Page 141 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 38

Basic HTML Version

Two things are still to be mentioned concerning this lexical
work. One is tha t in this
Cyclopedia
Kressel has paid considerable
attention to Hebrew writers who em igrated to America from
other lands and con tinued the ir literary work on American soil.
The entries about them are o f great help for tracing the history o f
Hebrew creativity in America. For the first time a serious attemp t
has been made to presen t biographical and bibliographical in­
formation on the whole range o f Hebrew literary activity in this
country, beginning with the 1870’s. Kressel has exhibited an
unusually deep interest in American Jewry and its creativity
which he has followed for many years. Even today, he regularly
graces the pages o f the Hebrew weekly
Hadoar
with his articles
and essays.
A second thing tha t should be noted in relation to this
Cyclopedia
is that Kressel often mentions many reference books without
giving the au tho r ’s name. In such cases, he himself is the au tho r of
the books to which he refers the reader. Some of these books
appeared almost fou r decades ago and it may well be tha t the
younger reader never heard o f them. I would like to cite two
examples in o rd e r to illustrate my point. In volume one o f his
Cyclopedia
, Kressel devoted an extensive entry to David Gordon
(1831-1886), an early suppo rter o f Zionism and the ed itor of
Hamaggid,
the first modern Hebrew weekly (1856). In this article
Kressel refe rred to a book which appeared in 1942, and which
included a selection o f Gordon’s Zionist writings together with an
introductory monograph . However, he neglected to name the
author. In this case, too, Kressel himself is the editor o f this
edition.
In volume two, in his entry on Sokolow, Kressel mentioned the
three volumes o f his new edition o f Sokolow’s collected works and
described each volume, but again he failed to mention tha t he was
the editor. In vain we look for an entry about the au tho r himself
in this
Cyclopedia.
He never included one to the dismay o f his
readers and adm irers.
As mentioned above, Kressel is an unusually prolific writer. It is
always dangerous to list his total ou tpu t because many of his books
and studies are in press and still others are in the planning stage
or on their way to the p rin ter. It has been estimated tha t nearly
one hund red books have been written or edited by him. They
include bibliographical guides to various fields, editions o f the
collected works o f writers and scholars, monographs on Zionist