Page 10 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 30

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2
J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
Five years have elapsed since the Six Day War, and there is no
peace. Israeli troops are still deployed in their bunkers, in their
frontier outposts, and in mobile patrols, guarding their 1,030
mile-long borders. Several thousand Russians are ensconced in
Egypt, flying planes, at the ready to discharge their lethal missiles.
“Hatikvah” is more than a song to be sung at Jewish gatherings;
it is a heart-anthem to those on the firing lines, exposed to Arab
marauders bent on massacring them. Undoubtedly, there are
voices echoing the jeremiad of the Prophet Habakkuk: “How
long, O Lord, shall I cry, and You will not hear!”
However, despite the tribulations, the perils and herculean
impediments that confront Israel after a quarter-century of haz­
ardous existence, optimism, fortitude and resoluteness undergird
the prevailing mood. The tocsin voiced by the Israeli poet Yitz­
hak Lamdan in his apocalyptic 90-page poem
Masada
continues
to fuel the flame of Israel’s invincible, heroic spirit. Using the
ancient first-century Masada as a symbolic term for modern Pales­
tine, Yitzhak Lamdan, arriving with the third
aliyah,
set the tone
of the
aliyot
that were to follow:
Open your gates, Masada, let me the fugitive enter
I place my ravaged soul at your feet.
Set it on your stony anvil
Beat it, forge it, shape it anew.
Where else can I bring this tortured body
When its very last strings have been severed?
He then hurls to the world the challenge that is being vindi­
cated by our brothers and sisters in the Homeland:
Hazak hazak
“Be strong, be strong” ;
shenit Masada lo tipol
“Masada will not
be vanquished again.”
II
Basic to volume 30, and to every volume of the trilingual
Jewish
Book Annual,
are the seven bibliographies which comprise a
compendium of the Jewish literary harvest gleaned in the past
year. They circumscribe a wide spectrum: American Jewish Non-
Fiction Books; American Jewish Fiction Books; Jewish Juvenile
Books; American Hebrew Books; Yiddish Books; Anglo-Jewish
Books, and Selected Books of Israel.
These bibliographies are of paramount importance as a ba­
rometer to measure Jewish activity in the field of letters. The
books they list, together with their predecessors over the past
twenty-nine years, are filaments in the cultural web that was
begun several millennia ago. Moses’ injunction to Joshua, “This
Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth,” referred