Page 10 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 32

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Dichters Lande gehen” ; bu t Jewish history has refuted his pro­
The Diaspora Jew overcame all obstacles and all impediments
set up to obstruct and inh ib it his cultural pursuits. As its
etymological derivation indicates, culture to the Jew is something
organic, something visceral. Culture grows like a tree, from in­
ward outward in a natural burgeoning. T he term is applied alike
to the creations of man’s m ind and to the products of the soil. We
cultivate plants and we cultivate the mind. We speak of art
culture and of agriculture, of religious culture and horticulture.
(A quarter-century or more ago, the
published this writer’s essay titled
and the New
Friedrich Schiller’s dictum notwithstanding, the Diaspora Jew
proved that Jewish culture could be created in localities other
than a Jewish land. When the Jew was driven from country to
country, even when he was ghettoized, he carried his culture with
him, and it served in lieu of a state and a government. I t was his
luggage which never left his person. Despite his exile, his m ind
intuitively evolved a world that embraced the whole cosmos, and
it viewed the Jewish existential pattern through the prism of
eternity. Even while suffering through bleak pages of his history,
the Jew regarded his culture as a messianic harbinger tha t would
ultimately embrace the whole of humanity.
I t is patent tha t Jewish books occupy a position of centrality
in the framework of Jewish culture. However, a people’s culture
is not reflected by books alone; they indicate primarily the
workings of the mind. In order to comprehend the essence of
Jewish culture, we must go back in time and in history to the
Jew of antiquity, of whom the modern Jew is the heir. Like Carl
Jung ’s psychological concept of man’s “collective unconscious,”
which postulates a nexus between the m ind of modern man and
tha t of ancient, primordial man, so Jewish culture must be seen
as the sum total of the manifestations of the Jewish mind,
cluding continued vibrations from the ancient Jewish mind.
Z’khor yemot olam,
“Remember the days of old” (Deut. 32:7).
In this volume we enumerate the products of the Jewish m ind