Page 14 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 2

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4.
Jewish Book Fairs
a. Haverhill, Massachusetts
Temple Emanuel of Haverhill, Mass., arranged a Jewish book fair which was
composed of a group of individualized displays devoted to the Bible, Jewish Law,
Historiography, Belles Lettres, Theology, and Philosophy, Prayer Books, Religious
School Text Books, Jewish Art, Juvenile Literature, Newspapers and Periodicals.
An appropriate title “Volumes for Victory” was adopted, to connote that
victory over Nazism involved a spiritual triumph as well as one of arms. The
following considerations guided the Committee, headed by Rabbi Abraham I.
Jacobson, in setting up the book fair:
(1) Jewish literature being a product of many generations, an attempt was
made to bring out its development through the ages. Thus the person setting
up the section dealing with the Law included the Mishna, Talmud, Talmudic
compendia, Talmudic commentaries, Responsa, and Codes. These items
were arranged chronologically.
(2) Jewish tradition being the product of Jewish life in many countries
with many vernaculars, the committee tried to portray as far as possible the
variety of languages used by Jews. The Bible section revealed besides the
original Hebrew, the various translations which the Scriptures had undergone.
The Hexapla showed the Hebrew side by side with Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic,
Latin, etc. A Vulgate Bible was on display as well as one used by the Greek
Orthodox Church. The English translations included the King James version
and the Leeser and the Jewish Publication Society translations. The same
attention to language was followed with Bible commentaries and Bible die-
tionaries. The historiography group included among other things the historical
portions of the Hebrew Bible, the works of Josephus, Graetz, Dubnow’s
history in German, Yawetz’s history in Hebrew, Shipper’s works in Yiddish,
Baron’s works in English, and the historical publications of the Jewish Pub-
lication Society.
(3) A third factor that the committee took into account was the feature of
Reform, Conservatism, and Orthodoxy, in their bearing on Jewish literature.
This was reflected in the display of prayer-books. There were
siddurim>
mahzorim
,
haggadahs
, as well as books of private devotion.
(4) The fourth rule which was observed was to feature illustrative material.
The Bible exhibit exploited an abundance of pictures. The display of the
works of Jewish painters and sculptors was built, of course, upon material
wholly pictorial. In connection with decoration, it was stressed that each
exhibit was to be the individualistic expression of the committee member.
This gave individuality to each display and enhanced the interest. There
were several exhibits added to the fair that the committee felt were in keeping
with the spirit of the observance. Since it was the year during which Louis
D. Brandeis and Menahem M. Ussishkin passed away, the life and writings of
both were given prominence in an
In Memoriam
display. Another feature
sought to teach a lesson contained in the theme, “Volumes for Victory,” the
enrichment of the rest of the world by the literary, scientific, and artistic
works of Jewish writers, scholars and artists who were driven from Nazi
Germany to other countries. The fair was rounded out by impressive displays
of ceremonial articles, Palestinian art and culture, rare first editions, old and
unique Bibles. Appropriate programs were conducted on successive evenings,
outstanding features of which were musical numbers; the reading of an original
poem “Volumes are Victory,” by Bernard Freedman, a committee member;
addresses on Jewish literature and “Volumes for Victory;” and a memorial
service for Brandeis and Ussishkin.
b. Jacob F. Schiff Center, Bronx, New York
A colorful Jewish book fair was the main attraction of the 1942 Book Week
observance at the Schiff Center, Bronx, New York. It was sponsored jointly
with the Jewish Education Committee of New York and the Bronx Hebrew