Page 67 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 3

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SURVEY OF THE JEWISH PRESS
By
J
acob
S.
M
i n k i n
The tone and color of the multi-faceted American-Jewish
scene is perhaps best reflected in its tri-lingual press. A survey of
scores of publications in Hebrew, Yiddish and English, entering
thousands of Jewish homes, would reveal scores of writers whose
contributions, in verse and prose, constitute a prime and vital
factor of Jewish cultural life in America.
The current Jewish scene is discussed with expert knowledge;
spiritual, social, political, and economic trends are analyzed
with insight; literary and intellectual values are appraised with
perspective and perspicacity.
I t must be admitted, however, that not all that is finest in
the American Jewish press is home-grown. Many of its most
gifted writers draw upon a tradition nurtured and developed in
a different atmosphere. Our Hebrew and Yiddish writers partic-
ularly sprouted their wings in the literary environment of Poland
and Lithuania before they transplanted themselves to the New
World. They drew inspiration from the literary centers of
Lemberg, Warsaw, Wilna and Odessa ere settling in New York,
Boston or Chicago.
With Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe came a flush
of literary activity which looked to the creation of a new cultural
center in this country. Not all the dreams and aspirations mater-
ialized, but a Jewish press was developed, of considerable distinc-
tion and influence. Those emigre Jewish writers have enriched
the spiritual and cultural life of American Jewry, infused it with
their wealth of experience, illumined it with depth of vision, with
grace and subtlety of style, and with that clarity of purpose
which sprang from those great reservoirs of Jewish life and thought
that were integral of their early environment.
I t is to be regretted that, with few exceptions, the English
Jewish press has not enjoyed such advantages of background.
Its spiritual and cultural heritage is as yet relatively young in
roots. But there is evident a sturdy will to attain literary dis-
tinction and balance, to become a growing force and influence
in Jewish communal life. There is more room for improvement but,
by and large, the English language press strives earnestly to
keep pace with the maturing of the Jewish community it seeks
to serve. Perhaps we shall before very long succeed in developing
a periodical akin to
The Jewish Chronicle
of London, England,
or the erstwhile
Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums
in Germany.
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