Page 120 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 22

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114
J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
have turned out. He once wrote in another context that one
“cannot have both a mission and popularity unless one’s sole
mission is to be popular.”
Maurice Samuel has had a mission. “I confess to more than a
literary weakness for my Jewish books,” he once wrote, “and
if I ’ve done something of permanent value in
Th e World of
Sholom Aleichem, Prince of the Ghetto,
it means much more
to me than any number of
Webs,
etc.” And does any people
cherish and honor its literary heroes more intensely than do we
Jews? Is one guaranteed a more certain immortality if one
figures in the history of American literature rather than in the
history of Jewish literature? Among
us
—and
where
would he
rather be?—Maurice Samuel as teacher, expounder and inter­
preter, as committed Jew who has carried the burden of the
Covenant and borne the yoke of learning, will always have a
sure niche.