Page 28 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 4

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THE YEAR’S BOOKSHELF
A survey of American Jewish publications in
English for 1944-1945.
B y J
o s h u a
B
loch
T
HIS country now offers unrivalled opportunities for the
advancement of Jewish cultural life and for the encourage-
ment of creative works in Jewish literature. The large Jewish
community in America is, generally speaking, cultured and gen-
erous in its philanthropy. I t is happy to have in its midst an
unusually fine group of scholars and writers. The fame of most
of them is deserved and well established; it rests upon long rec-
ognized achievements in the sphere of Jewish learning and letters.
At present, however, these writers, with but few exceptions, have
been forced to devote their time and talents to activities other
than those for which they are best equipped, while necessary
work in Jewish lore and letters, for the performance of which
they are concededly well qualified, is sometimes unfortunately
relegated to mediocre hands. The result is that during the past
year the literary output has, in some respects, been disappointing.
CURRENT JEWISH EXPERIENCE
There is no question as to the role that the current stream of
Jewish life plays in the reading interest of those Jews who are
concerned with the destiny of their people. I t plays a much larger
role than any other aspects of Jewish literature in the interest
of the average reader. What happens now to Jews anywhere and
everywhere matters more to those readers than what was the
fate of their coreligionists in days gone by. To this interest is
largely due the growing number of Jewish periodicals and a like
increase in the output of books and pamphlets dealing with aspects
of current Jewish experience. The underlying factors of this ex-
perience and their background are dealt with by several competent
students of Jewish life in such publications as
The rise of the Jew
in the western world
, a social and economic history of the Jewish
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