Page 76 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 3

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The day on which Robert hears of the refusal of his application coincides with
the eve of Passover. When Robert’s father recites the familiar paragraph which
begins with the words, “ In every generation, tyrants have sought to destroy us,”
Robert slowly discerns that his trials are part of a much larger pattern.
He again discusses the problem with his former teacher in the presence of Lise
Hoffman, a young German refugee. Lise’s immediate reaction to Robert’s story
of discrimination, is one of uncontrolled sobbing. For the first time she had come
in contact with a tainted Americanism. Trained in pure abstract Americanism,
she was unprepared for a realistic dilution of her utopian preconceptions.
In the presence of the weeping girl, young Silver understood tha t he could not
afford to minimize what had happened to him, for it was not an isolated incident.
I t might serve as the springboard for the further spread of intolerance. Robert
Silver perceived the distinction between the freedom of acceptance and the free-
dom of rebellion.
— L o u i s Sh ub in
Contemporary Jewish Record
As
I See It.
B y S t e p h e n S . W i s e .
New York,
J e w i s h O p i n i o n
P u b l i s h i n g C o r p .
285 pages.
When the editorial page stands for something in times that call for assertion,
then the editorial page is read. I am moved to this reflection by the publication,
as a minor memorial to Rabbi Wise’s seventieth birthday, of this selection of the
Rabbi’s editorials from the pages of the monthly,
Opinion
, during 1932-43. The
editorials are reprinted under five headings, the Jewish Fate and Faith, Hitlerism
and Beyond, Zion-Homeland and Hope, Contemporaries and Comrades, Toward
Peace and Justice.
I had not read far into this volume when I began hearing again, in undiminished
force, the thunders of that moral authority which is Stephen S. Wise. Excepting
only those lighter passages which compose the section on Contemporaries and
Comrades, I felt that I was not reading a book, but listening to the author. Only
in the case of a Fosdick, or a Holmes, or a Wise (among contemporaries) is it pos-
sible for the spoken sermon to survive on the printed page, on which it may achieve
a second life.
I confess that I began the reading of this book with minor expectations. As I
continued I found that I was being magnetized by the fresh and diversified ex-
pressions of that apparently still inexhaustible moral force which has made Stephen
S. Wise a leader of the Jewish people, far beyond synagogue. Let not those among
us who give to his name that perfunctory passing tribute tha t is earned by a living
monument whose persistence in surviving is the chief source of wonder make the
mistake of believing that the bolt is shot, the fire dying.
Remembering again that this is a book review, I ask you to read this book and
refer you particularly to the editorials entitled Jews under Disapproval, and Shema
Yisraelism, among — need I add — many others.
H a r r y S a l p e t e r
in
Congress Weekly
A
Guide fo r the Bedevilled.
B y B e n H e c h t .
New York,
C h a r l e s
S c r i b n e r ’s S o n s .
276 pages.
There can be no doubt that
A Guide fo r the Bedevilled
is a book written from
inner compulsion. Many of his Gentile friends, after reading this book are apt
to feel somewhat uneasy about Ben Hecht’s newly born Jewish pride. All in all,
Mr. Hecht had little to gain by writing this book. For this display of courage he
deserves credit.
The author frankly admits that his book was not intended to be a scholarly book
on anti-Semitism; it is rather a passionate confession of faith of a sensitive and
able writer who after years of treading on what seemed to him to be a wide and
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