Page 21 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

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LEVY / ORTHODOX PUBLISHING EXPLOSION IN PERSPECTIVE
9
volumes of children’s stories; and (6) over a dozen volumes of
biography, history and general works.
Almost all of these volumes are available in both hardcover and
paperback editions, and many of the liturgical texts exist in a
range of sizes and formats. These English or bilingual volumes
are in addition to some twenty-four Hebrew volumes that have
also been published. Artscroll has set the industry standard for
technological achievement and attractive work, and (or, perhaps,
because) it began production only in 1976. It also includes much
new or anthologized material, and therefore provides the critical
reader with an extensive collection of writings that typify contem­
porary Orthodox thinking.6 The support for its efforts that has
been collected from almost all corners of the American Orthodox
community testifies to a remarkable political achievement and
allows the reader to assume (erroneously, at least in the case of
the Bible commentaries) that the work is factually correct and
ideologically proper.7
Feldheim Publishers, by way of contrast, does not print most of
its work in predetermined series to which many different writers
contribute. It offers many more translations of classics, particu­
larly of German origin, and a wider choice of topics: about twenty
volumes on Bible (including some volumes originally printed
elsewhere, e.g. Silbermann’s translation of Rashi’s commentary
on the Torah); a similar number of volumes of mishnaic and tal­
mudic texts and themes; and slightly fewer on halakhah. Feld-
heim’s “Torah Classics Library” is worthy of special mention, as it
contains about a dozen volumes of translations of important reli­
gious works (in addition to many translated volumes included in
other areas). It is joined by over a dozen volumes of liturgy, sev­
eral dozen on general religious themes and the holidays, a num­
ber on the interplay of science and Judaism, and a series on his­
tory and biography. Feldheim has also published textbooks and
handbooks of various sorts, as well as almost a hundred children’s
6 See my “Our Torah, Your Torah, and Their Torah: An Evaluation o f the
Artscroll Phenomenon,” in H. Joseph
et al.
(ed.),
Truth and Compassion: Essays
on Judaism and Religion in Memory of Rabbi Dr. Solomon Frank
(Waterloo,
Ontario, 1983) for an analysis o f the Bible commentary.
7 See my “Artscroll: An Overview,” in M. L. Raphael (ed.),
Approaches to Modem
Judaism
(Chico, 1983), p. I l l , for details.