Page 26 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
14
Bloch, ’48). I t deals with Jews on the American sport scene, past
and present. In reality they are action stories, full of anecdotes
and curious episodes in the careers of twenty-five of the best-
known Jewish sport stars in this country. I t is a contribution to
the literature dealing with the Jewish share in American sports.
While the appraisal of the contribution of the Jews to the mak-
ing of America is not altogether neglected the role of Jewish reli-
gious ideas in the shaping of the spiritual pattern of this country
is hardly touched upon. In
The Christian heritage in America
by
George Hedley (N. Y., Macmillan, ’47) an effort is made to show
that “all Christians are Jewish.” A Jew is “anyone who shares
Jewish attitudes and judgments, whether or not he knows or
admits their origin.” Thus every Christian who is inspired or
affected in thinking and conduct by the teachings of the prophets
of Israel is inescapably Jewish.
BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS
No period in history is ever fully understood without a knowl-
edge of the lives of those figures who have contributed to its mak-
ing. These are generally obtainable in the form of biographies,
autobiographies and memoirs. The year’s output of such publica-
tions present accounts of men and women who have, in one way
or another, left, a more or less, impress upon their contemporaries
and upon those who followed them to our own day. One has only
to turn to so fine a collection of
Essays in Jewish biography
by
Prof. Alexander Marx (Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society
of America, ’48) to find verification of this claim, for it is a volume
in which the lives of a number of notable Jewish scholars and
leaders stand out as the prominent representatives of their people
from the medieval times to the present century. Often a biogra-
phy is more than the mere story of a person; it is also, in a given
sense, the story of the time in which the person lived. This is
certainly true of
The house of Nasi',
Dona Gracia, by Cecil Roth
(Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society of America, ’48). I t
tells of the life and times of a heroic Jewish woman of the six-
teenth century and of a distinguished Marrano family who be-
came a leader of her people in time of persecution and the head of
a vast commercial empire reaching from Constantinople through-
out Europe. In order to return to the religion of her father, Dona
Gracia was compelled to travel from Portugal to Antwerp, to
Italy and finally to Turkey, to escape the Inquisition and to
carry on her business and her vast avocation of providing every
assistance to her troubled brethren everywhere. Dr. Roth fur­