Page 11 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

Basic HTML Version

h is
br ie f
preface to our first Jewish Book Annua l, published
thirty-five years ago, the editor expressed the hope that “we are
herewith initiating a movement which, in the course of time, w ill
have an effect on the intellectual interests of American Jew ry .”
As we mark the dual anniversary of thirty-five years of the
publication of the Annua l and of the activities of the Jewish
Book Council, we feel justified in stating that this hope has not
been unfounded. During these years the Annua l has recorded
considerable growth in the Jewish book market and in the quest
for Jewish knowledge through books.
In recent years we have witnessed a spurt in Jewish publish­
ing activity, which has encompassed not only belles-letters and
juven ile literature, but also scholarly works and reprints of
classics. Leading trade publishers and university presses have
vied in developing Jewish book lists. Jewish publishers, too,
have made important strides as indicated by the growth of the
Association of Jewish Book Publishers, established in 1962.
Despite the periodic complaints that Jews do not buy books
in sufficient quantity, the fact remains that a market has been
created for serious works and that hardly a year passes w ithout
its quota of Jewish “best-sellers.”
It continues to be the task of the Jewish Book Annua l to
record and interpret these developments in the Jewish book
world. As heretofore, the material gathered in its pages deals
w ith Jewish literary creativity the world over and covers a wide
variety of areas.
A wise commentator once explained the import of the maxim
in Mishnah Abot ( 1 :4 )—“Let your house be a meeting place
for the wise,” as follows: “When you place books in your home
it becomes a meeting place of the sages.” Time and again the
Annua l has drawn attention to various aspects of Jewish book-