Page 145 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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Simon Rawidowicz —A Spiritual
On the Occasion of the 25th Anniversary of His Death
im o n
aw id o w ic z
w a s
one of the towering figures in both He­
brew literature and Jewish thought in the first half of this century.
His brilliant mind was coupled with a highly creative gift of
literary expression. His vocabulary was rich and zestful; his style
dynamic and often overpowering; his reasoning strong and com­
pelling; his polemics provocative and witty; his manner of dis­
course well rooted in rabbinical tradition; his knowledge encyc­
lopedic; and last but not least, the emotional impact of his power­
ful message was, Jewishly speaking, of most inspiring genuine­
Rawidowicz was also a very prolific writer; he did not believe in
shortened versions, but preferred to spell out in full and even to
reiterate whatever he felt compelled to say. Thus his magnum
Babylon and Jerusalem, Towards a Philosophy of Israel's Whole­
extends over 909 packed and abundantly annotated pages.
It encompasses a host of issues that are discussed with amazing
exhaustiveness. In sheer voluminousness and range of subject-
matter it stands out as one of its kind in contemporary Hebrew
Rawidowicz’s own migrations reflect in a way the actuality of
Jewish dispersion with which he was so much concerned:
Grajewo, Poland (where he was born in 1896); Bialystok; Berlin;
London; Leeds; Jerusalem; Chicago; Boston (where he died in
1957 while professor of Hebrew literature and Jewish philosophy
at Brandeis University). Similarly, the topics of his scholarly in­
terests are marked by dispersion in time: Saadia; Maimonides;
1 Ararat Publishing Society, London — Waltham, Mass. 1957, 2 vols.