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Prospectus for a Modern Jewish Journal

Ha-Me'assef, which literally means "The Gleaner," was a Hebrew-language periodical published intermittently from 1784 to 1811. It was so closely identified with the ideas and early adherents of the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment) that they came to be known as the "generation of gleaners" (dor ha-me'assefim). The prospectus for Ha-Me'assef described the journal's intended content, which included both traditional and nontraditional subjects.






It will have five sections.

In this section we will have poems in the holy tongue. . . . Poems of passion and lust, however, are an abomination and will not be accepted. . . .

Essays and disquisitions. . . . This section will illuminate subjects in Hebrew grammar . . . phraseology and rhetoric . . . Hebrew poetry, and teach the readers to recognize the meaning of the individual root word. . . . interpretations of difficult passages in Scripture. . . .

The springs of this section will pour forth short, clear, pleasant, and elegant studies, either from ancient wise men or from wise men of our generation. . . .

The streams of this section will flow into the sea of the Talmud in order to remove the obstacles which have deterred many teachers of our people who are unacquainted with the Talmud and its problems. . . . the rest of the things necessary to moral education. Nor will we avoid discussing physical education, for many of our artisans are sedentary and unaware of the importance of physical education. . . .

Biographies of the great men of Israel. . . .

News. Accounts of the events occurring among us in these days, the days of the first fruits of natural science and love in all the kingdoms of Europe. . . .

Announcement of new books . . . both in the holy tongue and in the languages of other peoples.