Page 57 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 4

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SOLTES ----A JEWISH BOOKSHELF FOR ADULTS
45
2. On the other hand, the committee ruled out collections of
sermons, standard references, such as
The American Jewish Year
Book
, the
Universal Jewish Encyclopedia
, etc., books that are too
expensive or too difficult for the average reader, or that deal
largely with controversial issues.
3. A further prerequisite was
availability.
In order that persons
for whom the compilation was prepared might be in a position
to implement the suggestions promptly, the committee was advised
to limit its choice as far as the general volumes are concerned, to
those that are “in print,” and which had been published or re-
issued in the past decade.
The two score books embraced in the present list represent a
wide variety of themes. In general, they may be grouped into
the following categories: the Holy Scriptures and other classics,
Jewish history and contemporary Jewish life, Jewish religious cus-
toms and ceremonies, the festivals, biography, Jewish fiction and
folklore, anthologies, the Jewish community, movements and
centers in Jewish life, Zionism and Palestine rebuilding.
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
I shall now undertake a hasty resume and appraisal of the forty
titles. Topping the list of best sellers the world over is the Bible,
the greatest gift of Israel to humanity. Of course it heads our list.
Just a word about the character and significance of the particular
edition to which we direct attention. Leading scholars of various
schools of Jewish thought cooperated about three decades ago in
preparing what is generally regarded as the standard English ver-
sion of the Holy Scriptures. This translation of the Great Book,
made available by the Jewish Publication Society of America, is
unique in that it is the first for which a group of men representative
of Jewish learning among English-speaking Jews assumed joint
responsibility. Up to then only the products of individual trans-
lators were extant.
Together with this authoritative rendition of the Scriptures,
an excellent guide for the Five Books of Moses is presented. I t
is titled,
Pentateuch and Haftorahs
and is edited by the Rev. Dr.
Joseph H. Hertz, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain. I t includes the
Hebrew text of the Pentateuch and readings from the Prophets,
with English translation of both, as well as illuminating commen-
taries. Worshippers have found it very useful in following the
reading of the portions of the Scriptures at Sabbath and Festival
Services.