Page 107 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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Herbert Friedenwald, H. G. Friedman, Dr. Joseph Jacobs, Samson
D. Oppenheim and Harry Schneiderman, who has been its editor
for the past twenty-seven years. Morris Fine became co-editor
in 1947. Its pages are invaluable for the student of Jewish life
in America, and its statistics a necessity for every communal
worker. Since 1909,
The Year Book
has been published jointly by
the Society and the American Jewish Committee.
All branches of Jewish literature were essayed by the Society
in its first few years. In its first 25 years of existence, it published
eighty-seven books and distributed half a million volumes.
The first volume of Prof. Louis Ginzberg’s
Legends of the Jews
was printed in 1909. This monumental and epoch-making work
on the Agadah is the greatest single contribution to the study of
the subject within a century, and easily ranks as the most sig-
nificant work on Jewish lore thus far published in the English
language. The first four volumes carry the story from the Creation
through the Book of Esther. Since Dr. Ginzberg’s grasp is ency-
clopaedic, no tale left in tiniest literary crevice or hidden in
obscurest midrashic corner is omitted. Volumes V and VI contain
the notes and references, which open up the richest material for
further study, not only in the legendary lore of the Jews, but in
allied fields of theology, folklore and customs. The seventh
volume, a complete index prepared by Dr. Boaz Cohen, was
published in 1938.
In 1914, Mr. Jacob H. Schiff again manifested his interest in
the work of the Society when he announced his intention to make
further provision for the publication of Jewish literature, both in
the original and in translation. For this purpose he gave another
fund of $50,000.00 for the publication of a selection of the Jewish
Classics. The Schiff Library of Jewish Classics was intended to
represent the entire range of Jewish literature since thexlose of
the Bible canon, and was designed to demonstrate that Jewish
literary genius did not end with the Bible, but continued and was
active throughout the ages in all branches of literature.
Nine titles, in seventeen volumes, have already been published,
as follows:
Selected Religious Poems of Solomon I bn Gabirol; Se-
lected Poems of Jehudah Halevi; Poems of Moses I bn Ezra; Mesillat
, by Luzzatto;
Treatise Taan it of the Babylonian Talmud;
Sefer Ha-Ikkarim
(five volumes);
Mekilta de Rabbi Ishmael