Page 21 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 12

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wide range of possibilities and th a t every person of Jewish origin
on American soil will have to decide for himself, after painful
soul-searching, where, on this scale of possibilities, he belongs.
The Jewish Book Council wisely refrains from offering advice
bu t it tries to be helpful in opening up the sources of information
to all who seek guidance in wrestling with Jewish values and
The Jewish Book Council does not engage in polemics. I t is
tolerant of all currents in American Jewish life. I t does not with-
hold its services even from the ultra-assimilationists who con-
sciously disown all kinship with the Jewish people as a people,
for even these, despite their flight from Jewishness, are uncon-
sciously bringing to America Jewish traits which are pa r t of the
structure of their personality. They are doing so by their very
existence, though they themselves may be unaware of their func-
tion as carriers of Jewish sensitiveness, as bearers of Jewish ap-
proaches to experience.
The Jewish Book Council certainly does not withhold its services
from those Americans who are Israel-oriented and who are pre-
paring to give up lightheartedness and ease for stern du ty as they
see it and peace of mind as they would have it. These dreamers
and builders of Zion are not unfaithful to the American values
among which they were born and reared. Though their objective
is reintegration in the land of our historic origin, they are en-
riching it with American know-how. They are pouring their
Americanism into the blood-stream of Israel, making Israel more
virile, more practical, more efficient, more Western, more demo-
cratic, more freedom-loving.
The chief concern of the Jewish Book Council, however, as of
the National Jewish Welfare Board under whose auspices it func-
tions, must be the overwhelming majority of the five million who
wish to live a rich bi-cultural life as Americans and as Jews, who
wish to make their contribution to eternal human values right
here on the basis of their Americanism and Jewishness. By means
of Jewish Book Month, Jewish publications, and program aids to
Jewish community centers, synagogues, and other organizations,
the Jewish Book Council will continue to stimulate Jewish crea-
tiveness in thought and word, so tha t we may remain a wise and
articulate group in America.
On the three hundredth anniversary of the first settlement of
Jews in the United States, we stand at the apex of an uninterrupted
growth in numbers, in prestige, in affluence, and in influence.
We are presently experiencing the Golden Age of American Jewry.
This is one of those rare historic moments when the guardian of
our destiny puts our fate in our own hands and gives us the oppor­