[The purpose of the Digest is informative: Preference is given to papers not generally accessible to our readers. Quotation does not indicate approval.-Editor.]
The recent acquisition by Professor Alexander Marx for the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of rare records of the Inquisition of Jews in Portugal, Spain and Sicily and hitherto undiscovered poems by the celebrated Solomon Ibn Gabirol, is the subject of an article in the London “Jewish Guardian” from the pen of Dr. Gaster, Chief Rabbi of the Sephardic Jews in Great Britain.
Referring to the story of Prof. Marx’s successful haul as reported in the “Jewish Daily Bulletin,” Dr. Gaster emphasizes the historical importance of the records, which Prof. Marx was enabled to purchase for the Seminary Library by a gift from Mortimer L. Schiff.
“Most items in the archives relating to the Inquisition, especially in Spain, have been eaten up by worms and have crumbled to pieces,” Dr. Gaster points out. “Therefore Prof. Marx’s collection is so much more valuable. The Day of Atonement Prayer book of the Sicilian Jews is likewise valuable.”
Regarding the hitherto undiscovered poems of Ibn Gabirol, Dr. Gaster observes: “The increase in knowledge of Ibn Gabirol’s poems will result not only in a direct enrichment of Jewish poetry, but also in greater consideration of Ibn Gabirol’s position as one of the outstanding figures in Medieval philosophy.”
A NON-JEW’S IMPRESSION OF ORTHODOX JUDAISM
The impression of orthodox Judaism on a non-Jew is depicted in the current issue of the “Forum,” by George Henry Payne, one of the editors of the magazine. Writing under the heading, “I Read the Forum in Schule,” Mr. Payne describes his visit to the Jewish Center on West 86th Street, New York, and sums up his feelings thus:
“Although I shall always be grateful to Felix Adler for the lofty stofcism that he preached in the old days in Carnegie Hall, the orthodox Jew has a greater call on one’s respect, if for no other reason than his refusal to be swayed by the mad gusts of doubt and speculation that mark our materialistic time.
“When … the beautiful voice of Chasan Jasinowski carries one far back to the triumphant days of Israel, one wonders why, of the many Gentiles who travel to Greece and to Italy, so few familiarize themselves with a beauty that is at their very doors.
“Into such an atmosphere it might seem intrusion to inject modern controversial questions, but a religion that has been self-supporting without force of arms from the dawn of civilization, a race that has given to the world Judaism, Christianity, and Mohammodanism, is in its essence practical.”
CHICAGO PROUD OF ITS JEWISH CITIZENS
Chicago’s pride in its Jewish citizens is expressed by the “Herald and Examiner” of that city, on the occasion of the successful conclusion of Chicago Jewry’s drive for $4,000,000, of which $1,000,000 is to go to the United Jewish Campaign and $3,000,000 to local charity and public institutions.
“Chicago is to be congratulated on having, as a large part of its heterogeneous citizenship, a group who are as genuinely charitable and public spirited as are the Jews of this metropolis,” declares the paper.
“As soon as the call was sounded a great many prominent Jews, under the able leadership of Jacob M. Loeb, left their respective businesses and professions and devoted their entire time to the work. At the first meeting, attended by three hundred and fifty men at the Blackstone Hotel, two million dollars was raised. Within five weeks Jewish citizens from all walks of life contributed over four million dollars.
“Chicago is proud of its citizens of Jewish extraction and congratulates them on their charitable character, their civic idealism and their loyalty to American institutions.”