Page 11 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 16

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INTRODUCTION
By
A
lex an d er
A
l a n
S
t e in b a c h
T
h e TRILINGUAL PATTERN of this volume reHects, in
a sense, the format recorded in the Talmud
(Shabbat
88a):
“Blessed be the Merciful One who gave a three-fold Torah
(Pentateuch, Prophets, Hagiographa) to a three-fold people
(Priests, Levites, Israelites).” If we accept the broad connotation
of Torah as Jewish culture, Volume 16 of the
Jewish Book
Annual,
in utilizing English, Hebrew and Yiddish as its literary
media, conforms to the three-divisional structure set forth in the
Talmud. It is enheartening that the Jewish Book Council of
America has been creating such an
Annual
over a period approach-
ing two decades, and we who offer this latest link in that literary
chain humbly express the prayer: Blessed be the Merciful One
who has permitted us to make this contribution to the cultural
legacy of our people.
A section of this volume is dedicated to the Tenth Anniversary
of Israel. Despite an agonizing and convulsive decade that saw
her frontiers violated, her citizens ambushed and her independ-
ence gravely threatened, Israel not only demonstrated to the
world her capacity to defend herself militarily, but also proved
that her creative literary acumen was not blunted by centuries
of homelessness. The spiritual center envisioned by Ahad Ha’am
three-quarters of a century ago is now in the process of fulfillment.
The
Am Ha-sefer
is vindicating the cultural stewardship assigned
to it by history. If evidence be needed to substantiate the renais-
sance taking place in Israel, it may be adduced from the significant
fact that fourteen daily newspapers, more than sixty periodicals
and some thousand new Hebrew books are being published there
annually. Just as Isaac reopened the wells clogged by the Philis-
tines after the death of Abraham, so the modern descendants of
Abraham in Israel are swelling the streams of creativity in the
land of their fathers.
Thanks to the cooperation of the Israel Office of Information
in New York, the following articles were written for this
Annual
by Israeli writers: “Yiddish Literature and Culture in Israel”
by Mordecai Jaffe (in Yiddish), “Modern Hebrew Prose” by
Joseph Lichtenbaum (in Hebrew), “Eliezer ben Yehudah” by
Professor Joseph Klausner (in Hebrew and in English transla-
tion), “S. J. Agnon at Seventy” by Professor Shimon Halkin
(in Hebrew and in English translation).
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