Page 97 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 27

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G
ordis
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le x an d er
A
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te in ba ch
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ward unity. The rabbi, the educator, the communal leader, are
not disparate elements but embodiments of a life-long goal to
unite Israel with mankind and mankind with God through the
ideals and wisdom of Torah. His life-work is well summarized in
the injunction of our Sages, “Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving
peace and pursuing peace, loving all God’s creatures and bring­
ing them closer to the Torah.”
The unique and crowning glory of Rabbi Steinbach’s career is
his genuine poetic gift. He is a poet
behesed elyon
whose writings,
both in prose and in verse, testify to the truth of John Keats’
affirmation:
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,
That is all ye know on earth
And all ye need to know.
Both these attributes find expression in his poetry, collected in
two volumes,
Bitter-Sweet
and
When Dreamers Build,
which
reveal a substantial talent that fellow-craftsmen have recognized.
He collaborated in the definitive volume of translations into
English of the Hebrew poems of Hayyim Nahman Bialik, edited
by Israel Efros.
The Jewish tradition calls upon man, who is created in the
image of God, to imitate his Maker. Rabbi Johanan declares,
“Wherever you see God’s greatness, there you see His humility.”
Humility, the most engaging of all human qualities, and inci­
dentally the only one which we cannot be commanded to cultivate,
adds the ultimate mark of distinction to this extraordinary human
being, who, like all truly great men, is greater even than his finest
achievements.
Alan Steinbach’s career demonstrates that involvement in the
world of practical affairs need not shut out the still small voice
of the creative spirit, be he an artist, a scholar, or a thinker. Like
many of the greatest sons of his people, Moses, Isaiah, Hillel,
Akiba, Saadia, or Maimonides, in whose footsteps he has walked,
Alan Steinbach never immured himself in an ivory tower of isola­
tion, remote from the concerns and tribulations of his people.
At the same time, he has always kept a private chamber within
him sacred to the call of his spirit.
Many high and deserved honors have come to him during his
career. He has served as President both of the New York Board of
Rabbis and of the Brooklyn Board of Rabbis. He has headed the
Jewish Book Council of America and is now editor of the
Jewish
Book Annual
since 1956 and of
In Jewish Bookland
since 1962.
He has been a member of the board of many charitable, cultural
and civic agencies, both in the Jewish and the general community.