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September 20, 1985 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-09-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

'2. ' '

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

2 Friday, September 20, 1985

PURELY COMMENTARY

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

When Noun Transforms Into Adjective: The Baedeker Story

When a noun is transformed into an
adjective and the intrigue of it is univer-
sally acclaimed, the word gains in fasci-
nation. There is nothing on that score to
compare with Baedeker.
The word has a history. It dates
back to Carl Baedeker (1801-1859), the
German publisher who was the founder
of the Baedeker guidebooks. He operated
a printing plant in Coblenz. His son,
Fritz, continuing the business, moved it
to Leipzig.
The Baedekers were published in
several languages. The historical infor-
mation they contained included very
valuable facts. Many editions were pub-
lished, European countries being their
specialty, yet the one on Palestine and
Syria acquired special attention.
During World War II the Baedeker
firm's files were destroyed, but after the
war the business was revived by a
great-grandson of founder Carl
Baedeker.
The firm now gains added publish-
ing sensationalism by its entrance, since
1950, into the publishing of automobile
touring guides.
The renewed interest in the Baedek-
ers is caused by the reappearance in
hard cover of a facsimile of the original
1912 edition of Baedeker's Historical
Palestine (Hippocrene Books).
The facsimile serves as an intrigu-
ing recapitulation of touring experience
that reveals the interests of nearly a
century ago, the researching of the
dramatic approaches to the Holy Land
and the manner in which students of the
religious conflicts and the geographic de-
tails involving Palestine were treated by
the publishers. To this day they are rec-
ognized among the most qualified ex-
perts in the treatment of tourism.
Baedeker, remarkable in its con-
cepts, as nearly thorough as one would
expect in its descriptive characteristics,
became an example for the tourist guides
and in a sense still exceeds them all in
its remarkable approaches to being a
most informative record of historical
events in the areas traversed.
There is much that is very remarka-
ble in Baedeker. When a tourist needed
to be warned of dangers in places to be
visited, Baedeker performed the duty.
When certain places were difficult to
visit and they were not important,
Baedeker asserted that nothing would be
lost in missing them.
There is much in the reproduced
Baedeker facsimile edition, even though
it is nearly three-quarters of a century
later, that lends importance by means of
fact-finding in historical research to con-
temporary life in the Palestine story re-
corded here. Gaza is exemplary of such
data-providing material in this 1912
Baedeker. At present Gaza is in a politi-
cal dispute. There surely are no Jewish
residents there. A century ago the Jews
were a part of the Gaza population,
enumerated in this excerpt, from the re-
printed Baedeker:
Gaza lay on the important
route from Egupt to Babylonia,
which was joined here by the
trading-routes from Elath and
Arabia. It was thus always a
place - of great commercial impor-
tance and a frequent object of
contention. Its port was Majumas,
which was raised by Constantine --
the Great to the dignity of an in-
dependent town under the name
of Constantia. According to the
Old Testament Gaza was one of
the five allied Philistine cities,
and it was here that Samson per-
formed some of his remarkable
exploits (Judges xvi.). The Israel-

Sephardim and the Ashkenzim, a
boys' and a girls' school; and an
artisan school of the Alliance Is-
raelite, the English Evelina de
Rothschild School for Girls, and
the Bezalel School of Industrial
Art. The Society for the Assis-
tance of the German Jews sup-
ports a school for boys and girls,
a school of commerce, and a
training-college for teachers.
Libraries and Scientific In-
stitutions. — The Jerusalem
Association Room of the Palestine
Exploration Fund is at St. George's
College (hours, 8-12 and 2-69; vis-
itors are welcome, — Library of
the Latin Patriarchate. - Library of
the Greek Patriarchate, in the
Great Greek Monastery, contain-
ing 2736 Greek and other MSS,
the oldest dating from the 10th
and 11th centuries. — Jewish Cen-
Musee
tral Library (20,000) vols..
Biblique des Peres Blanes in St.
Music de Notre
Anne's Church

,





Dame de France -- Municipal
Museum.— The Ecole Pratique d'
Etudes Bibiques founded in 1890,

A Jerusalem street in the 1870s.

ites held possession of the town
only during the most flourishing
period of their empire (1 Kings iv.
24) ...
Ghazzeh, the seat of a Kaim-
makam and containing a small
garrison, has 40,000 inhab., in-
cluding 1000 Greeks (who possess
a church), 100 Latins (also with a
church), and 150 Jews. The upper
town lies on a hill about 100 ft.
high; in the plain, to the E. and
S., are the new quarters of the
town. The walls of the upper
town have disappeared. The an-
cient town was a good deal
larger than the modern one, and
to the S. and E. elevations of the
ground are visible, marking the
course of the old town-walls. The
newer houses are largely built of
ancient materials. The town lies
in the midst of orchards. Owing
to the abundance of water con-
tained by the soil the vegetation
is very rich. The town-wells are
100-160 ft. deep, but the water in
most of them is brackish. — Gaza
is a town• of semi-Egyptian char-
acter; the veil of the Mosem
women, for example, closely re-
sembles the Egyptian. The
bazaar, too, has an Egyptian ap-
pearance. The old caravan-traffic
with Egypt is now almost extinct,
but the market is still largely fre-
quented by the Beduins, espe-
cially for dates, figs, olives, len-
tils, and other provisions. Gaza
is, moreover, an important depot
for barley, wheat, and durra. The
principal industries are the mak-
ing of pottery and weaving; yarn
to the value of 10,0001. is ex-
ported annually for. the latter
from Manchester to Gaza and
Mejdel.
Of interest is the description of the
rise of 'Bethlehem as a major attraction
for tourists. It was and remains in the
Baedeker account as the traditional Beth
Lehen — "the place of bread or more
generally the place of food" — retaining
the Hebraic concept.
The time element and distance, al-
ways emphasized, has an interesting
reference to' an important area in the
State of Israel today. It relates to what
had transpired ink Jewish state-building.
Quoting Baedeker:
From Jaffa to the (12 min.)

