Page 9 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 1

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A YEAR OF FRU ITFUL ACTIVITY
ACH IEVEMENTS OF T H E NA T IONA L COMM IT T E E
FOR JEW ISH BOOK WEEK IN 1941 42־
By
Mordecai Soltes,
Chairman
T h a t Jewish sp ir i tua l product ivi ty could have been main-
tained in the past year in the face of the tragic conditions con-
fron t ing ou r b re th ren in the lands dom ina ted by the Nazi
barbarians, is a t r ibu te to the creative genius of the Jewish people
which knows of no cu l tu ra l sterility. T h e fact tha t the pace of
produc t ion has been considerably re tarded in these countries of
oppression where all claims of basic hum an rights are being
flagrantly flouted by the forces of evil and lawlessness, imposes
upon those segments of world Jewry tha t reside in lands of
equal i ty and freedom a much larger share of responsibility than
they have borne in the past for the n u r tu r ing and strengthening
of Jewish sp ir i tual values. American Jewry in pa r t icu la r must
become vigorously productive, to counterbalance in some meas-
ure the wan ton destruct ion of Eu ropean Jewish communities that
have previously served as reservoirs of Jewish cu l tu ra l influence
from which we have d ru n k freely.
T o satisfy this compelling need in some degree the Na t iona l
Commi t tee for Jewish Book Week was organized. It has aimed
to revive among bo th young and old the t rad i t iona l zeal for
Jewish knowledge and the custom of setting aside time periodi-
cally for the read ing of the Jewish Classics as well as contemporary
works; to inculcate in families an a t t i tude of eagerness to
spiritualize the atmosphere in the Jewish home by assigning a
place of hono r in it to a shelf or case of Jewish books, and dis-
cussing the ir contents informally a round the family table; and
to fu r the r the judicious practice of augmen t ing constantly the
collections in libraries of synagogues, schools, Centers and o ther
Jewish institutions, and ut i lizing them to enr ich the programs
of clubs, study circles, formal classes, discussion groups, etc.
Finally, it was felt tha t by ex tend ing the circle of readers more
gifted au thors would be s t imulated to devote themselves
assiduously to Jewish writing, thereby con t r ibu t ing u l t imately
towards the elevation of the s tandards of Amer ican Jewish
l i terature .
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