Page 9 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 3

Basic HTML Version

o r d e c a i
o l t e s
The editors of the 1944-45 Jewish Book Annual have striven to
achieve maximum cohesiveness in its contents. While the present
volume is not entirely satisfactory from the point of view of this
laudable purpose, the reader will find that a greater degree of in-
tegration among the three Sections — the English, Hebrew and
Yiddish — has manifestly been attained than in the two previous
In some measure this welcome result was rendered possible by
the fact that the persons primarily responsible for the preparation
of the current Annual planned it jointly, and were free to devote
themselves to this voluntarily assumed task without being com-
pelled to carry simultaneously the responsibility for raising the
funds needed to meet the cost of printing, as was the case in the
past. For, during the second half of this year, a plan was evolved
and implemented whereby the National Jewish Welfare Board
has assumed the continuing obligation as sponsor-coordinator of
the Jewish Book Council of America, agreeing to furnish sustained
professional guidance and to subsidize the budgetary requirements
for the Council’s minimum program, including the publication of
the Annual. The consummation of this objective, which the present
writer has consistently advocated during the three years of his
incumbency as chairman, should contribute towards the stabiliza-
tion of the Book Council and the enhancement of its effectiveness
and influence.
At this important turning point in the evolution of our cultural
project, it is in place to recall the consecrated devotion manifested
by the leaders of this organization during the early and precarious
stages of its existence, and more particularly, the steadfast loyalty
with which Miss Fanny Goldstein promoted the Jewish Book Week
idea for over a decade and a half. Until 1940 it was substantially a
“one man” or rather a “one woman” proposition. Miss Goldstein
held this spiritual fort practically singlehanded. Various agencies
from time to time directed the attention of their constituent groups
to the observance of the period devoted to books, but they re-
garded Jewish Book Week as Miss Goldstein’s hobby, and looked
to her for initiative and leadership in nurturing it.
In the spring of 1940 a national committee was formally or-
ganized, with Miss Goldstein as Chairman, a post which she
relinquished in 1941. For two years the policy of issuing a mimeo-