Page 75 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 2

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Insofar as the average congregant fails to achieve a personal penetration into the
spirit of the Prayer Book, Dr. Freehof is an excellent and trustworthy guide both
to the child and to the adult membership of Reform temples.
— D
a v i d
d e
S
ola
P
ool
i n
The Menorah Journal
Stars and Sand.
By J o s e p h
L.
B a r o n . P h i l a d e l p h i a
(1943).
T h e
J e w i s h P u b l i c a t i o n S o c i e t y .
Just as twisted and distorting mirrors deform and misshape all objects placed
before them, so the hateful minds of their enemies distort and twist Jews and Jewish
life and values out of their true and recognizable shapes. Hence, if only to restore
a modicum of normality to Jews, it is necessary for Jews to see themselves in
honest, straight and friendly mirrors. Courage and confidence return in the face
of raving idiocies of maniacal hatred. I t is necessary for the Gentile world so to
see the Jews that they too might add to Christian self-respect through the knowl-
edge that the better part of Christian mankind has shown itself remarkably humane
and understanding toward the Jews.
The high, worthy purpose of
Stars and Sand,
as stated by its author, Dr. Joseph
L. Baron, is to present “ a compilation of more than four hundred brief statements
and excerpts from the larger works of Gentile notables that breathe the spirit of
humaneness toward Israel.” In making this compilation Dr. Baron was well
aware of the dark times in which we live when “skillfully organized and lavishly
subsidized agencies of propaganda spread everywhere the poisonous seed of in-
tolerance.” The bitter fruit of this propaganda not only harms and destroys the
Jews, but corrupts the moral fabric of nations such as Germany and Italy, and
brutalizes and desolates Europe. “Society,” he rightly asserts, “cannot be trained
to desecrate the human personality in any direction without destroying its own
soul and writing its own doom.”
Stars and Sand
is admirably organized. In a well-conceived introduction Dr.
Baron, in lucid style, describes the complexity one finds in non-Jewish attitudes
toward Jews. Some admired the ancient Jews, but held in utter contempt their
Jewish contemporaries. Others reversed this attitude. Some few, of course, dis-
liked both Jews and Judaism, ancient and modern, yet here and there they found
an individual Jew for whom they developed regard and even affection. Some
merely pitied the Jews; others sought to proselytize them; a few held them up as
heroic models for the times; still others, in their wider interest in fighting bigotry
and absolutism, became the defenders of the Jews. The excerpts found in
Stars
and Sand
are arranged into groups of fifteen topics which serve as chapters of the
book. Interspersed are reproductions of paintings or illustrations of statues on
Jewish themes by great Christian painters and sculptors. Among these artists
are Rembrandt, Ei Greco, Delacroix, Ilya Repin, Lorado Taft, and many others.
The notables quoted run back as far as Augustine, who lived in 354-430, and
as far forward as Franklin Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie. Every phase of Jewish
life receives comment, and every Jewish quality and virtue is mirrored in these
reflective and reflecting minds.
“All lovers of humanity will be heartened by the wonderful enthusiasm which
many of the greatest Gentile thinkers displayed for the Jewish heritage . . . . I t
is, indeed, one of the strangest anomalies that this people, lifted to the stars in the
praise of men, has been scattered and trampled like the dust by successive genera-
tions of men.”
— M
o r t i m e r
J.
C
o h e n
i n
The Jewish Exponent
Old-New Land.
By
T h e o d o r e H e r z l . T r a n s l a t e d
by
L o t t a
L e v e n s o h n . P r e f a c e d
by
S t e p h e n
S.
W i s e .
New York (1941).
B l o c h P u b l i s h i n g
C o .
The popular success of a work of literature has little or nothing to do with its
merits as an artistic endeavor, and should be disregarded. But now and then it
becomes the duty of a reviewer to plump hard for the sale of a book, and this is
one of the times. I f Zionism means anything to the Jews of America, if Herzl’s
. — 65 —