Page 7 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 19

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B y A
l an
te in bagh
CCORDING to Publishers’ Weekly, 15 ,012 books were pub­
lished in the United States in 1960. Of this number,
approximately 436 (which is a conservative minimum) were
Jewish books: 250 English Judaica, 134 Hebrew volumes, and
52 Yiddish books. Numerically this seems to be a modest con­
tribution, and so it is, but the quantitative criterion does not
relate the complete story of the Jewish book.
Two factors stand out in a discussion of the Jewish book. First,
it transcends geographical and national boundaries (the Ta lmud
Babli, to cite a classic example, originated in Babylon, a foreign
country to the Jew). Secondly, Jewish writing has seldom been
mono-lingual, as the tri-lingual pattern of this Jewish Book
Annua l demonstrates. Dr. Harry M. Orlinsky, in his com­
mencement address in 1957 at the Hebrew Teachers College
in Boston, pointed out: “It would appear to be a historical fact
that the Jewish people throughout its history was a two language
people, Hebrew and Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek, Hebrew and
Arabic, Hebrew and Yiddish, Hebrew and a Western European
language, Hebrew and English.”
Accordingly, the status of the Jewish book must be viewed
from a broad perspective, in terms of its multi-lingual potential,
and encompassing all countries where Jewish communities are
to be found.
America and England are not lagging in their annual output
of Jewish books. But Israel is the principal locale for Jewish
writing today, and the predominant language is, of course,
Hebrew. Last year 120 new books in Hebrew were published for
children alone. The literary fecundity of the young State is show­
ing quickened vigor and increasing characteristics of “manhood”
in this, its bar mitzvah year. This conclusion finds support in the
observation by the Saturday Review, “There are more bookstores
in Israel, per capita, than in almost any other country, especially
Reports received by the Jewish Book Council reveal an ac­
celerated output of Jewish books also in other countries. An
increase in the annual production is noted in South America
(see Moshe Senderey’s “Selected Yiddish Books in Latin Amer­