Page 86 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
and the Philippines become American possessions after the
Spanish-American War; Kitchener and the British are on the
offensive in the Boer War in South Africa; and the noxious
Dreyfus Affair in France is at its peak with Dreyfus’ new court
martial and reconviction in 1899 by the military court at Rennes.
ADLER’S CONTRIBUTION
In 1896, Joseph Jacobs launched the
Jewish Year Book
in En­
gland, influencing the successful inception in the United States
three years later of the
American Jewish Year Book
under the ed­
itorial direction o f Cyrus Adler; both annuals continue to be
published today, respected as authoritative sources of factual
information on Jewish matters in England, America, and con­
ditions in the Jewish world at large. Each of them maintains
the almanac tradition by incorporating a detailed Hebrew cal­
endar and a complete panoply of statistics, anniversaries, biog­
raphies, necrologies, and address lists for Jewish organizations
and serials.
The literary researcher will often discover elusive examples
of creative writing tucked away in many of the little-known al­
manacs. There is, for instance, an untitled poem by Yehoash,
then recuperating from tuberculosis in Denver, in the
Kalendar
un almanakh tsu dem finf-yohrigen yubileum fun “Forverts”
(New
York, 1902), jus t a few pages away from A. Liesin’s translation
of a Russian poem by Maxim Gorky into Yiddish, “Zeks und
tsvantsig un eyne.” The
Luah Ahiever
(New York, 1918-21), a
Hebrew almanac with only two appearances, is a goldmine of
belles lettres and criticism. How many Yiddishists would know
to consult this Hebrew source, and an American one at that,
for S. Niger’s essay on the Hebrew writings of Isaac Meir Dick,
a Russian Jew known for his popular Yiddish compositions, in
the second volume? Unfortunately, almanacs suffer from even
worse indexing than monthlies and quarterlies; the rich con­
tents of these unheralded miscellanies more often than not re­
main to be exploited for lack of appropriate indexing tools.
Thus, in the first volume of
Luah Ahiever
appears a fascinating
and easily overlooked essay in Hebrew by Israel Davidson, ex­
panding on his earlier contribution in English, “Eccentric Forms
of Hebrew Verse,” appearing in the
Jewish Theological Seminary
Student’s Annual
(1914), with additional examples of acrostic and