Page 71 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

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Passover Haggadah, texts, commentaries, illustrations, and trans-
lations, beginning with the Haggadah accompanied by Abra-
vanel's commentary,
Zevah Pesah,
Constantinople, 1505, through
the special editions of the Israeli kibbutzim, augmented
recently through the magnificent gift of the late Mr. Abraham
H. Berman.
Of special note are the literary products of the ‘golden
renaissance' of Jewish letters under the Arab rule in the Middle
Ages. They comprise the monumental theologico-philosophical
works of Saadia, Maimonides, Crescas, and Albo, and the in-
spiring poetry of Halevi, Ibn Gabirol, and Ibn Ezra. The Kab-
balah, or Jewish mystical philosophy, is not less extensively
Of particular significance is the large collection of Hebrew
legal material, reflecting the development of Hebrew law dur-
ing the past twelve centuries. As for content, it encompasses
both codes of law and collections of Responsa, or court decisions,
in epistolary form. Geographically, it covers four continents.
Over eighty p rin ting presses in many cities ranging from Lon-
don to Tunis, and from Cincinnati to Istanbul, contributed
their share to it. Aside from their legal importance, the diligent
student of history will find in these Responsa a wealth of
information on social, economic, and political conditions of
many climes and ages. They are of inestimable value, for ex-
ample, in researching the early history of Spain, since none of
the official records of its Moorish rulers were preserved. As con-
temporary records reflecting daily life and doings, they are of
unquestioned validity.
Since its establishment, the Section has also devoted itself
to the collection of representative material bearing on all phases
of Judaism and Jewish life. T he widespread interest aroused
by the founding of the State of Israel, the manifold problems
encountered by it in the sensitive setting of the Middle East,
are fully reflected in our collections. Numerous are the works
describing the limitless opportunities which Israel now offers
to scholars in many fields, say to anthropologists, as a result of
the ingathering of long lost tribes from many distant corners, to