Page 77 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 1

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SUMMARY OF THE HEBREW SECTION
By
Jacob Kabakoff
This section is largely given over to the commemoration of
the anniversaries of classic modern Hebrew authors. Through
literary appreciations and selected bibliographies there is offered
a well-rounded picture of the life and works of these master
builders of modern Hebrew literature.
In the opening article, entitled “The Hebrew Book,” Mena-
hem Ribalow discusses the role of Hebrew literary creativity
in the maintenance of the Jewish spirit and in the strengthening
of Jewish life. In Judaism the Book is a deep-rooted concept
which has been a source of inspiration in every generation.
In our own age, however, Jews have ceased to derive the
same degree of satisfaction and hope from the Book. Like Bialik,
a portion of whose immortal poem,
Before the Bookcase,
is
reproduced in this section, the writer decries the weakening of
the influence of the Hebrew Book upon our people.
Jewish Book Week represents an effort to renew the age-old
bond between the Jewish people and its literature and to dis-
seminate information on the poets and authors of the Hebrew
renaissance. In line with the remarkable achievements of Pales-
tine in all branches of Hebrew literary endeavor, America, too,
is making a significant contribution to Hebrew letters and
journalism.
The first literary appreciation is devoted to one of the pioneers
of Modern Hebrew literature, Isaac Erter, on the occasion of
the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his birth. A cham-
pion of the
Haskalah
movement in Galicia, Erter achieved fame
as an author through his publicistic writings and satirical works.
E rter’s flowing Biblical style, which retains for him a position
of honor in modern Hebrew letters, was seen to best advantage
in his satires. After his death his writings were collected in a
volume entitled
Ha-Zofeh le-Bet Yisrael
(“The Watchman for
the House of Israel”). His influence is to be clearly discerned
in the works of our foremost authors, including Judah Loeb
Gordon, Mendele Mocher-Sefarim and Moses Loeb Lilienblum.
While Erter, a representative of the Galician school, is con-
sidered a pioneer in the field of Hebrew letters, the title of
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