Page 17 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

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7
BLOCH ---- THE YEAR ’S BOOKSHELF
the United Synagogue of America (New York, 1946) an effort is
made to “ ad just” the traditional Jewish liturgy for the Sabbath
and festivals to the current need of the religious community in
American Israel.
A truly religious book in the finest sense of the term as under-
stood in Judaism is
In time and eternity: a Jewish reader
, an
anthology of eighteen centuries of Jewish life and thought with
new translations [the greater par t of which was made by Olga
Marx] of the old documents and prayers edited by Nahum Norbert
Glatzer (New York, Schocken, 1946). The selections are not
religious and ethical alone; they offer evidence of how Jews have
thought and acted through the centuries. There are selections
from the Talmud and Midrash, from famous writers and poets of
yore, from prayers and hymns revealing a determined will to
live despite sorrow and suffering. The compilation stresses “ the
deep implication of Jewish reverence for learning — learning for
its own sake, learning as a way to sanctify the Divine Name,
learning as a preparation for active life.” There are anecdotes in
profusion. Every element of Jewish thought and emotion is re-
fleeted in them. They were written by men who have lived both
in time and eternity.
Considering the place of the Bible in Judaism it is surprising
to find tha t the year’s output of books on Scriptural themes by
Jewish authors is not commensurate with j:he remarkable role
Scriptural teaching plays in Jewish religious life. Even though
there is a continuous demand for the Jewish Publication Society
version of the Bible, its publishers are always endeavoring to make
it more widely known and better understood. To attain tha t end,
it published an extraordinary fine guide to the reading of the
Scriptural text entitled
Pathways through the Bible
by the Rev.
Dr. Mortimer Joseph Cohen (Philadelphia, Jewish Publication
Society of America, 1946). Primarily designed to meet the needs of
Jews it is of value also to non-Jews who seek an intelligent ap-
proach to the understanding of the background, contents and
objectives of the books comprising the Old Testament. Each
portion of the volume in which a book of the Bible is dealt with has
an introduction to tha t book and each section is supplied with a
brief informative paragraph. They aim at directing the attention
of the reader to the main ideas of the book and where necessary
to furnish “such historical and explanatory material as will assist
him to understand better what he reads.” The trac t
Book of the
people: the Bible
by Margaret K. Soifer (New York, 1946) issued
by the American Jewish Committee suffers from an inadequate and
feeble treatment and what is worse it operates with terminology
borrowed from Christian usage.