Page 11 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

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5
S
t e in b a c h
— I
ntro duct io n
the ecclesiastical censors or of the governing secular authorities.
It will probably surprise many, after reading Dr. Charles
Berlin’s “Israeli Periodicals—A Review of the Contemporary
Scene,” to learn that “It would be a reasonably accurate estimate
that there are well over a thousand periodicals being published
in Israel today.” “The Literary Creativity of the Jews of Cochin
on the Malabar Coast” is the second of a series of essays to be
authored by Dr. Walter J. Fischel; the first appeared in Vol. 27
under the title, “The Literary Heritage of the Persian Speaking
Jews.” The present essay records the literary output of erudite
Jews of Cochin during several centuries of heroic struggle for
Jewish survival in that area of southwestern India.
Professor Sidney L. Berger’s absorbing and informative article,
“The Jew in Recent Drama: A Question of Recognition,”
explores two significant facets: (1) Plays by white playwrights
about Jews, depicting their feverish search for ethnic and religious
identity, and (2) plays by Negro playwrights utilizing Jewish char
acters to point up the black man’s problems of racial identity and
his search for human dignity. Itzhak Ivry’s memorial tribute to
Yehuda Burla as “The novelist who opened windows to the
Orient,” provides another vehicle to transport the reader to the
Far East.
Books are the principal repository in the treasure house of our
people’s organic culture. They are the metronome that marks the
heartbeat of the Jewish psyche, the meter and rhythm of the
Jewish mind, the ebb and flow of Jewish thought. They are gems
in the crown of our intellectual kingdom. Therefore, especially
noteworthy are the seven bibliographies that constitute the granary
which houses the 1969-1970 literary harvest gleaned in the past
year: American Jewish Non-Fiction Books; American Jewish Fie-
tion Books; American Jewish Juvenile Books; American Hebrew
Books; Yiddish Books; Anglo-Jewish Books, and Selected Books
of Israel. These add up to a barometer by which we may measure
Jewish activity in the field of letters.
IV
Sorrowfully, we add three names to our necrology roster: Shmuel
Yosef Agnon, Nelly Sachs and Solomon Kerstein. Agnon and
Miss Sachs, co-winners in 1966 of the Nobel Prize for Literature,
were honored with appropriate resolutions at the annual meeting
of the Jewish Book Council of America in May, 1967. The reso-
lutions were published in volume 25 of the
Jewish Book Annual,
and copies both of the resolutions and of the
Annual
were pre-
sented to Agnon in Israel and to Miss Sachs in Stockholm. Solomon
Kerstein was present at the annual meeting; and now to these