songs of the Jews of Cochin and Their Historical Signifi­
cance by A. I. Simon (Cochin, Pangal Press, 1947).
The Jews of Egypt and Syria are portrayed in a b rillian t work
entitled Toldot ha-Yehudirn be-Mizraim ve-Suria Tahat Shilton
ha-Mamlukim (“History of the Jews in Egypt and Syria under
the Mameluks: 1250-1517 ,” Jerusalem, Rabbi Kook Foundation,
1944-1951, 2 vols.), by E. Strauss [-Ashtor]. Much space is given
by the author to the folk-culture of Egyptian and Syrian Jewry.
Strauss is well-versed in the rich Arabic sources, as well as in
Jewish and Christian mediaeval writings. A much shorter account
of Egyptian Jew ry ’s historical development is given by the same
author in a more recent work, Toldot Yahadut Mizraim (“His­
tory of Egyptian Jew ry ,” Tel-Aviv, Educational and Cu ltu ra l
Office of the Israel Army, 1957).
3Jewish Social Studies, XVIII (1956) , pp. 125-144.