Page 14 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

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JEWI SH BOOK ANNUAL
8
great ideas and teachings of Judaism, revealing the permanent
contribution it has to offer to religious thought for all time.
A collection of Jewish ethical dicta, admonitions, stories and
exhortations from biblical times to our own is available in
The
ethics of Israel
by Israel Harold Weisfeld (N.Y., Bloch, 1948).
Religion in the twentieth century
edited by Vergilius Ferm (N.Y.,
Philosophical Library, 1948) includes a section on Judaism to
which contributions on Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism
and Reconstructionism are made by Rabbis Louis I. Newman,
Simon Greenberg and Mordecai M. Kaplan, respectively. I t
is regrettable indeed that the editor completely disregarded
traditional (Orthodox) Judaism, the adherents of which out-
number all those who are identified with the several Jewish
denominations represented in the volume.
Shortly before the untimely death of the late Rev. Dr. Louis
M. Epstein, one of the truly learned American Rabbis, there
appeared his remarkably comprehensive and authoritative
study of
Sex laws and customs in Judaism
(N.Y., Bloch, 1948).
Dealing with Jewish standards of sex morality outside marriage,
it is designed as a companion volume to his earlier and equally
authoritative work on
Marriage laws in Bible and Talmud
,
which concerns itself with sex morals within marriage.
So much of religious lore is associated with the observance
of Jewish fast and feast days as to give them a measure of ro-
mantic significance and to make their “historicity” more plau-
sible. Several holiday books are now available which present
a veritable treasure-chest of fabulous wealth, bringing the
winnowed lore of ages of Jewish experience to delight, as well
as to enlighten and to guide in the observance of days that are
solemn and sacred to Jewry. Very striking among the books
of the year is
Days of awe
, being a treasury of traditions, legends
and learned commentaries concerning Rosh ha-Shanah, Yom
Kippur and the days between, culled from three hundred vo-
lumes, old and new, by Shmuel Yosef Agnon (N.Y., Schocken,
1948). It represents a translation into English by Rabbi Maurice
T. Galpert, revised by Jacob Sloan, of an abridged text of the
author’s
Yamim Noraim
made by Dr. Nahum N. Glatzer. The
wealth of interpretation to which the many customs and prac-
tices associated with the solemn days of awe have been subjected
in the Hebrew lore and literature of all ages finds adequate
expression in this delightful volume.
The Jewish Publication Society of America has added a new
volume to its series of books on Jewish festivals. I t is entitled
The Puri?n anthology
by Philip Goodman (Philadelphia, 1949)
and represents a richly interesting, informative, enjoyable and