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Les Matinées du Samedi

SATURDAY MORNINGS, a book of moral and religious education for the use of young Israelites, by G. Ben Levy, late member of the District Committee of the Israelitish schools at Paris, with a Preface by S. Cahen, Editor of the Archives Israelites de France. 2 vols. 12 mo. Paris, 1842.

Under the above title there appeared, a few months back, at Paris, a work well adapted for the reading of young Israelites. The first volume consists of a number of short stories (interspersed with brief essays) selected in part from ancient Jewish sources; others again are of a more modern origin, and reach, in fact, to our own times; all, however, have for their object to elevate the Jewish character, and to place in an attractive light some one of the virtues which should distinguish a life founded on the consistent beauty of the Jewish religion.

The second volume contains stories of greater length, nearly all founded upon some passage of authentic Jewish history in France, though we should judge that the details are the inventions of the learned author. The work concludes with a concise history of the Jews in France, and a number of pieces of poetry of a devotional character, by different French poets, such as Lamartine, J. B. Rousseau, and others. Were we to judge from the imperfect perusal which our limited knowledge of the French language allows us, we should say that, with many beauties, it has the defect of dealing too much in attempts to raise an effect from some premises which hardly merit the distinction conferred on them; for instance, the strained effort in one of the subjoined extracts to draw a somewhat unwarranted parallel between Moses and Mendelssohn, for the sake of favoring some notions which, as one can easily discover, it is the writer's object to disseminate. We will not at present venture to be more critical, for fear of doing the work injustice; but we promise ourself to return to it on some future occasion, since a book which has for its object the training of the mind of the young is of too much importance to be lightly passed over. One thing, however, speaks highly in its favor, that many of the French Rabbins have given it their hearty approbation, and that it has received favorable notice in England. We present our readers this month with two extracts from the first part, which will give them a tolerable idea of the nature of the work; and we hope next month to be furnished by one of our correspondents with a translation of one of the larger stories contained in the second volume, which we trust will not be unacceptable to our friends.