Page 106 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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In 1946, to satisfy a long-felt need for a preparatory volume to
the reading of
The Holy Scriptures
, the Society published
Through the Bible
, by Mortimer J. Cohen. I t provides a minimum
of background information and interpretation by which alone the
Bible’s spiritual meaning becomes clear and vital. This volume has
had a tremendous success and 33,000 copies of it have been
distributed in two years.
An agreement was completed in 1946 with the Hebrew Univer-
sity in Palestine, whereby the University and the Society joined
their forces in the preparation and eventual publication of a
Hebrew text based on a 9th and 10th century manuscript. The
manuscript was edited under the direction of the University’s
Professor Umberto Cassuto. The text of the Hebrew Bible is to
be set in the Society’s plant and the University will restrict itself
to the distribution of an all-Hebrew Bible, while the Society will
publish a Hebrew-English version, using the University’s Hebrew
text, and an improved J. P. S. translation. Publication of this
Bible is expected in 1952.
The publication of Israel Zangwill’s
Children of the Ghetto
1892, was the Society’s first great popular success and vastly
stimulated the publication of Jewish books in America. A com-
mercial edition was published by Macmillan and Company.
Commercial publishers were amazed by the popular success of
this book, and from then on Jewish authors found it much easier
to have their books published, while the publishers found an easier
market for Jewish books. The popularizing of books of Jewish
interest in America can thus really be traced back to Zangwill’s
immortal works sponsored by the Society. During its Golden
Jubilee Year (1938) the Society published a
Zangwill Omnibus
, containing the
Children of the Ghetto
Grandchildren of the
Ghetto Comedies
, and
Ghetto Tragedies.
In 1939 the Society
repurchased the rights to
Dreamers of the Ghetto
, which was im-
mediately republished. Subsequently, all of the plates and copy-
rights of the Zangwill books were purchased by the Society and
are to be reprinted in a uniform binding.
In 1899, the Society published its first
American Jewish Year
the outstanding source for current history and American
Jewish affairs. Dr. Cyrus Adler was its first editor, and it was
edited subsequently by Miss Henrietta Szold, Herman Bernstein,