Page 403 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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G o o dm a n — C h r o n i c l e o f J e w i s h B o o k C o u n c i l
383
In Jewish Bookland
is the only periodical which attempts to
review all the English books of Jewish interest published in this
country, as well as selected Hebrew and Yiddish books. It has
received wide acclaim from those interested in Jewish books and
is being used as a guide for the selection of books both by indi-
viduals and by institutional libraries.
During the past fifteen years three questionnaire inquiries
were distributed to ascertain opinions of the usefulness of
In
Jewish Bookland.
In general the response was overwhelmingly
favorable. One analysis indicated that a comparatively small frac-
tion of respondents desired fewer but longer book reviews, but a
considerably larger proportion voiced a preference for more and
shorter reviews. The latest study in 1959 was of a ten percent
sampling of
The JWB Circle’s
mailing list. Close to 72% of those
who responded stated that they read
In Jewish Bookland. 96%
of the rabbis who received the periodical read it. In response to
the request for suggestions, most of the respondents expressed
satisfaction with the book supplement as it is. A number offered
suggestions for change in format and typography, subject matter,
and contents. The majority returned favorable, sometimes even
enthusiastic, comments.
Publications
The pattern of the Council’s publications program first took
shape under the initiative of its precursor, the National Com-
mittee for Jewish Book Week. Actually, the first publication
specifically geared to this event—
Suggestive Ma teria l for the Ob-
seruance of Jewish Book Week,
compiled and issued by Fanny
Goldstein—appeared in 1939. Its eighty mimeographed pages con-
sisted of articles on authors and sundry subjects. The following
year Miss Goldstein, now chairman of the National Committee
for Jewish Book Week, compiled another book with the same
title featuring articles and poems on Jewish booklore, essays on
literary anniversaries including the 500th year of printing and
the 900th birthday of Rashi, and a listing of “Recent Books for
Jewish Children.” While all the material was reprinted from
various sources with the exception of the book list compiled by
Miss Goldstein, this work may well be considered the forerunner
of the
Jewish Book Annual
which still features literary anni-
versaries and bibliographies.
When Dr. Mordecai Soltes assumed the chairmanship of the
National Committee, he prepared a
Jewish Book Week Manual
of Suggestions
(1941) that included an historical review of Jew-
ish Book Week, a section on program suggestions, and six bio-
graphical sketches of literary personalities whose anniversaries