Page 60 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
5 4
Of men like you earth holds bu t few:
An angel—with a revenue.
But perhaps this tenderness for the needs of others accounts for
the uneveness of many of the volumes of the JQR .
When Abrahams and Montefiore tired of running the JQR in
the face of the apathy of the Jews of England, it was taken over
by Dropsie College. There followed thirty years of the impassive
scholarship of Cyrus Adler, since when Solomon Zeitlin has im-
pressed upon its pages the stamp of his own unshakeable con-
victions.
New York is a city of surprises, bu t even those who have trained
themselves not to be “thrown" by anything it offers might be
astonished to find that in a real estate office near one of the city's
best known business intersections time is being devoted to the
reprinting of works of Jewish scholarship. Such is the situation of
Hermon Press. Of its productions I will mention only an old
favorite of my own, Israel Abrahams’
Companion to the Author-
ised Daily Prayer Book.
More compact than the better known
annotations by Chief Rabbi Hertz, the
Companion
has a decided
literary flavor, and it led one child at least to begin to wander
into the garden of Jewish literature instead of fidgeting through
an incomprehensible service. Again, the original publication was
financed by Claude Montefiore, with the result tha t two Reform
Jews provided the English Orthodox Jews with the first com-
mentary on their prayer book. And now through the concern of a
couple of American Orthodox Jews the work has been rescued
from oblivion.
Pirke Avot
has had a special fascination for Christian scholars,
and two of their editions have been reprinted—Travers Herford’s
and Charles Taylor’s. The former is noteworthy because it appears
to have been the only occasion on which that respected contempo-
rary teacher of Talmud, John J. Tepfer, has been tempted into
print. The latter may tempt the student of Talmud into contem-
plating the spacious life of an English university teacher of the
nineteenth century, because of the excellent sketch of the life
of Charles Taylor, Master of St. Johns College, Cambridge, pro■
vided by Professor Judah Goldin.
The two foregoing are of course entirely different editions of
the same Hebrew text, and half a century lay between Taylor’s
edition and Herford’s. An instance of the identical work attract-
ing three separate publishers is Schechter’s
Seminary Addresses.
The ir photography is the same; only the price tag differs—one
asks $1.45, a second $9.00 and a third $12.00. Clearly the maxim
caveat emptor
has not lost its meaning.