Page 123 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 4

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SUMMARY
By
P
h i l i p
G
o o d m a n
HEBREW SECTION
T
HE Hebrew Section begins with an appreciation by S. Bass,
entitled
About the Bookcase
, which depicts the part which
books have ever played in comforting the Jew and stirring his
spirit.
Libraries Among the Nations of the WorId and the People of Israel,
by Prof. Gotthold Weil, Director of the National and University
Library in Jerusalem, is a brief survey of the development and role
of libraries. The earliest known libraries of Egypt and Aram-
Naharaim, until those of the thirteenth century, were associated
with religious institutions and teachers and their use was restricted
to priests. Not until the invention of the printing press by Gutten-
berg were libraries founded for use by the common man. As a
result of the endless wanderings of the Jewish people, they were
unable to establish communal libraries although many individuals
succeeded in acquiring sizable collections of books. During the
course of generations private libraries of both Jews and non-Jews
were gradually absorbed by public libraries. Consequently many
valuable books and manuscripts have been lost to the Jewish
people, although they are preserved for the world. In the eight-
eenth century a number of small Jewish communal libraries were
established in Europe and, in more recent years, several important
libraries were founded in America. Finally, with the current rise
of Jewish nationalism, the National and University Library in
Jerusalem was created.
Dr. Gedaliah Elkushi contributes an invaluable article on
Hebrew Literature in Palestine in 5704.
Over 650 books on every
phase of literature and science were published during the year
under review, notwithstanding the difficulties of publication caused
by the war. Equally gratifying is the fact that the number of
purchasers and readers of the books matched the production.
Dr. Elkushi outlines those trends which were evident in the
Palestine literary center: production of technical books related
to the war; increased interest of the Hebrew reader in social and
political problems; the pressing need for clarifying of the position