Page 85 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 49

Basic HTML Version

SCHRAM /CURRENT COLLECTIONS OF JEWISH FOLKTALES
77
PIONEER FOLKLORIST
Noy, Dov, ed.
Folktales of Israel,
Trans, by Gene Baharov, Chi­
cago: University o f Chicago Press, 1963, 221 p.
Some background material on Dov Noy and his accomplish­
ments in the field o f folklore is necessary to unders tand the
significance o f his pioneering life work. In 1954, Dov Noy (then
Neuman) completed his doctoral dissertation at Ind iana Uni­
versity,
Motif-Index of Talmudic-Midrashic Literature.
He relied
heavily on Ginzberg’s
The Legends of theJews,
especially the notes
in volumes V and VI. “In his motif-index for the haggadic ma­
terials, Noy identified international themes o f folk literature sys­
tematized by his thesis director, Stith Thompson , in the first
edition o f the
Motif-index of Folk-Literature (1932-36).
When
Thompson issued a greatly expanded edition o f the
Motif-index
(1955-1958), he in tu rn incorporated Noy’s motifs, thus placing
the Jewish traditions in a worldwide context.” (From the Fore­
word by Richard M. Dorson,
Folktales of Israel,
p. xii.) Noy’s
contributions helped convert an oral tradition into a written
resource for fu tu re generations.
Noy founded the Israel Folktale Archives in Haifa in 1956.
From its inception it has engaged in collecting and transcribing
stories o f the members o f over thirty Jewish communities who
now live in Israel. Each tale is systematically assigned an I FA
number and is kept in the archives. So far, over 18,000 folktales
have been published in the IFA Publication Series o f over 35
volumes und e r the sponsorship o f the Haifa Municipality Eth­
nological Museum and Folklore Archives.
These IFA volumes in Hebrew, while slight in size, contain
a sizable amoun t o f material. Many o f them contain a selection
o f stories from a certain year o r geographical region. T h e books
presen t b rie f summaries o f the stories in English with notes
indicating parallel versions in the archives and the IFA number.
Some o f the titles o f these published books are:
Twelve Folktales
from Sanok
(ed. and anno tated by Dov Noy, 1967);
The Holy
Amulet: Twelve Jewish-Yemenite Folktales
(ed. and annotated by
Aliza Shenhar, 1969);
The Kept Promise: Six Folktales from Galicia
(annotated by Otto Schnitzler, 1975);
Advice from the Rothschilds:
28 Humorous Stories from Poland
(ed. by Otto Schnitzler, 1981).
Noy’s
Folktales of Israel
includes 71 representative tales from
the archives. T h e b rief introductory notes to each tale indicate