Page 230 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

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subjects. From the historical perspective this Jewish literary
productivity is quite remarkable considering that it was all ac-
complished within the past eighty years.
Recent years have witnessed a definite spurt in the publication
of Jewish books. It is no longer true, as was formerly the case,
that general publishers are reluctant to handle books of Jewish
interest. A perusal of publishers catalogues or of the bibliogra-
phies in the
Jewish Book Annual
will reveal that the majority
of Jewish books in English are now being issued by general
publishers. This awakened interest derives from several factors:
a deeper Jewish consciousness aroused by the Nazi destruc-
tion of European Jewry; Jewish pride in and Gentile curiosity
about the development of the State of Israel; the marked growth
of local Jewish organizations, and the energetic activity during
the annual observance of Jewish Book Month throughout the
country.
Ludwig Lewisohn in a survey of American Jewish literature
published in the
Jewish Book Annual
in 1950 wrote: “Given
the character and history of American writing within which
American Jews have had to work, we have not done ill either
qualitatively or quantitatively. This is not the place to institute
the comparison with what other Jewries in other lands have
accomplished in literature in the twentieth century.. . We
tower above the Jewries of both England and France. We have
not been sterile or inactive. We have made a more than honor-
able showing.” If Lewisohn, a keen literary critic, felt justified
in making this observation fifteen years ago, it can be under-
scored today.
We would like to believe that some of this progressive ad-
vance in the creation and production of Jewish books may
be credited, at least in some measure, to the year round program
of the Jewish Book Council of America.
Jewish Book M on th
“A Jewish Library in Every Jewish Home” was the theme
of the 21st annual Jewish Book Month observed throughout the
country from October 29th to November 29th, 1964, under
the auspices of the Jewish Book Council. The theme was well
received and the subject of numerous editorials and articles
as well as the keynote of programs by local organizations. Rabbi
Gilbert Klaperman, the Council’s president, reported that over
2,000 groups in all parts of the country participated in Jewish
Book Month programs. These included book fairs, dramatiza-
tions, lectures, forums, panel discussions, exhibits, children’s
events, radio and television programs and book reviews.