Page 388 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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e w i s h
o o k
n n u a l
is the Sunday preceding Hanukkah or the first day of Hanukkah
if it falls on a Sunday; the
day of the month is thirty days
earlier, which is on a Friday.
Thus the initiative taken by Miss Goldstein in Boston and the
momentum provided by Rabbi Mendelsohn of Chicago resulted
in an expanded program. However, the major impetus in pro-
moting the Week came from the Boston Jewish Book Week Com-
mittee which was organized in 1930 and functioned actively for
nearly three decades. With the full cooperation of the Boston
Public Library and a handful of prominent Jews, and with the
dynamic leadership of Fanny Goldstein, a wide variety of Jewish
book events was presented not only during the Week but also
throughout the year.
One of the earliest recorded Jewish Book Week programs was
held on Lag ba-Omer, May 8, 1928, at a public library in Mil-
waukee, Wisconsin, with Rabbi Mendelsohn as the guest lecturer
on “The Jew and His Relation to the Book.”
Since the early 1930s the National Jewish Welfare Board stim-
ulated the conduct of Jewish Book Week activity among its con-
stituent societies. Its records reveal that in 1936 the YM &YWHA
of Pittsburgh introduced Jewish Book Week and enlisted the
cooperation of all Jewish cultural agencies in the community as
well as the Carnegie Library and local book shops. The follow-
ing year the YM & YWHA of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and the Jewish
Community Center of Port Chester, N.Y., conducted elaborate
In 1940, recognizing that Jewish Book Week had outgrown
its local bounds, Miss Goldstein organized a National Committee
for Jewish Book Week and served as its first chairman with head-
quarters in her office at the West End Branch of the Boston Public
Library. She soon sensed that the project she carried on almost
singlehandedly with limited support could be more effectively
conducted if its headquarters were in New York in the offices
of a national organization, and at her urging Dr. Mordecai Soltes,
director of Jewish extension education of the National Jewish
Welfare Board, accepted the chairmanship in 1942.
In 1933 Dr. A. A. Roback took to task the Boston Jewish Book
Week Committee, of which he was a member, for not including
Yiddish literature in a program held at the central public library
(Curiosities of Y iddish L itera ture ,
Cambridge, 1933, p. 151). It
was not until 1942, however, that the National Committee con-
vened a conference of representatives of Yiddish cultural organi-
zations which resulted in their active partcipation. Consultations
followed with spokesmen of the Hebrew organizations that re-
suited also in their involvement.