Page 120 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 4

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IN 5705 (1944-45)
b y P
h i l i p
o o d m a n
HILE the National Jewish Welfare Board has had con-
tinuing interest in the Jewish Book Council of America
since its inception, it was in March, 1944, that the JWB officially
undertook to serve as sponsor-coordinator of the Council, in-
volving financial subsidy of the program as well as professional
guidance. With the facilities of the JWB at its disposal, the
Council was able to make the celebration of Jewish Book Month
throughout the country the most extensive and colorful in the
history of this project, surpassing all records of previous years.
Numerous reports received at national headquarters indicated
a decided increase over 1943 in the number of Synagogues, Jewish
Centers, religious schools, libraries and Jewish organizations
that sponsored a wide variety of mass and group programs.
National and central Jewish organizations played an im-
portant role in the stimulation of activities during Jewish Book
Month. At least twenty-two national organizations, as well
as many central agencies, participated in its observance. Local
chapters of the Jewish Book Council were responsible for intensive
programs in several cities. Hundreds of congregations through-
out the United States heard sermons by their rabbis which aimed
to emphasize Jewish literary activity and to create an awareness
of Jewish cultural values during Jewish Book Month, and, par-
ticularly, on Jewish Book Sabbath, November 18, Parshat Toledot.
In many other ways the rabbis of America focussed attention on
the aims of our project. The Synagogue Council of America
urged the participation of all congregations. Jewish Community
Centers throughout the country took the initiative in organizing
community-wide celebrations during Jewish Book Month and,
in addition, sponsored appropriate group and mass activities
for their own membership. Most gratifying was the participation
of the public libraries, a factor which is becoming increasingly
more important in the promotion of Jewish Book Month. In
large measure the central Bureaus of Jewish Education were