Page 9 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 29

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3
S
te inbach
— I
ntroduction
nating account of the long neglected Indian Jews regarding whom
there is a paucity of information, is the third in his series initiated
in volume 27. There he wrote about “The Literary Heritage of
the Persian Speaking Jews,” and in volume 28 about “The Lit-
erary Creativity of the Jews of Cochin on the Malabar Coast.”
In the latter he records the literary output of the Cochin Jews
struggling through many centuries for Jewish survival in that
area of southwestern India.
Likewise, “The Library and Archives of the Leo Baeck Insti-
tute in New York,” by Max Kreutzberger, is the twelfth in the
series which began in volume 15 with a paper on “Libraries in
Israel.” The following libraries were described in subsequent
volumes: 18, “On Community Libraries”; 20, “The Hebrew
Union College Library”; 21, “The Library of the Jewish Theo-
logical Seminary of America”; 22, “The Mendel Gottesman
Library of Yeshiva University”; 23, “The Jewish Division of the
New York Public Library”; 24, “The Library of the Dropsie
College”; 25, The Y I V O Library”; 26, “The Judaica Collection
at Harvard”; 27, “The Jewish Studies Collection at UCLA”; 28,
“Library of the American Jewish Historical Society.”
Dr. Sol Liptzin, founder of our Jerusalem branch of the Jew-
ish Book Council, authored four articles for successive volumes
of the
Annual
: 18, “Yiddish Drama: A Century’s Survey” ; 19,
“The Yiddish Press: A Century’s Survey”; 20, Yiddish Lyrics: A
Century’s Survey”; 21, “Yiddish Fiction: A Century's Survey.”
These were followed by his “Yiddish Literature in Israel,” in
volume 23.
Our adherence to this strand of unity is further illustrated by
Dr. Charles Berlin’s article in this volume, “Jewish Bibliographic
Journals,” as a sequitur to his “Israeli Periodicals: A Review
of the Contemporary Scene,” in volume 28, and his “The Israel
PL-480 Program, 1964-1969: A Review,” in the 27th volume.
I l l
Books are the systole and the diastole of the Jewish cultural
heart. Ever since his ancestor Job uttered his
cri de profundis,
“Oh that my words were now written; oh that they were inscribed
in a book!” the Jew venerated books and the word
sefer
has come
to play a central role in the Hebrew vocabulary. Solomon Feffer
has pointed out
(Jewish Book Annual,
Vol. 19) that some form
of
sefer
occurs 182 times in the Bible, and that a long list of
meanings have proliferated from its root letters,
samekh, pe, resh.
Indeed, in our Hebrew cosmos, books were like meteors diffusing
light across the firmament of our cultural existence.