Page 124 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

Basic HTML Version

e w i s h
o o k
n n u a l
and also the subject most congenial to him because of his
associations in government service: “Jews in the Diplomatic
Correspondence of the United States.” In a sense, the entire
series of the
Publ icat ions of the American Jewish His torical
symbolize Dr. Adler’s contributions to the development
of American Jewish historical literature.
The limitations of the Historical Society’s program led Dr.
Adler to join the editorial board of the
American Hebrew
as a
more popular organ for the dissemination of his ideas on the
future of a Jewish cultural renaissance in the United States. It
was his conviction that the future of Jewish learning and scholar-
ship was destined to center in the English-speaking world.
Through the columns of the
American Hebrew ,
he pleaded with
American Jews to share his dreams for a future cultural renais-
sance. He appealed for the establishment of a Jewish Academy
of America. Many sceptics and men of little faith scoffed at, and
belittled the visions of this dreamer. Those of us who are still
pleading for a Jewish cultural renaissance on these shores, with
greater hope of fulfillment, may well look back upon Cyrus
Adler as herald and harbinger of the days to come. The ‘Jewish
Academy’ was stifled before it was born, but years later it came
to life in the birth of the Dropsie College, which closely
approximated in its original form the program conceived by
Dr. Adler for the Academy.
Visionary and Scientist
Dr. Adler was a man of vision but free from the vagaries of
a visionary. He was a scientist at heart. By creating the
Jewish Year Book
as an annual publication of the Jewish Pub-
lication Society, he laid the foundations for a scientific appraisal
of the social problems of the changing Jewish society at the
turn of the 19th Century. He set the pattern for the
Year Book
which has been followed annually to this day—in recent years,
under the joint auspices of the Publication Society and the
American Jewish Committee. It has become the repository of
authoritative statistical and sociological information regarding
the Jewish population in America, its growth and distribution,
and the facts of Jewish organizational life in philanthropy,
religion, and economic status. The
Year Book
also collects signi-
ficant data affecting Jews in other lands throughout the world,
their communal life and political status. To set the pattern of
Year Book
firmly, Adler personally served as the editor of
the first five volumes and continued as co-editor with Henrietta
Szold for the sixth and seventh volumes. As a footnote it may
be cited that when a subsequent editor, the celebrated historian
and literateur Joseph Jacobs, died in 1916, Dr. Adler finished