after 1 /4 hr. we
pass, on the right, a farm called
Mikweh Israel, established by the
Alliance Israelite in 1870, where
Jews are taught agriculture.
After a ride of 3 /4 hr. from Jaffa, a
watch-tower is seen rising on the
right. It is the first of 17 which
were built in 1860, to guard the
route to Jerusalem. They are now
mostly in ruins. We reach Yazur

Sebil Abu Nebbut,



(left; beautiful retrospect) § hr. la-
ter, and farther on the Weli Imam
`Ali, with its numerous domes; ad-
joining it is a well CAM Dilb). The

road to Lydda diverges here to
the left. After 20 min. the 2nd
watch-tower is seen on the right.
To the left we soon perceive
Sekiya and Beit Dejan. About 11/2
M. to the S. of the road lies
Rishon le Zion, Arabic `Ayun Kara,
one of the most important of the
Jewish colonies (900 inhab.),
founded in 1882.
There is so much that is intriguing
and challenging in the Baedeker now at
hand that a reviewer will find it difficult
to fulfill the urge to recall what is re-
corded in the Baedeker facsimile. Even
in the very small type in which the vol-
ume is reprounced — much in six-point
type — there is the continuing tempta-
tion to read the text and imbibe the in-
formation of so many decades ago. There
is one section of the book that cannot,
dare not, be ignored. It is Jerusalem.
Most of the guide emphasizes Jerusalem
as a starting point, as a continuity for
the touring, as a major interest for the
tourist. Here is a portion of the
Jerusalem portrayal that is of immense
importance in Baedeker:
The Jews have three large
synagogues (one belonging to the s
Sephardim, and two to the
Ashkenazim, besides more than .,
100 smaller houses of prayer. In
addition to the numerous places
of shelter for pilgrims and the
poor (mostly founded by Mon-
tefiore, Rothschild, and the Al-
liance Israelite), the Jews, have
an asylum for the blind and a
home for the aged and five hospi-
tals: that of the Ashkenazim (Bik-
kur Cholim); that of the Sephar-
dim (Misgab Ladakh); the
Shaareith Zedek, the Rothschild
Hospital, and one for the insane.
They have, further, orphanages
for the boys and girls of 'the

-

in the Dominican Monastery and
conducted by Fathers H. Vincent,
M.I. Lagrange, and others, issues
the 'Revue Biblique', mentioned
at p.c. A pension is connected
with the school. — American

School of Oriental Study and Re-
search in Palestine, founded in
1900 (library open to visitors). —
German Archaeological Institute,

founded in 1900, and supported
by the German Proestani
churches. Director, Prof. Delman



Model of the Harman esh Sherii

-

(Place of the Temple), by Dr
Schick, at the house of Frau
Exhibition of Pic.
Schoendre
tures by the Painter Bauernfeind (d
1904), at the house of Fret
Bauernfeind, in the German Col
ony.
(Hebrev
Jerusalem
Yerushalayim, Lat. and Greel



Hierosolyma, ikrabie El Kuds) lie,

-

in 31° 46' N. lat. and 35° 13' E
long., upon the S. part of a barn:
watered and somewhat stern
plateau of limestone, which i
connected towards the N. wit]
the main range of the mountain
of Palestine and surrounded of
all the other sides by ravinef
The actual site of the city is als
marked by various elevation
and depressions. The Temple hi
is 2440 ft., the hill of the N. of
2525 ft., the W. hill 2550 ft., an
the N.W. angle of the preser
city-well 2590 ft. above the levl
of the Mediterranean.
The town proper is,enclosed b
a wall 381/2 ft. in height, formin
an irregular quadrangle of Libor
21/2 M. in circumference; it hi
eight gates, one of which hi
been walled up for centuries, Tt
two chief • streets, beginning 1
the Jaffa Gate on the W. and
the Damascus Gate on the N
intersect in th middle of the to
and divide it into four quarter
the Moslem on . the N.E., ti
Jewish on the S.E., the Armenis
on the S.W., and the Graeci
Frankisn on the N.W. The stree
are ill-paved and crooked, mar
of them being blind alleys, ar
are excessively dirty after rai
Some of them are vaulted ow
The houses are built entirely
stone;' all the surfaces are so a

Continued on Page 14

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