Opportunities that Pass
Edited by: Finestein, Israel; Roth, Joseph
Cecil Roth was the first Anglo-Jewish historian to become a household name. In addition to his numerous books Roth wrote many articles for a wide range of journals in Britain and overseas, notably in America, on Jewish life and history. This volume comprises a substantial collection of them, selected for their special and continuing Jewish appeal and human interest, none of which have appeared in book form before. Roth loved travel and his many journeys to Europe inevitably included visits to regions of past or then current Jewish residence. He was an acute observer of scenes, people, atmosphere and change. Characteristic of his approach are his historical accounts of some, to us, curious observances of familiar Jewish festivals in different localities he visited. Typical of his article titles are 'Was Hebrew ever a Dead Language', 'England and the Ninth of Av', 'Was there ever a Ban on Jews Returning to Spain' and 'Paradoxes of Jewish History'. Of particular interest is the first article in the book, written in 1932, entitled 'Opportunities that Pass: A Plea for the Study of Disappearing Customs and Folklore'. Was it an unwitting prophecy, or did he have an observer's and historian's presentiment of what lay ahead. Cecil Roth was a unique personality. He gave of his best in whatever he did. He achieved much. This volume is edited with affectionate respect by Israel Finestein and Cecil's nephew, Joseph Roth.