Page 9 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

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3
S
t e in b a c h
— I
n t r o d u c t io n
crown of priesthood and the crown of royalty; but “the
keter
Torah ,
crown of culture is available to all." Is our modern
generation
deserving
of this crown? Is the dynamic of Jewish
culture a viable force in contemporary Jewish life? Or are we
surrendering by default our time-honored appellation “People
of the Book”?
The fifteenth anniversary of the State of Israel this year brings
into focus our editorial policy to maintain, wherever feasible, a
pattern of literary continuity in the
Jewish Book Annual .
For
example, in Volume 16, a section of which was dedicated to the
tenth anniversary of Israel, four articles appeared by distin-
guished Israeli writers. Each succeeding Annual, including Vol-
ume 21, contains one or more articles on some facet of Jewish
cultural activity in Israel.
Th is pattern of continuity emerges also in a series of historic
studies by Dr. Sol Liptzin: in Vol 18—“Yiddish Drama, A Cen-
tury’s Survey”; in Vol. 19—“The Yiddish Press, A Century's
Survey”; in Vol. 20—“Yiddish Lyrics, A Century’s Survey”; in
the present Vol. 21—“Yiddish Fiction, A Century’s Survey.”
The rest of the articles speak for themselves. We must, how-
ever, regretfully confess to a sense of sadness in recording the
demise of the
Menorah Journal.
A dreary vacuum is induced
by the knowledge that this eloquent voice of Jewish culture has
been stilled. Our colleague Leo W. Schwarz, who edited the
valedictory issue, relates the story of the Journal elsewhere in
this volume.
I l l
Four memorial encomiums are melancholy reminders of the
irreparable losses Jewry has sustained in the past year. Yudel
Mark has tenderly eulogized H. Leivick, acclaimed one of our
greatest Yiddish poets, winner of the JWB Frank L. Weil Cul-
tural Award in 1960. Dr. Eisig Silberschlag has penned a touch-
ing panegyric in memory of E. E. Lisitzky, one of our foremost
American Hebrew poets and winner in 1954 and in 1961 of the
Kovner Hebrew poetry award. Israel Knox has paid tribute to
Benjamin J. Bialostotzky, renowned poet and essayist, winner
in 1959 of the Kovner Yiddish poetry award. Solomon Kerstein
has memorialized Rabbi Judah Leib Maimon, a signatory to
Israel’s Declaration of Independence whose spiritual and cultural
activities greatly enriched the Yishuv.
God’s finger touched them gently and they went to sleep.
Tennyson must have had such as these in mind when he wrote:
Death has made
His darkness beauti ful wi th thee.