Page 11 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 3

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press in this country. I t is, indeed, a significant milestone in the
development of Jewish periodical literature in America. Throughout
these many decades the Yiddish dailies have rendered a highly
important service in interpreting and adjusting their immigrant
readers to the complex American environment, and vice versa.
They have also served as a potent influence in elevating the
cultural taste and level of their reading clientele. One of the
distinguishing characteristics of the Yiddish press is its practice
of devoting an unusually large proportion of its space to solid
reading material such as does not normally find its way into the
average daily newspaper, but which goes rather into the American
magazine or literary journal. In fact, a scientific study of the
contents of seventeen daily papers in New York, English and
foreign language, conducted by Columbia University students
in sociology, established that the Yiddish newspapers are not
only conveyors of news but rank the highest in the amount of
space devoted to cultural items. The columns of these newspapers
have afforded outlets to talented Yiddish writers the world over,
some of whom gained prominence through this literary medium.
Little wonder, then, that the Yiddish press has been most re-
sponsive and helpful in enlisting the interest of its reading public
in the Jewish book enterprise.
The Jewish Book Council is deeply indebted to the authors,
compilers and editors who gave unstintingly of their time and
talents in planning this yearbook and in preparing the articles
and bibliographies. The material in the current Annual is rich
and diversified in character. Notwithstanding the slender thread
of unity running through it, the three Sections do have unique
complexions of their own, reflecting the distinctive interests and
atmosphere of the creative spirits who labor ceaselessly in these
literary vineyards. All together constitute a fertile source for
material and suggestions for Jewish book celebrations, of which
persons concerned will readily avail themselves.
Throughout the centuries Jewish tradition assigned a place of
honor to learning, which was prized above all possessions. Distinc-
tions resulting from birth and wealth faded into insignificance
when compared with the high regard in which the man of learning
was held. I t is the firm resolve of the Jewish Book Council to
recapture some of that old spirit of eagerness for and reverential
esteem of knowledge, to inculcate in the growing Jewish generation
a loftier sense of values. It is our belief that by reprojecting
this traditional guiding ideal of the aristocracy of learning, we
contribute towards the revitalization of Judaism and, at the
same time, render our country an enduring service.