Page 76 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 20

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F A N N Y G O L D S T E I N
1886-1961
B
y
C
h a r l e s
A
ngo f f
A
T noon on Wednesday, December 27, 1961 I arrived in
Boston on my way to Radcliffe College, in Cambridge,
Massachusetts. As always for the preceding twenty years, upon
my arrival I called up Fanny Goldstein’s home. The re was no
answer. I knew she had been at a hospital the past ten days,
bu t I had been led to believe she would be back when I called.
I waited an hour and called again. Still no answer. I rushed to
Cambridge for my 2
p
.
m
.
appointment. Two hours later I learned
from one of my sisters in Boston tha t at the very hou r of my
appointment, services were being conducted for Fanny Goldstein
at a chapel only a few blocks away. She had died the preceding
night, at the age of seventy-five.
I t is difficult for me, the beneficiary of so many kindnesses
from Miss Goldstein, to express the sense of sorrowing hollowness
tha t filled me when I heard of her death. She was in a very
true sense the conscience of Boston Jewry; the guide, protector
and adviser about Jewish subjects to a whole generation of
writers who hailed from Boston. But her importance to American
Jewry extends beyond the confines of tha t city. I t was national
and of historic proportions.
I t was she who sowed the seed idea for what la ter became
Jewish Book Month. In 1925, when she was branch lib rarian
of the West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, she
organized Jewish Book Week in Boston. Two years later Rabb i
S. Felix Mendelssohn of Chicago, deeply enamored of the idea,
urged tha t Jewish Book Week be made a national event. T h e
National Committee for Jewish Book Week was founded in
1940 with Miss Goldstein as its first chairman, and in 1943
Jewish Book Week was expanded in to Jewish Book Month.
Friend of the Jewish Book
Miss Goldstein actually had a dual career—as a professional
lib rarian and as a friend of the Jewish book. She was the first
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