Page 156 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 38

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TH E O D O R E W IENER
Jewish Literary Anniversaries
1981
T h i s a n n u a l f e a t u r e
has at least one attentive—and critical—
reader, Morris U. Schappes, who gives a searching review of the
Jewish Book Annual,
Vol. 37, in the November 1979 issue of
Jewish Currents.
Two of our omissions noted there for the 1980
list are Penina Moise (Charleston, S.C., 1797-September 13,
1880) and Jonah Rosenfeld (July 7, 1880-1944). Moise was,
indeed, one of the first American Jewish poets, whose subjects
included general and Jewish topics. She also composed hymns
that found their way into American Jewish hymnals, such as the
Union Hymnal,
published by the Central Conference of Ameri­
can Rabbis. Her poetic muse was also placed in the service of
the Confederate cause which she embraced passionately. Rosen­
feld was a Yiddish story teller who came to this country from
Eastern Europe in 1921, and served on the staff of the
Jewish
Daily Forward.
His literary work was published in multi-volume
collections and translated in part also into Hebrew.
Schappes also observes that last year we profiled neither women
nor American born authors. This time we can boast of two
women and two writers who saw the light of day first on these
hospitable shores. There was, however, no deliberate design in
this selection.
At this time attention should be drawn to the centenary of
the birth of two outstanding leaders of American Judaism,
Mordecai M. Kaplan and Ju lian Morgenstern. Each in his own
way has helped shape the rabbinate of his particular con­
stituency and thus influenced the spiritual life of American
Jewry significantly.
Major Hebrew writers that we remember this year are Rahel
Bluwstein, Joseph Hayyim Brenner, Yaakov Cahan, and Jacob
Fichman, whereas A rthur Schnitzler and Stefan Zweig represent
the German-Jewish symbiosis before it came apart. Sir Leon
Simon was that unusual individual in whom European and
Hebrew learning were happily combined with such felicitous
results.