Page 58 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
52
were encouraged to explore honestly the age-old questions of
Judaism in a modern context and to write their views frankly.
Mordecai M. Kaplan first formulated his position in the pages
of the
Journal;
Harry A. Wolfson, Horace M. Kallen and Morris
R. Cohen presented divergent interpretations of Spinoza’s
thought; George Foot Moore and Louis Ginzberg illuminated
traditional concepts of Judaism; and Israel Mattuck, James
Fiebelman and Waldo Frank probed the modern implications
of the Judaic conception of religion. Linked to these are superb
expositions of Jewish learning, for scholars were nudged and
cajoled into expressing themselves on living themes in lucid,
graceful English.
Finally, the future historian will consult the volumes of the
Journal
with admiration. It is a primary source for the life and
culture of a half century of Jewish life. One can discover in its
pages the emergence of that rare species, the literary Jewish
historian. I cite merely as a symbol the essays of Max L. Margolis,
Felix Perles, Cecil Roth, and Salo W. Baron, whose work was
introduced to the general public in the
Journal’s
columns. What-
ever the viewpoint or interests of the future historian may be,
he will find in the bound files of the
Journal
much to satisfy
his curiosity about the character of twentieth century American
Jews and their Gentile neighbors, from their follies and flum-
mery to their wiles and wisdom. He may smile at the passing
winds of doctrine that perplexed them and he may weep about
the realities that were part of their flesh and blood. He will
probably bless the fastidious and liberated minds who made
possible a publication for men and women who love knowledge
and beauty.
Influence of Henry Hurwi tz
Any account of the
Journal
would be incomplete without
mention of Henry Hurwitz who conceived and nurtured it and
served as its editor from beginning to end. It is a pity he could
not have survived another three years to celebrate the jubilee
of the publication. I came to know him when I was an under-
graduate and collaborated with him in many Menorah under-
takings—all of them pioneering—since the late twenties. He
possessed a cultivated mind and above all he was a man of taste
and imagination. By matchless editorial skill and boundless
devotion, often in the face of hostility on the part of the Jewish
Establishment, he made the
Journal
what he intended it to be
—a magazine of intellectual distinction and superior craftsman-
ship. His influence will abide in the one hundred and fifty-seven
issues of the
Journal
he bequeathed as the cultural inheritance of
American Jewry, and perhaps even more so in the periodicals
for which it serves as a model and in the men and women who
felt and thought with the
Menorah Journal
for two generations.