Page 86 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 3

Basic HTML Version

of religion, the rise of which coincides with its romantic period. Jewish mysticism
shows its peculiar character in the attempt to interpret the religious values of
Judaism in terms of mystical experience. Concentrating upon the idea of the living
God manifesting Himself in creation, revelation and redemption, it conceives a
sphere of divinity, the world of the Sefirot, which underlies everything tha t exists
and is present and active in it.
H a n s
K o h n in
Contemporary Jewish Record
The Jew in English Drama.
C o m p i l e d b y E
dw a r d
C
o l e m a n
.
N e w Y o r k , N
ew
Y
ork
P
u b l ic
L
i b r a r y
,
1943. 237
p a g e s .
A monument to the diligence of its compiler, this annotated bibliography covers
an ever-fascinating subject. Shakespeare to Odets, Marlow to Zangwill — between
these limits are hundreds of entries, decked out with the usual indications of author,
title, place, date, pages, size and The New York Public Library shelf mark. Besides
these strictly bibliographical details are descriptive notes on the plays, on per-
formances, editions and reviews. I t is a rich diet for the learned, fun for the
browser.
Mr. Coleman died in 1939; his manuscript was revised and guided through
publication by Daniel C. Haskell, Bibliographer of the Library. Joshua Bloch
contributes an encomium upon the later compiler.
Coleman, himself, prepared an introduction in which he traced the development
of the Jewish character in drama through five centuries. His selection was broader
than one might expect because a single Jewish character or one with an unmistak-
able Jewish name was sufficient mark for him to consider a play “of Jewish interest.”
A more accurate description might be “ the Jew in the drama in the English lan-
guage,” since there are numerous authors like Gerhart Hauptmann and David
Pinski whose works, of course, are translations. On the other hand, there are such
curiosities as
De Troubles of Jakey Cohen
and
Dot Vedding Skeremony
which are
burlesques of the English language as well as of the Jew. Mr. Coleman was most
thorough; he used a fine screen for his winnowing. His work becomes a useful
companion volume to Montagu Modder’s
The Jew in the Literature of England.
—S. R. in
Contemporary Jewish Record
Our Jewish Farmers:
The Story of the Jewish Agricultural Society.
By
G
a b r i e l
D
a v i d s o n
.
New York, L. B.
F
i s c h e r
,
1943. ix,
280 pages.
Jewish love of the land is usually associated with the biblical Jews who cherished
the ideal that every man live under his own vine and fig tree. This agrarian origin
of the Jewish people contrasts vividly with what they have become after two
millennia — an urban “dispersed people, overwhelmingly petty tradesmen, pro-
fessional workers, and footless proletariat.” I t is at this point that the nineteenth
and twentieth century story of a trickle of Jews back to the farm begins.
I t is a moving story. The Utopia of the Jewish farm-ward movement at first .
expressed itself in group movements — mostly colonies. But farming via the
colony route mostly failed while more and more individual farm establishments
survived and proved successful.
Dr. Gabriel Davidson nowhere complains of anti-Semitism when Jewish farmers
were located within predominantly Christian communities. On the contrary, Jewish
farmers became integrated in their communities and in some cases assumed
leadership.
Many movements ultimately adopted on a nationwide scale had their origins
with the Jewish Agricultural Society. The itinerant farm advisers of the Society
became the precursors of the county agent movement. The Society also had a
cooperative credit organization before the Federal Land Banks and provided second
mortgage funds a quarter century before Commission loans were established by the
Federal Land Banks.
Dr. Davidson does not emphasize that we need Jewish farmers to combat anti-
Semitism. His matter-of-fact theory appears to be tha t farming as a vocation
— 72 —