Page 39 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

Basic HTML Version

29
BLOCH ---- THE YEAR ’S BOOKSHELF
larize sacred scriptures and as a result, an edition of the entire
Bible or an entire biblical book often becomes the inevitable first
choice when a book is to be a gift. When this is the case, one finds
th a t such a book as
The song of songs
which is Solomon’s; illustrated
by Jacques Lipshitz (Mt. Vernon, N. Y., Golden Eagle Press, 1947)
[a volume in the Designer classics] or
Ecclesiastes
; with an essay
by Irwin Edman (New York, Odyssey Press, 1946) serves the
purpose. Professor Edman’s essay is written with charm and is
in appreciation of the philosophy of life developed in Ecclesiastes.
In the prevailing general interest in biographical works there
is a constant demand for books which concern themselves with
the lives and works of well-known contemporary figures. Men
who play a distinguished role in public or communal life are
obviously better known than others; the record of their life and
achievements is, to a fairly reasonable degree, generally known.
I t is the modest and retiring public figure who, not seeking wide
popularity, is often unknown if not altogether forgotten unless
he is fortunate enough to have his “story” recorded somewhere.
Such a figure is Michael Aaronsohn, a rabbi who was blinded in
action in World War I. His novel
Broken lights
(Cincinnati,
Johnson and Hardin, 1946) is a thinly disguised autobiography
written with all the interest of a popular story. In a simply fasci-
nating manner Rabbi Aaronsohn tells, how, despite exemption
from military service he answered his country’s call by enlisting
in the armed forces only to return a disabled veteran — blind.
Yet he managed to make his life one of service and usefulness to
the nation and to his people. In
Fabric of my life
, the autobiog-
raphy of a social pioneer by Hannah G. Solomon (New York,
Bloch, 1946), the late founder of the National Council of Jewish
Women offers reminiscences of the early struggle for reform in
American Judaism. I t is a life story told in the language of candid
sentiment, at times w itty and often infused with a basic wisdom.
She depicts herself as a daughter, wife and mother who, believing
th a t “ the mind is a universe in itself,” filled her life to overflowing
with culture, service and appreciation. The life story of another
American Jewess whose fame is far and wide and who is revered
in every Jewish home is told in
Fighting angel
, the story of Hen-
r ietta Szold by Elma Ehrlich Levinger, with drawings by Jean
Rosenbaum (New York, Behrman, 1946). A very distinguished
role in literature was played by still another American Jewess,
Gertrude Stein who, like Miss Szold, was a native of Baltimore,
Md. Her
Brewsie and Willie
(New York, Random, 1946) is like
her earlier book
Wars I have seen
, a personal narrative, in her
characteristic style, of her personal experiences during the days
of war. I t is thus, in no small degree, autobiographical. Of a