Page 152 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

Basic HTML Version

THEODORE WIENER
Jewish Literary Anniversaries
1978
A m o n g t h e p e o p l e
whose centenary we observe this year there
are such diverse personalities as Martin Buber, Alexander Marx,
Benzion Mossinsohn, and Arthur Biram. While all four were
teachers of the Jewish people in the widest sense, each one
brought his influence to bear on posterity in his own way.
Martin Buber transmitted the Hasidic heritage of eighteenth
and nineteenth century Eastern Europe to an admiring western
world, fusing it at the same time with the best of modern thought,
thus making an otherwise inaccessible past relevant to the present.
Although most of the historical and bibliographical studies of
Alexander Marx were intended for the specialist, his overriding
importance lies in his assembling one of the greatest Jewish
libraries the world has known, precisely at a time when the
centers of European scholarship were being destroyed. T hu s he
performed a providential task. Mossinsohn and Biram were
pioneer educators in the new Israel, the former bringing his rich
tradition from Eastern Europe to bear on his work, the latter
offering the disciplined methods of the West, training in his
high school in Haifa several of the senior military officers of
the new state.
The present generation of writers and scholars is represented
by men of the caliber of Saul Lieberman, Robert Gordis, Nahum
N. Glatzer, Azriel Eisenberg, and Harold Louis Ginsberg. In all
cases their work has been associated with Jewish institutions of
one kind or another in this country. This only underlines the
increasing role of the United States in the cultural life of our
people. Each personality has enriched our fund of knowledge,
some only within academia, others for the wider lay public.
From the distant past we recall David Nieto, already a fore­
runner of a modern Judaism, and his contemporary, Solomon
ben Jacob Ayylon, a figure out of the stormy period of Shab-
bethai Zevi. As we review the achievements of each of the per­
sonalities remembered this year, the continued vitality of Jewish
142