Page 55 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

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T H E M E N O R A H J O U R N A L
By L eo
W.
S
c h w a r z
F
or
several
decades the appearance of
The Menorah Journal
was a literary event. Among the magazines of Jewish interest
published in the United States or abroad between World War I
and World War II, there was none that compared with it in
intellectual fiber or literary distinction. In a way, the passing
of the
Journal
in 1962 can be regarded as signaling the close of
a cultural epoch in the Jewish American community.
The
Journal
appeared in January, 1915, as an organ of the
Intercollegiate Menorah Association, but its origin was closely
linked to the students who founded the Harvard Menorah Society
in 1906 “for the study of Hebraic culture and ideals.” Among
the founders and early members were Henry Hurwitz, Horace
M. Kallen, and Harry A. Wolfson. As the Menorah idea spread
to other campuses and joined other Jewish student societies to
form the Intercollegiate Association in 1913, other names later
to be associated with the
Journal
came to the fore, notably Hyman
Askowith, Marvin Lowenthal, and I. Leo Sharfman. A glance
at the index of a booklet entitled
The Menorah Movemen t
(1914)
reveals the names of many who distinguished themselves later
in the Jewish community and in the academic and intellectual
life of the country. At any rate, by the time the
Journal
was
launched the Menorah movement had many achievements to
its credit and its activities were encouraged by communal and
academic lights, both Jewish and Gentile. Among the contri-
butors to the first four issues of the
Journal
in 1915 were Louis
D. Brandeis, William Ellery Leonard, Harry A. Wolfson, Max
L. Margolis, Joseph Jacobs, Solomon Schechter, Israel Zangwill,
Horace M. Kallen, G. Stanley Hall, Jacob H. Schiff, Charles W.
Eliot, Marvin Lowenthal, Mordecai M. Kaplan, Israel Fried-
lander, Sir William Osier, and Irving Lehman. Most of them
were already famed scholars and men of letters; others like
Kaplan, Lowenthal, and Wolfson were fledgling writers who
were introduced for the first time. In later issues scores of fresh
talents in the field of literature, scholarship and the arts from
America and abroad—by way of token Cecil Roth, Lionel Trilling
and Meyer Levin may be mentioned—were given a public. Indeed,
the combined table of contents of the
Journal
from 1915 to 1962
4 9