Page 56 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

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can serve as a directory of most of the leading writers, thinkers
and artists of that period.
Noteworthy is the editorial policy which was set forth in the
first issue of the
Journal:
. . . conceived as it is and nurtured as it must continue to be
in the spirit that gave birth to the Menorah idea,
Th e
Menorah Journal
is under compulsion to be absolutely non-
partisan, an expression of all that is best in Judaism and
not merely of some particular sect or school or locality or
group of special interests; promoting constructive thought
rather than aimless controversy; animated with the vitality
and enthusiasm of youth; harking back to the past that we
may deal more wisely with the present and the future;
recording and appreciating Jewish achievement, not to brag,
but to bestir ourselves to emulation and to deepen the
consciousness of
noblesse oblige;
striving always to be sane
and levelheaded; offering no opinions of its own, but provid-
ing an orderly platform for the discussion of mooted ques-
tions that really matter; dedicated first and foremost to the
fostering of the Jewish “humanities” and the furthering of
their influence as a spur to human service.
The excitement this original viewpoint engendered can be
followed in the lively correspondence between the editors and
contributors. The policy was adhered to and brought brilliant
results during most of the forty-seven year career of the pub-
lication.
A Forum for Jewish Issues
To begin with, the
Journal
became the forum for the critical
discussion of the public issues of world Jewry. During World
War I every important aspect of that catastrophe and its reper-
cussions on Jewish life was canvassed. For example, the complex
problem of nationality was crucial, and of course the question
of Jewish nationality figured in it. Thinkers like John Dewey,
Randolph S. Bourne, Israel Friedlander, Norman Hapgood,
David Lubin, Israel Zangwill, and Alfred E. Zimmern keenly
analyzed the problem and offered solutions. The issue is no
longer vital in the sixties, but the discussion of the analogous
question of self-determination has added nothing new to the
ideas expressed in the
Journal
in those days.
One of the major problems of the past five decades, and the
overriding problem of World War I, was Zionism and the hope
of a Jewish state in Palestine. True to its promise of being
non-partisan, the pros and cons of a Jewish state were debated
fully in the pages of the
Journal.
Men like Morris Jastrow
expressed criticism of the idea of a Jewish state; the program of