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Book Notes: Opportunities That Pass: An Historical Miscellany, Cecil Roth, Israel Finestein and Joseph Roth (eds.)

William D. Rubinstein

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Opportunities That Pass: An Historical Miscellany, Cecil Roth, edited by Israel Finestein and Joseph Roth (London: Vallentine Mitchell 2005) cloth-bound, isbn 0-85303-575-X, pp. xi + 232, ?37.50; paperback, isbn 0-85303-576-8, ?17-95 Cecil Roth remains probably the foremost Anglo-Jewish historian of modern times, a man whose large output was marked by an equally remark? able erudition: the Encyclopaedia jfudaica, which he edited, is his lasting monument. A collection of some of the essays of most historians would not normally be justifiable as a publishing venture, but in Roth's case his inter? esting and still valuable essays, written in an engaging style and free from obscurity, seem a worthy contribution. The thirty-nine short essays collected here illustrate the range of his interests and research. They contain short bibliographical notes as to where and when they first appeared; by date they range from 1929 to 1967. By subject matter they range from the general, such as 'Paradoxes of Jewish History', to the highly specific, such as 'An Avignonese Plum', about an incident in the Avignon Ghetto in 1757. This essay is one of a number which reflects Roth's longstanding interest in Italian and French Jewish history. His essay 'Was Hebrew Ever a Dead Language?', first published in 1932, strikes me as particularly valuable. 'Opportunities That Pass', also first published in the same year, concerns the disappearance of much of the Jewish heritage, especially its built heritage in the form of synagogues and areas of residency, a theme which has since become of increasing concern to many. With Cecil Roth's death in 1970 the Jewish world lost a scholar whose like may never be seen again. William D. Rubinstein 298</page></plain_text>