Page 32 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 30

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
(Qissat) stories, extracts from the works of Eldad Hadani, Ben
Sirah, Josippon, “Hanna and the Seven Sons,” and even
Sefer
ha-Tappuah
of Aristotle. They included also children’s books
and primers for the teaching of Hindustani; German historical
novels of Jewish content by Ludwig Philipson and Marcus
Lehman, such as
Bostenai, Suss Oppenheim,
and
Hattan ha-
Melekh,
and stories on the persecution of the Ashkenazi Jews
in Poland, the Ukraine, Bohemia, etc. All these were among
the publications that elevated the literary and cultural level of
the Arabian Jews and fostered the liturgical and halakhic homo­
geneity between themselves and the far-flung Arabian diaspora.
The literary output by the Arabian Jews in India exceeded
three hundred fifty publications. Surpassing by far the literary
activities of the other Jewish groups in India, they enriched the
religious intellectual life of their readers to a considerable
degree.
Periodicals and Newspapers
The greatest literary innovation of the Baghdadi Jews was
the multiplicity of their periodicals and journals. The first Judeo-
Arabic journal,
Doresh Tov le-Amo,
with the English subtitle,
The Hebrew Gazette,
appeared in 1856 in lithography in Bombay.
The earliest newspaper in the whole of India, it was edited by
the Baghdadi Jew David Hayyim David and issued fortnightly
and later weekly until 1866.
The Baghdadi Jews in Calcutta were particularly active in
the publication of Judeo-Arabic periodicals and journals. The
first Judeo-Arabic periodical printed in Calcutta was
Mevasser,
The Jewish Gazette.
It was edited by Soloman Hayyim and ap­
peared weekly from 1873 until the end of 1877. This was followed
by
Perah,
edited at first by Eliyahu b. Moses Duwayk ha-Cohen
and appearing over a period of eleven years from 1878 until
1889. The third and perhaps most important Judeo-Arabic weekly
issued in Calcutta,
Maggid Mesharim,
was published from 1889
until October, 1900. I t was continued under the title
Shoshanah
for another two years under the editorship of Hakham Shlomo
Abed Tweina (d. 1913), the most prolific scholar, author, and
editor, credited with almost one hundred Judeo-Arabic pub­
lications.
All these periodicals, dealing with contemporary aspects of
the communal affairs of the Arabic-speaking Jews in India, in
Baghdad and in the Oriental diaspora, constitute an inexhaus­
tible mine of information for the understanding of the Oriental