Page 110 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

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JEW ISH BOOK ANNUAL
102
and the catalogue entries are also well done. More exciting,
however, is the fine book compiled by Harry M. Rabinowicz.
While this is not really an art book, there is a good deal of art
material, and the stories of the various English libraries are
fascinating as an insight into collecting. In spite of the fact
tha t this book does not center on the
art
of the Jewish book,
Rabinowicz ends up providing a competent review of this field
as well.
We are also beginning to see new works appearing in the
field of synagogue architecture, and this is especially welcome,
since very little has been published recently. Several new works
are now under way, and should be appearing soon. Perhaps the
most interesting new volume is the recent photo-essay on
The
Synagogues of New York’s Lower East Side.
Gerard R. Wolfe’s
fine documentation which accompanies the beautiful photo-
graphs by Jo Renee Fine provides poignant testimony to social
change and its devastating effect on architectural monuments.
This is a book which might well be read side by side with
earlier volumes on the now-destroyed Polish synagogues. We
lament the losses in Eastern Europe, bu t seem unwilling to
confront the losses in our own communities.
T he small book by Uri Kaploun,
The Synagogue,
is not
intended to be comprehensive, yet it provides a good summary
of the meaning of the synagogue, and its history as an architec-
tural entity, while taking account of its art as well. Given its
limited format, this is an impressive book. T he Spertus Mu-
seum in Chicago, yet another of the newer Jewish museums,
has also issued some excellent catalogues, among which is the
wonderful in-depth study of synagogues in Illinois by Rader
and Gutstein. This is a fine example of the kind of systematic
study which has yet to take place in many other communities,
with good photographs, listing of architects and building types,
as well as excellent essays.
Characteristically, greater attention is still given to Jewish
communities outside the United States—they are older, and
perhaps can thus be confronted with different kinds of sensi-
bilities. The book about the
Prague Ghetto in the Renaissance
Period
is only one of the books which have come from the
great State Jewish Museum in that city. While this is not an
art book, the illustrations are certainly of interest to anyone