Page 87 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 3

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should be available to such Jewish people who love and appreciate that form of
making a living and who are otherwise qualified to do so. I t is not intended to
solve any Jewish problems per se.
The story here told is really the story of more than three decades of Gabriel
Davidson’s leadership and consecration to this work. Thousands of Jewish families
through the Society “have found for themselves self-reliance and self-respect.”
Our Jewish Farmers
is a tribute to Dr. Davidson’s skill as a historian and writer,
but it is also a tribute to his life work, his wisdom and his devotion.
— B e r n h a r d O s t r o l e n k i n
Contemporary Jewish Record
The Outside Leaf.
B y B
e n
F
i e l d
.
New York,
R
e y n a l
& H
i t ch
-
cock
.
237 pages.
As a young boy, Ben Field used to carry a little note-book in his pocket, in which
he recorded interesting Yiddish phrases, especially those he heard from his mother.
The content of his writing was naturally drawn from the environment and ex-
perience of a normal New York City Jewish boy. At the age of sixteen he began
to work on farms. His environment and experiences changed and new material
entered his prose and poetry. Recently there appeared his first novel,
The Outside
Leaf
, which is a story about a Jewish family of farmers in the Connecticut tobacco
country.
Since the background of the story is laid among people who use a lewd slang,
this language of the American am ha-aretz found in the city as well as in the
country (and now in the Army), produces a rich, stylistic mixture of the homely,
the scholarly and the vulgar.
The book describes a segment of American Jewish life, where we must expect
a certain amount of assimilation inevitably to take place. All factors involved in
the process of assimilation are present in this story. The struggle against assimila-
tion is carried on by the family-minded Esther Miller, the typical “Jewish mother.”
The subject of the struggle is Moe Miller who rebels against his mother’s possessive-
ness and, withdrawing into himself, becomes a morose, hard-working individualistic
farmer. The most pathetic character in the book is the father, Israel Miller —
tolerant, scholarly, rationalistic and romantic, altogether unprepared to cope with
the situation.
The story does not contain any character who is equipped to meet the forces
of assimilation, armed with an intellectually appealing and emotionally satisfying
program of Jewish living. Its setting and its period are those of the generation of
Israel Millers who lived their Jewishness as the enthusiastic and learned Latin
professor lives the culture of Rome.
The story is told in bold, broad strokes such as might be expected from an expert
forger of literary elements. The characters are not described but emerge unmistak-
ably from the incidents. This is a workmanlike job in which subject, background
and medium are in complete harmony and produce a satisfying novel.
— A r i o
S.
H y a m s in
The Reconstructionist
Torah Readings.
Translated and edited
b y J
erome
L . H
e r s h o n
.
New York,
J
u n i o r
P
u b l i c a t i o n s
.
1944.
This simplified version of the five Books of Moses should go a long way toward
making the reading of the Bible an exciting and pleasurable activity for Jewish
boys and girls. By recasting the Pentateuch into smooth and facile English, and
shortening the text, Mr. Hershon has removed the one stumbling block which is
keeping so many youngsters from enjoying the Bible: the archaic and heavy,
though grandiose, style of the King’s James translation which reverberates rather
audibly also in the various translations under Jewish auspices. While primarily
designed for Hebrew Schools and Junior Congregations,
Torah Readings
is to be
warmly recommended also to parents. They will find this well edited book a per-
feet guide to home Bible readings.
— The Jewish Spectator
— 73 —