Page 397 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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fort, Louis Falstein, Louis Golding, Solomon Grayzel, Shlomo
Katz, Alfred Kazin, Millard Lampell, Meyer Levin, Sol Liptzin,
Marvin Lowenthal, Zelda Popkin, Maurice Samuel, A. Alan Stein-
bach, Trude Weiss-Rosmarin and Louis Zara. An overflow audi-
ence comprised of people representing the leadership of Jewish
communities expressed keen interest in the proceedings.
Another significant conference was convened by the Council
on December 3, 1956. Attended by lay and professional representa-
tives of twenty national Jewish organizations, publishers and book
dealers, this conference considered ways and means of alerting
the Jewish community to the vast available Jewish literature and
to stimulate the reading and acquiring of Jewish books.
The foremost American Jewish scholars and literary figures have
graced the platform as guest speakers at the Council's annual
meetings. Among them were such personalities as Salo W. Baron,
Simon Halkin, Abraham J. Heschel, Mordecai M. Kaplan, Ludwig
Lewisohn, Marvin Lowenthal, Sh. Niger, Harry M. Orlinsky,
Isaac Bashevis Singer, Maurice Samuel, Eisig Silberschlag and
Leo W. Schwarz, among others. On occasion the annual meetings
featured symposia dealing with subjects like “ Jewish Publishers
Meet the Jewish Community,” “The Jewish Book in America”
and “The Challenge to the Jewish Author.”
Literary Awards
The Council’s program of presenting awards at the annual meet-
ings to authors of Jewish books, instituted in 1948, is the most
continuous project of this nature in the United States. Designed
to give recognition to outstanding writers, to stimulate others to
further literary creativity and to encourage the reading of worth-
while books, the awards exercise a significant influence in the
furtherance of American Jewish cultural life. On rare occasions
the judges of a particular award exercised their prerogative to
withhold the award when, in their discretion, they did not find
a meritorious book. However, Jewish literature on the American
scene has been sufficiently vibrant and vital to enable the judges
generally to make their choice from a number of qualifying books.
There are some variations in the rules governing each award
category, but the judges are guided by these general principles in
arriving at their decision: authors must be residents or citizens
of the United States or Canada; the book must be published dur-
ing the preceding calendar year, although some awards are pre-
sented for the cumulative contributions of an author; unless it
appears to the judges so clearly the most distinguished work of
its category as to admit no other truly satisfactory choice, a book