Page 9 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

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S
t e in b a c h
— I
ntro duc t io n
organizations here and abroad, through its library citations and
its distribution of pamphlets and program materials reported by
Rabbi Philip Goodman elsewhere in this volume, the Council
has steadily expanded the frontiers of its cultural microcosm.
A paramount consequence of the Council’s all-inclusive appeal
to its Yiddish, Hebrew and English constituent elements, is the
cohesion resulting from the participation of disparate cultural
and religious groups in a common effort which makes for unity
amidst diversity. This points up the basic oneness which should
be the lodestar of Jewish culture. Divisions and differences in
philosophies, in ideologies, and in language exist among us.
This is inevitable and indeed desirable since most of the national
Jewish cultural organizations are represented on our roster.
But whatever divergencies prevail are neutralized through
emphasis on the fundamental values Jews cherish as vital to
the preservation of our cultural heritage. Such a policy con-
tributes to Jewish solidarity, a pressing desideratum in con-
temporary Jewish life. This solidarity is, however, not to be
equated with cultural uniformity. The unity envisioned here
is the multi-threaded tapestry woven on the loom of Jewish
cultural pluralism.
I ll
Volume 23 of the
Jewish Book Annual
continues the trilingual
pattern of English, Yiddish and Hebrew, thereby enhancing
its value as a link in the chain of Jewish cultural tradition.
It demonstrates that Jewish writers are creating uninterruptedly
in these media, and there is considerable evidence that their
works are reaching an ever growing reading public. While the
overall productivity can hardly be categorized as a literary re-
vival, its significant contribution to Jewish cultural survival
cannot be gainsaid.
Unfortunately, there are areas of sterility, as in Soviet Russia,
where it becomes increasingly more difficult for Jews to keep
body and soul intact. But even in our contemporary age there
is validity in the ancient rabbinic dictum: Whenever the sun
sets upon the Jew in one land, he witnesses the sunrise in
another. The resurgence of literary activity in Israel, in South
America, and to some extent in the United States, is a hope-
ful augury that the wings which have fallen from the Jewish
genius may yet be restored. The mere thought of an arid, desic-
eating culture in Jewish life drives the Jewish psyche into exile.
Pinchas Lapide’s “Books in the Land of the Book,” Goodman’s
“The Jews in Russia,” and Ribalow’s “Historical Fiction on
Jewish Themes,” together with the bibliographies of new books—