Page 45 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

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35
BLOCH ----THE YEAR ’S BOOKSHELF
in Ancona, when it was par t of Austria, was a banker to the Pope.
I t also reveals the interesting fact tha t Zweig owed his literary
career to Dr. Theodor Herzl, who, as literary editor of the
Neue
Freie Pfesse
, the leading newspaper in Vienna, accepted his first
articles and encouraged him to write. I t also records many details
of his life which explain his attitude to his people and their neigh-
bors and throw light on his sensitive Jewish feelings.
The lives of men who in all ages have contributed to the spiritual
uplift of Israel should be and are properly of considerable interest
to those who are concerned with the teachings and achievements
of Jewish spiritual figures. The
Master of Troyes
, a study of Rashi
the educator by Dr. Samuel M. Blumenfield (New York, Behrman,
1946) offers an exposition of Rashi’s views of education, his
educational ideas and experience. Dr. Blumenfield collected from
the writings of the greatest of Jewish expounders of scriptural and
talmudic texts enough material bearing directly or indirectly
upon educational theories and practices as to enable him to
describe education in France in Rashi’s day, showing Jewish edu-
cational teachings and practices to be superior to those of the
contemporary Christians. The book also sheds considerable light
on educational problems of today.
The story of the Baal Shem\
life, love and teachings of the founder of Chasidism and Jewish
mysticism by Dr. Jacob Lazarus Snitzer, translated from the
Yiddish by Dr. Samuel Rosenblatt and edited by Rabbi Abraham
Burstein (New York, Pardes, 1946) is written in the form of an
historical novel and, as such, it is full of human adventure.
Vigorous opposition to the teachings and practices of the Jewish
sect which Baal Shem founded was carried on by Rabbi Elijah
of Vilna and his followers.
The story of the Vilna Gaon
by Rabbi
Leonard Oschry (New York, Torah Umesorah, 1946) though
written for children is not without a measure of interest even to
adults. So is
The story of the Chasam Sofer
by Shubert Spero
(New York, Torah Umesorah, 1946). I t is a modest biography of
Rabbi Moses Sofer whose scholarship, piety and achievements are
attractively described for young readers, a story from which
grown-ups may also learn much about a pious Jewish scholar
whose rabbinic influence is far reaching. In
Banner of Jerusalem
;
the life, times and thought of Abraham Isaac Kuk, the late chief
rabbi of Palestine by Jacob Bernard Agus (New York, Bloch,
1946), a well-told story of the life and a penetrating analysis of
the philosophy of Judaism as expounded by Rabbi Kuk, is offered
as “ a sequel” to the author’s
Modern philosophies in Judaism
(New York, 1941).
Without doubt the greatest of leaders in modern Jewry was
Theodor Herzl, the founder of the political movement in Zionism.