Page 49 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 33

Basic HTML Version

TARNOR / AMERICAN MOTIFS IN HEBREW LITERATURE
39
The much-touted flourishing Jewish studies departments in
American academia, while better than nothing, were more
sound and fury than something substantial so far as modern
Hebrew literature was concerned. The occasional (a relative
term at best) young American Jewish student interested in his
tradition usually familiarized himself more with an archaeo­
logical site at Arad, the streets of ancient Sura and Pumpeditha,
and the more esoteric aspects of the Kabbala. Nearly every period
seems to have attracted his inquiring mind except the
modern
literary one.
Still, there seems to be some intellectual curiosity about the
state of modern Hebrew letters here and there around the coun­
try. If this be but a small crumb of comfort, we have no one but
ourselves to blame. We have the largest numerically and poten­
tially the most dynamic Jewish community in Jewish history on
this American continent—north, central and south. Hebrew lit­
erature will continue to be written here. Whether it will flourish
and hopefully reflect the best that is thought and said in Amer­
ican civilization in our generation and in the generations to
come, that is a myth of another color.