Page 79 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 3

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were, of course, other causes such as over-grazing, the Turkish government’s
maladministration, including the stupid taxing of trees, the ravages of malaria
and other diseases and increased mortality rates, etc. Dr. Lowdermilk establishes
a basic connection between the deterioration of a land and the degradation of a
people.
Dr. Lowdermilk’s book is, in a sense, a recapitulation of the Zionist case on the
objective scientific observation of a world authority on soil, tree and water prob-
lems. I t is, therefore, imperative reading and, because of its brevity, a double easy
Must.
— H a r r y S a l p e t e r in
Congress Weekly
The Road to Freedom.
By
L
e on
P
i n s k e r
,
With an introduction
by B.
N
e t a n y a h u
.
New York,
S
copu s
P
u b l i s h i n g
C o .
1944.
More than eighty years have passed since Leon Pinsker penned his immortal
Auto-Emancipation as a manifesto of the Jewish national program and as an
answer to the challenge of the Russian pogroms. Yet, it is remarkable how ap-
plicable are the views expressed by the Zionist thinker to the political and ideo-
logical issues — both inner and outer — which confront world Jewry today.
The collection of Pinsker’s writings under review contains in addition to the
text of Auto-Emancipation, a 67-page introduction to Pinsker and his era by
B. Netanyahu, and for the first time in English, Pinsker’s addresses and letters
(translated by M. Z. Frank), as well as his correspondence with the German-Jewish
leader, Dr. Isaac Ruelf (translated by the reviewer).
B. Netanyahu is also the author of a well-written introduction to the volume
Max Nordau To His People, which appeared under the Scopus imprint, and edited
in Palestine a six-volume Political Library of Zionist Thought, to which he prefaced
significant monographs. In his current essay, Netanyahu presents Pinsker’s
views against the background of his era and the intellectual climate of his time.
Describing the Jewish problem during the difficult transformation period of the
Eighties, when Pinsker made his appearance, Netanyahu analyzes the influence
of the movement of Enlightenment and of the Russian Slavophiles and Westerners
on Pinsker’s thinking. From his association with the Hebraists Pinsker acquired
his national feeling; from the Slavophiles he derived his stress on religion, race
and history as major national forces; while from the outlook of the Westerners
he received his emphasis on the importance of individual freedom and general
democratic principles.
Contrary to the accepted view on Pinsker’s early period which makes him out
to have been an exponent of assimilation, Netanyahu advances the opinion that
what Pinsker advocated during this period was not assimilation through inter-
marriage but cultural conformity within a pluralism of national bodies.
With the deepening of the Jewish national tragedy in Russia, Pinsker began to
realize the ineffectiveness of the program of Enlightenment and to proclaim the
Jewish national solution.
The events of the Eighties projected Pinsker into the forefront of the battle
for Jewish liberation. In many of his actions he preceded Herzl, laying the ground-
work for the structure of the World Zionist Organization.
“Were our educational system nationally sound,” writes the author, “every
Jewish student would know by heart the major passages of this document of liber-
ation. Auto-Emancipation would have become for the Jews what the Gettysburg
Address or the Declaration of Independence are for the American.”
— Y a a k o v K a b a k o f f in
The New Palestine
A
Century of Jewish Life.
By
I s m a r E l b o g e n .
Philadelphia,
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 .
1944. XL III+814 pages.
In his preface to
A Century of Jewish Life
by the late Professor Ismar Elbogen,
Dr. Solomon Grayzel, editor of the Jewish Publication Society, tells us that it was
conceived and asked for as a supplementary volume to Graetz’s
History of the Jews.
Dr. Grayzel emphasizes the fact that Graetz’s work “has enjoyed an undiminished
popularity for more than a generation.”
— 65 —