Page 86 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 14

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JEWISH LITERARY ANNIVERSARIES
1956-1957
By
H e r b e r t
C.
Z a f r e n
T
HE word “ literary,” especially among Jews, embraces a whole
range of activity beyond belletristic literature. Consequently,
any list of literary anniversaries is almost inclusive of general
anniversaries too. Thus, completeness cannot be aimed at here;
but the compiler admits that he has made an effort to include
lesser-known persons on the assumption that these, rather than
the very famous, might be overlooked.
Three institutions of world renown — and of distinctly different
types — celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their establishment
in the period under review. Dropsie College of Philadelphia, with
its emphasis upon and publications in various fields of Jewish
scholarship, was the subject of an article in the
Jewish Book Annual
for 1955-56. The American Jewish Committee, founded in 1906
to protect the religious rights of Jews, has sponsored many studies
on the life of Jews in various communities, has developed a fine
library, published
Commentary
and other journals, and has had a
large part in the annual
American Jewish Yearbook
, an indispen-
sable Jewish reference tool. The Bezalel School in Jerusalem,
founded as a school of industrial art by Boris Schatz, has been the
focus of Jewish and Israeli art for many years.
Two hundred years ago, in Kamenets-Podolski, there was a
public burning of the Talmud in consequence of a disputation
between the Frankists (mystic messianists who followed in the
wake of Shabbethai Zevi) and the Talmudists. Bishop Dembowski
ordered the burning when he sided with the Frankists.
A hundred years later, in 1857, Samuel M. Isaacs founded in
New York the very important weekly
Jewish Messenger
which
continued through 1902, when it merged with the
American
Hebrew.
In the same year Moses Polock, uncle of A. S. W. Rosen-
bach, printed the first collected edition of Charles Brockden
Brown, the first professional American novelist.
In 1881, Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, died. Disraeli
had written only one book dealing exclusively with a Jewish
subject,
The Wondrous Tale of Alroy;
but he deals with Jewish
characters and subjects in
Coningsby
,
Tancred
, and others. In the
same year, Berthold Auerbach, characterized as a “German poet
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