Page 111 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

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FREUDENHEIM / BOOKS ON ART AND THE JEW ISH TRADITION
interested in Judaica, and the various essays are bound to deepen
an understanding of the extraordinary Prague Jewish com-
munity—whose physical, architectural and artistic remnants
are so exetensive. Venice, which has perhaps the other most
wonderful remaining ghetto monuments in Europe, is the
subject of two recent books. Sandri and Alazraki’s volume re-
views the history of the Jewish community in Venice, inter-
weaving art, history, archaeology and sociology, up to the period
of the French Revolution. Because the synagogues and their
ar t are so important, this is a major work for anyone interested
in the subject. Less significant, bu t also beautiful and worth
perusing, is the small book
Jewish Art Treasures in Venice,
published as a fund-raising venture, ironically through con-
tributions from the St. Louis Chapter of the Venice Committee.
T h e book on Amsterdam synagogues by J. F. van Agt is yet
another major work, with excellent photographs and architec-
tural plans of those unique and beautiful buildings, including
not only the splendid 17th- and 18th-century structures, but
also the less interesting (if imposing) more modern ones.
The Israel Museum in Jerusalem has published a number
of important catalogues in recent years, of which one outstand-
ing example is the study of Moroccan Jews,
La Vie Juive au
Maroc.
T he photographs are excellent, as are the catalogue
entries, and this is the kind of work which stands by itself as
an important reference book even without the exhibition for
which it was published. On a more modest scale, bu t in the
same direction, is the Spertus Museum catalogue on
The Jews
of Yemen.
This volume deals with art and life, and is especially
strong in examples of embroidery, while including essays that
take us from Yemen itself to the new life of the Yemenite
Jews in Israel. Another important Spertus catalogue is that
dealing with
Magic and Superstition in the Jewish Tradition.
While there are not enough photographs to satisfy this reader’s
needs, the concept is important, and suggests how much more
work needs to be done in this and related areas.
In summary, one cannot help bu t be impressed by all the
new material that has appeared recently in the Jewish art field.
Yet so much of i t seems to call out for more scholarly work,
more money for study and publication. I t is time for studies
which deal with more than single collections, and attack specific