Page 64 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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56
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
o f th e en tr ie s a re fairly ex tensive an d supp ly us with a list o f
the sub jec t’s pub lished an d u n p u b l ish ed works. As is o f ten th e
case with e n o rm o u s u n d e r tak in g s by single a u th o rs , it is no t
free o f factual e r r o r .8
Moshe David G aon pub lished his classic second vo lum e o f
The Oriental Jews in Eretz-Israel, Past and Present
(H eb rew ) in
1938, an d it has recen tly been r e p r in te d . T h is is still a basic
tool fo r the lead ing S eph a rd ic an d O r ien ta l Jew ish pe rsona lities ,
listed a lphabetically by fam ilies an d in c lud ing m uch im p o r ta n t
in fo rm a tion .
A re c en t ad d ition to the E re tz -Israe l re fe ren c e sh e lf is
P er­
sonalities in Eretz-Israel 1799 -1 9 4 8 : a Biographical Dictionary
(H e ­
brew). Ch rono log ically , its scope is lim ited to th e 150 years b e ­
tween N ap o leo n ’s invasion o f Egyp t an d the coastal cities o f
E re tz -Israe l an d the e s tab lishm en t o f th e S tate o f Israel. T h e
im p o r ta n t con tr ib u t io n o f this work is th e inclusion o f m any
Muslim an d C h r is tian pe rsona lities who left th e i r im p r in t u p o n
E re tz -Israe l d u r in g this pe r iod . T h e c r ite r ia fo r inclusion , how ­
ever, do no t seem too c lear-cu t, an d it wou ld have been w iser
had the ed ito rs a t least dec ided no t to inc lude living pe rsons .
T h e en tr ie s a re qu ite sho r t , lim ited in the in fo rm a t io n they p r e ­
sent.
T h e m o d e rn , “Z ionist” p e r io d o f E re tz -Israe l is also cove red
by several b iog raph ica l re fe ren c e works. By fa r th e m ost ex ­
tensive is David T id h a r ’s 19-volume
Encyclopedia o f the Pioneers
and Builders o f the Yishuv
(H ebrew ), pub lished in te rm i t ten t ly b e ­
tween 1947-1971. T id h a r g a th e re d most o f his m a te ria l, which
inc ludes m any m inu te details, from the d e scend an ts o f th e sub ­
jec ts o f his en tr ie s o r even — in m any cases — d irec tly from
the persona lities themselves. T h e lack o f h istorical objectivity
an d a tendency to p re s e n t unch eck ed in fo rm a t io n shou ld be
bo rn e in m ind . T id h a r ’s encyc loped ia is also th e excep tion th a t
proves the ru le : it is
not
a r ra n g e d in any system atical-techn ical
m an n e r . T id h a r simply pub lished th e b iog raph ie s as he f in ished
ed iting them . Each vo lum e con ta in s a cum u la ted ind ex to the
series to d a te so th a t vo lum e 19 is also the ind ex to th e whole
set. Desp ite its many d rawbacks, this work is still an in d isp e n s ­
able re fe ren c e tool fo r m o d e rn E re tz -Israe l stud ies , u n f o r tu ­
nately no lo n g e r easily available fo r acquisition .
8. See the review o f volume I by Meir Wunder,
Yad LaKore
14 (1975): 262-265.