Page 98 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 27

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92
J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
I believe, however, that his secret pride and joy are the fruits
of his pen, nine volumes of which have already been published.
They fall into several well-defined areas. Like a golden thread
running through the tapestry of his life has been Alan Steinbach’s
concern with youth and his desire to bring them nearer to the
God and Torah of Israel. This goal is evident in his earliest pub­
lished work, which was written in collaboration with his scholarly
father, Abraham, and his learned brother, Reuben, who served,
incidentally, for many years as an instructor in English at the
Talmudical Academy High School of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan
Theological Seminary and was a beloved teacher of the present
writer. This book contains the text of the first chapter of the
Talmudic tractate
Baba Metzia
and the commentary of Rashi,
punctuated and paragraphed, with English annotations. In addi­
tion, the volume contains an introduction to Talmudic meth­
odology and a precis of Aramaic grammar. This work, issued many
years ago, is a pioneering contribution to an area of Jewish educa­
tion where the problems are still far from solved today. We have
yet to learn how to make the Talmud, “ the Potter’s house where
the spirit of Israel was fashioned,” accessible and meaningful to
modern Jews, who unlike their ancestors do not devote most or
all of their schooling period to rabbinic studies.
Alan Steinbach’s love for young people is also embodied in two
other books —his confirmation manual
What is Judaism
(1937)
and his charming collection of sermonettes for children on the
sidrot
of the week entitled
Sabbath Queen
(1936), which has
gone through several printings.
His active rabbinical career also finds expression in his
Supple­
mentary Prayers and Meditations for the High Holy Days,
pub­
lished by his devoted congregation Temple Ahavath Sholom in
1961. Here the
Union Prayer Book,
used in Reform congregations,
is enriched by readings and meditations both in Hebrew and in
English, designed to make the High Holy Days a more significant
experience for the modern worshipper.
Interpreter of the Insights of Judaism
Alan Steinbach’s life-long concern with the younger generation
has not led him to fall prey to the widespread tendency to glorify
youth and denigrate their elders which is characteristic of our
culture. This approach has produced the concept of “pediatric
Judaism,” a kind of pastime for the children but of no real mean­
ing for mature adults. Alan Steinbach’s major literary efforts have
been directed to interpreting the insights of Judaism and their
bearing upon the manifold problems confronting modern men
and women. He has dealt both with the human condition, man’s