Page 11 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

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3
KABAKOFF / INTRODUCTION
gent scholarly research have combined to make ever new facets
of this tradition accessible to the scholarly and literary world.
I l l
This year saw the publication of the seventh posthumous vol-
ume from the pen of Shmuel Yosef Agnon, the Nobel Prize
laureate for literature. What sets this volume apart from Ag-
non’s other writings is that it is completely given over to
Hebrew booklore. Entitled
Sefer, Sofer ve-Sippur,
it is an
anthology of sources and literary references concerning varied
aspects of the Hebrew book, beginning with the Bible and
down through hasidic lore. It represents more than thirty
years of diligent compilation on the part of the author.
To illustrate the import of
Sefer,
or book, the first compo-
nent of the title, Agnon placed at the head of his anthology
the following quotation from Moses Ibn Ezra’s book on poet-
ics,
Shirat Yisrael:
When you find your intellect to be wanting, sharpen
it with the aid of a scholar. If you cannot find one, seek
wisdom from the written word, that is from books.
This dictum admirably sums up the aims of our
Jewish
Book Annual,
which continues its quest to aid the reader find
wisdom and stimulation in Jewish books of both contempo-
rary times and ages gone by. It seeks also to present a record
of Jewish literary production in America and overseas in Eng-
lish as well as in Hebrew and Yiddish.
Most discussions of Jewish literary creativity center around
the novel, an area in which American Jewish authors have
served as a vitalizing force. Dr. Milton Hindus, in his open-
ing article, has focused on the work of a number of American
Jewish poets and has indicated how they have enriched our
perceptions.
On the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of Israel, Harold
U. Ribalow has pointed to a considerable body of American
Jewish prose writing which illumined various aspects of the
Jewish homeland. Yohai Goell has surveyed the library scene
in Israel and has evaluated the contribution of the Center for
Public Libraries in fostering library development there.
In the light of the growing attention which is being paid