Page 134 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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Apart from its historic and continuing efforts to stimulate
Jewish cultural activity and programming, JWB has itself been
giving recognition to Jewish cultural creativity. One of the three
annual Frank L. Weil Awards given by JWB honors outstanding
figures in the world of Jewish culture. Since these awards were
established in 1951 the following have been honored for “distin-
guished contribution to the advancement of American Jewish
culture”: Dr. Mordecai M. Kaplan, Maurice Samuel, Dr. Oscar I.
Janowsky, Dr. Salo W. Baron, Dr. Jacob R. Marcus, Dr. Ernest
Bloch, Dr. Solomon Grayzel, Dr. Horace A. Kallen. Dr. Harry M.
Orlinsky, Dr. A. W. Binder, Halpern Leivick, Dr. Harry A.
Wolfson, Prof. Abraham J. Heschel, Dr. Abram L. Sachar and
Leonard Bernstein.
JWB has also furthered local Jewish cultural programming
through a series of national conferences aimed at giving local
Center program directors new skills in the effective use of Jew-
ish literature, drama, art and music. In 1957 the Jewish Book
Council joined forces with the Herzl Institute in sponsoring the
first national conference on Jewish writing. This meeting brought
together an impressive array of authors, novelists, historians,
editors and publishers to assay the state of Jewish writing in
America.
In 1959 JWB gave new impetus to the Centers’ concern for
Jewish values by holding a special national conference on the
subject. Three years later it conducted a national conference
on the development of Jewish cultural arts in the Centers. In
1966 a more ambitious conference was held to assist Centers in
intensifying Jewish cultural creativity and programming through
the arts. These efforts had a far-reaching effect, as is evident from
the fact that so many Centers now conduct a wide variety of
Jewish cultural enterprises, ranging from Yiddish theatre com-
panies to classes in Jewish art and Jewish drama. One Center
has added to its staff a Yiddish poet-in-residence. Two others
launched Jewish literary journals. Simultaneously, the number
of Centers commissioning Jewish works of art in the form of
paintings, sculpture, and murals as integral elements of their
buildings grew rapidly while many Centers began to assemble
permanent collections of Jewish art works.
The changing character of Jewish military personnel in the
U.S. Armed Forces at home and abroad opened the way for the
Jewish chaplains to develop extensive Jewish cultural activities
for their GI congregants and their families. In 1964 JWB’s Com-
mission on Jewish Chaplaincy made educational history with
the publication of the first standardized religious school cur-
riculum for GIs’ children. A decade later this was updated and
supplemented with material for adult classes and courses. Today's