Page 67 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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KAGANOFF / RABBINIC LITERATURE IN THE UNITED STATES
5 9
consists of two sections, one printed in Vienna and the other
in America. The paper of the two sections is somewhat different
in color. What occurred was that Levinsohn printed part of the
text while he was still in Europe, and completed the volume in
America, trying to match up the two sections.
At least two works in Hebrew were published by a Jewish think­
er who arrived in the United States in 1881. His name was Sol­
omon Joseph Silberstein and he published
Ha-Dat Veha-Torah
in
1887 and
Metsiut Ha-shem Veha-Olam
in 1893. Silberstein devel­
oped a system of philosophy based on talmudic law, and his phi­
losophic views were acknowledged by various academicians.
The Haggadah has always been a popular American publi­
cation. From 1881 to 1917 over 40 different editions of the
Haggadah were published, either with new English translations
made by American authors, new commentaries by American
Jews, or classical commentaries that had previously been pub­
lished in Europe but had not been printed before in America.
Copies of the Haggadah were often distributed free through
grocery stores when shoppers made their Passover purchases.
These editions were published by commercial establishments
in the hope of attracting new customers. This practice became
very popular in the interwar period, as well as after the Second
World War.
Finally, the nature of life in the New World was also the basis
for the appearance of humorous and satirical works depicting
the difficulties of life in America, and published in the style
of traditional rabbinic works. The first to appear was prepared
by Abraham Kotliar who was born near Kaunas, Lithuania and
immigrated to the United States in 1880. He lived in Cleveland
as a bookseller for over 50 years. His first satire entitled
Masekhet
Derekh Eretz Ha-Hadashah
was a pointed attack on Jewish im­
migrant life, the Reform leadership, etc. It first appeared in
serial form in the Pittsburgh Yiddish weekly
Folksfraynd
and
was published in that city in book form in 1893. It later had
two additional editions, Warsaw, 1898, and Tel Aviv, 1927.
Gershon Rosenzweig, a prominent Hebrew writer and editor,
arrived in America in 1889. He published the celebrated
Talmud
Yanka°i,
a satire of American Jewish life. The first edition ap­
peared in 1907, a second in 1909. Rosenzweig’s satire was hailed
as one of the most successful talmudic parodies of the modern
period.